What does Matthew 16:7 mean?
ESV: And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
NIV: They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn’t bring any bread."
NASB: They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, 'He said that because we did not bring any bread.'
CSB: They were discussing among themselves, "We didn’t bring any bread."
NLT: At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.
KJV: And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
NKJV: And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “ It is because we have taken no bread.”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus and His disciples have travelled once more across the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 16:5). He seems to still be thinking about His most recent confrontation with the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:1–4). The disciples are not. Instead, they have realized they forgot to pack bread and are concerned about that. Whether they spoke up about bread, Scripture does not say.

All we know is that Jesus told the disciples to "watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). Leaven is an agent used to make bread rise, such as yeast. This was often used in Jewish teaching as a metaphor for evil. The substance itself is not unclean; the symbolism is because leaven is something seemingly small, which thoroughly infiltrates and changes whatever it touches. Christ is warning His disciples that the false teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees could grow to overwhelm the truth as it was understood by the people.

For their part, the disciples' response could come across as comical, if Jesus did not react to it so harshly. They are pre-occupied with the most mundane of concerns: food. They have realized they forgot to pack bread for this trip. When they hear Jesus mention "leaven," they immediately conclude He is speaking about that. Or, that He's warning them not to eat something from those religious leaders.

Jesus' response will reveal that, even in this misunderstanding, the root issue is a lack of faith. He's provided bread before, so there's no reason for them to be so worried about food (Matthew 16:8–10).
Verse Context:
Matthew 16:5–12 follows His confrontation with critics demanding yet another miracle as proof of His authority. The disciples mention they have forgotten to pack bread, to which Jesus responds they need to watch out for "the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." They think He is talking about the missing bread. Jesus challenges their faith. They were present when He fed thousands from a few loaves. Why are they talking about literal bread? He warns them again about the Pharisees and Sadducees, indicating that their teachings are false.
Chapter Summary:
A group of Pharisees and Sadducees demand a miracle from Jesus, though He has already performed many. Jesus refuses and warns the disciples to beware of the teachings of these religious leaders. Jesus asks the disciples who the people say He is, as well as their own opinion. Peter says Jesus is the Christ, and is commended for that statement. Jesus begins to reveal that He must suffer and be killed before being raised on the third day. Peter's attempt to scold Jesus results in a devastating rebuke. Jesus then says all who would follow Him must take up crosses of self-denial.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 16 finds Jesus returned from the Gentile regions, only to be immediately confronted by another group of Jewish religious leaders. Yet again, these men prove they are insincere: no amount of evidence will ever be enough for them. After a dramatic discussion about Jesus' role as Messiah, Jesus indicates that those who would come after Him must take up their crosses and follow Him. His references to some seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom will be fulfilled at the beginning of chapter 17, in an event known as the transfiguration.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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