|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-12 The scribes and Pharisees explained the law of Moses, and enforced obedience to it. They are charged with hypocrisy in religion. We can only judge according to outward appearance; but God searches the heart. They made phylacteries. These were scrolls of paper or parchment, wherein were written four paragraphs of the law, to be worn on their foreheads and left arms, Ex 13:2-10; 13:11-16; De 6:4-9; 11:13-21. They made these phylacteries broad, that they might be thought more zealous for the law than others. God appointed the Jews to make fringes upon their garments, Nu 15:38, to remind them of their being a peculiar people; but the Pharisees made them larger than common, as if they were thereby more religious than others. Pride was the darling, reigning sin of the Pharisees, the sin that most easily beset them, and which our Lord Jesus takes all occasions to speak against. For him that is taught in the word to give respect to him that teaches, is commendable; but for him that teaches, to demand it, to be puffed up with it, is sinful. How much is all this against the spirit of Christianity! The consistent disciple of Christ is pained by being put into chief places. But who that looks around on the visible church, would think this was the spirit required? It is plain that some measure of this antichristian spirit prevails in every religious society, and in every one of our hearts.
Verse 10. - Neither be ye called masters; καθηγηταί: leaders, guides. This is just what the Pharisees claimed to be (see ver. 16 and Romans 2:19, 20). One is your master (Kaqhghth/, Leader), even [the] Christ. Hero Jesus announces himself, not only as their Teacher, but as the Messiah, their Ruler and Guide. He is censuring that sectarian spirit which began in the primitive Church, when one said," I am of Paul; another, I of Apollos," etc. (1 Corinthians 1:12), and has continued to this day in the division of the one body into innumerable sects and, parties, ranged under various leaders, and generally bearing their founder's name. "What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him" (1 Corinthians 3:5). How mournful to think that Christ's great prayer for unity (John 17.) is still unfulfilled, frustrated or delayed by man's self-will!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Neither be ye called masters,.... Or guides and leaders; not but that, the ministers of the word are in a sense such; it is their business to lead and direct souls to Christ, to guide their feet in the way of peace, and to go before them, as examples to them, in word, in conversation, faith, and purity; but then they are to guide them according to the word of God, and not their own dictates; and teach them to observe the rules, and obey the ordinances of Christ, and not what are of their own inventing and prescribing; and to enforce the authority of their great Lord and Master, and not their own; and direct men to a dependence on Christ, as head of the church, who is the one Lord, as his faith is one, and his baptism one also: "for one is your master, even Christ"; which is said before, in Matthew 23:8 but being a matter of so much importance to the honour of Christ, and men being so apt to set up for masters themselves, in opposition to him, or in conjunction with him, or above him, it was necessary to repeat it; for in an authoritative sense he is the one, and only master of the assemblies.
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