Don’t judge dogs?

So we wonder, how do we understand Matthew 7:1, often quoted at someone else who seems overly rigid in their denunciations of others?  “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”  It is memorable and pointed.

Notice in verses 1-6 there are some judgments made – v. 5 says “You hypocrites” and v. 6 says, “Don’t give what is holy to dogs or cast your pearls before pigs.”  So do not “dogs”, “pigs”, “holy” and “pearls” involve judgments?

We think that the structure of the passage is like this

A  – v.1  Proverb

B – v. 2 Judgment is reciprocal

C – v. 3  Start with yourself

C’ – v. 4 Start with yourself

B’ – v.5 Removal is reciprocal

C’ – v. 6 Proverb

If this is fair, then verses 1 and 6 are proverbial sayings that together make a balanced teaching.  Do not judge in the sense of declaring a final condemnation.  but do discern the reality of a situation.  The line between judgment and discernment is a fine one. 

There is a lot that is reciprocal – that is what is good for the other is good for me.  Before I judge others, I should be judged.  When I judge, I will be judged.

Like the Hebrew wisdom teachings these are not Laws but proverbial in nature, require considerable care and wisdom in their application.  A wooden “do not judge in any manner at all” would not capture the teaching.  Since there are situations where judgments need to be made about teachers as is seen in the remainder of chapter 7.

If we follow the chiastic structure to its logical end, the point of the passage is much more about starting with yourself, than it is in not judging at all.


St. Augustine on Mt 6:33

Can a read be fresh that is about 1600 years old? 

 Matthew 6:33
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


     “This whole precept, then, reduces itself to this rule of life, that even while providing for such things we should keep our minds on the kingdom of God, but in the service of God’s kingdom we should not think of them.”                   St. Augustine, The Sermon on the Mount, p. 145

Lords Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount

U. Luz, in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Bible, is cited as saying that the Sermon on the Mount has been built around the Lord’s Prayer as its centerpiece.  Not having his work, this week our intrepid adult class will use the text, some scissors and tape to attempt to correlate sections of the Sermon to the 7 phrases of the Prayer.

Do you want to play? 

The phrases of the Prayer: 1.  Our Father in heaven 2.  hallowed be your name 3. your kingdom come  4.  your will be done… 5. give us ….bread 6.  Forgive us…as we forgive 7.  Lead us not…but deliver.

The units, based on NIV divisions:

(5:1-12; 5:13-16; 5:17-20; 5:21-26; 5:27-30; 5:31-32; 5:33-37; 5:38-42; 5:43-48; 6:1-4; 6:5-8; 6:9-15; 6:16-18; 6:19-24; 6:25-34; 7:1-6; 7:7-12; 7:13-14; 7:15-23; 7:24-29)

Have fun, I will post my results next week.

The Lord’s Prayer and Matthew 6-7

From the Dictionary of Jesus and the Bible comes this observation.  The Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9-13) correlates to the following passages in this way:

Mt 6:9-10 – Name, Kingdom, Will: Mt 6:19-24 – Treasure in heaven.  Note the correlation in both passages between heaven and earth. 

Mt 6:11 – Daily Bread: Mt 6:25-34 – Worry – Note the connection between bread (v. 11,25, 31) and daily (v. 11, 27, 34)

Mt 6:12 – forgiveness: Mt 7:1-6 – Judgment – note the similar concern for reciprocal action (as we have forgiven v. 11; speck/log 7:3-5), and judgment vs. forgiveness.

Mt 6:13 – temptation: Mt 7:7-27 – “lead” and “wide/narrow path (7:13,14), “evil” and “false teachers” / good & bad fruit (7:15-20); “temptation” and “wise” (7:24-27).

It is a loose connection not to be drawn up too tightly, but yet it is there.  So one can turn between the prayer and the teaching sections for insight.

Carlin, Dylan, Ecclesiastes and Jesus – Matthew 6

 What about “you can not serve both God and Money” found in Matthew 6:24? 

Here is Carlin, Dylan and Qoheleth:

The late comedian George Carlin had a funny piece about our stuff.  He said,

That is the whole meaning of life, trying to find a place to put your stuff.  That’s all your house is: a pile of stuff with a cover on it.  Everybody’s got their own pile of stuff.  When you leave your stuff you’ve got to lock it up.  You wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take your stuff.  They always take your good stuff.  That’s all your house is; a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”

            Bob Dylan wrote this:


You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
            But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
            You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
            Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
            But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

            Consider this from Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, [25] for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? [26] For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.