Matthew 19:13-30 – Eisegesis vs. Exegesis


We begin our study today with two big words.  One word is what we attempt to do every Sunday.  The other is a trap that many well-meaning people fall into.  We study this today because our text begins with a story that many claim is proof that Jesus wants us to baptize babies.  Now if you read verses 13-16 and didn’t see that thought anywhere in the text… you would be right.  However, if you had been raised within certain denominations you would clearly see how this text defends your tradition.

Exegesis is when you study what the text of scripture actually says.  Eisegesis is when you read something into the text that isn’t there.  Our goal for healthy devotion to Jesus is exegesis.  We must always be weary of the alternate trap.  Eisegesis is where all errant doctrines spring from.

What our text does say is that nobody should be kept from Jesus and that He will be “indignant” with anyone who tries to keep others out… even someone as seemingly insignificant as a child. Jesus is quite fond of using children to explain the faith we must have to enter the Kingdom of God.  This text flows quite nicely into the next portion where we see the arrogance of the rich young ruler.



The rich young ruler comes to Jesus in the right way.  He seems sincere, and he seems to know that Jesus is someone who can help him.  His question is the problem though.  “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” he asks.  Jesus tries to help him see his error by replying to him, “Only God is good.”  This completely goes over the head of this rich young man.  He thinks there is something that he can “DO” to earn heaven.  He is quite pleased to hear Jesus talk about the second half of the 10 commandments.  You can hear the joy in his response, “I have been doing that stuff since I was kid!” It is now, at the height of self-righteousness, that Jesus exposes the young man’s sin.  It is important to note that Jesus does this, not out of spite for the man, but out of love for him.  Jesus now reverts to the first part of the 10 commandments and reveals the idol that the young man worships.  The rich young ruler trusts in his wealth more than he trusts in God.  Remember, the gospel is not about what we “do.”  It’s about who we “trust.”  Jesus died to save us from our sins.  Put and keep your faith in Him, and not in your own efforts or strength.


Study Questions

  1. What do you think Jesus meant when He said that the kingdom belonged to those were like children?
  2. How was the rich young ruler not like a child?
  3. Discuss how real love will cause you to tell someone the truth.