Matthew 11:25-26 (NIV) is as follows:

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

I'm assuming that "these things" refers to Jesus' teachings. Why is he praising God for hiding it from the wise and learned and instead revealing them to children?

To me as a modern reader, this comes across as anti-intellectual, saying that those who are educated won't understand his teachings while uneducated children will. Is that the intention?

  • One difference between children and the more learned adults, is that children read picture books, adults don't. Maybe God has hidden “pictures” in the Bible for us to find. If so, then these pictures would be equivalent to ‘Venn diagrams’, which would just be visible if we took a step back to take a fresh look at the scripture from a distance, as it were. The trees/forest dilemma comes to mind here. Oct 26, 2019 at 23:52

7 Answers 7


The reason that Jesus gives thanks is that it was the paradigm that God approved of and Jesus had perfect confidence that God, who is love, would only do that which accorded with his wisdom and benevolence. In other words, Jesus didn't thank God that he did it so because he (Jesus) approved of the decision but rather that he completely trusted God to make the right decision:

NIV Matthew 11:26 Yes, Father, for [because] this is what you were pleased to do.

That the decision was in fact the right is explained several times in scripture as ensuring that understanding did not require divine intelligence. In other words, he was speaking at the level that the simple could prosper in:

NIV 1 Cor 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Conversely in judgment God refused that his wisdom be accessible to those who had intellectual gifts but no heart for wisdom:

NIV John 9:39 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

There are many ways Psalm 18:26 is translated but in each case it shows that God opposes those with no heart for the knowledge of God:

NIV Psalm 18:26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.

For more translations please see:


  • 2
    Yep, Psalms 18:28 is more than enough to close an argument that this was a shrewd judgment of God against the devious by judging them according to their own judgments, (Matthew 23:13). I would post a separate answer - but I like the way you write better. +1 Though, I still think "in judgment God refused that his wisdom be accessible" is a little too far, but "refused that [the fullness of] his wisdom" is a little more on target - and a better portrayal of God's "shrewdness". Even that donkey had wisdom ... Dec 10, 2017 at 22:21
  • Thank you elika. I added the link to my answer.
    – Ruminator
    Dec 10, 2017 at 22:24

In Luke 10:20-21 the logic and substance of Jesus' rejoicing in Holy Spirit that Father opened "those things" to children and hidden from the "wise" is more clear: man should not rejoice in working of miracles, which includes having a power of subduing and expelling evil spirits, but only in "that your names are written in Heaven", that is to say, the name's being written in Heaven does not depend on miracle-working, but on a merciful and humble heart, for Lord desires mercy and not sacrifice (Matt 9:13) and will not despise the contrite and humble heart (Psalm 51:17), but will despise and refuse to recognize a puffed up miracle-worker, who would lack mercy (Matt 7:22-23).

Thus, in Luke it is clearer: "wise" here signify those people, Christians, who are puffed up with their knowledge, thinking that through it they have access to God, while forgetting about mercy and charity, for charity and mercy edify, while knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1), while "children" signify those really and not pretentiously wise believers, who use everything for the cause of the mercy and charity; who understand that gaining of merciful heart is necessary and indispensable for the Holy Spirit to dwell in it and for inheriting the Heavenly Kingdom.

But still, why is Jesus joyful in Holy Spirit that some people - the "wise" - become dull in heart through their knowledge, while others - the "children" on the contrary, become truly wise by cultivating charity?

Of course, it is absolutely wrong even to suppose that He rejoices in misery of the first category of the believers! On the contrary He rejoices being with His creations as already incarnated, having become one of them; Showing all human knowledge and wisdom to be futile, not building towards and not enough for salvation, and as such, worthy of being destroyed and abolished (1 Cor. 1:19). Rather, He will give to humans of all nations who would listen to Him, participation in His mercy and forgiveness, making them as "foolish", as He Himself is, for "foolishness of God is wiser than greatest wisdom of men" (1 Cor. 1:25).

