Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Matthew 25:35

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat - Every thing which is done to a follower of Christ, whether it be good or evil, he considers as done to himself, see Matthew 25:40; Acts 9:4, Acts 9:5; Hebrews 6:10. Of all the fruits of the Spirit, none are mentioned here but those that spring from love, or mercy; because these give men the nearest conformity to God. Jesus had said, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy; and he here shows how this promise shall be fulfilled. The rabbins say: "As often as a poor man presents himself at thy door, the holy blessed God stands at his right hand: if thou give him alms, know that he who stands at his right hand will give thee a reward. But if thou give him not alms, he who stands at his right hand will punish thee." Vaiyikra Rabba, s. 34, fol. 178.

A stranger, and ye took me in - Συνηγαγετε με, ye entertained me: Kypke has fully proved that this is the meaning of the original. Literally, συναγειν signifies to gather together. Strangers are sometimes so destitute as to be ready to perish for lack of food and raiment: a supply of these things keeps their souls and bodies together, which were about to be separated through lack of the necessaries of life. The word may also allude to a provision made for a poor family, which were scattered abroad, perhaps begging their bread, and who by the ministry of benevolent people are collected, relieved, and put in a way of getting their bread. O blessed work! to be the instruments of preserving human life, and bringing comfort and peace into the habitations of the wretched!

While writing this, (Nov. 13, 1798), I hear the bells loudly ringing in commemoration of the birth-day of E. Colson, Esq., a native of this city, (Bristol), who spent a long life and an immense fortune in relieving the miseries of the distressed. His works still praise him in the gates; his name is revered, and his birth-day held sacred, among the inhabitants. Who has heard the bells ring in commemoration of the birth of any deceased hero or king? Of so much more value, in the sight even of the multitude, is a life of public usefulness than one of worldly glory or secular state. But how high must such a person rank in the sight of God, who, when Christ in his representatives was hungry, gave him food; when thirsty, gave him drink; when naked clothed him; when sick and in prison, visited him! Thou blessed of my Father! come. Thou hast been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, and now thou shalt eternally enjoy the true riches.

The Supreme God is represented in the Bhagvat Geeta as addressing mankind, when he had just formed them, thus: "Those who dress their meat but for themselves, eat the bread of sin." Geeta, p. 46.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I was an hungered - The union between Christ and his people is the most tender and endearing of all connections. It is represented by the closest unions of which we have knowledge, John 15:4-6; Ephesians 5:23-32; 1 Corinthians 6:15. This is a union - not physical, but moral; a union of feelings, interests, plans, destiny; or, in other words, he and his people have similar feelings, love the same objects, share the same trials, and inherit the same blessedness, John 14:19; Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:21; Romans 8:17. Hence, he considers favors shown to his people as shown to himself, and will reward them accordingly, Matthew 10:40, Matthew 10:42. They show attachment to him, and love to his cause. By showing kindness to the poor, the needy, and the sick, they show that they possess his spirit, for he did it when on earth; they evince attachment to him, for he was poor and needy; and they show that they have the proper spirit to outfit them for heaven, 1 John 3:14, 1 John 3:17; James 2:1-5; Mark 9:41.

Was a stranger - The word “stranger” means a foreigner or traveler; in our language, one unknown to us. To receive such to the rites of hospitality was, in Eastern countries, where there were few or no public houses, a great virtue. See Genesis 18:1-8; Hebrews 8:2.

Took me in - Into your house. Received me kindly.

Naked - Poorly clothed. Among the Jews they were called “naked” who were clad in poor raiment, or who had on only the “tunic” or inner garment, without any outer garment. See the Matthew 5:40 note; also Acts 19:16 note; Mark 14:51-52 notes; Job 22:6 note; Isaiah 58:7 note.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.
Ellen G. White
Faith and Works, 44.3

“Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:31-40). FW 44.3

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Ellen G. White
Christian Service, 216

When you succor the poor, sympathize with the afflicted and oppressed, and befriend the orphan, you bring yourselves into a closer relationship to Jesus.—Testimonies for the Church 2:25. ChS 216.1

There are orphans that can be cared for; but many will not venture to undertake such a work; for it involves more labor than they care to do, leaving them but little time to please themselves. But when the King shall make investigation, these do-nothing, illiberal, selfish souls will then learn that heaven is for those who have been workers, those who have denied themselves for Christ's sake. No provisions have been made for those who have ever taken such special care in loving and looking out for themselves. The terrible punishment the King threatened those on His left hand, in this case, is not because of their great crimes. They are not condemned for the things which they did do, but for that which they did not do. They did not those things Heaven assigned them to do. They pleased themselves, and can take their portion with self-pleasers.—The Review and Herald, August 16, 1881. ChS 216.2

There are orphans whom Christ has bidden His followers receive as a trust from God. Too often these are passed by with neglect. They may be ragged, uncouth, and seemingly in every way unattractive; yet they are God's property. They have been bought with a price, and they are as precious in His sight as we are. They are members of God's great household, and Christians as His stewards are responsible for them. “Their souls,” He says, “will I require at thine hand.”—Christ's Object Lessons, 386, 387. ChS 216.3

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Stewardship, 164-6

Every kind act done to them in the name of Jesus, is accepted by Him as if done to Himself, for He identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity, and He has entrusted to His church the grand work of ministering to Jesus by helping and blessing the needy and suffering. On all who shall minister to them with willing hearts, the blessing of the Lord will rest. CS 164.1

Until death shall be swallowed up in victory, there will be orphans to be cared for, who will suffer in more ways than one if the tender compassion and loving-kindness of our church members are not exercised in their behalf. The Lord bids us, “Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.” Christianity must supply fathers and mothers for these homeless ones. The compassion for the widow and the orphan manifested in prayers and deeds, will come up in remembrance before God, to be rewarded by and by.... CS 164.2

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Stewardship, 340

Those who will receive the most abundant reward will be those who have mingled with their activity and zeal, gracious, tender pity for the poor, the orphan, the oppressed, and the afflicted. But those who pass by on the other side, who are too busy to give attention to the purchase of the blood of Christ, who are full of doing the great things, will find themselves least and last. CS 340.1

Men act out the true character of the heart. There are about us those who have a meek and lowly spirit, the spirit of Christ, who do many little things to help those around them, and who think nothing of it; they will be astonished at last to find that Christ has noticed the kind word spoken to the disheartened, and taken account of the smallest gift given for the relief of the poor, that cost the giver some self-denial. The Lord measures the spirit, and rewards accordingly, and the pure, humble, childlike spirit of love makes the offering precious in His sight.—The Review and Herald, July 3, 1894. CS 340.2

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