Thematic Bible




Thematic Bible



Here is how it will be: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore you should be as crafty [Note: The Greek word here is "sensible"] as snakes, yet as harmless [Note: The Greek word is "sincere"] as doves. But, watch out for people, for they will turn you over to the [Jewish] councils [for judgment] and will have you flogged in their synagogues. Yes, you will [even] be brought in front of governors and kings for being loyal to me. [This will give you an opportunity] for witnessing to them [as well] as to the [unconverted] Gentiles.



Then someone out of the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the [family] inheritance with me." But He said to him, "Man, who appointed me to judge or [decide on how] to divide [the property] between you two?" And [then] He said to them, "Be careful and guard yourselves against [practicing] all forms of greed, for a person's life does not consist of having a lot of possessions." read more.
And He told them a parable [i.e., a brief story to illustrate His teaching], saying, "The land of a certain rich man produced a bumper crop, so he thought to himself, 'What should I do, because I do not have any [more] room to store my crops?' Then he said [to himself], 'This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build larger [ones]; then I will store all my grain and [other] goods there [i.e., farm supplies]. And I will say to myself, 'Soul, you have plenty of goods [i.e., grain and supplies] stored up for many years, [so], take it easy; eat, drink and have fun.' But God said to him, 'You fool! Tonight your life will be taken away from you. And [then] who will get the things you have stored up [for yourself]?' This is [the way it will be with] the person who stores up treasures for himself, and [yet] is not rich toward God [i.e., does place enough importance on spiritual things]."

Watch out for the "dogs!" [Note: "Dogs" were viewed with disgust by the ancient Jews (Deut. 23:18; II Kings 8:13; Rev. 22:15), so the term is used here derogatorily for Jewish Christians who were trying to impose on the church the requirements of the law of Moses]. Watch out for the evil workers! Watch out for those who mutilate the body meaninglessly! [Note: Paul here alludes, in a derogatory wordplay, to the Jewish practice of circumcision].


Here is how it will be: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore you should be as crafty [Note: The Greek word here is "sensible"] as snakes, yet as harmless [Note: The Greek word is "sincere"] as doves.


The person who is [only] a hired hand, and not the shepherd, [and] who does not own the sheep [himself], sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away. So, the wolf attacks the flock and scatters [the sheep].

[Because] I know that after I am gone [from here] there will be vicious wolves [i.e., ravaging false teachers] who will come in among you, and they will not spare the flock [i.e., the congregation].


For there is no healthy tree that produces bad fruit; nor is there a diseased tree that produces wholesome fruit. For each tree is recognized by its own fruit. For people do not harvest figs from thorn bushes, nor grapes from a brier bush. The good person produces good things from the goodness stored up in his heart. And the evil person produces bad things from the evil [stored up in his heart]. For his mouth speaks what his heart is filled with.


"Look out for deceiving prophets, who approach you wearing sheep's clothing, but who are [actually] starving wolves in their hearts. You can recognize them by their fruit [i.e., by what their lives produce]. Do people harvest grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistle weeds?

Either be a healthy tree and produce wholesome fruit, or be a diseased tree and produce rotten fruit, for [the quality of] a tree will be recognized by [the quality of] its fruit.










Therefore, whoever disregards one of these least [significant] requirements [of the law of Moses] and teaches others to [disregard them], he will be considered the least [significant person] in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys them and teaches [others to obey] them, will be considered important in the kingdom of heaven.

