Matthew 19:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others--and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

New Living Translation
Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

English Standard Version
For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Berean Study Bible
For there are eunuchs who were born that way; others were made that way by men; and still others live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

Berean Literal Bible
For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens. The one being able to receive it, let him receive it."

New American Standard Bible
"For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."

King James Bible
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

International Standard Version
because some men are celibate from birth, while some are celibate because they have been made that way by others. Still others are celibate because they have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom from heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

NET Bible
For there are some eunuchs who were that way from birth, and some who were made eunuchs by others, and some who became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept this should accept it."

New Heart English Bible
For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother's womb and there are eunuchs who became eunuchs by men and there are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the cause of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever can receive it let him receive it.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
For example, some men are celibate because they were born that way. Others are celibate because they were castrated. Still others have decided to be celibate because of the kingdom of heaven. If anyone can do what you've suggested, then he should do it."

New American Standard 1977
“For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
For there are some eunuchs who were so born from their mother's womb; and there are some eunuchs who were made eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs because of the kingdom of the heavens. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

King James 2000 Bible
For there are some eunuchs, who were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, who were made eunuchs of men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

American King James Version
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

American Standard Version
For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.

Darby Bible Translation
for there are eunuchs which have been born thus from [their] mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs who have made eunuchs of themselves for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it].

English Revised Version
For there are eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, which were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, which made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Webster's Bible Translation
For there are some eunuchs, who were so born from their mothers womb: and there are some eunuchs, who were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Weymouth New Testament
There are men who from their birth have been disabled from marriage, others who have been so disabled by men, and others who have disabled themselves for the sake of the Kingdom of the Heavens. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

World English Bible
For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Young's Literal Translation
for there are eunuchs who from the mother's womb were so born; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who kept themselves eunuchs because of the reign of the heavens: he who is able to receive it -- let him receive.'
Study Bible
Teachings about Divorce
11“Not everyone can accept this word,” Jesus answered, “but only those to whom it has been given. 12For there are eunuchs who were born that way; others were made that way by men; and still others live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” 13Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them; and the disciples rebuked those who brought them.…
Cross References
Matthew 19:11
"Not everyone can accept this word," Jesus answered, "but only those to whom it has been given.

Matthew 19:13
Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them; and the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Revelation 14:4
These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They have been redeemed from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
Treasury of Scripture

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

which were made.

Isaiah 39:7 And of your sons that shall issue from you, which you shall beget, …

Isaiah 56:3,4 Neither let the son of the stranger, that has joined himself to the …

which have.

1 Corinthians 7:32-38 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried cares …

1 Corinthians 9:5,15 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other …

(12) There are some eunuchs.--The words are singularly startling in their form, and bear upon them an unmistakable stamp of being a true report of teaching which, in its depth and originality, went beyond the grasp of those who heard and reported it. What they teach is, that only those who are in some sense "eunuchs," who are, i.e., without the impulses that lead men to marriage, either naturally, or by the mutilation which then, as now, was common in the East, or who have conquered those impulses by the power of self-consecration to a higher life, can safely abstain from marriage. The celibacy of self-indulgence, or even of selfish prudence, tends but too fatally to impurity of heart or life. The man who thus makes himself as the eunuch, must do it "for the kingdom of heaven's sake," not, as too many have understood the words to mean, in order to win heaven for himself (that aim is not excluded, but it must not be the only or chief motive), but for the sake of all that the kingdom of heaven implies, in order to enlarge its range, and more effectually to bring the souls of men to receive it. Those who heard the words could hardly fail, as they thought over them, to look on their Master's life as having been the great perfect example of what He thus taught as to the higher form of holiness. The motives which St. Paul states as determining his own choice of the celibate life (1Corinthians 7:7), or the counsel which he gave to others (1Corinthians 7:32-34), are identical with this teaching in their principle. They have influenced men in all ages of the Church, leading them to sacrifice the life of home, with all its blessings, for their work as pastors or evangelists. The Church of Rome and the founders of monastic orders were not wrong in their ideal of the highest form of life. Their mistake lay in enforcing that ideal as a rule on those who had not the power to realise it. The boldness (as it seems to us) of our Lord's language seems intended to teach men that the work must be done as effectively as if, like Origen, they had obeyed the implied commandment in its letter. If the impulses still remain; if life is made miserable by the struggle with them; if they taint the soul by not being allowed to flow in their legitimate channel, the man is, ipso facto, disqualified for the loftier ideal. He has not made himself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and he is therefore among those who "cannot receive the saying" that it "is not good to marry." On such grounds the conduct of those who have married after pledging themselves, as priests of the Church of Rome, to vows of celibacy is amply justified. The vows were such as ought never to have been imposed, and men ought never to have taken, and therefore, like the tetrarch's oath (Matthew 14:7-9), when they were distinctly found to clash with the higher law of Nature, and to narrow what God had left free, their obligatory power ceased. The case of the monk who enters deliberately into an order of which celibacy is a condition, may seem at first to stand on a different footing; but here, also, though celibacy may legitimately be made a condition of continuing to belong to an order, the vow of a lifelong celibacy must be held to have been such as men had no right either to impose or take, and therefore as binding only so long as a man chooses to continue a member of the society which requires it.

