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Matthew 19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Questions about Divorce

19 After Jesus finished teaching them, he left Galilee and made his way toward the district of Judea, east of the Jordan River. Massive crowds followed him and he healed all who were sick.[a] The Pharisees were intent on putting Jesus to the test with difficult questions, so they approached him and asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce[b] his wife for any reason?”[c]

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures about creation?” Jesus replied. “The Creator made us male and female from the very beginning,[d] and ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and live with his wife.[e] And the two will become one flesh.’[f] From then on, they are no longer two, but united as one. So what God unites let no one divide!”

They responded, “So then why did Moses command us to give a certificate of divorce and it would be lawful?”

Jesus said, “Moses permitted you to divorce because your hearts are so hard and stubborn,[g] but originally there was no such thing. But I say to you, whoever leaves his wife for any reason other than immorality, then takes another wife is living in adultery. And whoever takes a divorced woman in marriage is also living in adultery.”[h]

10 His disciples spoke up and said, “If this is the standard, then it seems better to never get married.”

11 “Not everyone is meant to remain single—only those whom God gives grace to be unmarried.[i] 12 For some are born to celibacy; others have been made eunuchs by others. And there are some who have chosen to live in celibacy for the sacred purpose of heaven’s kingdom realm.[j] Let those who can, accept this truth for themselves.”

Jesus and Little Children

13 Then they brought little children to Jesus so that he would lay his hands on them, bless them, and pray for them.[k] But the disciples scolded those who brought the children, saying, “Don’t bother him with this now!”

14 Jesus overheard them and said, “I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones[l] like these! Listen to this truth: No one will enter the kingdom realm of heaven unless he becomes like one of these!”[m] 15 Then he laid his hands on each of them and went on his way.

A Rich Young Man Questions Jesus

16 Then a teenager[n] approached Jesus and bowed before him,[o] saying, “Wonderful teacher[p]—is there a good work I have to do to obtain eternal life?”

17 Jesus answered, “Why would you call me wonderful? God alone is wonderful.[q] And why would you ask what good work you need to do? Keep the commandments and you’ll enter into the life of God.”

18 “Which ones?” he asked.

Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, 19 honor your father and mother, and love those around you as you love yourself.”[r]

20 “But I’ve always obeyed every one of them without fail,” the young man replied. “What else do I lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you really want to be perfect,[s] go immediately and sell everything you own. Give all your money to the poor and your treasure will be transferred into heaven. Then come back and follow me for the rest of your life.”

22 When the young man heard these words, he walked away angry,[t] for he was extremely wealthy.

23 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “Listen. Do you understand how difficult it is for the rich to enter into heaven’s kingdom realm? 24 In fact, it’s easier to stuff a heavy rope[u] through the eye of a needle than it is for the wealthy to enter into God’s kingdom realm!”

25 Stunned and bewildered, his disciples asked, “Then who in the world can possibly be saved?”

26 Looking straight into their eyes, Jesus replied, “Humanly speaking, no one, because no one can save himself. But what seems impossible to you is never impossible to God!”

27 Then Peter blurted out, “Here we are. We’ve given up everything to follow you. What reward will there be for us?”

28 Jesus responded, “Listen to the truth: In the age of the restoration of all things,[v] when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will have twelve thrones of your own, and you will govern[w] the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 For anyone who has left behind their home and property,[x] leaving family—brothers or sisters, mothers or fathers,[y] or children—for my sake, they will be repaid a hundred times over and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who push themselves to be first will find themselves last. And those who are willing to be last will find themselves to be first.”[z]


