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Matthew 4:19

King James Version (KJV)
Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Fishers of men - Ministers or preachers of the gospel, whose business it shall be to win souls to Christ.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
When Christ began to preach, he began to gather disciples, who should be hearers, and afterwards preachers of his doctrine, who should be witnesses of his miracles, and afterwards testify concerning them. He went not to Herod's court, not to Jerusalem, among the chief priests and the elders, but to the sea of Galilee, among the fishermen. The same power which called Peter and Andrew, could have wrought upon Annas and Caiaphas, for with God nothing is impossible. But Christ chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Diligence in an honest calling is pleasing to Christ, and it is no hinderance to a holy life. Idle people are more open to the temptations of Satan than to the calls of God. It is a happy and hopeful thing to see children careful of their parents, and dutiful. When Christ comes, it is good to be found doing. Am I in Christ? is a very needful question to ask ourselves; and, next to that, Am I in my calling? They had followed Christ before, as common disciples, Joh 1:37; now they must leave their calling. Those who would follow Christ aright, must, at his command, leave all things to follow him, must be ready to part with them. This instance of the power of the Lord Jesus encourages us to depend upon his grace. He speaks, and it is done.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Follow me - Come after me, δευτε οπισω μου . Receive my doctrines, imitate me in my conduct - in every respect be my disciples. We may observe that most of the calls of God to man are expressed in a few solemn words, which alarm, the conscience, and deeply impress the heart.

I will make you fishers of men - Ezekiel 47:8-10, casts much light on this place; and to this prophet our Lord probably alludes. To follow Christ, and be admitted into a partnership of his ministry, is a great honor; but those only who are by himself fitted for it, God calls. Miserable are those who do not wait fur this call - who presume to take the name of fishers of men, and know not how to cast the net of the Divine word, because not brought to an acquaintance with the saving power of the God who bought them. Such persons, having only their secular interest in view, study not to catch men, but to catch money: and though, for charity's sake, it may be said of a pastor of this spirit, he does not enter the sheepfold as a thief, yet he certainly lives as a hireling. See Quesnel.

Some teach to work, but have no hands to row;

Some will be eyes, but have no light to see;

Some will be guides, but have no feet to go;

Some deaf, yet ears, some dumb, yet tongues will be;

Dumb, deaf, lame, blind, and maimed, yet fishers all!

Fit for no use but store an hospital.

Fletcher's Piscatory Eclogues. Ec iv. 5, 18.

Following a person, in the Jewish phrase, signifies being his disciple or scholar. See a similar mode of speech, 2 Kings 6:19.

Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 359

There is a large work to be done, and the vineyard of the Lord needs laborers. Missionaries should enter the field before they shall be compelled to cease labor. There are now open doors on every side; they cannot afford to wait to complete years of training; for the years before us are not many, and we need to work while the day lasts. It is not best to advise men and women to take a course of study at Ann Arbor. Many who have been there have not been benefited in the past, and will not be in the future. FE 359.1

Mark the features of Christ's work. He moved in the greatest simplicity. Although His followers were fishermen, He did not advise them to go first into the school of the rabbis before entering upon the work. He called His disciples from their fishers’ nets, and said: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He called Matthew from the receipt of customs, and said, “Follow Me.” All that they were required to do was to follow Jesus, to do as He commanded them, and thus enter into His school, where God could be their teacher. As long as time shall last, we shall have need of schools. There will always be need for education; but we must be careful lest education shall absorb every spiritual interest. FE 359.2

