Matthew 3:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

New Living Translation
Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.

English Standard Version
And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

New American Standard Bible
and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

King James Bible
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And don't presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!

International Standard Version
Don't think you can say to yourselves, 'We have father Abraham!' because I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones!

NET Bible
and don't think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“And do not think and say in yourselves, 'Abraham is our father', for I say to you, God can raise up from these stones children to Abraham.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't think you can say, 'Abraham is our ancestor.' I can guarantee that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones.

Jubilee Bible 2000
and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father, for I say unto you that God is able to raise up children unto Abraham of these stones.

King James 2000 Bible
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

American King James Version
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say to you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

American Standard Version
and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

Darby Bible Translation
And do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for [our] father; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

English Revised Version
and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Webster's Bible Translation
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father: for I say to you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

Weymouth New Testament
and do not imagine that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our forefather,' for I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones.

World English Bible
Don't think to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

Young's Literal Translation
and do not think to say in yourselves, A father we have -- Abraham, for I say to you, that God is able out of these stones to raise children to Abraham,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:7-12 To make application to the souls of the hearers, is the life of preaching; so it was of John's preaching. The Pharisees laid their chief stress on outward observances, neglecting the weightier matters of the moral law, and the spiritual meaning of their legal ceremonies. Others of them were detestable hypocrites, making their pretences to holiness a cloak for iniquity. The Sadducees ran into the opposite extreme, denying the existence of spirits, and a future state. They were the scornful infidels of that time and country. There is a wrath to come. It is the great concern of every one to flee from that wrath. God, who delights not in our ruin, has warned us; he warns by the written word, by ministers, by conscience. And those are not worthy of the name of penitents, or their privileges, who say they are sorry for their sins, yet persist in them. It becomes penitents to be humble and low in their own eyes, to be thankful for the least mercy, patient under the greatest affliction, to be watchful against all appearances of sin, to abound in every duty, and to be charitable in judging others. Here is a word of caution, not to trust in outward privileges. There is a great deal which carnal hearts are apt to say within themselves, to put aside the convincing, commanding power of the word of God. Multitudes, by resting in the honours and mere advantages of their being members of an outward church, come short of heaven. Here is a word of terror to the careless and secure. Our corrupt hearts cannot be made to produce good fruit, unless the regenerating Spirit of Christ graft the good word of God upon them. And every tree, however high in gifts and honours, however green in outward professions and performances, if it bring not forth good fruit, the fruits meet for repentance, is hewn down and cast into the fire of God's wrath, the fittest place for barren trees: what else are they good for? If not fit for fruit, they are fit for fuel. John shows the design and intention of Christ's appearing, which they were now speedily to expect. No outward forms can make us clean. No ordinances, by whomsoever administered, or after whatever mode, can supply the want of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire. The purifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit alone can produce that purity of heart, and those holy affections, which accompany salvation. It is Christ who baptizes with the Holy Ghost. This he did in the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit sent upon the apostles, Ac 2:4. This he does in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, given to those that ask him, Lu 11:13; Joh 7:38,39; see Ac 11:16. Observe here, the outward church is Christ's floor, Isa 21:10. True believers are as wheat, substantial, useful, and valuable; hypocrites are as chaff, light and empty, useless and worthless, carried about with every wind; these are mixed, good and bad, in the same outward communion. There is a day coming when the wheat and chaff shall be separated. The last judgment will be the distinguishing day, when saints and sinners shall be parted for ever. In heaven the saints are brought together, and no longer scattered; they are safe, and no longer exposed; separated from corrupt neighbours without, and corrupt affections within, and there is no chaff among them. Hell is the unquenchable fire, which will certainly be the portion and punishment of hypocrites and unbelievers. Here life and death, good and evil, are set before us: according as we now are in the field, we shall be then in the floor.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9. - And. An additional warning against any false feeling of security based on natural privileges. As this feeling was common to all Jews, the reference to the larger audience (ver. 7, note) was probably begun here. Think not to say. Not do not think, consider, with a view to saying; but do not think it right to say, do not be of opinion you may say (Luke 3:8, "Begin not to say ). St. Luke deprecates the commencement of such an utterance in their heart; S t. Matthew denies its justice. Within yourselves; cf. Esther 4:13 (Hebrew). We have Abraham to our father. As it was recognized on all hands that the promise of blessing was made to Abraham and his seed, it is no wonder that many Jews presumed upon their descent from him, "sup, posing,", as Justin Martyr says ('Trypho,' § 140.), that the everlasting kingdom will assuredly be given to those who are of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, although they be sinners and unbelieving and disobedient towards God." In later times, when the doctrine of merit was more fully established, God could be represented as saying to Abraham, "If thy children were like dead bodies without sinews or bones, thy merit would avail for them" ('Ber. Rabb.,' on Genesis 10:5:11. § 44, middle). In John's words, on the contrary, we have the germ of the doctrine afterwards Brought out by St. Paul (e.g. Galatians 3:9, 29), that not natural descent, but spiritual relationship by faith, leads to inheriting the promises. The argument in John 8:39, etc., is closely akin to that presented here. In both passages the Jews lay stress on their origin from Abraham; in both the answer is that morally they are sprung from a very different source (supra, ver. 7, note). But in John 8. the Jews are thinking chiefly of their present state, of not being as sinful as Jesus makes them out to be, while here they are thinking more of the future, that they have no need to take trouble, because promises for the future belong to them. Hence, perhaps, the exact expression (contrast John 8:33), "We have Abraham as father," which brings out the protecting influence of Abraham as still available. For I say unto you (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν). The solemnity of the phrase (Matthew 6:25, 29; Matthew 8:11; Matthew 11:9) lies in the self-consciousness which it implies. The absence of the ἐγώ shows that the speaker has no desire to bring out his own personality (contrast Matthew 5:22, etc.), but the message only. That God. Not "the LORD," because

