Matthew 10
Gospel of Matthew 9:23–10:17 on Codex Sinaiticus, made about AD 330–360.
BookGospel of Matthew
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part1

Matthew 10 is the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. This chapter opens with Jesus calling some of his disciples and sending them out to preach and heal. This section is also known as the Mission Discourse or the Little Commission, in contrast to the Great Commission at the end of the gospel (Matthew 28:1820). The Little Commission is directed specifically to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel",[1] while the Great Commission is directed to all nations. The Pulpit Commentary suggests that Jesus' message in this discourse "was hardly likely to have been remembered outside Jewish Christian circles".[2]

Matthew names the twelve apostles, or "twelve disciples", in verses 2 to 4 and gives them careful instruction as they travel around Israel. The remainder of the chapter consists almost entirely of sayings attributed to Jesus. Many of the sayings found in Matthew 10 are also found in Luke 10 and the Gospel of Thomas, which is not part of the accepted canon of the New Testament.


Matthew 10:13–15 on Papyrus 110 (3rd/4th century), recto side.
Matthew 10:25–27 on Papyrus 110 (3rd/4th century), verso side.

The oldest known texts were written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 42 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Matthew 10:10–17 on Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus (6th century).
Codex Sinaiticus (AD 330–360), Matthew 10:17–11:15

The twelve (10:1–15)

The text in verse 1 refers to "his twelve disciples" (Greek: τους δωδεκα μαθητας αυτου, tous dōdeka mathētas autou). Verse 2 calls them "the twelve apostles" (Greek: τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων, tōn dōdeka apostolōn):

²Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; ³Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; ⁴Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Verse 5 refers to them simply as "the twelve" (Greek: τοὺς δώδεκα, tous dōdeka) but the verb which follows is "ἀπέστειλεν" (apesteilen), meaning "sent forth".[6]

Verses 17–39

The Jerusalem Bible refers to these verses as a "missionary's handbook", and suggests that their scope is wider than that of the "first mission of the apostles" in verses 1–16.[7]

Verse 34

See also: Matthew 10:34

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send [or bring] peace, but a sword."[8][9]

This is a much-discussed passage, often explained in terms of the "apocalyptic-eschatological" context of the 1st century.[10]

R. T. France explains the verse, in context with the subsequent verse 35: "The sword Jesus brings is not here military conflict, but, as vv. 35–36 show, a sharp social division which even severs the closest family ties. … Jesus speaks here, as in the preceding and following verses, more of a division in men’s personal response to him."[11]

The text of Matthew's Gospel in the Book of Kells alters gladium, the Vulgate translation of makhairan "sword", to gaudium, "joy", resulting in a reading of "I came not [only] to bring peace, but [also] joy".[12]

Verse 38

See also: Matthew 10:38

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.[13]

Parallels in the Gospel of Thomas

Matthew 10 contains many parallels found in the Gospel of Thomas.

See also


  1. ^ Also in Artemid. ii. 56, p. 153; Plut. Mor. p. 554 A; Cic. de divin. i. 26; Valer. Max. xi. 7. apud Meyer's NT, Matthew 10:38


  1. ^ Matthew 10:6
  2. ^ Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 10, accessed 3 January 2017
  3. ^ Cockle, Walter E. H. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Volume 45. London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1999. Pages 1–3.
  4. ^ Comfort, P. W., & Barrett, D. P. (2001). The text of the earliest New Testament Greek manuscripts, pp. 656
  5. ^ Grenfell, B. P.; Hunt, A. S. (1912). Oxyrhynchus Papyri IX. London. p. 7.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ Bible Hub, Text Analysis: Matthew 10:5, accessed 20 November 2022
  7. ^ Jerusalem Bible (1966), footnote g at Matthew 10:17
  8. ^ Matthew 10:34: KJV
  9. ^ Mathewes, Charles (6 December 2010). Understanding Religious Ethics. John Wiley & Sons. p. 186. ISBN 9781405133517.
  10. ^ Cim, David (2000). "The sword motif in Matthew 10:34". Theological Studies. 56 (1). School of Theology, Australian Catholic University: 84–104. doi:10.4102/hts.v56i1.1698.
  11. ^ France, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol 1: Matthew (1985). 2nd ed (2008), p. 192. ISBN 978-1844742677.
  12. ^ Nathan, George Jean Nathan; Henry Louis Mencken (1951). The American Mercury. p. 572. The compilers of the late seventh century manuscript, The Book of Kells, refused to adopt St. Jerome's phrase "I come not to bring peace but a sword" (" ... non pacem sed gladium"). To them the phrase made no sense and they altered it ...
  13. ^ Matthew 10:38: NKJV
  14. ^ Meyer's NT Commentary on Matthew 10. Accessed 24 April 2019.
Preceded by
Matthew 9
Chapters of the New Testament
Gospel of Matthew
Succeeded by
Matthew 11