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Friday, September 22nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 10

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-4

  1. Intro:
    1. Ch.9 ends with a discussion about praying for laborers to go into God’s harvest. Ch.10 begins with Jesus commissioning (or sending out) the laborers.
      1. Beware, if you start to pray for laborers...you may become an answer to your own prayer. But no worries, The will of God does not send you where the grace of God cannot keep you.
    2. Listen to this story: The story is told of Jesus’ return to heaven. After dying for the sins of humanity, he was greeted by the Angel Gabriel. An awesome thing you did, Lord, Gabriel said. Incredible! Does the world know? Jesus answered, not really. As a matter of fact, only a few guys in Palestine understand what I did. Well, how is the rest of the world going to understand? I’m entrusting those guys with the message. I’m trusting they will carry My message throughout the world. But what if they don’t? Gabriel asked. What did they decide to go back to fishing? Or what if they get afraid? Or what if they get tangled up in relationships? What happens if they don’t do it? What is your plan then? And Jesus replied, I have no other plan. [what a responsibility. It’s a story...but a reality]
    3. Jesus is going to answer a couple of questions here: How He would make His message permanent & How He would make His message duplicatable.
      1. He chose men whose heart He could write His message on, & who would go out from His presence to carry it abroad.
  2. BAKER’S DOZEN 13, Jesus + 12 [former bakers' custom of adding an extra loaf to a dozen sold]
    1. His - Not just a disciple, but His disciples. Jn.10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
    2. Disciples - They were followers, apprentices, pupils, trainees & students…before they were teachers.
      1. Jesus had many disciples/followers, but these 12 were His leaders - those He commissioned to build His Church after His return to heaven.
      2. They weren’t only disciples, but now also Apostles, sent forth w/a commission.
      3. Apostle was used by the Greeks for the personal representatives of the King, ambassadors who functioned w/the Kings authority.
    3. Power - msg makes me :) He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives.
      1. When called into His presence they received their equipment, power and authority (or exousia = delegated authority as Luke tells us)
      2. The Jackass brays mightily but the forest does not tremble. The Tigers paw barely presses the fallen leaf, & all rush for shelter.
        1. The 12 had this Tiger paw authority against the unclean spirits to cast them out.
    4. Unclean spirits - refers to evil spirits or demons. According to Jewish purity laws, people inhabited by such spirits were unclean.
    5. Heal every disease and every sickness - Healing, in addition to exorcism, served as an authentication of the disciples’ message.
      1. Jesus commands them to validate their commission and message through substantiated signs.
  3. TEAM ECLECTIC (2-4)
    1. ​​​​​​​The 12 apostles - Matthew initially refers to this group as disciples, or learners.
      1. He calls them apostles...those who are sent out w/the authority of the sender.
      2. We have here 6 groups of 2, or 3 groups of 4 company’s. [also in Mk.3:13-19, Lk.6:12-16, Acts 1] (about to be sent out 2x2)
      3. Each time the 12 Apostles are listed, Peter is mentioned first (because of his prominence) and Judas, last.
        1. Eg. 1st Paul seemed to have been discipled by Barnabas. Barnabas was the more prominent figure (see Acts 13:1,7 & then changes in vs.13. Also 5x’s, in Mt.2:11, 13,14, 20,21 the Child & His mother).
      4. Also note, it was common to have a nickname, or 2. Or to have names in the different languages of the day...eg.Peter(Gk name) Simon(Heb name) Cephas(Aramaic name)
    2. Company #1
      1. Simon - Peter 1st - he generally was listed 1st, but it also means 1st as in the leader. The Lord sets leaders among leaders.
        1. Jesus had changed Simons name to Peter, a little stone & a right solid stone he became
      2. ​​​​​​​Andrew - Peter’s bother. What a blessing when brother’s in the flesh, become brother’s in the spirit.
        1. ​​​​​​​Don’t give up on your brother/sister coming to Christ. He 1st found his own brother Simon (Jn.1:41). Andrew always seemed to be in his brother’s shadow...I wonder if that mattered to him?
