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Matthew 18 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Who Is the Greatest?

18 At that time[a] the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. “I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted[b] and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes[c] one child like this in My name welcomes Me.

“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone[d] were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea! Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes. If your hand or your foot causes your downfall, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes your downfall, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, rather than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire![e]

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “See that you don’t look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of My Father in heaven. [11 For the Son of Man has come to save the lost.][f] 12 What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the 99 on the hillside and go and search for the stray? 13 And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep[g] more than over the 99 that did not go astray. 14 In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

Restoring a Brother

15 “If your brother sins against you,[h] go and rebuke him in private.[i] If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony[j] of two or three witnesses every fact may be established.[k] 17 If he pays no attention to them, tell the church.[l] But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever[m] and a tax collector to you. 18 I assure you: Whatever you bind on earth is already bound[n] in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed[o] in heaven. 19 Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you[p] pray for, it will be done for you[q] by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.[r] 23 For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed 10,000 talents[s] was brought before him. 25 Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.

26 “At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ 27 Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.

28 “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 denarii.[t] He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’

29 “At this, his fellow slave fell down[u] and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 But he wasn’t willing. On the contrary, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. 31 When the other slaves saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35 So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother[v] from his[w] heart.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 18:1 Lit hour
  2. Matthew 18:3 Or are turned around
  3. Matthew 18:5 Or receives
  4. Matthew 18:6 A millstone turned by a donkey
  5. Matthew 18:9 Lit gehenna of fire
  6. Matthew 18:11 Other mss omit bracketed text
  7. Matthew 18:13 Lit over it
  8. Matthew 18:15 Other mss omit against you
  9. Matthew 18:15 Lit him between you and him alone
  10. Matthew 18:16 Lit mouth
  11. Matthew 18:16 Dt 19:15
  12. Matthew 18:17 Or congregation
  13. Matthew 18:17 Or like a Gentile
  14. Matthew 18:18 Or earth will be bound
  15. Matthew 18:18 Or earth will be loosed
  16. Matthew 18:19 Lit they
  17. Matthew 18:19 Lit for them
  18. Matthew 18:22 Or but 77 times
  19. Matthew 18:24 A huge sum of money that could never be repaid by a slave; a talent = 6,000 denarii
  20. Matthew 18:28 A small sum compared to 10,000 talents
  21. Matthew 18:29 Other mss add at his feet
  22. Matthew 18:35 Other mss add his trespasses
  23. Matthew 18:35 Lit your

Matthew 18 New International Version (NIV)

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Causing to Stumble

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11] [a]

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Dealing With Sin in the Church

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[e] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[f] loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 18:11 Some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10.
  2. Matthew 18:15 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman; also in verses 21 and 35.
  3. Matthew 18:15 Some manuscripts sins against you
  4. Matthew 18:16 Deut. 19:15
  5. Matthew 18:18 Or will have been
  6. Matthew 18:18 Or will have been
  7. Matthew 18:22 Or seventy times seven
  8. Matthew 18:24 Greek ten thousand talents; a talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wages.
  9. Matthew 18:28 Greek a hundred denarii; a denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer (see 20:2).
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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