ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: – Matthew 7:7
Meaning of Matthew 7:7
The meaning of the verse, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is that God is willing to answer anyone who sincerely seeks Him. The word “ask” means a one-time request, “seek” is similar to persistence and the word “knock” implies deep persistence. Therefore, Jesus is asking his readers to put forth their requests to God continuously. God is someone who listens, pays attention to His people, and is ready to give His children good gifts. Jesus is hence asking his followers to bring in their requests, look for answers to their questions and ask to be allowed in God’s presence. The verse is meant for those who lack faith in God’s ability to answer and accept.
Interpretations of Matthew 7:7
The verse of Matthew 7:7 is one of the key verses of Jesus’ teachings and is commonly used in quotes in churches and Christian groups. However, the verse is commonly taken out of context. Here are the examples.
Interpretation #1 Christians remain poor without asking
The interpretation of the verse, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is that Christians might remain poor if they don’t ask. In other words, pray. The reader believes that asking God is the key to having riches and wealth in a Christian’s life. A Christian might, however, remain in poverty if they do not take the step to ask God for blessings and material wealth. Hence, the reader understands that Jesus is encouraging His followers to ask God for whatever they need to live a happy, fulfilling life.
Interpretation #2 Christians must be taught what to pray for
The meaning of the verse, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is that Christians need to be trained and taught about what to pray for. The reader believes that most Christians are unaware of how to pray and what to ask God, including their relationships, material needs as well as health. Hence, churches and Christian groups also believe that they must be teaching Christians about praying to God for their needs. Additionally, as most Christians pray for the wrong things, they might go unanswered by God.
Interpretation #3 Jesus wanted his followers to depend on Him
Another interpretation of the verse, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is that Jesus wanted His followers to depend on Him completely, also called undoubting faith. The reader believes that Jesus wants His readers and followers to depend on Him and trust Him to meet their needs, including their daily necessities. The importance of depending on God is a repeated and stressed concept in the Bible. The idea is that depending on God can make a person assured of his or her life and the fact that God will take care of their problems and needs.
Interpretation #4 Christians must pray for basic needs
In this interpretation, the reader believes that every Christian needs to pray to God for every necessity and need. The Bible encourages the idea of complete dependence on God for every basic thing. The book of Matthew also consists of verses that ask Christians not to worry about the food they will receive the next day, shelter, or clothing and compare them to a bird in the wilderness. Believers are asked to leave everything to God and trust Him with their needs. Hence, the reader understands that this verse is also a reminder to depend on and pray to God to meet their personal needs.
Interpretation #5 Christians must understand the grace of God
The final interpretation of the verse, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is that Christians must understand God’s grace in their lives. The Old Testament had different rules for followers as they did not have the option to reach out to God directly and ask Him for their needs, requirements, and answers. Instead, they were required to go to a priest. However, this verse is a true indication of this gift of direct communication with God for everything. The reader understands that God’s grace allows every believer to approach Him directly and put forth their requests and needs for them to be fulfilled, including guidance. This is a result of God’s grace towards His children.
Historical background of Matthew 7:7
The Gospel of Matthew is the first book of the New Testament of the Bible and one of the three Gospels. It tells how Messiah, Jesus, comes to his people and forms a group of disciples, how he taught people through different events, how Israel becomes divided, and how Jesus condemns hostile Israel. The seventh chapter talks about various aspects like judging people, asking and seeking God, false prophets, and false disciples. The seventh chapter, in particular, is about asking, seeking, and persisting in their requests and answers from God.
Literary Devices of Matthew 7:7
The verse of Matthew 7:7 is a commonly quoted and preached verse in the Bible. The verse is also a statement made by Jesus but comes with some noteworthy literary devices. Here are some examples.
Theme – The major themes of the verse Matthew 7:7 are prayer, faith, and hope.
Assonance – The verse has a repeated mainly one vowel sound but not in quick succession. For example, the sound of /i/ in ‘ask, and it shall be given you’ and ‘and it shall be opened unto you’. Also, the sound of /a/ in ‘and it shall be given you’ and the sound of /a/ and the sound of /oo/ in ‘and it shall be opened unto you’.
Consonance – The verse also has repeated consonant sounds without quick successions. For example, the sound of /n/ and the sound of /d/ in ‘and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you’.
Metaphor – The verse Mathew 7:7 is also a metaphor for prayer as asking, seeking, and knocking are all a form of appeal to God to ask for their needs and blessings.
Parallelism – The verse is surprisingly parallel to the next verse, Mathew 7:8, as it repeats the verse about asking and receiving, seeking and finding, knocking and opening for God’s blessings.