Matthew 23:15. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

Proselyte: a person who has converted from one opinion, religion, or party to another, especially recently.

The rabbinical schools did not encourage  the active proselytizing of others to Judaism or to a specific school of thought in Judaism.  It was considered to be done for selfish reasons, to build up their own sect or school of thought. The Pharisees and Sadducees had no love for one another, so they would literally cross land and sea to make new proselytes to their way of thinking.

Jesus’ powerful words here must have tasted like vinegar to the scribes and Pharisees who heard Him.  First, he told them that they were children of hell; then he told them that they made their proselytes twice the children of hell that they were themselves.

Factionism, division, sectarianism, are never encouraged or condoned in scripture.  Certainly, we are to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us. But never are we taught to cause division in the body of Christ. In fact, the true definition of the word heretic, originally, was one who causes division.

There are many issues today, in Christendom, that divide God’s people. There are those who insist that their way is the only right way; others who argue back that there is only one right way, and they are the ones who have it.

The only right way is the biblical way; God’s way; the way that is clearly taught in God’s Word. If we paid more attention to that, and less attention to what some preacher, evangelist, or writer is promoting, we’d have a lot less division in the churches today.


2 thoughts on “Proselytes

  1. willhartbrown

    There is a book by Michael Bird titled “Crossing Over Land and Sea”. It may shed some good background on the proselytizing in 1st century Palestine.


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