Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Matthew 19:21

    Matthew 19:21 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Jesus said to him, If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Jesus said to him, If you have a desire to be complete, go, get money for your property, and give it to the poor, and you will have wealth in heaven: and come after me.

    Webster's Revision

    Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

    World English Bible

    Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 19:21

    If thou wilt be perfect - Τελειος ειναι, To be complete, to have the business finished, and all hinderances to thy salvation removed, go and sell that thou hast - go and dispose of thy possessions, to which it is evident his heart was too much attached, and give to the poor - for thy goods will be a continual snare to thee if thou keep them; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven - the loss, if it can be called such, shall be made amply up to thee in that eternal life about which thou inquirest; and come and follow me - be my disciple, and I will appoint thee to preach the kingdom of God to others. This was the usual call which Christ gave to his disciples. See Matthew 4:19; Matthew 8:22; Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14; and it is pretty evident, from this, that he intended to make him a preacher of his salvation. How many, by their attachment to filthy lucre, have lost the honor of becoming or continuing ambassadors for the Most High! See on Mark 10:21 (note).

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 19:21

    If thou wilt be perfect - The word "perfect" means complete in all its parts, finished, having no part wanting.

    Thus a watch is perfect or complete when it has all its proper wheels, and hands, and casements in order. Job was said to be perfect (see the notes at Job 1:1), not that he was sinless, for he is afterward reproved by God himself Job 38; 39; Job 40:4; but because his piety was properly proportioned, or had a completeness of parts. He was a pious father, a pious magistrate, a pious neighbor, a pious citizen. His religion was not confined to one thing, but it extended to all. Perfect means, sometimes, the filling up, or the carrying out, or the expression of a principle of action. Thus, 1 John 2:5; "Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected." That is, the keeping of the commandments of God is the proper expression, carrying out, or completion of the love of God. This is its meaning here. If thou wilt be perfect, complete, finished - if thou writ show the proper expression of this keeping of the commandments, go, etc. Make the obedience complete. Mark says Mark 10:21, Jesus, beholding him, loved him. He was pleased with his amiableness, his correct character, his frankness, his ingenuousness. Jesus, as a man, was capable of all the emotions of most tender friendship. As a man, we may suppose that his disposition was tender and affectionate, mild and calm. Hence, he loved with special affection the disciple John, eminently endowed with these qualities; and hence he was pleased with the same traits in this young man. Still, with all this amiableness, there is reason to think he was not a Christian, and that the love of mere amiable qualities was all the affection that was ever bestowed on him by the Saviour.

    "One thing," adds Mark, "thou lackest." There is one thing missing. You are not complete. This done, you would show that your obedience lacked no essential part, but was complete, finished, proportionate, perfect.

    Go and sell that thou hast ... - The young man declared that he had kept the law. That law required, among other things, that he should love his neighbor as himself. It required, also, that he should love the Lord his God supremely; that is, more than all other objects. If he had that true love to God and man - if he loved his Maker and fellow-creatures more than he did his property, he would be willing to give up his wealth to the service of God and of man. Jesus commanded him to do this, therefore, to test his character, and to show him that he had not kept the law as he pretended, and thus to show him that he needed a better righteousness than his own.

    Treasure in heaven - See the notes at Matthew 6:20.

    Follow me - To follow Jesus then meant to be a personal attendant on his ministry; to go about with him from place to place, as well as to imitate and obey him. Now it means:

    1. to obey his commandments.

    2. to imitate his example, and to live like him.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 19:21

    19:21 If thou desirest to be perfect - That is, to be a real Christian: Sell what thou hast - He who reads the heart saw his bosom sin was love of the world; and knew he could not be saved from this, but by literally renouncing it. To him therefore he gave this particular direction, which he never designed for a general rule. For him that was necessary to salvation: to us it is not. To sell all was an absolute duty to him; to many of us it would be ali absolute sin. The young man went away - Not being willing to have salvation at so high a price.