        2. (1) Have you grown up under your brother or sisters shadow?
      3. James & John - The 2 sons of Thunder. No~t necessarily a title to be proud of…they had volatile tempers.
        1. Yet John, after hanging around Jesus, became the apostle of Love.
        2. James was so early to be martyred...while John lived the longest of the 12.
    3. Company #2
      1. Philip - Told Nathanael of Jesus. He also brought word to Jesus of 2 Greeks who wanted to see Him.
        1. Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from Bethsaida by the Sea of Galilee (Jn 1:44).
      2. Bartholomew - not a name but who his dad was, BarTolmi, aramaic, son of Tolmai
        1. ​​​​​​​Probably Nathanael. He is never mentioned w/o an and. Thus, He seemed to be the kind of man to always be working w/other people.
        2. He was the skeptic, can anything good come out of Nazareth.
      3. Thomas - called Didymus/twin in John 11:16. He was one who questioned Jesus’ resurrection (John 20:24-27). AKA the doubter, doubting Thomas.
        1. Praise God for his good questions though (where? & way?)
      4. Matthew - humbly reminds us of his old dubious occupation of tax collector, maybe so the Grace which called him might be the more conspicuous.
    4. Company #3
      1. James - son of Alphaeus, the less, or the younger. Not much known of him.
        1. James is only mentioned in the lists of apostles.
      2. Lebbaeus - Thaddaeus, or Jude. He preached in Armenia.
      3. Simon - the Canaanite. The moniker Zealot refers to a sect of Jewish anti-Roman activists.
        1. Simon had been a member of the revolutionary Jewish Zealots, a political party that sought to overthrow the Roman Empire.
      4. Judas Iscariot - 2x2 with the traitor bringing up the rear. Judas in his rightful place, always last on the lists. Iscariot may mean from Kerioth, a Judean town.
        1. ​​​​​​​Jesus gave him the highest trust in watching over the funds. Yet, he was even a failure at that. This quality that rendered him useful was the one that perverted him to his own end. Money got the best of him & he sold his companion & friend for 30 pieces of silver.
        2. What a description to have always follow his name...who also betrayed him.
    5. No power in the world could have united these men for a common task, except the call of Jesus. That call transcended all their previous divisions & established a new & steadfast fellowship in Jesus.
      1. Even Judas went forth to the Christ-work & the fact that he did so, will always be a Dark Riddle & an Awful Warning.
    1. ​​​​​​​Be Encouraged...by worldly standards...these men had no qualifications at all.
      1. Not wealth, no special positions, no special education. They were not trained theologians, not high ranking churchmen, they were 12 ordinary men.
        1. ​​​​​​​Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
        2. He didn’t pick the influential, the powerful, the learned or the wise. But good men, simple men, men that were open & easy to mold.
    2. Jesus uses every sort of individual.
      1. Are you determined, adventurous, original, a born leader type, but sometimes speak before you think?
        1. He will chasten you & make you steadfast, like Peter.
      2. Are you a keen observer, a deep thinker, maybe leadership isn’t your #1 gift?
        1. He will use you for insight & teaching others, like John.
      3. Are you full of questions, even doubt, & move forward w/hesitation?
        1. Jesus can train intellectual questioners & use them to bless others, like Thomas or Nathanael.
      4. Are you a practical man/woman, familiar w/public affairs?
        1. Christ will avail Himself of your administrative ability, like Matthew & Simon.
      5. Are you a radical political activist?
        1. Christ can make you radically active for Him, like Simon the Zealot.
      6. Do you have directness, straightforwardness, a self-reliance about you?
        1. Jesus will take these & enable you to give assurance & confidence to others, like James & Andrew.
      7. Do you have an explosive personality?
        1. God can temper it, like with the sons of Thunder.
      8. Do faith come easy to you, where you don’t need a ton of facts, just a clear call from Jesus?
        1. Christ will utilize your quick faith & energize you in His service, like Philip, to whom Jesus simply found Philip and said to him, Follow Me. And he followed.