  1. Matthew 19:2 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew.
  2. Matthew 19:3 The Greek word used for divorce (apolyo) here and in this chapter can also mean “to loose,” “to dismiss,” “to send away.”
  3. Matthew 19:3 This a clever test by the Pharisees. Jesus was now in Judea and under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, the one who had John beheaded over challenging his divorce. They were hoping Jesus would say something that could get him arrested and killed by Herod. Their question was based on Deut. 24:1. Jewish divorce law had a “for any reason” clause that made divorce legal. They were pressing Jesus for his interpretation of this “for any reason” law.
  4. Matthew 19:4 See Gen. 1:27; 5:2. Notice that Jesus highlights gender difference in the context of marriage.
  5. Matthew 19:5 Or “cling to his wife.”
  6. Matthew 19:5 See Gen. 2:24.
  7. Matthew 19:8 That is, in a fallen world with frail human beings, God allowed divorce to accommodate broken humanity. Jesus restates divorce as being permitted only in the case of immorality. Adultery breaks the bond of marriage and requires God’s healing grace. Those testing Jesus were attempting to trap him by getting him to say something against Moses, their venerated historical leader.
  8. Matthew 19:9 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew, Aramaic, and some Greek manuscripts. The majority of Greek manuscripts do not include the last sentence.
  9. Matthew 19:11 Or “This doesn’t apply to everyone, but only to those to whom it [grace for singleness] has been given.”
  10. Matthew 19:12 Three types of “celibates” are mentioned. First, there are those who from birth have grace to remain celibate. Second, sometimes a male who has been castrated, usually before puberty, which would greatly affect the hormonal changes of a boy becoming an adult. In biblical times, these eunuchs were chosen to be male servants of a king, having been castrated in order to ensure they don’t have sex with the king’s harem. Third, this is a metaphorical class of people (male and female) who are like “spiritual eunuchs,” having been chosen to never use the bride of Christ for their own purposes. Jesus gives us a parable of God’s servants who will lead the church but never harm or use the bride of Christ for their own desires. They will always point the bride to her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. They have made themselves “eunuchs” and are determined to extend God’s kingdom, not their own. The rare Greek verb for “make themselves eunuchs” can also refer to being “always watchful, sleepless, diligent.” To become a “spiritual eunuch” has nothing to do with sex, but with always watching out for the interests of our King, and not taking for ourselves what only belongs to him in order to serve our own desires.
  11. Matthew 19:13 See Gen. 48:14.
  12. Matthew 19:14 As translated from the Aramaic, which uses the word for “beloved,” found only twice in the New Testament. The Greek is “little children.” God receives little children into his kingdom.
  13. Matthew 19:14 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. This last sentence is missing in the Greek text.
  14. Matthew 19:16 This is supplied from v. 22. The Aramaic uses a word that identifies his age as a teenager.
  15. Matthew 19:16 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. This is missing from the Majority Text.
  16. Matthew 19:16 As translated from the Aramaic, which uses the word tawa, meaning “wonderful, good, gifted.” Some Greek manuscripts have only “teacher” (rabbi).
  17. Matthew 19:17 At least one of the earliest Greek manuscripts reads “There is no one good but my Father in the heavens.”
  18. Matthew 19:19 See Ex. 20:12-17; Lev. 19:18. Notice that Jesus left out the commandment “Don’t covet.” He addresses this with the young man in v. 21 and exposes the need to abandon all to follow Jesus.
  19. Matthew 19:21 Or “fully developed morally,” “mature.”
  20. Matthew 19:22 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. The Greek reads “grieved,” or “sorrowful.”
  21. Matthew 19:24 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle.” The Aramaic word for both “rope” and “camel” is the homonym gamla. This could be an instance of the Aramaic text being misread by the Greek translators as “camel” instead of “rope.” Regardless, this becomes a metaphor for something impossible. It would be like saying, “It’s as hard as making pigs fly!” See also Luke 18:25.
  22. Matthew 19:28 Or “in the second birth” (Hebrew Matthew) or “in the new realm” (Aramaic). The Greek word palingenesia is only used one other time in the New Testament (Titus 3:5) and refers to our rebirth. See also Acts 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:21.
  23. Matthew 19:28 Or “judge.”
  24. Matthew 19:29 Or “fields.”
  25. Matthew 19:29 The Aramaic and a few Greek manuscripts include “or wife.” The majority of reliable Greek manuscripts do not include it.
  26. Matthew 19:30 Or “Many of the first ones will be last and many of the last ones will be first.”
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
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