Matthew 19:11 MEANING

Matthew 19:11
(11) All men cannot receive this saying.--As the words stand, "this saying" might refer either to the rule which our Lord had laid down on the subject of divorce, or to the comment of the disciples on that rule. What follows, however, determines the reference to the latter. Looking at marriage from a simply selfish point of view, and therefore with an entirely inadequate estimate of its duties on the one hand, and on the other of the temptations incident to the unmarried life when chosen on such grounds, they had come rashly to the conclusion that, if our Lord's rule held good, it was not good, not expedient, to "marry." He declares that judgment to be false. There were but few who were capable of acting safely on that conclusion. For those who were not so capable, and the next verse tells us who they were, marriage, with all its risks, was the truer, healthier, safer state. Alike in its brighter or sadder sides, in seeming success or seeming failure, it brought to men the discipline they needed.

Verse 11. - Our Lord makes a gentle reply to this observation of the disciples concerning the inexpediency of marriage under some circumstances. You say true, he seems to mean, but all men cannot receive this saying; i.e. their words, "It is not good to marry." But he endorses these words in a different signification from theirs. Their objection to marry arose from the impossibility of putting away a wife for any cause. Christ passes over these ignoble scruples, and enunciates the only principle which should lead a man to abstain from marriage. They to whom it is given. They to whom are given the call and the grace to abstain from marriage. These persons' practice forms an exception to the general view of the propriety and blessedness of the marriage state.

19:3-12 The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of Moses. Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice. Jesus replied by asking whether they had not read the account of the creation, and the first example of marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was wrong. That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven. When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.But he said unto them,.... With respect to the inference or conclusion, the disciples formed from what he had asserted:

all men cannot receive this saying; of their's, that it is not good to marry, but it is more proper and expedient to live a single life! every man, as the Syriac version renders it, is not , "sufficient", or "fit", for this thing; everyone has not the gift of continency, and indeed very few; and therefore it is expedient for such to marry; for what the disciples said, though it might be true in part, yet not in the whole; and though the saying might be proper and pertinent enough to some persons, yet not to all, and indeed to none,

save they to whom it is given; to receive such a saying, to live unmarried with content, having the gift of chastity; for this is not of nature, but of grace: it is the gift of God.

Courtesy of Open Bible