      9. Are you unknown, inconspicuous, unimportant, feel your always living in someone else’s shadow?
        1. Christ can use you also, you in your small corner, like the other James, the other Simon, & the other Judas. [They didn’t even bear an exclusive name]
          1. Team Eclectic. What beautiful & artistic Individuality.
    3. When I get to heaven I’m not going to be asked Brian why were you not like Moses? But I hope not to hear, Brian, why weren’t you Brian?...the Brian I meant you to be!
      1. ​​​​​​​Don’t forget: Jesus worked inward, rather than outward. Jesus worked Intensively, not extensively. Jesus stamped Himself on a few, then sent them out to reach many. Jesus wrote not a line that endured, but much on human hearts.
    4. Don’t you love how God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it in the blood of Christ, put His Spirit in it, and then make it a blessing to humanity?
    5. Christ Has No Hands - Annie Johnston Flint
    6. Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
    7. He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
    8. He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
    9. He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.
    10. We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
    11. We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;
    12. We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
    13. What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?
    14. What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
    15. What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?
    16. What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?
    17. How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?

Verses 5-26

  1. Intro:
    1. Here we have instructions to 3 kinds of disciples, each group living at a different time.
      1. Some of these instructions will be specifically for the apostles (vs.5-15). Some to those serving just before the Lords return (16-23). Some to faithful disciples, living all throughout church history (24-26).
        1. However, spiritual principles are here for all of God’s servants.
    2. Mrk.6:7 tells us the 12 went out in pairs...which explains their names in pairs. (2-4)
      1. This text specifically, is NOT our commission today.
      2. We may learn from the spiritual principles but we shouldn’t apply these instructions to our lives today.
        1. Later Jesus tells them to do almost the opposite (diff. situation) Lk.22:35-38.
        2. Our commission is to All the world...not only to the Jews.
    3. Some of the spiritual principles we can grab from this section is Pray - Power - Go.
      1. This is the perpetual order of the messengers & missionaries of His kingdom.
  2. TO FORMER DISCIPLES (5-15) The 12 disciples of His day
    1. ​​​​​​​Their mission field (5-6)
      1. They are to go only to the Jews, the lost sheep of Israel.
      2. He tells these original Jews for Jesus, to stay in the pastures near the fold. [don’t even go to those who most resemble the Jews, the Samaritans]
    2. Their mission (7-15)
      1. To preach that God’s Kingdom is near (7).
      2. To heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons (8a).
        1. They are given authority to do these things. Jesus gave them the Power(vs.1). Zech.4:6
          1. Not by power (an indiv’s strength) not by might (military), but by My Spirit.
        2. Preach & Heal - Jesus the 1st Medical missionary tells them not to only minister to their souls, but also to their physical bodies.
          1. Because often the healing of disease is a way of approaching the soul.
      3. To give freely (8b). (power is the context)
      4. To remain unburdened (9,10). Trust God to provide.
        1. ​​​​​​​Leave the Master Card & Visa at home along w/your wallet. [It keeps you humble when you can’t pay]
        2. Don’t be encumbered by excess material goods. (note plurals in vs.10)
          1. No need for 2 suitcases & a carry on. If the weather changes they’ll provide you a coat. They’ll take care of you, a workman’s worthy of his hire.
      5. To bless or curse each town upon leaving (11-15).
        1. The Apostles depended on Hospitality. For a town to refuse a guest was a breach of etiquette.
      6. (11) Stay there - Don’t seek better accommodations.
        1. Wealthy people will always turn up, but don’t forget the worthy men & women who 1st took care of you.
      7. (13) Let your peace, or your shalom aleikhem, be upon that city.
        1. If you come as a blessing, come with a blessing.
        2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Application for us...Spurgeon said, We should never enter a house w/o wishing it good, not to leave it w/o having endeavored to make it better.
