What does Matthew 7:9 mean?
ESV: Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
NIV: Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
NASB: Or what person is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone?
CSB: Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
NLT: You parents — if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?
KJV: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
NKJV: Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has made an amazing and expansive promise to His followers: Every one of them who asks will receive. Everyone who seeks will find. Everyone who knocks will experience the door being opened (Matthew 7:7–8). He now makes clear that He is saying these things within the context of children of God making requests of Him. This is not a blind, mindless guarantee that God will give anyone anything they ask for in prayer. The context of asking, seeking, and knocking is the very person of Christ, Himself (John 14:6).

Christ asks His audience (Matthew 5:1–2) which of them would give their son a stone when asked for bread. This shows exactly what kind of relationship Jesus is describing. When we ask something of God, we are not submitting a request to a corporation or a government or a religious system. We are asking our Father for something. That's why God stands ready to hear and answer our requests.

Jesus' negative examples in this and the following verse demonstrate the character of God. If a human parent would not give their son a stone when asked for bread, the only perfect Father would certainly never give a worthless thing when asked for something that was truly good. Jesus' example may even suggest something worse. Scholars point out that small loaves of bread in Jesus' day often looked like large stones. That creates a picture of a human father intentionally tricking his son with false food. Almost no human dad would do that, and neither would the Father give false things or lie to His children.
Verse Context:
Matthew 7:7–14 describes God as a generous Father eager to give good gifts to His praying children. Jesus commands His followers to continually ask and seek, with confidence that they will receive and find. Christ summarizes the intent of God's commands in the Old Testament: doing for others what we want done for us. This is commonly referred to as "the Golden Rule." The way of Jesus begins by entering a narrow gate and continues down a hard path that leads to life. He commands His followers to take that path instead of the easy road that leads to destruction.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 7 is the last of three chapters that record what is now known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus commands His hearers not to pronounce shallow or hypocritical judgment. He describes God as a generous Father eager to give good things to His children when they ask. He commands His followers to enter the narrow gate and walk the hard road to life. False prophets can be recognized by their fruit, meaning their actions and choices. At the same time, good deeds are not absolute proof that someone has true faith. To live by Jesus' teaching is like building the house of your life on a solid foundation instead of shifting sand.
Chapter Context:
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5, discussing the Beatitudes and the idea that inner thoughts are very much part of sin and righteousness. Chapter 6 denounced hypocrisy, modeled prayer, and opposed anxiety. Chapter 7 discusses the proper manner of judgment, including how to gauge the teachings of others. Jesus also warns against spiritual self-deception. He concludes with an analogy about foundations and storms. The crowd's amazement at Christ's teachings leads into the miracles and encounters of chapters 8 and 9.
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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