|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:13-17 Upon all this evidence, it is but right that we believe on the name of the Son of God. Believers have eternal life in the covenant of the gospel. Then let us thankfully receive the record of Scripture. Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord. The Lord Christ invites us to come to him in all circumstances, with our supplications and requests, notwithstanding the sin that besets us. Our prayers must always be offered in submission to the will of God. In some things they are speedily answered; in others they are granted in the best manner, though not as requested. We ought to pray for others, as well as for ourselves. There are sins that war against spiritual life in the soul, and the life above. We cannot pray that the sins of the impenitent and unbelieving should, while they are such, be forgiven them; or that mercy, which supposes the forgiveness of sins, should be granted to them, while they wilfully continue such. But we may pray for their repentance, for their being enriched with faith in Christ, and thereupon for all other saving mercies. We should pray for others, as well as for ourselves, beseeching the Lord to pardon and recover the fallen, as well as to relieve the tempted and afflicted. And let us be truly thankful that no sin, of which any one truly repents, is unto death.
Verse 15. - The point is not, that if God hears our prayers he grants them (as if we could ever pray to him without his being aware of it); but that if we know that he hears our prayers (i.e., trust him without reserve), we already have what we have asked in accordance with his will. It may be years before we perceive that our prayers have been answered: perhaps in this world we may never be able to see this; but we know that God has answered them. The peculiar construction, ἐάν with the indicative, is not uncommon in the New Testament as a variant reading. It seems to be genuine in Luke 19:40 and Acts 8:31 with the future indicative, and in 1 Thessalonians 3:8 with the present. Here the reading is undisputed. Of course, οἴδαμεν is virtually present; but even the past tenses of the indicative are sometimes found after ἐάν (see Winer, pages 369, 370; see also Trench, 'On the Authorized Version of the New Testament,' page 61).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if we know that he hear us,.... As it may be assured he does hear and answer all such persons that ask according to his will:
whatsoever we ask, we know, or are assured,
that we have the petitions that we desired of him: for as it is the nature of that holy confidence, which believers have in God, to believe whatever they ask according to his will, in general, shall be grappled, so every request in particular; yea, before the mercy desired, or the favour asked for is conferred, they are as sure of having it in God's own time and way, as if they now had it in hand and fact.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. hear—Greek, "that He heareth us."
we have the petitions that we desired of him—We have, as present possessions, everything whatsoever we desired (asked) from Him. Not one of our past prayers offered in faith, according to His will, is lost. Like Hannah, we can rejoice over them as granted even before the event; and can recognize the event when it comes to pass, as not from chance, but obtained by our past prayers. Compare also Jehoshaphat's believing confidence in the issue of his prayers, so much so that he appointed singers to praise the Lord beforehand.
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