Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Matthew 16:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

When Jesus perceived, he said - Αυτοις, unto them, is wanting in BDKLMS, and twenty others; one of the Syriac, the Armenian, Ethiopia, Vulgate, and most of the Itala; also in Origen, Theophylact, and Lucifer Calaritanus. Mill approves of the omission, and Griesbach has left it out of the text.

O ye of little faith - There are degrees in faith, as well as in the other graces of the Spirit. Little faith may be the seed of great faith, and therefore is not to be despised. But many who should be strong in faith have but a small measure of it, because they either give way to sin, or are not careful to improve what God has already given.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 5-12

The account in these verses is also recorded in Mark 8:13-21.

Matthew 16:5

And when his disciples were come to the other side - That is, to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

Mark says that he entered into a ship again, and departed to the other side. The conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees had been on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. See the notes at Matthew 15:39. They crossed from that side again to the east.

Had forgotten to take bread - That is, had forgotten to lay in a sufficient supply. They had, it seems, not more than one loaf, Mark 8:14.

Matthew 16:6-11

Take heed … - That is, be cautious, be on your guard.

The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees - Leaven is used in making bread.

It passes secretly, silently, but certainly through the mass of dough. See the notes at Matthew 13:33. “None can see its progress.” So it was with the doctrines of the Pharisees. They were insinuating, artful, plausible. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines; they instilled them secretly into the mind, until they pervaded all the faculties like leaven.

They reasoned … - The disciples did not understand him as referring to the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees, because the word “leaven” was not often used among the Jews to denote doctrines, no other instance of this use of the word occurring in the Scriptures. Besides, the Jews had many particular rules about the leaven (yeast) which might be used in making bread. Many held that it was not lawful to eat bread made by the Gentiles; and the disciples, perhaps, supposed that he was cautioning them not to procure a supply from the Pharisees and Sadducees.

O ye of little faith! - Jesus, in reply, said that they should not be so anxious about the supply of their temporal wants. They should not have supposed, after the miracles that he had performed in feeding so many, that he would caution them to be anxious about procuring bread for their necessities. It was improper, then, for them to reason about a thing like that, but they should have supposed that he referred to something more important. The miracles had been full proof that he could supply all their wants without such anxiety.

Matthew 16:12

Then understood they … - After this explanation they immediately saw that he referred to the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Erroneous doctrines are like leaven in the following respects:

1.They are at first slight and unimportant in appearance, just as leaven is small in quantity as compared with the mass that is to be leavened.

2.They are insinuated into the soul unawares and silently, and are difficult of detection.

3.They act gradually.

4.They act most certainly.

5.They will pervade all the soul, and bring all the faculties under their control.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching. Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.
Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 244

I saw that God in his providence has moved upon the hearts of some of those who have riches, and has converted them to the truth, that they with their substance may assist to keep his work moving. And if those who are wealthy will not do this, if they do not fulfill the purpose of God, he will pass them by, and raise up others to fill their places who will fulfill his purpose, and with their possessions gladly distribute to meet the necessities of the cause of God. In this they will be first. God will have those in his cause who will do this. 2SG 244.1

I saw that God could send means from heaven to carry on his work; but this is out of his order. He has ordained that men should be his instruments, that as a great sacrifice was made to redeem them, they should act a part in this work of salvation, by making a sacrifice for each other, and by thus doing show how highly they prize the sacrifice that has been made for them. 2SG 245.1

I was directed to James 5. “Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” 2SG 245.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 150.2

Wednesday, November 14, 1883—True Religion Means Conformity to God's Will—Some are ever looking to themselves instead of to Jesus; but, brethren, you want to be clothed in Christ's righteousness. If you are trusting in your own righteousness, you are weak indeed; for you are exposed to the darts of Satan, and after the privileges you are now enjoying, you will have severe conflicts to meet. You are too cold. The work is hindered by your want of that love which burned in the heart of Jesus. You have too little faith. You expect little, and as the result you receive little; and you are satisfied with very small success. You are liable to self-deception, and to rest satisfied with a form of godliness. This will never do. 3SM 150.2

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Ellen G. White
The Voice in Speech and Song, 325.1

Truth for This Time—We are to dwell in our doctrinal discourses upon the truth as it is in Jesus. Present the truth for this time as an important message, from another world. Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary. Come in consecration to holier ground, and still holier. Preach the truth with the power of God sent down from heaven. Let the truth take hold of the spiritual part of our own nature, and then the current of divine power will be communicated to those whom we address. Bear in mind you must have increased faith. Our faith is too small. What can give us the aid the crisis demands is the intelligent knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. We want His nature—all our faculties and powers strengthened and vitalized by the Spirit of Christ.—Letter 230, 1899. VSS 325.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 186.2

The character of Christ is an infinitely perfect character, and He must be lifted up, He must be brought prominently into view, for He is the power, the might, the sanctification and righteousness of all who believe in Him. The men who have had a Pharisaical spirit, think if they hold to the good old theories, and have no part in the message sent of God to His people, they will be in a good and safe position. So thought the Pharisees of old, and their example should warn ministers off that self-satisfied ground. 3SM 186.2

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Jesus' Ministry in Galilee and Journey to Jerusalem