Matthew 5J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Jesus proclaims the new values of the kingdom
5 When Jesus saw the vast crowds he went up the hill-side and after he had sat down his disciples came to him.
2-12 Then he began his teaching by saying to them, “How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “How happy are those who know what sorrow means for they will be given courage and comfort! “Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully satisfied! “Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! “Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! “Happy are those who make peace, for they will be sons of God! “Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “And what happiness will be yours when people blame you and ill-treat you and say all kinds of slanderous things against you for my sake! Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad—for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way.
13 “You are the earth’s salt. But if the salt should become tasteless, what can make it salt again? It is completely useless and can only be thrown out of doors and stamped under foot.”
14-15 “You are the world’s light—it is impossible to hide a town built on the top of a hill. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket. They put it on a lamp-stand and it gives light for everybody in the house.
16 “Let your light shine like that in the sight of men. Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven.”
Christ’s authority surpasses that of the Law
17-20 “You must not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to complete them. Indeed, I assure you that, while Heaven and earth last, the Law will not lose a single dot or comma until its purpose is complete. This means that whoever now relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men to do the same will himself be called least in Heaven. But whoever teaches and practises them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that your goodness must be a far better thing then the goodness of the scribes and Pharisees before you can set foot in the kingdom of Heaven at all!
21-22 “You have heard that it was said to the people in the old days, ‘You shall not murder’, and anyone who does must stand his trial. But I say to you that anyone who is angry with his brother must stand his trial; anyone who contemptuously calls his brother a fool must face the supreme court; and anyone who looks on his brother as a lost soul is himself heading straight for the fire of destruction.
23-24 “So that if, while you are offering your gift at the altar, you should remember that your brother has something against you, you must leave your gift there before the altar and go away. Make your peace with your brother first, then come and offer your gift.”
25-26 “Come to terms quickly with your opponent while you have the chance, or else he may hand you over to the judge and the judge in turn hand you over to the officer of the court and you will be thrown into prison. Believe me, you will never get out again till you have paid your last farthing!”
27-28 “You have heard that it was said to the people in the old days, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her—in his heart.
29-30 “Yes, if your right eye leads you astray pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than that your whole body should be thrown on to the rubbish-heap. “Yes, if your right hand leads you astray cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than that your whole body should go to the rubbish-heap.
31-32 “It also used to be said that ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce’. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife except on the ground of unfaithfulness is making her an adulteress. And whoever marries the woman who has been divorced also commits adultery.
33-37 “Again, you have heard that the people in the old days were told—‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord’, but I say to you, don’t use an oath at all. Don’t swear by Heaven for it is God’s throne, nor by the earth for it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great king. No, and don’t swear by your own head, for you cannot make a single hair—white or black! Whatever you have to say let your ‘yes’ be a plain ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ a plain ‘no’—anything more than this has a taint of evil.
38-39 “You have heard that it used to be said ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, but I tell you, don’t resist the man who wants to harm you. If a man hits your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.
40-42 “If a man wants to sue you for your coat, let him have it and your overcoat as well. If anybody forces you to go a mile with him, do more—go two miles with him. Give to the man who asks anything from you, and don’t turn away from the man who wants to borrow.”
43-45 “You have heard that it used to be said, ‘You shall love your neighbour’, and ‘hate your enemy’, but I tell you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father. For he makes the sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike.
46-48 For if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even tax-collectors do that! And if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much. No, you are to be perfect, like your Heavenly Father.