        3. Not sure how to bless them? Use Num.6:22-27 Then the Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”
      8. ​​​​​​​If you trusted them to be worthy & they turned out not to be - grab your peace back, & leave. No Compromise.
      9. (14) They weren’t to rail on them, but to let them know they must leave because they refused their message.
        1. Maybe to let impenitent sinners know where they stand.
      10. (15) The Lord seals their fearful doom w/an Assuredly, I say unto you.
        1. ​​​​​​​All individuals fall into this judgment even today, whom reject the Kings Messengers, that bring the Kings Message.
  3. ​​​​​​​TO FUTURE DISCIPLES (16-23) Living During the Time of the Great Trib
    1. ​​​​​​​It is not unusual for Bible writers to leap from one period to another without warning.
      1. Here Jesus looks down through history and sees those who will be His witnesses during the Tribulation period.
    2. These verses do not apply to the 12 Apostles for several reasons:
      1. See Jesus’ statement in vs.23.
      2. Here He speaks of persecution which we have no record the 12 suffered during their tour. (17)
      3. (5) forbids them to go to the Gentiles, while v.18 says they will be witnesses to the Gentiles.
      4. The Spirit could not speak in them until after Christ had been crucified and raised from the dead (Jn14:17).
      5. (22) This vs. speaks of World-wide persecution (all). The apostles were only ministering in their land.
      6. (22,23) parallel Mt.24:9,13 where they definitely apply to the end time.
    3. The enemies of God will Hate them (10:16-18, 23).
      1. Religious persecution (16,17).
        1. They will be handed over to councils and beaten in synagogues. Religion has always persecuted the true church (i.e. the unconverted Saul of Tarsus).
        2. I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves...Oh, Great!
          1. I wonder how team #6 is doing (vs.4)? We have an attack sheep (Simon the Zealot) & a wolf in sheep clothes (Judas).
        3. What do you get when you cross a smart snake & a delicate dove? Well, it should be believers during the Trib. Tough-minded & Tender-hearted. Steel/Velvet.
        4. They aren’t sent to fight w/wolves. Nor drive them out of the places they frequent. But seek to transform them. (Spurg) [No, Dancing w/Wolves]
          1. They’ll have a Wolf ministry. They must be wise to convince them & warmhearted to convict them.
      2. Political persecution (18-20).
        1. They will be brought before governors & kings; this will give them a chance to witness/testimony. We can always turn Opposition into Opportunity.
        2. The Revelation teaches that in the last days Government & Religion will work together to control the world.
          1. Rev.13 describes the time when the world ruler (antichrist) will force the world to worship him & his image. [marrying once again those 2 offices]
          2. He will control world religion, economics, & government. And he will also use all 3 to persecute the church.
      3. Family persecution (21).
        1. Non-believing family members will betray those who have become Jesus’ disciples.
        2. There will be a decay of family love & loyalty.
      4. General persecution (22,23).
        1. Everyone will hate them because of their allegiance to Christ.
        2. He who endures to the end will be saved - has nothing to do with salvation from sin. It is talking about the faithful endurance of His ambassadors during the time of persecution in the Tribulation.
        3. (23) They’ll always have work to do & a message to proclaim, for the sake of the kingdom.
    4. The Spirit of God will Help them (19,20). [The enemies of God will Hate them but...]
      1. He will give them the right words to say.
  4. TO FAITHFUL DISCIPLES (24-26) Living throughout Church History
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus speaks of discipleship & servanthood (learners/laborers) and persecution.
    2. This section would apply to servants during any period of bible history.
      1. It has special significance for His disciples today.
        1. We are His disciples. Our prayer should be, Lord, You be the needle & I’ll be the thread. I’ll follow right behind...wherever You lead.