saying, "The experts in the law of Moses and the Pharisees teach by the authority of Moses. Therefore, observe and practice everything they urge upon you, but do not follow their example [of living] because they say [the right things] but do not do them. Yes, they require people to bear heavy and difficult responsibilities, and place them on people's shoulders [to carry out], but they themselves will not lift a finger to do them. read more.
But they do all their deeds just to be seen by people. They wear elaborate Scripture texts displayed on their clothing and enlarge [conspicuously] the fringes of their robes. They love to recline at the head place at dinner tables [Note: This referred to the practice of lying down on their left side on a couch next to the dinner table, and leaning on their left elbow, while eating with their right hand], and to occupy the principal seats in the synagogues. They love the [special] greetings they receive at the open shopping markets and to be addressed as 'Rabbi' [Note: This word signified 'great' or 'master']. But you should not assume the title 'Rabbi,' for [only] one is your teacher [i.e., Jesus Himself] and all of you are [simply] brothers. And do not call any man on earth 'father,' [i.e., in a religious sense], for the [only] one who is your Father is in heaven. Neither assume the title 'Master' [i.e., teacher], for [only] one is your Master, the Christ [i.e., God's specially chosen one]. But the greatest person among you will be your servant. And whoever exalts himself [as important] will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted [as important]. "But it is too bad for you hypocritical experts in the law of Moses and [you] Pharisees! [It is] because you withhold the kingdom of heaven from people, for you do not enter it yourselves, nor [do you] allow those who are trying to enter it to get in. {[{[Verse is absent from the oldest manuscripts]}]} "It is too bad for you hypocritical experts in the law of Moses and [you] Pharisees! For you travel over land and sea [in hope of] making one person a proselyte [i.e., a convert to the Jewish religion]. And when you do convert one, you make him twice as deserving of hell as yourselves. "It is too bad for you blind leaders who say that whoever takes an oath 'by the Temple,' it does not [really] mean anything, but whoever takes an oath 'by the gold of the Temple,' he is obligated to [fulfill] the oath. You foolish, blind people! Which is greater, the gold or the Temple that makes its gold sacred? And [you say], whoever takes an oath 'by the Altar,' it does not [really] mean anything, but whoever takes an oath 'by the gift on the Altar,' he is obligated to [fulfill] the oath. You blind people! Which is more important, the gift or the Altar that makes the gift sacred? The person, therefore, who takes an oath 'by the Altar,' [not only] swears by it, but [also] by everything on it. And the person who takes an oath 'by the Temple,' [not only] swears by it, but [also] by Him [i.e., God] who lives there. And the person who takes an oath 'by heaven,' swears 'by the throne of God,' and [also] by Him [i.e., God] who sits on it. "It is too bad for you hypocritical experts in the law of Moses and [you] Pharisees! For you give a tenth of your mint, dill and cumin [i.e., small garden herbs used for seasoning or fragrance], and [yet] neglect the heavier responsibilities required by the law, [such as] justice, mercy and faith. You should have done these ["lighter"] things and not neglected to do the other ["heavier"] things [as well]. You blind leaders, who strain out a [tiny] gnat [i.e., from your drinking water] and [yet] swallow a [whole] camel. "It is too bad for you hypocritical experts in the law of Moses and [you] Pharisees! For you [carefully] wash the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they [i.e., such evil people] are full of greed and uncontrolled desire. You blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup and dish, so [then] the outside will be clean also. "It is too bad for you hypocritical experts in the law of Moses and [you] Pharisees! For you are like white-washed tombs, used for burial [sites], which appear beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of the bones and decaying flesh of dead people. Even so, you also appear on the outside to be doing right in front of people, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and sin. "It is too bad for you hypocritical experts in the law of Moses and [you] Pharisees! For you construct burial sites for the prophets and decorate the tombs of people who were righteous. And you say, 'If [only] we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we [certainly] would not have participated with them in [shedding] the blood of the prophets.' [But by saying this] you are witnesses [against] yourselves, that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets [i.e., indicating your approval of their actions]. So [then], fulfill the pattern of behavior begun by your forefathers. You snakes! You children of snakes! How do you expect to escape being judged [and condemned] in hell?

"Why do your disciples violate the tradition of the [Jewish] elders? For they do not [ceremonially] wash their hands before eating [their meals]." And He answered them, "Why do you also violate the commandments of God by [following] your traditions? For God said, [Ex. 20:12], 'Give honor to your father and mother.' and [Ex. 21:17], 'Whoever says bad things about his father or mother should surely be put to death.' read more.
But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, I have given to God the money I could have helped you with;' this person does not honor his father [or mother]. You have made God's message useless by [thus enforcing] your traditions. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied accurately about you, saying [Isa. 29:13], These people [claim to] honor me with their lips [i.e., by what they say], but their heart is far from [honoring] me. They are worshiping me for nothing [because they are] teaching principles that are [merely] the requirements of men.'" Then Jesus called the crowds to come to Him, and He said to them, "Listen and understand. It is not what enters the mouth of a person that [spiritually] corrupts him, but what proceeds out of his mouth that [spiritually] corrupts him." Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were upset [with you] when they heard [you say] that?" But He answered and said, "Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. [So], let these Pharisees alone; they are blind leaders. And if a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a ditch." And Peter said to Him, "Explain the parable to us." And He replied, "Are you still unable to understand? Do you not realize that whatever enters a person's mouth goes into his stomach and [eventually] passes out into the toilet? But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from his heart. These are what [spiritually] corrupt a person. For evil thoughts, murder, extramarital affairs, sexual immorality, stealing, perjury, slander --- [all these] come from a person's heart, and are what corrupt him [spiritually]. But eating [a meal] with [ceremonially] unwashed hands does not [spiritually] corrupt him."

