Matthew 7:6

Read Introduction to Matthew


Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.


“Do not give what is holy to the dogs;
Both dogs and swine were unclean animals according to Mosaic Law. Dogs were not pets in those days but roving scavengers. The “holy” here is the truth of God. We do not present truth to people who radically reject its truth.
nor cast your pearls before swine,
Swine were wild and vicious in Palestine. Since they were unclean, they were not for food.
lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
The picture here is of a wild dogs and boars tearing their prey into pieces. That is a symbolic picture of those with very high negative volition toward the gospel. These people mock the gospel as indicated by trampling it under foot and even going further in tearing apart the gospel message itself.
PRINCIPLE: There is no need to present the gospel to those with negative volition toward God.
APPLICATION: It is wrong to try to force the gospel on people. There is no need to share the gospel with people who reject it outright. We have responsibility to carry the gospel to everyone, but once we make the presentation, the responsibility lies on the individual to choose negative or positive volition. If a person chooses negative volition, then there is no necessity for any further presentation of the gospel. Once a person clearly rejects the gospel, there is no further reason to present the gospel to them.
Jesus did not talk to Herod (Lu 23:9) and Paul drew limits when speaking to people who rejected the Word (Ac 13:46).
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Mt 10:16
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words. Pr 23:9

10 Responses to “Matthew 7:6”

  • I’m wondering if there isn’t more of a connection between Matt. 7:1-5 and verse 6, including verses 7-12. I know this is a constant conversation that is probably going on out there, but here is my thought. After verse 1, Jesus teaches on how to approach someone that has a spec in their eye. He does not say don’t try to help with the spec, but that one should remove the log from their own eye first. So discerning judgment is allowed. Verse 6 then is guiding one who might, with discerning judgment, approach someone about unrighteousness or sin in their life. Jesus categorically says that there are people that will not accept your attempt at admonition/correction (dogs/pigs) no matter how genuine and non-judgmental, but will only turn it on you in some negative and harmful way. I can’t get my mind around this being a stand alone verse that is about preaching the gospel to people who are resistant. Especially, in light of verse 12 (Golden Rule), it seems that this whole text flows out of the worry for food, drink, clothing, etc., and the want for those things affecting relationships with others in some way. Rather than judgment or casting pearls before unconcerned dogs, we should ask, seek and knock and the Father will make sure that we have what we need. Verse 12 concludes by saying, “So in everything…” This seems to me to be the summary of a larger section where God is described as faithful to his little ones. In the meantime our calling is to do to others as we would have them do to us, again as Jesus said earlier, fulfilling the law/prophets. I might need to organize these thoughts a little better, but this is the gist of it. What do you think? peace, rc

  • Randy, there may be something to what you say because the whole Sermon on the Mount deals with the standard for entering God’s kingdom, a different kind of righteousness man man possesses.

  • I wonder if this could also be interpreted to mean be careful how much light of the gospel you share since those who mock God's ways will be held accountable for how much of the gospel they have seen/known/been taught.  Consider the children of Israel in the wilderness.  They saw God's presence and goodness in a way that few have and yet refused to believe that He would help them overcome the Caananites.  They were judged more harshly because of that.  Just a thought.

  • In keeping within the context of the preceding verses:  could this not also mean that as we "consider the log in our own eye" not to ask forgiveness from those who would not/could not forgive us?  In this way our tender heart of repentance would not be "torn to pieces".  Perhaps this is what God considers as pearls?  Just another thought.

  • David, thanks for your thoughtful blogs. I like the way you think in terms of contextualizing a passage.

    I do not intend in this verse to speak absolutely as if that same person will not reach a different point in their lives where they may be open to the gospel. That may happen and there may be another chance to present the gospel. My father was a case in point.

    As you know there are many "stand alone" statements in the sermon on the mount. The general argument of the sermon is that Jesus is presenting His kingdom to Israel and He is showing the standards or the criteria for the kingdom. It may be that verse six is a stand alone within that context drawing attention to those who explicitly reject Jesus's kingdom offer. 

    If we do operate on your principles of context then we would need more extant, explicit information to draw that conclusion. 

  • Randy, what you said addresses perfectly my concern with and lack of understanding of this passage. I couldn't figure out the relationship to verses 1-5 but knew there had to be one, and the author doesn't do a good job at all of exploring that. Thanks for your post

  • The difficulty I have with Randy's suggestion that this verse applies to believers who are resistant to accept correction is their description as 'dogs' and 'swine'. Such labelling seems far too strong for application to people who are being stubborn and rebellious but are nonetheless regenerate followers of Christ. For example, in Phil 1:15 Paul does not give a 'dog' or similar derogatory name to people who preach out of envy and rivalry to cause him problems. However, in Phil 3:2 when speaking of the evildoers (Judaisers) he calls them 'dogs' because they are not regenerate people.

  • To Dr. Grant Richison,  I am in complete agreement with your commentary on this verse in which I found quite valuable.  Thank you

  • What about 2peter2:20? Clearly they had the revelation knowledge of Christ but cast it aside and then became overcome by them, meaning the false teachers, and went back into bondage of the law again. They gave up, they cast their pear, the truth to the side! They never possessed the truth they never treasured the truth. They just like in Matthew23:13, they shut out the kingdom of God, they neither go in and prevent others from going in themselves. 

  • Margaret, go to my study on 2 Pe 2:20.

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