Verse 12. - Our Lord proceeds to note three classes of men to whom it is given to abstain from marriage. There are some eunuchs, which were so born. The first class consists of those who are physically unable to contract matrimony, or, having the power, lack the inclination. They are compulsorily continent, and are not voluntary abstainers. Neither is the second class: those which were made eunuchs of men. Such were common enough in the harems and courts of Orientals. The cruel and infamous treatment which such persons underwent was practised against their will, and consequently their continence had no sort of merit. The third is the only class which of choice and for high reasons lived a celibate life: which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. This is not to be understood of excision; for this would be a contravention of the order of nature and the good work of creation. Origen, who took the passage literally, and with his own hands mutilated himself, was justly condemned by the verdict of the Church. The verb is to be understood in a metaphorical sense of the mortification of the natural desires and impulses at the cost of much pain and trouble, the spirit conquering the flesh by the special grace of God. The motive of such self-denial is high and pure. It is practised "for the kingdom of heaven's sake," that is, to be free from distraction and the cares and dangers involved in a married life. St. Paul carries forward the Lord's teaching when he writes (1 Corinthians 7:32, 33), "He that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he that is married is careful for the things of the world, how he may please his wife" (comp. Isaiah 56:3, 4). The celibate life, deliberately embraced for religion's sake, is here approved by Christ, not to the disparagement of matrimony, but as a counsel which some are enabled to follow to their soul's great benefit. It may be added that the counsel applies also to married persons who sacrifice conjugal endearments for spiritual reasons - "have wives as though they had none" (1 Corinthians 7:29). Let him receive it. This is not an injunction, but a permission; it is no universal rule, prescribed to all or to the many; it is a special grace allowed to the few, and by few attained. "Each man," says St. Paul, "hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that" (1 Corinthians 7:7, 26). Some think the Essenes are here referred to; but it is not likely that our Lord would endorse the practices of a sect which in some of its tenets was by no means commendable. Rather he is laying down a limitation that, while self-sacrifice and self-dedication to God are acceptable and fraught with peculiar blessings, none should attempt to win heaven in this way, unless they are specially prepared for such a life by the grace of God mastering the human will and controlling every earthly desire. The pre-eminent value set on celibacy by the early Church was learned from this and similar passages; but Christ institutes no comparison between the single and married states; and it would have been wiser to imitate his reserve in estimating the spiritual merits of the two conditions. For there are some eunuchs,.... Our Lord here distinguishes the various sorts of persons, that can and do live in a single state with content: some by nature, and others by violence offered to them, are rendered incapable of entering into a marriage state; and others, through the gift of God, and under the influence of his grace, abstain from marriage cheerfully and contentedly, in order to be more useful in the interest of religion; but the number of either of these is but few, in comparison of such who choose a conjugal state, and with whom it is right to enter into it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that may attend it. Some men are eunuchs, and of these there are different sorts; there are some,