Thus, substance of His rejoicing is that humans already can discover, have access to, at the utmost limits of their human wisdom and human intellectual efforts, which have failed to provide salvation, that which is supra-human, that transcends all human capacities and abilities, but is already a free gift of God, His saving and joyful grace, that comes from the realm of the eternal bliss, transcending the borders of the created order of reality.

And indeed, how not to rejoice in that this joy is hidden from those who are considered to be "wise" according to categories of human understanding? - for had it not been so hidden, humans would have conceived a mistake that their intellectual efforts make them partakers of this salvational grace and thus remain proud and forget to thank God; but since they will see that grace is not to be obtained by even the best of their efforts without God's gift, they will get a wonderful chance to understand the necessity of becoming like little children (Matt 18:3) and open up to God's free gift of graceful salvation.

That is why, it is not that He singles out only few elect and rejoices in warding them from others, the hopeless ones who will never become like the first. Not so at all, because with Him everything is possible (John 15:5) and it is exactly to the puffed up ones that He preaches warningly to repent and become like children, lest they will lose the Kingdom (Matt 18:3). In fact, Jesus wants all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4) not only an elite few.

But Matthew 11:25-26 is more difficult, for here some other nuances appear, I think even more theological than in Luke's above passage. Here the context is that Jesus in Matt 11 teaches John's disciples the blessing of not doubting Him as the expected Messiah (Matt 11:6), and the grounds for not doubting Him are those healing miracles and resurrection of dead that He performs (Matt 11:4-5). Immediately afterwards, He discusses those people - for the "cities" denote people - who stumbled and for whom even the miracles were not enough to understand and acknowledge Him as the Messiah (Matt 11:20-24).

But then He rejoices for those whom the Father taught not to stumble towards Jesus, His Son, but to come to Him (Matt 11:25-26), and immediately makes a theological statement affirming His own divinity: "nobody knows the Son, but the Father" (Matt 11:27), that is to say, those who failed to accept Him, failed to understand the Father's universal calling as well, for only Father can lead humans to understanding who Jesus really is - His only-begotten Son (Matt 16:17), for only He knows Him and is known by Him.

Therefore, Jesus rejoices, like He rejoiced for Peter, that all those who did not stumble towards Him, were not instructed by their own reason, that is to say, "flesh and blood", but were illumined by the Father Himself (cf. Matt 16:17). Moreover, the Light through which He illumined them concerning the Sonship of Jesus is Jesus Himself, who brings them to the knowledge of the Father, for only Jesus knows the Father, and if anybody will know God in a due way, as the Father, he will be able of such knowledge only through the Son, for They - the Father and the Son - know each other exclusively and equally (Matt 11:27-28; affirmed also by John 10:15). Such an exclusive and equal mutual knowledge would have been impossible had Jesus been somebody illumined by the Father and not the very principle of illumination intrinsic to the Father, His (the Son's) Source; for, in fact, the Father is absolutely, ontologically unable to illumine anybody without His Son, (to use an early christian analogy/patristic, just as the sun is absolutely unable to enlighten anything without its rays that are intrinsic to it), and vice-versa, the Son is absolutely unable to work miracles without the Father co-working with Him, and thus, with this knowledge, there is no excuse for those who deny Christ, even purporting to be faithful to God by this very denial, after having seen Christ's miracles, which could not be performed but together with the Father.

Thus, He enlightens disciples to the new theology: God as the indissoluble unity of the love of the Father and the Son, that eternal relationship and glorious Unity which was between Them even before the creation of the world (John 17:15) and now revealed clearly to the disciples in the divine names of the Father and the Son. This eternal divine love should become also heritage of humans, for only through undertaking the "easy burden" and "light yoke" (11:29-30) of this love will they find eternal rest (ἀνάπαυσις); which is a paradox! - for all other creatures have as their aim that which pertains to the created order of reality, whereas humans, although being created, are unable to be satisfied by the entirety of the created order, for their salvation and ultimate destiny is not of this order, but the divine love that transcends the creation and pertains to the uncreated divine Realm. Thus, becoming "children", that is to say, of a humble and merciful heart, is clad by a divinely ironical meaning, for this childish humility of heart (the only condition for the Holy Spirit's presence in it), is in fact elevating humans to a loftier status than any most arrogant human would ever have imagined - namely, partaking in the bliss that has neither beginning nor end, becoming "children of God", through the Son of God (John 1:12) and the Spirit of Sonship and Freedom (Romans 8:15; 2 Cor. 3:17). Not a meager reason for Jesus rejoicing in this in the same Spirit!

