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Matthew 5:20-37 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors,[a] Do not murder,[b] and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’[d] will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.[e] 23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge to[f] the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I assure you: You will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny![g]

Adultery in the Heart

27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery.[h] 28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!

Divorce Practices Censured

31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce.[i] 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality,[j] causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Tell the Truth

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors,[k] You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord.[l] 34 But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’[m] Anything more than this is from the evil one.


  1. Matthew 5:21 Lit to the ancients
  2. Matthew 5:21 Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17
  3. Matthew 5:22 Other mss add without a cause
  4. Matthew 5:22 Lit Raca, an Aram term of abuse similar to “airhead”
  5. Matthew 5:22 Lit the gehenna of fire
  6. Matthew 5:25 Other mss read judge will hand you over to
  7. Matthew 5:26 Lit quadrans, the smallest and least valuable Roman coin, worth 1⁄64 of a daily wage
  8. Matthew 5:27 Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18
  9. Matthew 5:31 Dt 24:1
  10. Matthew 5:32 Gk porneia = fornication, or possibly a violation of Jewish marriage laws
  11. Matthew 5:33 Lit to the ancients
  12. Matthew 5:33 Lv 19:12; Nm 30:2; Dt 23:21
  13. Matthew 5:37 Say what you mean and mean what you say

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