which were so born from their mother's womb; meaning, not such who, through a natural temper and inclination of mind, could easily abstain from marriage, and chose to live single; but such who had such defects in nature that they were impotent, unfit for, and unable to perform the duties of a marriage state; who, as some are born without hands or feet, these were born without proper and perfect organs of generation; and such an one was, by the Jews, frequently called, , "an eunuch of the sun (n)": that is, as their doctors (o) explain it, one that from his mother's womb never saw the sun but as an eunuch; that is, one that is born so; and that such an one is here intended, ought not to be doubted. The signs of such an eunuch, are given by the Jewish (p) writers, which may be consulted by those, that have ability and leisure. This sort is sometimes (q) called "an eunuch by the hands of heaven", or God, in distinction from those who are so by the hands, or means of men, and are next mentioned:

and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: as among the Romans formerly, and which Domitian the emperor forbid by a law (r); and more especially in the eastern countries, and to this day among the Turks, that they may the more safely be entrusted with the custody of their women; and this sort the Jews call , "an eunuch of men", or , "by the hands of men". The distinction between an "eunuch of the sun", and an "eunuch of men", is so frequent with the Jews (s), and so well known to them, that a question need not be made of our Lord's referring to it:

and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs; not in a literal sense, in which the words are not to be taken, as they were by Origen; who though otherwise too much pursued the allegorical way of interpreting Scripture, here took it literally, and castrated himself (t); as did also a sort of heretics, called Valesians (u), from one Valens an Arabian; and which practice is recommended by Philo the Jew (w), and by Heathen philosophers (x), for the sake of chastity. But here it means such, who having the gift of continency without mutilating their bodies, or indulging any unnatural lusts, can live chastely without the use of women, and choose celibacy:

for the kingdom of heaven's sake; not in order, by their chaste and single life, to merit and obtain the kingdom of glory; but that they might be more at leisure, being free from the incumbrances of a marriage state, to attend the worship and service of God, the ordinances of the Gospel church state, to minister in, and preach the Gospel of Christ, and be a means of spreading it in the world, and of enlarging his kingdom and interest.

He that is able to receive it, let him receive it: whoever is able to receive cordially, and embrace heartily, the above saying concerning the expediency and goodness of a single life, and having the gift of continency, can live according to it; let him take it, and hold it fast, and act up to it; he may have less of worldly trouble, and be more useful for God in the Gospel of Christ, and to the interest of religion; but this should be a voluntary thing: no man should be forced into it; and he that goes into it, ought to consider well whether he is able to contain, or not.

(n) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 75. 1. 79. 2. & 80. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 2. sect. 14. (o) Maimon & Bartenora in Misn. Yebamot, c. 8. sect. 4. (p) Bartenora, ibid. & Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, ut supra. (q) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 80. 2.((r) Philostrat. vit. Apollon. l. 6. c. 17. (s) Misn. Yebamot, c. 8. sect. 4. Zabim, c. 2. sect. 1. T. Hieros. Yebamot, fol. 9. 4. Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 2. sect. 26. & 4. 18. Mechosre Caphara, c. 3. sect. 6. Mishcabumoshab, c. l. sect. 5. (t) Euseb. Ecel. Hist. l. 6. c. 8. (u) Augustin de Haeres. c. 37. & Danaeus in ib. (w) Lib. quod deterius, p. 186. (x) Sexti Pythag. Sent. p. 8. 12. For there are some eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb—persons constitutionally either incapable of or indisposed to marriage.

and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men—persons rendered incapable by others.

and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake—persons who, to do God's work better, deliberately choose this state. Such was Paul (1Co 7:7).

He that is able to receive it, let him receive it—"He who feels this to be his proper vocation, let him embrace it"; which, of course, is as much as to say—"he only." Thus, all are left free in this matter.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.
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NT Gospels: Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who were born (Matt. Mat Mt) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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