The Cherrypicking of Matthew 19

Alex Ashton
10 min readSep 22, 2022

A chapter that deserves to be analyzed as a whole, rather than picked out piece by piece.

Illustration of theologian Thomas Aquinas holding a brick church and an open Bible
Thomas Aquinas. Public Domain from WikiCommons.

Christians are notorious for cherrypicking the Bible

This is something I realized after I stepped away from the church. I started studying the Bible without the direction of Christian theologians trained in the art of promotion and evangelizing. Such promotion encourages cherrypicking over deeper study. It produces questions that may not disprove the existence of God, but often cannot be reconciled with evangelical dogma.

Even when evangelical churches claim to foster “Bible study,” it is a tightly controlled, agenda-driven endeavor. Studies set out not to question or answer, but to confirm dogma by studying handpicked passages, and ignoring those that seem to contradict the dogma.

And then there is the issue of taking verses out of context to promote dogma or at the very least, provide a feel-good platitude or proverb.

Matthew chapter 19 in particular has produced some out of context common proverbs.

A paraphrase of Matthew 19:5-6 is a common blessing at Christian weddings:

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and…



Alex Ashton

History, culture, family, religion, data, and technology from a center-left, civil libertarian, middle-class perspective. Publisher: The Missing Middle.