Matthew 18:3

3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you 1turn and 2become like children, you 3will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 18:3

And said, verily I say unto you
You may take it for a certain truth, and what may be depended upon, that

except ye be converted or turned;
from that gross notion of a temporal kingdom, and of enjoying great grandeur, and outward felicity in this world; and from all your vain views of honour, wealth, and riches,

and become as little children:
the Arabic renders it, "as this child"; that is, unless ye learn to entertain an humble, and modest opinion of yourselves, are not envious at one another, and drop all contentions about primacy and pre-eminence, and all your ambitious views of one being greater than another, in a vainly expected temporal kingdom; things which are not to be found in little children, though not free from sin in other respects,

ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven:
ye shall be so far from being one greater than another in it, that you shall not enter into it at all; meaning his visible, spiritual kingdom, which should take place, and appear after his resurrection, upon his ascension to heaven, and pouring forth of the Spirit: and it is to be observed, that the apostles carried these carnal views, contentions, and sentiments, till that time, and then were turned from them, and dropped them; for, upon the extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, they were cleared of these worldly principles, and understood the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom; which they then entered into, and took their place in, and filled it up with great success, without envying one another; having received the same commission from their Lord, and Master: so that these words are a sort of prophecy of what should be, as well as designed as a rebuke to them for their present ambition and contentions.

Matthew 18:3 In-Context

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them
3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,

Cross References 3

  • 1. See Luke 22:32
  • 2. Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17; [Psalms 131:2; 1 Corinthians 14:20; 1 Peter 2:2]
  • 3. [Matthew 5:19, 20]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.