What is the significance of yeast in the New Testament?


Clarify Share Report Asked January 27 2014 1388307103 Nelly OKEKE

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Mini Louise Rittmiller
Yeast represents sin.

January 27 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Robert Shirley
Yeast (or leaven) represented sin in the Old Testament, and this carried over into New Testament times. It represented hypocrisy (Lk.12:1),worldliness (Mk. 8:15), rationalism (Mt. 6:6,12), evil conduct (1 Cor. 5:6), and false doctrine (Gal. 5:9).

March 08 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Leaven is yeast to make bread rise. Leavening is a form of fermentation, a chemical process which breaks down molecules. In the Bible, leaven is seen only in the negative sense.

Jesus warned of the leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, Matthew 16:6, Mark 8:15. The disciples naturally were confused by the Lord’s mention of leaven, thinking He was speaking of bread dough. He was using leaven in a symbolic manner. The leaven of the Pharisees, marked by Jesus as hypocrisy, Luke 12:1, was unbelief and legalism. The leaven of the Sadducees had to include their denial of truth of the supernatural and resurrection of the dead. The leaven of Herod was likely the absence of morality. “Leaven” is never a term used for good teaching but insidious corruption.

Even in the Old Testament, leaven had a negative connotation. The commandments for offerings specified there was to be no leaven included in them, Leviticus 2:11, 6:17. The exception was only during the feast of Pentecost, when two loaves of leavened bread were offered, Leviticus 23:17. It spoke of the general harvest and would symbolize the church which is made up of sinful people, both Jew and Gentile. 

Nothing leavened was eaten during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Exodus 12:15. Because the departure from Egypt was sudden and hurried, the Israelites did not have time for yeast to rise. They had only unleavened bread. Afterward, Israel would observe the custom of removing leaven for this holiday. Failure to remove leaven was punishable by excommunication or banishment – “cut off,” Exodus 12:19.

The symbolism of I Corinthians 5:6-8 is based on this concept. The believer is to remember Christ, his Passover lamb’s sacrifice, by living a virtuous life. The figurative keeping of the feast requires the removal of the leaven of malice and wickedness and having unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Purging is necessary as it does not take much sin to ruin, just as it takes a tiny bit of yeast to make dough rise. The Corinthian church boasted and showed arrogance, I Corinthians 5:2, (literally, “swelling or puffing up”) in excusing sin, I Corinthians 5:1-6, opening the way to infectious corruption. 

Galatians 5:9 refers to insidious corruption by error when Judaizers demanded that Christians be circumcised to be saved. All the dough is affected, illustrating how this teaching had permeated the whole church.

The parable of the woman mixing yeast into the flour dough, Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:20-21, seems to picture the positive, rapid development of the kingdom. But the process may not necessarily be a spiritual growth but a worldly growth. History notes the early church at first grew by persecution, but then the Roman Emperor Constantine endorsed Christianity as the official religion. Due to the new political situation and the teachings of Christ becoming adulterated with error, the church expanded phenomenally. This parable may allude to this.

Every use of leaven or yeast in the New Testament is metaphorical or symbolic and has a negative connotation.

August 13 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Great question, Nelly OKEKE!

Leaven (or yeast) in the New Testament symbolizes false teaching. Mark 8:15 --MR 8:15 says, “And he charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.’” It also symbolizes “the old life.” 1 Cor. 5:6-8 --1CO 5:8 says, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Leaven (or yeast) in the NT also symbolizes false teaching. GA 5:9 says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” --Index of Biblical Images Wiersbe

I love this hymn titled, "The Lamb's high banquet called to share" --

Now Christ our Passover is slain,
The Lamb of God without a stain;
His flesh, the true unleavened Bread,
Is freely offered in our stead.

O all sufficient Sacrifice,
Beneath Thee hell defeated lies;
Thy captive people are set free,
And crowns of life restored by Thee.

December 17 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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