Morrish Bible Dictionary


This was early used in the fermentation of bread. As a symbol it is always used in scripture for the working of the human element, whether mind or flesh, in the things of God, and hence evil. It was strictly forbidden to be burnt in any offering made by fire (Lev. 2:11); but in the peace offering, besides the unleavened cakes and wafers, the offerer was to present leavened bread, which was to be eaten. Lev. 7:12, 13; Lev. 23:17, 18. Its presence here might seem to suggest an exception to the statement that leaven always signifies that form of evil; but it is not, for the peace offering typifies worship, and there, alas, the worshipper is not entirely free from indwelling sin. In the parable of ‘the leaven hid in the meal,’ it also represents the same evil, which in an insidious way permeates the mass with which it is mixed. The solemn words are added, “till the whole was leavened.” Luke 13:20, 21. It is only a too true similitude of the kingdom of God, for everywhere evil is spreading therein. In Matt. 16:6-12 leaven is applied to the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. In the church, leaven when discovered must be purged out, for “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” 1 Cor. 5:6-8 but in the kingdom it is represented as working until all is leavened. Matt. 13:33. It is then that the King will purge out from His kingdom all that offend and commit iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire.



New Testament Usage 


(Matt 16:6 [AKJV/PCE])
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

(Matt 16:7 [AKJV/PCE])
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [It is] because we have taken no bread.

(Matt 16:8 [AKJV/PCE])
[Which] when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

(Matt 16:9 [AKJV/PCE])
Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

(Matt 16:10 [AKJV/PCE])
Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

(Matt 16:11 [AKJV/PCE])
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

(Matt 16:12 [AKJV/PCE])
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.

(Luke 12:1 [AKJV/PCE])
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

(1Cor 5:6 [AKJV/PCE])
Your glorying [is] not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

(1Cor 5:7 [AKJV/PCE])
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

(1Cor 5:8 [AKJV/PCE])
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.

(Gal 5:6 [AKJV/PCE])
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

(Gal 5:7 [AKJV/PCE])
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

(Gal 5:8 [AKJV/PCE])
This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you.

(Gal 5:9 [AKJV/PCE])
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.





Leaven G2219 ζύμη zume (dzoo’-may) n.
1. a fermenting agent (as if boiling up)
2. (specially) leaven
3. (figuratively, good or bad) a thorough, utterly complete change agent affecting itself and others
4. (negatively) moral or mental corruption, depravity
5. (positively) purity, integrity, a perfect condition
[probably from G2204]
KJV: leaven


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