Matthew 18 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
The Question About Who Is Greatest
18 At that time the disciples came up to Jesus, saying, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling a child to himself, he had him stand in their midst 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become like young children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven! 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child, this person is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, 5 and whoever welcomes one child such as this in my name welcomes me. 6 But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him that a large millstone[a] be hung on[b] his neck and he be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of causes for stumbling, for it is a necessity that causes for stumbling come; nevertheless, woe to the person through whom the cause for stumbling comes. 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it[c] from you! It is better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into the eternal fire! 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it[d] from you! It is better for you to enter into life one-eyed than, having two eyes, to be thrown into fiery hell!
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 “See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven constantly see the face of my Father who is in heaven.[e] 12 What do you think? If a certain man has[f] a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go and[g] look for the one that wandered away? 13 And if he happens to find it, truly I say to you that he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that did not wander away. 14 In the same way it is not the will of[h] your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
Confronting a Brother Who Sins Against You
15 “Now if your brother sins against you, go correct him between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take with you in addition one or two others, so that by the testimony[i] of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 17 And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it[j] to the church. But if he refuses to listen to the church also, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven. 19 Again, truly I say to you that if two of you agree on earth about any matter that they ask, it will be done for them from my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them.”
The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave
21 Then Peter came up to him and[k] said,[l] “Lord, how many times will my brother sin against me and I will forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven![m]
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man—a king—who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 And when[n] he began to settle them,[o] someone was brought to him who owed ten thousand talents. 25 And because[p] he did not have enough[q] to repay it,[r] the master ordered him to be sold, and his[s] wife and his[t] children and everything that he had, and to be repaid. 26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground and[u] began to do obeisance to him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything to you!’ 27 So the master of that slave, because he[v] had compassion, released him and forgave him the loan. 28 But that slave went out and[w] found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and taking hold of him, he began to choke him,[x] saying, ‘Pay back everything that you owe!’ 29 Then his fellow slave threw himself to the ground and[y] began to implore[z] him, saying, ‘Be patient with me and I will repay you!’ 30 But he did not want to, but rather he went and[aa] threw him into prison until he would repay what was owed. 31 So when[ab] his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were extremely distressed, and went and[ac] reported to their master everything that had happened. 32 Then his master summoned him and[ad] said to him, ‘Wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you implored me! 33 Should you not also have shown mercy to your fellow slave as I also showed mercy to you?’ 34 And because he[ae] was angry, his master handed him over to the merciless jailers[af] until he would repay everything that was owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from your hearts!”