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Matthew 18 Living Bible (TLB)

18 About that time the disciples came to Jesus to ask which of them would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven!

Jesus called a small child over to him and set the little fellow down among them, and said, “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine is welcoming me and caring for me. But if any of you causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose his faith,[a] it would be better for you to have a rock tied to your neck and be thrown into the sea.

“Woe upon the world for all its evils.[b] Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but woe to the man who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Better to enter heaven crippled than to be in hell with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. Better to enter heaven with one eye than to be in hell with two.

10 “Beware that you don’t look down upon a single one of these little children. For I tell you that in heaven their angels have constant access[c] to my Father. 11 And I, the Messiah,[d] came to save the lost.

12 “If a man has a hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? 13 And if he finds it, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine others safe at home! 14 Just so, it is not my Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.

15 “If a brother sins against you, go to him privately and confront him with his fault. If he listens and confesses it, you have won back a brother. 16 But if not, then take one or two others with you and go back to him again, proving everything you say by these witnesses. 17 If he still refuses to listen, then take your case to the church, and if the church’s verdict favors you, but he won’t accept it, then the church should excommunicate him.[e] 18 And I tell you this—whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you free on earth will be freed in heaven.

19 “I also tell you this—if two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I will be right there among them.”

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Sir, how often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No!” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!

23 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him $10 million!$10 million, literally, “10,000 talents.” Approximately £3 million. 25 He couldn’t pay, so the king ordered him sold for the debt, also his wife and children and everything he had.

26 “But the man fell down before the king, his face in the dust, and said, ‘Oh, sir, be patient with me and I will pay it all.’

27 “Then the king was filled with pity for him and released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a man who owed him $2,000$2,000, approximately £700. and grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “The man fell down before him and begged him to give him a little time. ‘Be patient and I will pay it,’ he pled.

30 “But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until the debt would be paid in full.

31 “Then the man’s friends went to the king and told him what had happened. 32 And the king called before him the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil-hearted wretch! Here I forgave you all that tremendous debt, just because you asked me to— 33 shouldn’t you have mercy on others, just as I had mercy on you?’

34 “Then the angry king sent the man to the torture chamber until he had paid every last penny due. 35 So shall my heavenly Father do to you if you refuse to truly forgive your brothers.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 18:6 to lose his faith, literally, “to stumble.”
  2. Matthew 18:7 for all its evils, literally, “because of occasions of stumbling.”
  3. Matthew 18:10 have constant access, or “do always behold.”
  4. Matthew 18:11 the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.” Verse 11 is left out of many manuscripts, some ancient.
  5. Matthew 18:17 should excommunicate him, literally, “should let him be to you as the Gentile and the publican.”
  6. Matthew 18:24 $10 million, literally, “10,000 talents.” Approximately £3 million.
  7. Matthew 18:28 $2,000, approximately £700.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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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