    3. The Certainty of Persecution (24,25).
      1. Just as He is persecuted, His disciples also will be.
      2. To be Like his Teacher...Like his Master - Let this be our ambition in every way.
      3. They may call us what they like, but they cannot make us evil.
        1. God was slandered in the garden of Eden. Christ was slandered on Calvary. How can we hope to escape?
      4. Note, we are of His Household - what a privilege.
    4. The Confidence in Persecution (26) [see vs.28, can kill body but not soul]
      1. In this next section (to the end of the ch.) Matthew will list several reasons why we must not be afraid to openly confess Christ.
        1. Note how many times do not fear shows up in this next section (vs.26,28,31).
      2. Anticipate the Future and be not overwhelmed by the Present.
      3. If you’re misrepresented...The Lord will right you before long.
      4. A day is coming when All will be righted.
    5. A soldier dies twice, once when he dies and also when he is forgotten.

Verses 27-42

  1. INTRO: Get A Life He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
    1. This ch has been looking at instructions to 3 kinds of disciples, each group living at a different time. 12 Apostles (1-15). Trib Disciples (16-23). All/anytime period (24-42).
      1. Remember, this ch’s theme isn’t sonship but discipleship: We become his sons/daughters thru faith in Christ. We are His disciples as we faithfully follow Him & obey His will.
      2. Sonship doesn’t change, discipleship does...as we walk w/Christ.
    2. This chapter gives us deep insight into discipleship and helps us see ourselves as kingdom citizens who have power but who humble ourselves to serve.
    3. Note these features of Jesus’ instructions:
      1. Disciples were to be dependent on God, not on their own wealth or possessions, for necessities (8-11).
      2. Disciples were to give all men the freedom to accept or reject them and their Lord (12-15).
      3. Disciples were to expect and to endure persecution from those who rejected and hated their Lord (16-26). Now this week we’ll see…
      4. Disciples are to remember their great value to God the Father, and do His will without fear of men (27-33).
      5. Disciples are to expect conflict, even in their own homes. In everything, Jesus is to be put first, and pain is to be borne, just as Jesus bore the pain of His cross (34-39).
      6. Disciples could know they brought great gifts to men, who would be rewarded for their responses to the Father and His children (40-42).
    4. Discipleship in Jesus’ time was the basic way Jewish leaders were trained. They lived with their master, and learned by observing - then imitating him. After their years of training were complete the disciple could be recognized as a teacher...& now train others
      1. While disciple is used in several ways in the Gospels and in Acts, its basic meaning is that of learning to be like one’s teacher.
      2. Lk.6:40 ESV A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
  2. PROTECTION (27-33) [Protection. Privilege. Promise. Practice]
    1. Their Father was truly concerned for them and aware of their circumstances.
    2. (27) Tell out what your Master tells you. Receive a message from God in your quiet meditation, then make it known everywhere.
      1. ​​​​​​​Here it like a whisper in your ear, then sound it forth like the town gossip.
    3. Isaiah gives us a beautiful pattern to follow from the Messiah in 50:4,5 [what?] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. [How?] He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear. To hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened My ear; [result?] and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. [Messianic] HEAR, SPEAK, OBEY
      1. He had a ready tongue, but 1st an open ear.
      2. Here are early morning vigils before God…to receive instruction.
        1. Vigil - a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray. [From the word watchfulness, awake, alert]
        2. Here is where Spurgeon named his famous devotional, Morning by Morning.
      3. Jesus spoke of this in the Lord’s Prayer regarding our daily diet (daily bread).
    4. Jesus also set the example for us in taking time Himself to pray & seek God.
    5. When our ears are open, there will be more opportunities to open our lips.
      1. Listen before we speak & listen more than we speak.
    6. (28) People may kill your body, but they cannot touch your soul. But this is not a flippant statement...as God cares for both your body and soul (see vs.30).
      1. There is no cure for the fear of man like the fear of God.
      2. Let goods & kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still; His kingdom is forever. Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress
    7. (29-31) If each hair is valued, what must our heads be worth? What must our bodies be worth? What must our souls be worth?
      1. No need to fear when God is exercising such wonderful care over us.
    8. (32) To confess Him means much more than to make a statement w/the lips. It also means to back up that statement w/one’s life.
