Question: Please explain the meaning of Matthew 7:6?
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
Answer: This verse is part of what is known at Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and is covered in Matthew, Chapters Five to Seven. In Chapter 5:1,2 we are told,
“And seeing the multitudes, he (Christ) went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples can unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them...”
Two things are apparent: (1). This is the beginning of His sermon, (2). He was teaching the disciples, who in turn were to go and teach others. His sermon in the mountain ended with Chapter 8:1 states,
“When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.”
Matthew 7:6 is instruction to the saved, which are his disciples. The practical application is as follows:
- “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs…” “Holy” would be in reference to the Word of God, and “dogs” in reference to the lost.
- “...Neither cast ye your pearls before the swine…” Pearls are those Bible truths, the precious promises. In other words, these are the “gems” contained in God’s Word.
- “…lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
The first part of Matthew 7:6 may seem paradoxical to Matthew 28:19, which tells us to,
“Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
The word “teach” is the Greek “MATHETEUO,” and means “to make disciples.” In other words, win them to Christ and baptize them. “Matheteuo” is used in the transitive sense, meaning “any and everyone,” and in the active voice, meaning “don’t stop.”
Now, the last phrase of Matthew 7:6 explains why there are some people to whom we are not obligated to continue to give forth the precious Word of God. These are they who have heard God’s Word, rejected it, and forbid hearing it from anyone again. These are those who God warns the Christian to avoid. They are described in Psalm 1:1 as “sinners, ungodly, and scornful,” and verse 6 of this Psalm gives their demise, “…but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Their response is described as threefold:
- “Trample… under their feet.” Some time back I heard my wife’s foot stamp on the kitchen floor several times. I hurried to the kitchen to see what was the matter. She had spotted a spider crawling across the floor and wanted to make sure it was dead. One thump would have been enough, but she hates spiders, so it got several more thumps! The word “trample” in the Greek means “to reject with disdain.” They will become outraged, as they have a feeling of contempt and aversion for the Word of God which they feel is beneath their dignity and pride!
(2). “Turn again.” This could imply that they have rejected God’s Word at least once; and maybe several times.
(3). “And rend you.” “Rend” in the Greek means “to twist, break forth, tear, and etc.
Putting these three descriptions together comes out to something like this: These people do not want the Gospel as it is an insult to their dignity and pride. Therefore, they will trample you under their feet as often as it takes to silence your testimony. They will “rend you;” that is, they will break forth and burst out of control of their emotions of hatred, even to the point of physical harm. In other words, avoid these Christ-haters and utilize your time in a more productive way!
Peter uses a reference to the lost as “dogs” and “swine” in 2 Peter 2:21,22.
“For it had been better for them (the lost) not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they had known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (21)
“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed (on the outside, with a religious veneer of self-righteousness) to her wallowing in the mire.” (22)
We thank the Lord Jesus Christ for paying for our sin on the Cross and offering Salvation to anyone who will receive it by faith.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” - John 3:36