  • @Keith Joseph Thank you very much for editing. I have observed carefully your additions/corrections, utilized some of them and modified my text according to them. Dec 10, 2017 at 17:04

The Greek text does not actually say from the wise and learned, but simply from wise and learned (ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν), without any definite article. This is true of both Matthew 11:25 and the parallel passage in Luke (10:21). A better translation might be:

You have hidden these things from wise and learned [persons], and revealed them to little children

He is not referring to all wise and learned persons in general, but only to certain wise and learned persons - perhaps even speaking derisively (e.g. You have hidden these things from the "wise and learned", and revealed them to little children. )

Specifically, he seems to be referring those Jews who were supposedly wise and knowledgeable in the Scriptures, but somehow did not understand the meaning of his mighty works (miracles). Just prior to the verse you are asking about, Matthew recounts Jesus having said to the multitudes (11:21-24):

“Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.

Regarding why he hid these things from the wise and prudent, one explanation is that it was not out of malice, but rather because they were unworthy. One commentary on this verse explains:

Multitudes of men have preceded us in the world past numbering, who, as far as words went, were wise, who had a practiced and skillful tongue, and beauty of style, and grandeur of expression, and no mean reputation for wisdom: but as Paul said:

They had become empty in their reasonings, and their foolish heart was darkened: while professing to be wise, they had made themselves fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of corruptible man, and into that of birds, and four-footed beasts and reptiles. For this cause they were given up to a reprobate mind1

And God made the wisdom of this world to be folly2

neither did He shew unto them the mystery. And to us too it is written,

Whosoever seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become foolish, in order that he may become wise: for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.3

It may truly therefore be affirmed, that he who possesses merely and by itself the wisdom of the world, is foolish and without understanding before God: but that he who seems to be a fool to the wise men of the world, but possesses in his mind and heart the light of the true vision of God, is wise before God4

1. Romans 1:22-24
2. 1 Corinthians 1:20
3. 1 Corinthians 3:18
4. Cyril of Alexandria (387-444), Sermon LXV on Luke

  • 1
    +1. but my objection to this is that without the definite article, it could just as easily be interpreted as "from wise and learned [persons]" as "from a wise and learned [person]. There are several other passages that also affirm that the wisdom of the world is anti-thetical to the wisdom of God. In other words, perhaps Jesus wasn't limiting his rebuke to just those scribes and pharisees, but to anyone who trusts in their own understanding, (Proverbs 3:5). Dec 10, 2017 at 21:48
  • Elika - in both Matthew and Luke, "wise" and "learned" (or "prudent") is in the plural in the Greek text. I don't know whether this would lessen your point or not, though.
    – user33515
    Dec 10, 2017 at 22:01
  • I agree that he was not referring just to Scribes and Pharisees. In fact, he prefaced his comments by addressing entire cities.
    – user33515
    Dec 10, 2017 at 22:15
  • Given that Koine Greek uses the definite article in cases where English does not, to render it in English when it is not present in the Greek requires a lot of justification.
    – EvilSnack
    Oct 17, 2023 at 16:34

First we must clarify what the background to the information is.

Let's see how God interacts with all people.

God places people in different situations causing them to be disturbed.

Acts 17:24“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

People get upset because they are forced to life selfishlessly or in order to survive, contrary to what their consciences tell them.

Most people give up and join the darkness, because they think there is no other choice.

However some people won't compromise, they won't adapt, or make permanent personality changes, settle in the world system. They grope around, seeking for God. God is not ashamed to be their leader and promised to make a better humanity, city, country for them to occupy, Rest in.

