The Meaning of Matthew 10:34 Explained

Matthew 10:34

KJV: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

YLT: 'Ye may not suppose that I came to put peace on the earth; I did not come to put peace, but a sword;

Darby: Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth: I have not come to send peace, but a sword.

ASV: Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

What does Matthew 10:34 Mean?

Study Notes

Cf. John 14:27 . Peace is spoken of in Scripture in three ways:
(1) "Peace with God" Romans 5:1 this is the work of Christ into which the individual enters by faith; Ephesians 2:14-17 ; Romans 5:1 .
(2) "The peace of God" Philippians 4:7 inward peace, the state of soul of that believer who, having entered into peace with God through faith in Christ, has also committed to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving all his anxieties; Luke 7:50 ; Philippians 4:6 .
(3) Peace "on earth" Luke 2:14 ; Psalms 72:7 ; Psalms 85:10 ; Isaiah 9:6 ; Isaiah 9:7 ; Isaiah 11:1-12 the universal prevalency of peace in the earth under the kingdom. Matthew 10:34 was Christ's warning that the truth which He was proclaiming would not bring in the kingdom age of peace, but conflict rather. John 14:27 .

Context Summary

Matthew 10:34-42 - Receiving Christ's Representatives
In Jesus Christ we acquire a new affinity, stronger than that of family ties. When we enter into the family of God we belong to all His children. They are our brethren and sisters in the most intimate sense. See Matthew 12:48-50. The new love that floods our nature does not make us less but more tender and sympathetic toward our own kith and kin; but if we are compelled to choose, then we must stand with the children of God, though it should rend us from the old happy family life in which we were nurtured.
As to the closing paragraph, may we not illustrate it thus? When the widow who sustained Elijah at Zarephath entered Paradise, she found herself standing amid the great prophets of Israel. When she asked the attendant angel whether there was not some mistake, he replied, "Certainly not. In treating the prophet as you did, you proved yourself to be of the same spirit and temper as he; and it is but right that you should share in the prophet's reward."
For Review Questions, see the e-Sword Book Comments. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 10

1  Jesus sends out his apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles;
5  giving them their charge, teaches them;
16  comforts them against persecutions;
40  and promises a blessing to those who receive them

Greek Commentary for Matthew 10:34

I came not to send peace, but a sword [ουκ ηλτον βαλειν ειρηνην αλλα μαχαιραν]
A bold and dramatic climax. The aorist infinitive means a sudden hurling of the sword where peace was expected. Christ does bring peace, not as the world gives, but it is not the force of compromise with evil, but of conquest over wrong, over Satan, the triumph of the cross. Meanwhile there will be inevitably division in families, in communities, in states. It is no namby-pamby sentimentalism that Christ preaches, no peace at any price. The Cross is Christ‘s answer to the devil‘s offer of compromise in world dominion. For Christ the kingdom of God is virile righteousness, not mere emotionalism. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 10:34

Luke 12:49 I came to cast fire [Πυρ ηλτον βαλειν]
Suddenly Jesus lets the volcano in his own heart burst forth. The fire was already burning. “Christ came to set the world on fire, and the conflagration had already begun” (Plummer). The very passion in Christ‘s heart would set his friends on fire and his foes in opposition as we have just seen (Luke 11:53.). It is like the saying of Jesus that he came to bring not peace, but a sword, to bring cleavage among men (Matthew 10:34-36). [source]
Luke 12:51 But rather division [αλλ η διαμερισμον]
Peace at any price is not the purpose of Christ. It is a pity for family jars to come, but loyalty to Christ counts more than all else. These ringing words (Luke 12:51-53) occur in Matthew 10:34-36 in the address to the Twelve for the Galilean tour. See discussion of details there. These family feuds are inevitable where only part cleave to Christ. In Matthew we have κατα — kata with the genitive whereas in Luke it is επι — epi with the dative (and accusative once). [source]
John 2:15 Drove out [ἐξέβαλεν]
Literally, as Rev., cast out. See on Matthew 10:34; see on Matthew 12:35; see on Mark 1:12; see on James 2:25. [source]
Revelation 6:4 To take peace from the earth []
Compare Matthew 10:34; Matthew 24:7. [source]
Revelation 6:4 Sword [μάχαιρα]
Compare Matthew 10:34. In Homer, a large knife or dirk, worn next the sword-sheath, and used to slaughter animals for sacrifice. Thus, “The son of Atreus, having drawn with his hands the knife ( μάχαιραν ) which hung ever by the great sheath of his sword, cut the hair from the heads of the lambs … . He spake, and cut the lambs' throats with the pitiless brass” (“Iliad,” iii., 271-292). It is used by the surgeon Machaon to cut out an arrow (“Iliad,” xi., 844). Herodotus, Aristophanes, and Euripides use the word in the sense of a knife for cutting up meat. Plato, of a knife for pruning trees. As a weapon it appears first in Herodotus: “Here they (the Greeks) defended themselves to the last, such as still had swords, using them (vii., 225) Later of the sabre or bent sword, contrasted with the ξίφος or straight sword. Aristophanes uses it with the adjective μιᾷ singlefor a razor, contrasted with μάχαιρα διπλῆ , the double knife or scissors. This and ῥομφαία (see on Luke 2:35) are the only words used in the New Testament for sword. Θίφος (see above) does not occur. In Septuagint μάχαιρα of the knife of sacrifice used by Abraham (Genesis 22:6, Genesis 22:10). [source]
Revelation 14:16 Cast [εβαλεν]
Second aorist active indicative of βαλλω — ballō No violence by the use of εβαλεν — ebalen as is seen in Matthew 10:34 (βαλειν ειρηνην — balein eirēnēn to bring peace). [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 10:34 mean?

Not think that I came to bring peace to the earth not but a sword
Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν οὐκ ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν

νομίσητε  think 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: νομίζω  
Sense: to hold by custom or usage, own as a custom or usage, to follow a custom or usage.
ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
ἦλθον  I  came 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: ἔρχομαι  
Sense: to come.
βαλεῖν  to  bring 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: βάλλω 
Sense: to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls.
εἰρήνην  peace 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.
γῆν  earth 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: γῆ  
Sense: arable land.
μάχαιραν  a  sword 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: μάχαιρα  
Sense: a large knife, used for killing animals and cutting up flesh.