Straining Gnats

This 1-minute devotion suggests 6 ways that modern Christians are straining out gnats but swallowing camels. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

Does Matthew 23:24 have any application to us as Christians?

“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

Because the law identified the gnat as “unclean,” the Pharisees would strain their drinks to prevent swallowing one by accident. 

They didn’t actually eat camels, the largest unclean animal, but Christ used this phrase to point out the way they emphasized small things while neglecting big ones like cheating, lying, and self-righteous pride. 

So how might Christians strain out the gnat but swallow the camel today?

1. By following some of God’s commands while ignoring others.

2. By focusing on certain Bible translations or non-essential doctrines, causing divisions.

3. By sharing God’s truth in harsh ways.

4. By emphasizing grace without obedience or obedience without grace.

5. By calling ourselves Christians but having no time for Bible study or prayer.

6. By showing more interest in what people think than what God thinks.

Let’s be careful not to swallow camels, dear Christians.  
What Scripture says about each of the points above:

1. Christ commanded us to teach everything He taught (Matthew 28:18-20), Paul was careful to preach the whole gospel (Acts 20:27), and Jesus said those who love Him will obey His commands (John 14:21).
See: How Much Can a Christian Sin?

2. Scripture warns us not to focus on non-essential disagreements (Romans 14).
See: Handling Non-essential Beliefs Humbly and Biblically.

3. Colossians 4:6 tells us to share the "salt" of the gospel with grace. 
See: Seasoned with Salt.

4. We're saved by grace alone, but our salvation always results in obedience and good works (Ephesians 2:8; James 2:17).
See: Faith + Nothing = Salvation + Works.

5. Scripture is more important than our daily bread (Matthew 4:4) and we should never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
See: Patio Time with God.

6. Paul made it clear that we answer to God, not man (Galatians 1:10).
See: 4 Signs We're People-Pleasers

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This 1-minute devotion suggests 6 ways that modern Christians are straining out gnats but swallowing camels. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

Bible Love Notes


  1. To those who have ears let them hear and to those that have eyes let them see. Amen God be glorified in Jesus name.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Hubby and I are finishing up Part 3 of a messianic Matthew study and this week's focus is Matthew 23. G-d used your drash to speak to my heart.
    Shalom! Teresa

  3. Hi Gail, thanks for this post and for honestly sharing God's word. My question to you is how do you identify essential? For me there are three things that are essential: Jesus diety, salvation by faith alone and the Bible being the inerrant and infallible word of God.

    1. That's a good question,Hadi Youssef, and one on which not all Christians will agree.

      I think the ones you've named are the most basic essential truths, but there will be many other essential truths attached to these. For example, the virgin birth is part of the deity of Christ, forgiveness is part of salvation by faith alone, the need to obey God's Word not simply hear it is part of the Bible's function as God's Word. It might be best to say that essentials are those things clearly taught in Scripture.

      It is probably easier to define non-essentials. They are things about which people may feel very strongly, but they can be Biblically viewed in different ways.

      Perhaps the biggest example is how Christians view the sovereignty of God, an essential doctrine. Calvinists believe God has sovereignly predestined some people to salvation. Others believe God has sovereignly set in place a principle that anyone who follows Him can be saved. I have a view about this, but I realize that those with the opposing view are still believers and we both use Scripture to support our views. This is an area God has not made perfectly clear to us, so we cannot fairly call it a test of true faith to believe one way or the other.

      I hope that helps explain the difference.