Matthew 7:21

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Matthew 7:21
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"The sermon on the mount" (1873). From The story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
BookGospel of Matthew
Christian Bible partNew Testament

Matthew 7:21 is the twenty-first verse of the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse continues Jesus' warning against false prophets.


In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth
the will of my Father which is in heaven.

The World English Bible translates the passage as:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will
enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who
does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Other scripture to bear in mind with the will of God, in James 1:22, 2:24, and 1 John 2:17 and 5:3.

For a collection of other versions see BibleHub Matthew 7:21


This verse is parallelled by Luke 6:46, but in Luke the phrasing is directed at the crowd itself, while in Matthew it is against the hypothetical false prophets.[1]

This verse states that some of those who claim to be good Christians will be rejected by Jesus if they have not carried out the will of God. The scholarly view is that Jesus in this set of verses is presenting himself as a witness before God at the Last Judgment, being consulted by God on who should enter but with the final decision being made by the Father.[2]

The word translated as Lord is kyrie, this is the first time in Matthew that this title is used in reference to Jesus. It is a title of polite address, and Hill notes that sir might be a more literal interpretation.[1] It is also a title by which it was common to address a rabbi or elder. There is evidence that it is a stronger wording than just sir and lord or master are closer to the original. The next verse makes clear that the lord being referenced here is the lord of the last judgment.[3] It was also a common address for a teacher, and Harrington believes the meaning of this verse is that one needs to practice the teachings of Jesus and not just speak them.[4] Kyrie is also close to ho Kyrios, the term used by the Septuagint to translate the Tetragrammaton. The Gospel of Matthew never uses that title to refer to Jesus, though the Gospel of Luke does so.[5]

This verse contains a collection Matthew favourite phrases, such as "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Father in Heaven." Gundry notes that "enter the kingdom of heaven" appears three other times in the Gospel, at Matthew 5:20, 18:3, and 23:13.[6] The reference to the kingdom of heaven is not found in Luke, continuing Matthew's pattern of being far more eschatological.[4]


  1. ^ a b Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981, p. 153.
  2. ^ Hare, Douglas R. A. Matthew. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching. Westminster John Knox Press, 1993
  3. ^ Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975 pg. 188
  4. ^ a b Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Matthew. Liturgical Press, 1991, p. 103
  5. ^ France, R.T.. The Gospel of Matthew. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007 pg. 293
  6. ^ Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982. p. 131

Preceded by
Matthew 7:20
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 7
Succeeded by
Matthew 7:22