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What does 'Many are called but few are chosen' in Matthew 22:14 mean?


Matthew 22:14

ESV - 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
This statement is the conclusion to the Parable of the Wedding Feast. Jesus spoke this parable to show what the kingdom of heaven will be like when the end of the age comes. In the parable, the kin...

July 01 2013 9 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Bob Hall Married best friend, Dad- 6, GDad- 17, GrGdad- 3, 1 Poodle
When I was growing up in Queens, NYC in the 40's and 50's, baseball was the game of choice for young guys like me. We would gather together at Sunnyside Park and choose up sides. Normally, we never had enough to field full 9 man teams, so we called out to anyone within earshot to come play. Few to none, of the called out ones, came over to the field. So we ended up choosing only the ones that were there. Many were called, but you had to show up to be chosen.

September 28 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
The external call goes to all people. But only the elect experience the internal call.” Guy Waters

Another way of saying this is that God issued a general call to all people, all sinners (Ro 3:23 --"... all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God") as an invitation to come to His feast (salvation). But it is a specific election that also comes into play here—this involves the people who accept His gracious invite.

There is a balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, which is shown in this, Jesus’ parable. Man (mankind) is responsible for responding to God’s invite. Jesus tells here of the indifferent (Mt 22:5 "But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business"—whose response was ridicule), the ruthless (Mt 22:6 --"while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them") who were rebellious, and the self-righteous (Mt 22:12 "He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless." --The guest who has no reply: when asked why he has no wedding clothes, the man cannot respond.

Ryrie Study Bible & Harold Wilmington

November 14 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
“Many are called but few are chosen” is found only in Matthew 22:14 and Matthew 20:16. In some versions it does not show up in the second reference, but it is prevalent in many Byzantine manuscripts and in a number of versions, which suggests it is genuine. Both end the parables that describe some aspect of the kingdom of heaven. 

In Matthew 20:1-16, the householder hired workers for his vineyard at various times of the day, but all were paid the same regardless how long they worked. It teaches that in whatever period a person serves in the kingdom, his service is equal to all others. Rewards are in view as Peter asked about it, Matthew 19:27-28. The order of rewards will be given from the last to the first.

In the wedding feast parable, Matthew 22:1-14, some of the invited did not come, representing those who rejected God and His servants. The others who were invited represent sinners who believed. But in this parable, a person attended without the furnished wedding garment, representing a believer not living appropriately.

Both parables bring out a condition concerning those already in the kingdom of heaven, whether laborers or those accepting wedding invitations. So, the ending statement, “Many are called, but few are chosen,” is not about being saved, but about people in the kingdom.

The usual interpretation of this phrase is that many are invited to be saved and the few that are chosen are the elect – the ones that God chose. Supposedly, they cannot come on their own because God gives faith for them to believe. 

The correct sense is that the many “called ones” are those who responded, identified as believers. But the word “chosen” is not what it seems. In his article “Astounding New Greek Discoveries about Election,” C. Gordon Olson observed,

“It is surprising that the connotation of the adjective, ‘choice,’ the noun, ‘the choice of the excellent,’ and of the verb, ‘to appoint, to commission’ found in the Hebrew and pre-New Testament Greek, is not adequately carried over into our New Testament translations.” 

The Greek word, “eklectos,” (and its forms) transliterated as “elect” and rendered as “choose,” does not mean a random choosing, but indicates the quality making it worthy of selection or appointment. The equivalent English word is “eclectic,” which means selecting, as when collecting something based on its value. Scripturally, it often describes the special status of those who already accepted Jesus, I Peter 2:9. “Chosen” is better rendered “the choice ones.” When Rufus was acknowledged by Paul, Romans 16:13, Paul meant he was “a choice man in the Lord,” as reflected in some versions. 

The phrase could better be rendered, “...many are the called ones, but few are the choice ones.” Of the many who are the summoned or saved ones, there are the select few, the elite, the finest, those who honor Jesus, their Lord and Master, God’s “Choice One,” (a better translation than “Chosen One”), Luke 9:35, I Peter 2:4-6, Isaiah 42:1.

December 22 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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