And when the Pharisee observed this, he was surprised that Jesus had not first washed himself ceremonially before the meal. And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees [meticulously] clean the outside of the cup and the dish [i.e., this was an allusion to their lives], but you are filled with greed for wealth and [other] evils on the inside. You foolish people! Did not the One [i.e., God] who made the outside [i.e., your body] also make the inside [i.e., your spirit]? read more.
But you should give to poor people what you have inside. [Note: This means either what is inside the dish, or what is inside your heart]. And [then] you will see that everything is [ceremonially] clean to you [as well]. "But it is too bad for you Pharisees! For you give a tenth of your mint, rue and every [other] herb [Note: These were small garden plants used for seasoning or medicine] and [yet] neglect [demonstrating] justice and the love of God [toward others]. But you should have done these things and not neglected to do the other things [as well]. "It is too bad for you Pharisees! For you love [to occupy] the principal seats in the synagogues and [to receive special] greetings in the open shopping markets. "It is too bad for you! For you people are like obscure grave sites that people walk over without knowing it." Then one of the teachers of the law of Moses answered Jesus, saying, "Teacher, you insulted us too by saying this." And He replied them, "It is too bad for you teachers of the law of Moses also! For you heap heavy responsibilities on people, which are difficult to bear, while you do not even lift a finger to bear them yourselves. "It is too bad for you! For your forefathers killed the prophets and you build grave monuments to them [i.e., the prophets]. So, [by doing this] you are witnesses [against yourselves] that you approve of the deeds of your forefathers, for they killed the prophets and you build grave monuments to them. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, [Note: Is this a reference to Jesus? See I Cor. 1:30 and Matt. 23:34-36], 'I will send prophets and apostles to them [i.e., the Jewish people] and they will kill and persecute some of them, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the beginning of the world, may be required of this generation of people.' Yes, I tell you, this generation will be punished [for the death of the prophets], from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zachariah, who died between the Altar and the sanctuary [i.e., in the Temple area]. [Note: This punishment began about "It is too bad for you teachers of the law of Moses! For you took away the key of knowledge [i.e., preventing people from understanding God's plan]. You did not enter [the kingdom of heaven. See Matt. 23:13] yourselves and [you even] prevented those who [wanted] to enter [to get in]."


Here is how it will be: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore you should be as crafty [Note: The Greek word here is "sensible"] as snakes, yet as harmless [Note: The Greek word is "sincere"] as doves.


The person who is [only] a hired hand, and not the shepherd, [and] who does not own the sheep [himself], sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away. So, the wolf attacks the flock and scatters [the sheep].

[Because] I know that after I am gone [from here] there will be vicious wolves [i.e., ravaging false teachers] who will come in among you, and they will not spare the flock [i.e., the congregation].



[Because] I know that after I am gone [from here] there will be vicious wolves [i.e., ravaging false teachers] who will come in among you, and they will not spare the flock [i.e., the congregation].


Here is how it will be: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore you should be as crafty [Note: The Greek word here is "sensible"] as snakes, yet as harmless [Note: The Greek word is "sincere"] as doves.


The person who is [only] a hired hand, and not the shepherd, [and] who does not own the sheep [himself], sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away. So, the wolf attacks the flock and scatters [the sheep].

[Because] I know that after I am gone [from here] there will be vicious wolves [i.e., ravaging false teachers] who will come in among you, and they will not spare the flock [i.e., the congregation].