Matthew 16:12

Then understood they that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
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Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Non occ.: As the Lord had left the Pharisees on account of their unbelief, sonow He teaches His disciples to be on their guard against their doctrine; whence it follows, “And when His disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.”. ord.: As much as to say; Why do ye think that I spake of earthly bread, for which ye ought not to have a thought, having beheld Me of so little make such abundant over plus?. interlin.: As much as to say, Do ye not understand the mystery, nor remember the miracle?

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
Herein the Apostles are admonished not to be partakers in the doctrine of the Jews; for the works of the Law were established to produce faith, and top refigure the things that were to follow; and they on whose times truth itself had chanced should look for no further types of truth; lest the teaching of the Pharisees, which knew not of Christ, should stay the effect of Gospel truth.


AD 420
For he that takes heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, does not observe the precepts of the Law and of the letter, and neglects the traditions of men that he may do the commandments of God. This is the leaven of which the Apostle speaks, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” By every means also we should avoid that leaven which Marcion, Valentinus, and all the heretics had. For the nature of leaven is such, that when mixed with flour, that which seemed a little increases to a large quantity, and brings the whole mixture to its own flavour. Thus heretical doctrine if it have cast but a small spark into your breast, ina short time a mighty flame is raised, and drives the whole temper of the man along with it. How had they no bread, seeing that as soon as they had filled seven baskets they entered into the boat, and came into the parts of Magedan? There they hear that they ought to take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Butthe Scripture is witness ...


AD 420
This was a favorable opportunity for instruction which was ordered by the Savior. He said, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” He taught them what the five loaves and seven that had nourished five thousand and four thousand men in the desert signified. He showed that there is a spiritual understanding underlying these events, even if the import of the sign is clear. For if the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees indicated not physical bread but twisted narratives and heretical teaching, then might not also the food by which the people of God were nourished signify the true and complete doctrine? Someone might inquire, “How is it that they do not have the loaves? For they immediately boarded the boat after the seven baskets had been filled.” But the Scripture testifies to the fact that they had forgotten to take food with them. Remember the leaven about which even the apostle speaks when he writes, “A little leaven spoils the whole dough.” The sort of leaven of...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
He had not uttered that interpretation. See how much good His reproof wrought. For it both led them away from the Jewish observances, and when they were remiss, made them more heedful, and delivered them from want of faith.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Because the disciples still grovelled about Jewish observances, the Lord sharply rebukes them for the benefit of all; whence it follows, “But Jesus knowing their thoughts said unto them, O ye of little faith, why consider yeamong yourselves because ye have no bread?”. This He does that He may put away from them all care for food. But why did Henot reprove them, when they said, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness?” for that seemed a more fitting occasion. He did not blame them at that time that He might not seem to be by that urged on to do miracles, and Hewas unwilling to find fault with them before the people. Also there was more reason in the charge, when after two miracles of multiplication of loaves, they had anxiety about food. Observe with what mildness He rebukes them; He makes an excuse in answer Himself, saying, “Do ye not yet understand, nor remember the five loaves?”. By this calling to mind what was past, and rousing their attention to what wasto come.

Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
They were bound to their Master with so great affection, that they were unwilling to part from Him for even a moment of time. And herein it should be observed how far they were from any longing for delicacies, when they took so small care for necessaries, that they had even forgotten to take bread, without which human weakness cannot support itself. "He said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. They thought that He was telling them to guard themselves against the stain of Jewish food, which is why they discussed among themselves that they had not brought any bread. He upbraids them for being mindless and of little faith. They were mindless by not remembering how many He had fed with how many loaves; they showed little faith by not believing that Christ Himself could provide bread even if they had not bought any bread from the Jews. As He rebuked them rather sharply — for meekness is not good on every occasion — they immediately understood that by "leaven" He meant "teaching"; such is the effect of a judicious rebuke on any occasion.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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