(1) the thought is of power rather than of covenant relationship;

(2) he is about to speak of others than members of the covenant nation. Is able of these stones. These; apodeictic (Matthew 4:3). Some have thought that by these stones John directly means certain Gentiles who were standing near; but it is much mere likely that he points to the literal stones at his feet, and with strong hyperbole says that he who once raised up offspring as the stars for multitude from persons as good as dead (Romans 4:19), and who had originally made man of the dust of the earth, can (δύναται), with both physical power and moral right, raise out of the very rawest material a new Israel (cf. Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 1:28, "the things that are not"). Raise up. The verb employed (ἐγείρω) is, as it seems, not used in the LXX. with reference to natural generation, but ἀνίστημι (cf. Genesis 38:8, ἐξανίστημι; Genesis 4:25; Genesis 19:32; cf. also Matthew 22:24). It is, however, very suitable here, for while ἀνίστημι regards future worth, ἐγείρω specially contrasts a later with an earlier state (e.g. sleep) - in this case the nature of children with the insensibility of stones. Children. The new Israel would possess, not merely Abraham's privileges, but his nature and character (τέκνα), in which you to whom I now speak are so deficient.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And think not to say within yourselves,.... John knew the sentiments of their minds, and the prevailing opinion they had given into, against which he cautions them; as, that because they were Abraham's seed, they were in a state of salvation, in the favour of God, and had a right to all privileges and ordinances: this they trusted in, and boasted of, and would often think of it within themselves, pleasing themselves with the thoughts of it, and speak of it to others;

we have Abraham for our father. The Baptist was aware how ready they would be to object this to him; and therefore prevents their plea from hence in favour of their admission to baptism, by assuring them, that this would have no weight with him, nor give them any right to the ordinance he administered: hence it appears that it is not a person's being born of believing parents that can entitle him to water baptism; or be a reason why it ought to be administered to him: if nothing more than this can be said in his favour, it is a plain case from hence, he ought to be debarred from it. The reason John gives why such a plea as this would be insufficient is,

for I say unto you; I assure you of it; you may depend on it as a certain truth,

that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. To "raise up children" is an Hebrew way of speaking, and the same with or to "raise up seed", or a "name" to another, Genesis 38:8 and signifies to beget children for another, who are to be called by his name. Some by "the stones" understand the Gentiles, comparable to stones, both for the hardness of their hearts, and their idolatry in worshipping stocks and stones; of and among whom God was able to raise, and has raised up, a spiritual seed to Abraham; who are of the same faith with him, who walk in his steps, and whose father he is: but then it must be supposed, according to this sense, that there were some Gentiles present, since John calls them "these" stones, pointing to some persons or things, that were before him; wherefore I rather think that this phrase is to be taken literally, and that John pointed to some certain stones that were near him, within sight, and which lay upon the banks of Jordan, where he was baptizing; for what is it that the omnipotent God cannot do? He could as easily of stones make men, as make Adam out of the dust of the earth, and then make these men, in a spiritual sense, children of Abraham; that is, believers in Christ, and partakers of his "grace; for if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise", Galatians 3:29. So that God stood in no need of these persons, nor had they any reason to boast of their natural descent from Abraham; since this in spiritual matters, and in things relating to the Gospel dispensation, would stand them in no stead, or be of any advantage to them.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father—that pillow on which the nation so fatally reposed, that rock on which at length it split.

for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham—that is, "Flatter not yourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in need of you, to make good His promise of a seed to Abraham; for I tell you that, though you were all to perish, God is as able to raise up a seed to Abraham out of those stones as He was to take Abraham himself out of the rock whence he was hewn, out of the hole of the pit whence he was digged" (Isa 51:1). Though the stern speaker may have pointed as he spoke to the pebbles of the bare clay hills that lay around (so Stanley's Sinai and Palestine), it was clearly the calling of the Gentiles—at that time stone-dead in their sins, and quite as unconscious of it—into the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that he meant thus to indicate (see Mt 21:43; Ro 11:20, 30).

Matthew 3:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Mission of John the Baptist
8"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 9and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.…
Cross References
Luke 3:8
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

Luke 16:24
So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

John 8:33
They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"

John 8:37
I know that you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word.

John 8:39
"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did.

Acts 13:26
"Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.

Romans 4:1
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?

Romans 9:7
Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."

Romans 9:8
In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

Galatians 3:29
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Treasury of Scripture

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say to you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

think.

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, …

Luke 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not …

Luke 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said to them, …

Luke 7:39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spoke within …

Luke 12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I …

We.

Ezekiel 33:24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel …

Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send …

John 8:33,39,40,53 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage …

Acts 13:26 Men and brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among …

Romans 4:1,11-16 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to …

Romans 9:7,8 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: …

Galatians 4:22-31 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a female …

God.

Matthew 8:11,12 And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and …

Luke 19:40 And he answered and said to them, I tell you that, if these should …

Acts 15:14 Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, …

Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before …

1 Corinthians 1:27,28 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…

Galatians 3:27-29 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ…

Ephesians 2:12,13 That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the …

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