There is positive peril in advising students to pursue one line of education after another, and to leave them to think that by so doing they will attain perfection. The education that will be obtained will only be deficient in every way. The Lord says: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” This is God's devised plan; and through successive generations, through centuries of heathenism, this plan has been carried forward, not as an experiment, but as an approved way for the spreading of the gospel. Through this method from the beginning, conviction came upon man, and the world was enlightened concerning the gospel of God. The highest grade of schooling that any human being can attain to is the schooling given by the Divine Teacher. This is the knowledge that in a special sense we shall greatly need as we draw near the close of this world's history, and every one will do well to obtain this kind of education. The Lord requires that men shall be under His training. There is a great work to be done in bringing human minds out of darkness into the marvelous light of God. As His human instrumentalities, we are by living faith to carry out His plans. Are we in a condition in which our faith will not work to the glory of God, or are we vessels meet for the Master's use, prepared for every good work? FE 359.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 18

It was at the ordination of the Twelve that the first step was taken in the organization of the church that after Christ's departure was to carry on His work on the earth. Of this ordination the record says, “He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach.” Mark 3:13, 14. AA 18.1

Look upon the touching scene. Behold the Majesty of heaven surrounded by the Twelve whom He has chosen. He is about to set them apart for their work. By these feeble agencies, through His word and Spirit, He designs to place salvation within the reach of all. AA 18.2

With gladness and rejoicing, God and the angels beheld this scene. The Father knew that from these men the light of heaven would shine forth; that the words spoken by them as they witnessed for His Son, would echo from generation to generation till the close of time. AA 18.3

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 143

And while the world is filled with these evils, the gospel is too often presented in so indifferent a manner as to make but little impression upon the consciences or the lives of men. Everywhere there are hearts crying out for something which they have not. They long for a power that will give them mastery over sin, a power that will deliver them from the bondage of evil, a power that will give health and life and peace. Many who once knew the power of God's word have dwelt where there is no recognition of God, and they long for the divine presence. MH 143.1

The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago—a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished. MH 143.2

Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.” MH 143.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 556

There are few who realize how far-reaching is the influence of their words and acts. How often the errors of parents produce the most disastrous effects upon their children and children's children, long after the actors themselves have been laid in the grave. Everyone is exerting an influence upon others, and will be held accountable for the result of that influence. Words and actions have a telling power, and the long hereafter will show the effect of our life here. The impression made by our words and deeds will surely react upon ourselves in blessing or in cursing. This thought gives an awful solemnity to life, and should draw us to God in humble prayer that He will guide us by His wisdom. PP 556.1

Those who stand in the highest positions may lead astray. The wisest err; the strongest may falter and stumble. There is need that light from above should be constantly shed upon our pathway. Our only safety lies in trusting our way implicitly to Him who has said, “Follow Me.” PP 556.2

After the death of Gideon “the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had showed unto Israel.” Forgetful of all that they owed to Gideon, their judge and deliverer, the people of Israel accepted his baseborn son Abimelech as their king, who, to sustain his power, murdered all but one of Gideon's lawful children. When men cast off the fear of God they are not long in departing from honor and integrity. An appreciation of the Lord's mercy will lead to an appreciation of those who, like Gideon, have been employed as instruments to bless His people. The cruel course of Israel toward the house of Gideon was what might be expected from a people who manifested so great ingratitude to God. PP 556.3

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 65

Not for the wages we receive are we to labor. The motive that prompts us to work for God should have in it nothing akin to self-serving. Unselfish devotion and a spirit of sacrifice have always been and always will be the first requisite of acceptable service. Our Lord and Master designs that not one thread of selfishness shall be woven into His work. Into our efforts we are to bring the tact and skill, the exactitude and wisdom, that the God of perfection required of the builders of the earthly tabernacle; yet in all our labors we are to remember that the greatest talents or the most splendid services are acceptable only when self is laid upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice. PK 65.1

Another of the deviations from right principles that finally led to the downfall of Israel's king was his yielding to the temptation to take to himself the glory that belongs to God alone. PK 65.2

From the day that Solomon was entrusted with the work of building the temple, to the time of its completion, his avowed purpose was “to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 6:7. This purpose was fully recognized before the assembled hosts of Israel at the time of the dedication of the temple. In his prayer the king acknowledged that Jehovah had said, “My name shall be there.” 1 Kings 8:29. PK 65.3

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