Matthew 23:16-18 (Blind Guides and Swearing Oaths)

What does Jesus call the scribes and Pharisees in Mat 23:16?  In what sense were they guides?  See Mat 23:2-3; cf. Rom 2:17-24.  Although blind himself, what is the nature of a blind guide that is able to allure others to follow him?  Cf. 1Ti 1:5-7, 2Pe 2:18-19 and think: does a deceived person know he is deceived?  Does a false prophet know he is a false prophet?  What is the great danger to those who are blind themselves of following one who confidently sets himself forth to be a guide to others but is himself blind?  See Mat 15:14.  Why is it that so many who are blind themselves are so easily taken in by the persuasions of others who are blind?  See Jer 5:31, 2Ti 4:3-4.  What does this teach us about the great importance for those who would find true salvation of sincerely seeking truth for themselves and not just relying on the persuasion of others?  Cf. 2Th 2:9-12, Joh 9:39-41.  While it is bad enough when one goes astray himself, what condemnation is deserving upon those who because of their persuasive intellect or position of authority also mislead others?  See Deut 27:18 and the first three words of Mat 23:16; cf. Jam 3:1.  What warning do these things offer Christians today who like the Pharisees suppose that they see clearly and are a guide to the blind and a light to those who are in darkness (Rom 2:19)?  What can we do to protect ourselves from following or becoming a blind guide?  See Rev 3:17-19.

In what way does Jesus say the scribes and Pharisees were misleading the people because of their own blindness?  See Mat 23:16,18.  What is the purpose of swearing any oath?  Heb 6:16.  Why is an oath that is solemnly sworn the end of every dispute as the highest form of promise?  See Gen 31:50,53.  What is the danger of violating an oath?  See Hos 10:4.  What then is the binding nature of an oath, and the great danger of rashly making an oath or vow?  See Num 30:2, Jdg 11:30-31,34-35, Mar 6:23-28.

In what way are oaths a result of men’s sinful nature?  Think: if men were not naturally prone to falsehood would there be any need for oaths to guarantee their veracity?  How is this evident even among children and the promises they extract from each other?  In what way is the habit of swearing oaths as an assurance of one’s truthfulness a tacit admission that the words one speaks in general are not as trustworthy and meant to be less binding?  The gospel calls upon men to repent of all falsehood and die to their sinful nature so they can be born again of the Spirit by the seed of Christ’s word and bear fruit in God’s eternal kingdom (Joh 12:24); how important is truthfulness and being faithful to one’s words in God’s kingdom?  See Mat 12:36-37.  What part then do oaths have in His kingdom?  See Mat 5:33-37, Jam 5:12.  Would it ever be necessary for God to swear an oath to guarantee His word?  If He then did so in condescension to the nature of fallen men, what would it communicate about the certainty of that to which He swore?  Cf. Gen 22:15-18, Isa 45:23, Jer 22:5, Heb 6:13,17-18.

Whereas the swearing of oaths makes one’s ordinary speech less trustworthy and binding, what distinctions were the scribes and Pharisees making so that even sworn oaths would be less binding?  See again Mat 23:16,18.  How did this contrast with the spirit of true faith found in their righteous forefathers?  See Jos 9:15-20, 10:1-10, 2Sa 21:1-6.  For what reason would they have made such distinctions?  Hint: what is another name used for the scribes, who were mostly Pharisees?  See Mat 22:34-35 and the parallel passage in Mar 12:28.  Then think: In what ways similar to those today would lawyers in that day have looked for ways to deliver people from legalities in which they were entangled?  And like lawyers today, for what purpose would they have done so?

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