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Matthew 5:17-48 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter[a] or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 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,[b] Do not murder,[c] and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother[d] will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’[e] will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.[f] 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[g] 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![h]

Adultery in the Heart

27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery.[i] 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.[j] 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality,[k] 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,[l] You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord.[m] 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.’[n] Anything more than this is from the evil one.

Go the Second Mile

38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.[o] 39 But I tell you, don’t resist[p] an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt,[q] let him have your coat[r] as well. 41 And if anyone forces[s] you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor[t] and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies[u] and pray for those who[v] persecute you, 45 so that you may be[w] sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?[x] Don’t even the Gentiles[y] do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


  1. Matthew 5:18 Or not one iota; iota is the smallest letter of the Gk alphabet.
  2. Matthew 5:21 Lit to the ancients
  3. Matthew 5:21 Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17
  4. Matthew 5:22 Other mss add without a cause
  5. Matthew 5:22 Lit Raca, an Aram term of abuse similar to “airhead”
  6. Matthew 5:22 Lit the gehenna of fire
  7. Matthew 5:25 Other mss read judge will hand you over to
  8. Matthew 5:26 Lit quadrans, the smallest and least valuable Roman coin, worth 1⁄64 of a daily wage
  9. Matthew 5:27 Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18
  10. Matthew 5:31 Dt 24:1
  11. Matthew 5:32 Gk porneia = fornication, or possibly a violation of Jewish marriage laws
  12. Matthew 5:33 Lit to the ancients
  13. Matthew 5:33 Lv 19:12; Nm 30:2; Dt 23:21
  14. Matthew 5:37 Say what you mean and mean what you say
  15. Matthew 5:38 Ex 21:24; Lv 24:20; Dt 19:21
  16. Matthew 5:39 Or don’t set yourself against, or don’t retaliate against
  17. Matthew 5:40 Lit tunic; = inner garment
  18. Matthew 5:40 Or garment; lit robe; = outer garment
  19. Matthew 5:41 Roman soldiers could require people to carry loads for them.
  20. Matthew 5:43 Lv 19:18
  21. Matthew 5:44 Other mss add bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you,
  22. Matthew 5:44 Other mss add mistreat you and
  23. Matthew 5:45 Or may become, or may show yourselves to be
  24. Matthew 5:47 Or doing that is superior; lit doing more
  25. Matthew 5:47 Other mss read tax collectors

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