Matthew 19:12 Meaning of for There Are Eunuchs Who Were Born That Way

Matthew 19:12
 “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 19:12

Our Lord had been discoursing with the teachers of law concerning marriage in the afterlife, and having said that we are not married or given into marriage in the afterlife, now makes this statement. A eunuch is technically a man who is missing his sexual organs, having been castrated. In Jesus’ day, this was often done when men were taken into the service of women, particularly of royal households.

To choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom would be to make the same choice as Christ, or the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 7:7) to never marry (he does not mean literally to be emasculated). In the beginning, man was given a mandate to have a family and produce offspring (Gen 1:26-28), and this could still be considered part of the general purpose of mankind. However, there is room in the current age, considering that the great commission (Mt 28:18-20) eclipses the cultural mandate, for some to remain celibate in order to serve God more fully. The reason there is room for this is that we are thought to be in the last epoch before the return of Christ. The order of the day is to make disciples of all nations, and bring about the second coming of God the Son to judge the earth and usher in our eternal existence in the New Heavens and Earth. Now is the time in which the spread of the gospel is of paramount importance for God’s people and especially for those sinners who will be saved by our preaching.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 19:12

#1 “For there are eunuchs…”
After the conversation in which Jesus reveals that marriage is not permanent beyond this life (until death do you part) he comments on celibacy in this age.

#2 “…who were born that way,”
Jesus is most likely speaking of those born with birth defects in the reproductive organs.

#3 “and there are eunuchs that have been made eunuchs by others—”
Often young men who were carried off into captivity were emasculated as they were brought into the service of the conquerors (Dan 1:3). Others were simply sold into slavery and made eunuchs.

#4 “and there are others who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus would no doubt put himself in this category. Paul said it this way: “32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided” (1 Cor 7:32-34). However, he goes on to say that of course, it is not wrong to marry, especially if one is inclined toward his or her sexual passions.

#5 “The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Shrouding the statements in mystery, this implies that this teaching falls into the category of those only meant for “ears that can hear” (Mt 11:15).

Bible Study on Matthew 19:12

Expert Overview of Matthew Ch. 14-28

Biblical Translations of Matthew 19:12

NIV
“For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

NLT
“Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

ESV
“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

KJV
“For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

NKJV
“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Matthew 19:12 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.