Posted by: missionventureministries | June 2, 2014

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “DO NOT CAST PEARLS BEFORE SWINE”? – Matthew 7:6

Pearls - Matthew 7 vs 6

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6) 

This analogy was used by Christ to demonstrate how people react when they are living in open rebellion against Almighty God; rebellious people, who stubbornly reject His truth and close their minds and hearts to spiritual knowledge. 

Jesus taught this during His Sermon on the Mount, and to understand its meaning, we have to understand its context and placement within the sermon. Christ had just finished instructing the crowd on judgment and reproof: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2), and “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). Then in verse 6, Christ shows us the difference between “judgment” and “discernment.” 

To understand a relationship between dogs and pigs we see an illustration in the book of Proverbs, to which Peter refers.  The proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22) The dogs and swine here are representative of those who ridicule, reject and blaspheme the gospel once it has been given to them. Therefore, we are not to put forth the gospel of Jesus Christ in the direction of someone whose purpose is to trample it and return to his own evil ways. However; we as true born again believers need to identify such people through discernment, because the person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things … (1 Corinthians 2:15). While the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

This does not mean we refrain from teaching the gospel. Jesus Himself ate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10). The same instruction Jesus is giving in Matthew 7:6, Jesus gave to His apostles when He said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14). So, there is no need to present the gospel to those with negative attitudes toward God. 

Christ was instructing the disciples not to try to convert the masses. Unless God is opening someone’s mind to spiritual understanding, they will treat God’s truth in the same manner that pigs would treat pearls—as nothing but dirt. A pig would neither understand nor appreciate the great beauty and worth of the pearls. Neither would a person not being called by God, understand the great value of the truths of God. He or she would, figuratively, “trample God’s Word under their feet.” 

God warned us through the writings of Peter that some people are so evil, wicked and depraved that they are like “brute beasts” that should and will be destroyed by Almighty God. “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption.” (2 Peter 2:12) 

Balancing judgment with discernment is the wisdom that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 10:16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

We should not try to force God’s truths on others. Instead, one should “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). As Christians, one should be prepared to answer questions that others may have, if they are asking sincerely—and not for the purpose of debating. Often, when people honestly desire to understand what the Bible teaches, it can be an indication that God is opening that person’s mind.

In Matthew 13:45-46, Christ once again compares the truths of God to pearls, where He states, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Like the merchant, who sold all that he had to purchase a pearl of great price, God expects us to treat His truth as a valuable, priceless gem.

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Responses

  1. Good morning David and Helena, This study is perfect for me with a struggle I am having with a long time friend who fits right in to this picture.. In face she finally told me on her last visit that she is a deist. She is very liberal in her thinking and there is nothing we can talk about that we are on opposite sides of belief. What makes it hard is that I have known this person since I was 12 and has been a part of our family and she wants to come visit me and I have gone out of my way to not encourage the visit. My explanation would not be understood by her and she would most likely use my words against me , just like the Lord said others would do. Thank you for this timely study. Love and hugs Susan

    missionventureministries posted: ” “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6) This analogy was used by Christ to demonstrate how people react when they are li”


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