Hebrews 11:14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

God gives them to Christ, which is metonymy for sanctification. They are given access to drink from the Rock. This means they experience situations where they face danger and are rescued by God, like Abraham, and Israel in the wilderness, receive spiritual food and drink, are shown great works of God, receive bread from heaven, like the Syrophoenician woman, to increase their faith. Because they must learn that they can enter the Kingdom of God, where a person can live selflessly, and survive. Abraham learned this unlike Israel, and he also intuited that by living selflessly and surviving, others would see the great works of God displayed and be motivated to turn away from selfishness and serve God through selflessness. That is why he obeyed when asked to sacrifice Isaac. He believed God would do a great work and return Isaac to him. This was how he guessed God was going to make him and descendants blessings to the world, by being channels of heavenly bread.

1 Corinthians 10:1For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3and all ate the same spiritual food; 4and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

This is how believers can enter Rest, the New Humanity in Christ, be a blessing to the world, while resting from their own efforts.

So when believers partake of the Holy Spirit, which means living selflessly, picking up or crosses, and being raised up, and receive fire, the ability to decipher very complicated information of the Scriptures, people see the great works of God displayed.

This is because believers are baptised into the Holy Spirit and fire, miracles and revelations, when they become clean, leave selfish living. Christ baptised with the Holy Spirit and with fire, empowered believers with miracles and revelation. The wrong teachings of the Pharisees, chaff was burnt way, with only correct teachings being retained:

Matthew 3:11“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

This is why Jesus praised God for making Scripture complicated: it made interpretation impossible even for the super clever. So when simple people who believed God and changed from darkness to light received revelation, others came to know God had touched them. The enlightening of the simple was God manifesting His Kingdom.

Acts 4:13When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they marveled and took note that these men had been with Jesus.

All Scriptural references from the NASB.


According to the Ascension of Isaiah the Beloved (son of God Father) should descend to the world unknown to the prince of the world. So he is praising the God Father for making the wise and learned ignorant to his nature and the commotion.

[298]...until the Beloved has descended into the world in the form of man. [299] But the prince of this world will lay his hand on the Son of God, and hang Him on a tree, and slay Him, not knowing who He is; and His descent to the earth shall be concealed also from the heavens. Then he shall descend into hell and make havoc there, and, having escaped from the angel of death, on the third day He shall rise...

Having killed the innocent Son of God, the prince of the world has broken (his own) Mosaic Law that forbids killing innocents and thus lost the right to govern over Israel. The Old Testament collapsed in itself and become void.


First the whole Christian foundation is built upon spiritual revelation. Christ has to be revealed to you by the father, not just a matter of intellectual conception or seminary education. God himself has to teach you.

Matthew 16:17,18

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 11:25-27

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The bible is a sealed book and is only divinely revealed by the Holy Spirit. That is there is only one true interpreter of the word, God, though people can have their private interpretations or schools of thought. We are however warned that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpratation. To be his own interpreter God teaches his children.

John 6:44,45

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

You see there is no man who knows the things of the spirit of God but God who gives the Holy Spirit to reveal them. Read these words carefully and with the aid of the Holy Spirit:

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

> 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

> 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

> 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

That is to say God himself has to give you understanding to know him that is true.

1 John 5:20

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Paul and the Pharisee had his own intellectual conception of Christ. He came exactly according to the scripture but contrary to their interpretation of the scripture. You see the scripture is like a great jigsaw puzzle and the one who can fit every piece together to see God in the face of Christ is the Holy Spirit. In their schools of thought they disqualified him as their messiah ( may be good to read Prince of the house of David- Adina). In all his religious and intellectual motions he was lost as lost could be, so is every man that goes his way:

Isaiah 53:6

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Proverbs 14:14

14 The backslider in heart shall be

**> > filled with his own ways: ** and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

God laments in Isaiah whom shall he teach doctrine?

Isaiah 28:9,10,13

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

The word of God has to be precept upon precept line upon line. Babes, are willing to learn than the know it all type people of substance with big standing in the community. This is the council of Jesus:

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light

There is something about children. They are willing to learn.

Mark 10:15

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.


Having and developing a Faith and belief In Christ is stronger then the mind of intellectual folks who try to understand the Kingdom through study. The payoff is Obey Christ and the Truth will set you free

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