Matthew 15:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 15:14, NIV: "Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.'"

Matthew 15:14, ESV: "Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”"

Matthew 15:14, KJV: "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

Matthew 15:14, NASB: "'Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.'"

Matthew 15:14, NLT: "so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.'"

Matthew 15:14, CSB: "Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.""

What does Matthew 15:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The disciples have reported to Jesus that the Pharisees were offended by something He said. He told the crowd that what goes into a person's mouth is not what defiles a person. Instead, it's what comes out of the mouth that defiles people (Matthew 15:10–12).

Jesus now tells His disciples to leave the Pharisees alone (Matthew 7:6). In other words, they aren't to debate with them, correct them, or worry about them (Titus 3:9–11). He calls them blind guides, using language found throughout Israel's scriptures to indicate a lack of understanding about what is true. In short, they don't get it. They don't understand the heart of God for His people or the true spirit of God as revealed in the Law. They are so focused on enforcing rule-keeping that they have missed what truly matters. They are spiritually blind, and all their leadership does is drag other blind people—the people of Israel—towards disaster.

This does not mean Jesus intends His followers to avoid all debates, with all people, for all time. This is in keeping with His prior comments about knowing when to stop wasting energy on the unwilling (Matthew 10:14). Scripture commands believers to be ready to answer those who challenge their faith (1 Peter 3:15–16). This specific group—the Pharisees of Jesus' day—are not going to listen to what the disciples say, so Christ does not want the disciples attempting to argue with them.

Jesus' words would have been difficult for His disciples to process. Their master is not expressing simple disagreement with the Pharisees about Scriptural doctrine. This is not the normal style of debate which went on between rabbis and their varied perspectives on the law of Moses. Jesus was thoroughly condemning and dismissing Israel's religious leaders. By implication, He was forcing His disciples and any who would follow Him to make a choice between Him and the religious leaders in charge of all of Judaism at this time.