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What is Weightier?

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What does it mean when we hear the phrase “weightier matters” in Scripture?  This is a serious question with serious consequences depending upon how we answer it.  So, let’s take some time to see what “weightier” means in Scripture.

What is Weightier?

Matthew 23:23 (ESV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For
 you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 

We’ll begin with the word “weightier” found in Matthew 23, the only place in Scripture we find the phrase “weightier matters”.  The word in Greek is βαρ?τερα (barutera), derived from βαρ?ς (barus) meaning heavy or important based upon the context.  The context in Matthew 23 is not one of physical weight, which leaves us with it meaning more important.  So from this verse we see Yeshua stating that justice, mercy, and faithfulness are of greater importance than the tithe of mint, dill, and cumin.  Note, however, that the tithe is still important to Yeshua, just not as important as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. 

What is it that is greater than being obedient in giving your tithe?  According to Yeshua justice, mercy, and faithfulness are of greater importance to the Creator, but what do these mean, really?

The word for “justice” in the Greek here is κρ?σιν (krisin).  This word carries a meaning of a judgment between right and wrong in a legal sense.  The word for mercy is ?λεος (eleos) meaning mercy, pity, or compassion.  Finally, the word for faithfulness is π?στιν (pistin) from the Greek word π?στις (pistis) meaning faith or belief, a conviction in something.  

So we see that making right judgments (doing right, not wrong) is important.  We find that compassion for our neighbors is also important.  We also find that having a strong faith, belief, or conviction (assuredness) is important to the Creator.  How do we know we make right judgments?  We have the Torah to tell us what is right and what is wrong (Psalm 119:1-8, especially verse 3).  Consequently, this is summed up in 1 John 5:3 as keeping His commandments which is how we love God.  How do have compassion on our neighbors?  We love them as described by the Torah and reiterated by Messiah among others (Leviticus 19:18, John 13:34, Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:8).  How do we have belief or faith?   By believing, committing, and trusting in God and His Word (Hebrews 11:1,6 & James 2:18). 

So what are weightier matters?  They are things having to do with making the right decisions according to the Torah (Loving God), loving our neighbors, and having faith in the Word (without faith, it’s impossible to please God). Everything that does not have to do with these three areas are matters of lesser importance, but they are still important to the Creator.

We hope that this has blessed you.  Remember, continue to test everything.


Want to know how Grace, Faith, and Obedience all work together?  Then watch this teaching now!