      1. It is easy to say, Jesus Christ is Lord, it’s quite another to surrender to Him & obey His will. The walk & the talk must go together.
      2. Let us never blush to own Him in all companies.
    9. (33) Of the original 12 Apostles, only 1, fell into this latter category, Judas Iscariot.
  3. PRIVILEGE (34-38) [Protection. Privilege. Promise. Practice]
    1. ​​​​​​​(34) In other passages, Jesus is said to bring peace (Is 9:6, Lk 2:14, Acts 10:36).
      1. There, peace is applied to the restored relationship Jesus brings between God and man, and to the ultimate peace He brings to creation when His messianic work is finished, after His 2nd coming & millennial reign.
      2. In His first coming He brings division, since His call to the kingdom of God is accepted by some and rejected by others.
    2. While some receive Jesus’ message eagerly & w/great joy, others reject it with hostility.
      1. Jesus’ kingdom message inherently brings strife and conflict.
      2. The context may indicate persecution and martyrdom, but interpersonal discord also results turning a person’s family against him or her.
    3. In vs.37 we show The Priority of our love for Christ as we place Him even above our families. In vs.38 we show The Proof of our love for Christ as we are to take up our cross and follow him.
    4. (37) Love is the central theme of Jesus’ moral exhortation (greatest cmnd...loving God/neighbor) However, familial devotion should not supersede devotion to Christ.
      1. Some who follow Christ are hated by their family members which may be part of their cost of discipleship.
    5. (38) A true disciple must take his cross and follow Jesus.
      1. He must be willing to face/embrace/identify with Jesus’ kingdom message, to the point of being willing to not only family hatred, but also death, like a criminal carrying his cross to his own execution.
        1. In the Roman Empire a convicted criminal, when taken to be crucified, was forced to carry his own cross. [crucifixion was reserved for criminals, foreigners, & slaves]
          1. The condemned person had to carry his or her own cross (usually, just the cross beam which was attached to the upright portion of the cross at the crucifixion site).
        2. This showed publicly that he was then under and submissive to the rule he had been opposing.
      2. Likewise Jesus’ disciples must demonstrate their submission to the One against whom they had rebelled. Jesus’ followers were admitting His right over their lives.
        1. In so doing one would find his life in return for having given it up to Jesus Christ.
        2. Each must take up his own cross. He see’s none exempt from this process.
        3. Not make up your own cross, but take up your own personal custom cross...​​​​​​​chosen, made, shaped, contoured, fitted for you by Christ.
          1. It will not take us up...we must take it up...daily...and follow Him.
  4. PROMISE (39) [Protection. Privilege. Promise. Practice]
    1. ​​​​​​​(39) The path Jesus and His followers would travel would be a road of sorrow and suffering. But in so losing one’s life, one would truly find a better life.
      1. Those who do not take up their cross in discipleship - thereby avoiding death - will lose their lives at the time of judgment.
      2. To get a life...w/Him. You need to lose a life...your own/your old man.
      3. There is only 2 alternatives: spare your life or sacrifice your life. (no middle ground)
        1. Don’t gain the temporal at the expense of the eternal.
  5. PRACTICE (40-42) [Protection. Privilege. Promise. Practice]
    1. ​​​​​​​These are more benefits of true discipleship. 1st we saw…
      1. ​​​​​​​We will be honored by the Son in the presence of the Father (32,33)
      2. We will fully gain one’s life (39) and now…
      3. We will also be given great rewards (40-42)
    2. (42) One of these little ones - An indication of status, not age. Thus little ones refers to disciples of Christ.
    3. Only a cup of cold water - meaning, the smallest service.
      1. Note the descending climax a prophet, a righteous man, a little one; signifying that however low we come down in our services to those that are Christ’s, all that is done for His sake, and that bears the stamp of love to His awesome name, shall be divinely appreciated and owned and rewarded.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/matthew-10.html. 2017.
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