|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:7-11 Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining what we need. Pray; pray often; make a business of prayer, and be serious and earnest in it. Ask, as a beggar asks alms. Ask, as a traveller asks the way. Seek, as for a thing of value that we have lost; or as the merchantman that seeks goodly pearls. Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door. Sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer we knock. Whatever you pray for, according to the promise, shall be given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would you have more? This is made to apply to all that pray aright; every one that asketh receiveth, whether Jew or Gentile, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, master or servant, learned or unlearned, all are alike welcome to the throne of grace, if they come in faith. It is explained by a comparison taken from earthly parents, and their readiness to give their children what they ask. Parents are often foolishly fond, but God is all-wise; he knows what we need, what we desire, and what is fit for us. Let us never suppose our heavenly Father would bid us pray, and then refuse to hear, or give us what would be hurtful.
Verse 11. - Parallel passage: Luke 11:13. If ye then being evil. Application of the thought of vers. 9, 10, with further emphasis on the evil of human nature. If you with your moral worthlessness (Matthew 6:13, note), etc. (cf. also Matthew 12:34). Being (gyros). The presence here in the parallel passage of Luke of his common word ὑπάρχοντες points to St. Matthew's form of the sentence being the more original. Know; intuitively (οἴδατε). Notwithstanding, then, the evil bent of fallen human nature, there is some good still remaining. How much more shall your Father which is in heaven. "In quo nulla est malitia" (Bengel). Give good things. Observe:
(1) In the parallel passage in Luke, "the Holy Spirit," or, more strictly, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Πνεῦμα Αγιον). The historian of the early Church not unnaturally singles out that gift which ultimately produces all others; but St. Matthew, keeping to the general subject of wisdom, etc., in the treatment of our brethren, uses a more distributive expression which yet includes the particular gift asked for.
(2) Is the omission of the word "gifts" in this clause to be accounted for by our Lord not wishing to suggest that the grace asked for is so given as that it can afterwards be possessed apart from the Giver?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If ye then being evil,.... As all mankind in general are, both by nature and practice: they are conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity; are evil from their youth, and transgressors from the womb; are corrupt, and do abominable things; and such these Jews were Christ speaks unto; and who, very likely, has respect chiefly to the evil of covetousness they were addicted to. The argument is taken from the lesser to the greater, and runs thus; that if ye, who are but men, men on earth, yea evil men, not over liberal and beneficent, nay covetous and niggardly,
know how to give good gifts unto your children; can find in your hearts, having it in the power of your hands, to give suitable provisions for the support and sustenance of your children;
how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven; who is omniscient and omnipotent; who knows the persons and wants of his children, and what is proper for them, and is able to relieve them, being Lord of heaven and earth,
give good things to them that ask him? Not only temporal good things, as meat, drink, and clothing; but all spiritual good things; every supply of grace; all things pertaining to life and godliness. In Luke 11:13 "the Holy Spirit" is mentioned, and so seems to design his gifts and graces, everything that is necessary for the spiritual and eternal good of his people: but for these things he must be inquired of, and sought after; and it is the least saints can do to ask for them; and they have encouragement enough to ask; for it is but ask and have.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him!—Bad as our fallen nature is, the father in us is not extinguished. What a heart, then, must the Father of all fathers have towards His pleading children! In the corresponding passage in Luke (see on Lu 11:13), instead of "good things," our Lord asks whether He will not much more give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. At this early stage of His ministry, and before such an audience, He seems to avoid such sharp doctrinal teaching as was more accordant with His plan at the riper stage indicated in Luke, and in addressing His own disciples exclusively.
Golden Rule (Mt 7:12).
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