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Matthew 7:7-12 (KJV)

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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? 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

I can only see one sense for the ‘therefore’:

Our Heavenly Father wants us to do good things to our children. That’s why He did good things to us, His children.

In the same way, if we want others to do good things to us, we should do good things to them.

I cannot see any other connection from the structure of this passage.

Matthew Henry suggests that the connection goes go back to verse 1 of judging ourselves before judging others and casting out the beam from our eyes, before pointing out the mote in others eyes.

From Kenneth Wuest’s expanded Translation:

Therefore, as for you, in view of the fact that though being those who are evil, actively opposed to that which is good, you know how to be constantly giving good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him for them? Therefore, all things whatever you may be desiring men to be doing to you, in the same manner also, as for you, you be doing to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

Any thoughts?

  • @RayButterworth Please don't post answer material as comments. Either answer the question in an answer post (where it can be handled the way the site handles answers) or use comments to request clarification of posts or suggest improvements. But no mini-answers as comments please. – Caleb May 23 '19 at 19:05
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In Matthew 7:12, the connection provided by "therefore" with the previous verses isn't as obvious as it could be.

The previous verses:

  • 9: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

  • 10: Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

  • 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?

illustrate that even inherently evil people will still do good things for their children. And they will do this out of love, not because the children necessarily deserve it.

Most English translations then use the word "therefore":

  • 12: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

even though applying the usual meaning of "for that reason" doesn't make a lot of sense. It's almost like its saying that we should be good to other people in order to ensure that we will be treated well. As the OP observed: "if we want others to do good things to us, we should do good things to them.".

But the Greek word οὖν doesn't have to be translated as "therefore". Strong's Definitions says:

οὖν oûn, oon; apparently a primary word; (adverbially) certainly, or (conjunctionally) accordingly ….

In this case, the word is used as a conjunction, and the English word "accordingly" seems a far more reasonable choice than "therefore".

Jesus didn't give a list of reasons in order to justify his statement of how we should behave, as "therefore" would imply.

Rather, he gave instances of behaviour that results from love rather than reason, and then says that accordingly (in the same manner), we should act out of love toward others, not because they deserve it but because that is the right thing to do.

This is a very important distinction.

Doing good unto others in the hope that they will then return the favour is definitely not the message of Christianity.

Doing good unto others in order to set an example (not necessarily for only the recipients) is the message (or part of it). And those good deeds should be given freely and out of love, whether the recipients deserve them or not. If we can't treat others at least as well as we ourselves want to be treated, we don't have a Christian attitude.

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  • Thank you, Ray. That was helpful. – sdidde May 26 '19 at 7:31
  • Jesus didn’t have to backup with with reasons for His statements! – sdidde May 26 '19 at 7:33
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The first 12 verses of Matt 7 are about the universal law of behaviour reciprocity. That is, what we do directly affects they way others treat us. Jesus provides several examples of this reciprocity:

  • V1, 2 - the way we judge others will determine the way we are judged
  • v3-5 - speck vs plank in the eye - do not criticise others in some point without first ensuring that your own life is above reproach in at least that respect (see especially Rom 2:1)
  • v6 - do not give holy things to pigs for fear of being in danger yourself. This has also been expressed as: do not tell people what they are unprepared to receive as they might misunderstand and turn on you.
  • v7, 8 - ask, seek & knock - such people receive because they ask seek and knock. That is remaining inactive and silent does not achieve anything - people like to know what you want; only then can it be fulfilled!
  • v9-11 - giving good gifts results in receiving good gifts from others

All this can be summarised as: (v12) "do to others as you would have them do to you". This principle permeates the entire Torah Law.

Thus, Jesus necessarily begins with "therefore" precisely because it is a summary and conclusion of what has gone before.

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  • Thank you, Mac. I like your answer. It’s along the lines of Matthew Henry’s commentary, but better organized. The first four bullets are negatives, while the last one is positive. Regardless, it’s quite adequate. – sdidde May 23 '19 at 7:54
  • Here’s what D.A Carson said in his commentary on this verse: “The Golden Rule was not invented by Jesus; it is found in many forms in highly diverse settings. About AD. 20, Rabbi Hillel, challenged by a Gentile to summarize the law in the short time the Gentile could stand on one leg, reportedly responded, ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else. This is the whole law; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.’ (b. Shabbath 31a). Apparently, only Jesus phrased the rule positively.” – sdidde May 23 '19 at 8:00
  • From the structure of this verse, it appears to me the ‘therefore’ is connecting only to verses 9-11 as is evident from Wuest’s translation. And here’s where I am having a hard time to come up with a good correlation. Your last bullet talks about giving, in order to receive. But the reciprocity is not obvious. Not all earthly fathers ask their heavenly Father for good gifts. In other words, just because they gave good gifts, they will not automatically receive good things from God; but only when they ask God. – sdidde May 23 '19 at 8:06
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Very basic 101 English, "Therefore" means in other words/what I am trying to convey you.

Therefore:for that reason\consequently

Matthew 5:48] Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

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    Thanks for your response, Biblepreacher. My question is not about 'therefore'? what is the reason for 'therefore'; as you said, 'for this reason, therefore' My question is, what is the reason? – sdidde May 23 '19 at 8:09

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