Matthew 10: Instructions for the Twelve Apostles

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 18–19


At the end of Matthew 9, Jesus declared that He needed help in accomplishing the great work He came to do.Consequently, He called twelve men as Apostles—a title that means “one sent forth.” Unlike other disciples who were sent forth on missions or served in other Church callings, Jesus called these men as special representatives and witnesses of Him, and He gave them special keys and power to act and speak in His name. (For more information, see the Bible Dictionary, “Apostle,” p. 612.) He also gave them a special charge, or instructions, that we read about in Matthew 10. Although this message was originally given to the Twelve Apostles, anyone who is called to serve as a representative of the Lord to teach His gospel may learn from the principles contained in this chapter.
Christ ordaining the Twelve

Other Accounts of What You Read in Matthew 10

Matthew 10:1–4Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 10

Surname (v. 3)Family name 
Betrayed (v. 4)Turned against 
House of Israel (v. 6)Descendants of Israel (Jacob) 
Provide neither (v. 9)Do not take 
Purse (v. 9)A cloth belt with pockets for money 
Staves (v. 10)Staffs used when walking 
Worthy (vv. 11, 13)Honorable 
Abide (v. 11)Stay 
Salute it (v. 12)Greet it, say hello 
It shall be more tolerable (v. 15)The punishment will be less 
Scourge (v. 17)Beat or whip 
Endureth (v. 22)Does not give up 
Beelzebub (v. 25)The devil 
Farthing (v. 29)A small amount of money 
Variance (v. 35)Disagreement 
travelers with scrip, purse, and staff

Matthew 10:38—“He That Taketh Not His Cross, and Followeth after Me, Is Not Worthy of Me”

Although this verse and the verses immediately before and after seem very harsh and demanding of those who follow Jesus, they are very real to some converts to the Church. President Gordon B. Hinckley told about one such convert. He was a naval officer from a non-Christian nation who received professional training in the United States. While in the United States he was introduced to the Church and decided to be baptized. Before returning to his home he met with President Hinckley, who related their conversation:

“I said: ‘Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?’

“His face clouded, and he replied, ‘My family will be disappointed. They may cast me out and regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.’

“I asked, ‘Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?’

“His dark eyes, moistened by tears, shone from his handsome brown face as he answered, ‘It’s true, isn’t it?’

“Ashamed at having asked the question, I responded, ‘Yes, it’s true.’

“To which he replied, ‘Then what else matters?’” (“It’s True, Isn’t It?” Ensign, July 1993, 2).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Matthew 10.

Activity A iconThe Twelve Apostles

List the names of the Twelve Apostles mentioned in Matthew 10:2–4. Then look up each name in the Bible Dictionary and write at least one thing we know about that Apostle from what is written there.

Activity B iconChallenges and Promises for Missionaries

  1. 1.

    Review Matthew 10:17–18, 22–25 and list at least three difficult conditions Jesus said His Apostles would face as they went out to preach the gospel.

  2. 2.

    Ask someone who has been on a mission if he or she experienced some of the conditions you listed while serving a mission. Put an “X” next to the ones the person experienced. Have the person tell you about one of the experiences and how he or she felt about it. Write in your notebook a little of what you learned.

  3. 3.

    What did Jesus promise in Matthew 10:19–20, 26–33 that could help make it easier to endure the challenges you listed above?

Activity C iconHow Can This Be?

In Matthew 10:34–39, Jesus made three different statements that seem to go against what we normally think is true. He said He had not come to send peace, but a sword (see v. 34), that He splits families against each other (see vv. 35–37), and that the only way we can find our lives is to lose them (see v. 39).

  1. 1.

    We know that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace to those who live it (see John 14:27). Read also Matthew 10:16–18; 24:6–10; Acts 12:1–2; and Doctrine and Covenants 76:28–29 and tell about times when Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10:34 is also true.

  2. 2.

    We know that one purpose of the gospel is to seal families together forever. In what situation is Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10:35–37 true?

  3. 3.

    How can one find his or her life by losing it?