What does Matthew 19:19 mean?
ESV: Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
NIV: honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.''
CSB: honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.
NLT: Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ '
KJV: Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Verse Commentary:
A wealthy young man (Luke 18:18; Matthew 19:20) is asking Jesus what good thing he must do to have eternal life, to be included in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:16). It is the essential question at the heart of nearly every religion.

Jesus has insisted only God is good. This is Jesus' first clue to the man that his own goodness will not be enough to save him. At the same time, Jesus' response sets the stage for the rest of the encounter. Jesus is subtly asking the man if he's willing to see Jesus as good—meaning to see Him as God—and obey accordingly (John 14:15).

Jesus' response (Matthew 19:17) is not meant to be taken out of context. His intent is to walk through the question with the rich man from the perspective of Judaism. He tells the man to keep the commandments if he would enter life. In other words, to commit no sins at all.

Perceptively, the man asks, "which commands?" Likely, he wanted to know if the additional commands added over the years by the Pharisees were necessary or only the commands of Moses. Jesus begins to list five of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 19:18), ending with the two in this verse: Honor your parents, and love your neighbor as yourself.

As with prior verses, Jesus is not saying that if a person could obey these five commands from God perfectly, they would receive eternal life. Instead, He is exposing to this man that he cannot keep even these five commandments. Jesus wants this rich, young ruler to know that he is not truly good.

Understanding that we are not good, that we are sinful, is the first step toward understanding the gospel of Jesus: We need His goodness to be saved. That trusting, dependent humility is something Jesus recently highlighted (Matthew 19:13–15). He came to die on a cross in Jerusalem to pay for our sin. God gives those who come to Him through faith in Jesus credit for Jesus' goodness instead of judging us based on our own goodness. That humble faith in Christ is the only path to eternal life (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:1–10).
Verse Context:
Matthew 19:16–30 describes Jesus' conversation with a wealthy young man who asks how to attain eternal life. Jesus begins by establishing a standard of goodness, suggesting the man keep all the commandments. When the man says he has done this, Jesus suggests he give up his wealth to follow Him. The man's sad reaction proves he's unwilling to make God the real priority of his life. Using this as an example, Jesus warns that wealth can make it difficult for someone to accept salvation.
Chapter Summary:
Pharisees ask Jesus if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause. Jesus reminds them marriage was designed by God at creation. Divorce, then, is lawful only in the case of sexual immorality. A rich young man asks Jesus what good thing he must do to have eternal life. Jesus insists only God is good. He challenges the man's sincerity by asking him to give all his wealth to the poor and follow Him. The man's refusal demonstrates how easy it is to prefer wealth to dependence on God. In response to the disciples' question, Jesus says salvation is impossible with men but not with God.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 19 follows Jesus' teachings about temptation and forgiveness in chapter 18. This passage begins with Jesus leaving behind Galilee and heading toward Jerusalem the long way around. Jesus tells the Pharisees that divorce is legal only in cases of sexual immorality. Jesus blesses little children and then answers a rich young man who asks how to have eternal life. The man leaves sad after Jesus challenges him to give his money to the poor and follow Him. Jesus says salvation is impossible with men, but not with God. Chapter 20 contains additional parables and examples, and is the last before Jesus arrives in Jerusalem in the days just prior to His crucifixion.
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.
Accessed 4/13/2024 8:36:01 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.