New American Standard Bible

Matthew 18

Rank in the Kingdom

1At that [a]time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him [b]before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you [c]are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it [d]would be better for him to have a [e]heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Stumbling Blocks

“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than [f]to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than [g]to have two eyes and be cast into the [h]fiery hell.

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 [[i]For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]

Ninety-nine Plus One

12 “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 So it is not the will [j]of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

Discipline and Prayer

15 “If your brother sins[k], go and [l]show him his fault [m]in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every [n]fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as [o]a Gentile and [p]a tax collector. 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you [q]bind on earth [r]shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you [s]loose on earth [t]shall have been loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [u]by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Forgiveness

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I 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.

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven [v]may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him [w]ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he [x]did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the [y]debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred [z]denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling [aa]and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from [ab]your heart.”

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 18:1 Lit hour
  2. Matthew 18:2 Lit in their midst
  3. Matthew 18:3 Lit are turned
  4. Matthew 18:6 Lit is better
  5. Matthew 18:6 Lit millstone turned by a donkey
  6. Matthew 18:8 Lit having; Gr part.
  7. Matthew 18:9 Lit having; Gr part.
  8. Matthew 18:9 Lit Gehenna of fire
  9. Matthew 18:11 Early mss do not contain this v
  10. Matthew 18:14 Lit before
  11. Matthew 18:15 Late mss add against you
  12. Matthew 18:15 Or reprove
  13. Matthew 18:15 Lit between you and him alone
  14. Matthew 18:16 Lit word
  15. Matthew 18:17 Lit the
  16. Matthew 18:17 Lit the
  17. Matthew 18:18 Or forbid
  18. Matthew 18:18 Gr fut. pft. pass.
  19. Matthew 18:18 Or permit
  20. Matthew 18:18 Gr fut. pft. pass.
  21. Matthew 18:19 Lit from
  22. Matthew 18:23 Lit was compared to
  23. Matthew 18:24 A talent was worth more than fifteen years’ wages of a laborer
  24. Matthew 18:25 Or was unable to
  25. Matthew 18:27 Or loan
  26. Matthew 18:28 The denarius was a day’s wages
  27. Matthew 18:30 Lit but
  28. Matthew 18:35 Lit your hearts

New International Reader's Version

Matthew 18

Who Is the Most Important Person in the Kingdom?

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus. They asked him, “Then who is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven?”

Jesus called a little child over to him. He had the child stand among them. Jesus said, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don’t, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who takes the humble position of this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this one in my name welcomes me.

Do Not Cause People to Sin

“What if someone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin? If they do, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and be drowned at the bottom of the sea. How terrible it will be for the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Things like that must come. But how terrible for the person who causes them! If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It would be better to enter the kingdom of heaven with only one hand than go into hell with two hands. It would be better to enter the kingdom of heaven with only one foot than go into hell with two feet. In hell the fire burns forever. If your eye causes you to sin, poke it out and throw it away. It would be better to enter the kingdom of heaven with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

The Story of the Wandering Sheep

10-11 “See that you don’t look down on one of these little ones. Here is what I tell you. Their angels in heaven are always with my Father who is in heaven.

12 “What do you think? Suppose a man owns 100 sheep and one of them wanders away. Won’t he leave the 99 sheep on the hills? Won’t he go and look for the one that wandered off? 13 What I’m about to tell you is true. If he finds that sheep, he is happier about the one than about the 99 that didn’t wander off. 14 It is the same with your Father in heaven. He does not want any of these little ones to die.

When Someone Sins Against You

15 “If your brother or sister sins against you, go to them. Tell them what they did wrong. Keep it between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them back. 16 But what if they won’t listen to you? Then take one or two others with you. Scripture says, ‘Every matter must be proved by the words of two or three witnesses.’ (Deuteronomy 19:15) 17 But what if they also refuse to listen to the witnesses? Then tell it to the church. And what if they refuse to listen even to the church? Then don’t treat them as a brother or sister. Treat them as you would treat an ungodly person or a tax collector.

18 “What I’m about to tell you is true. What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you unlock on earth will be unlocked in heaven.

19 “Again, here is what I tell you. Suppose two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for. My Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 Where two or three people gather in my name, I am there with them.”

The Servant Who Had No Mercy

21 Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.

23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. 24 As the king began to do it, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold was brought to him. 25 The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed.

26 “Then the servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I’ll pay everything back.’ 27 His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go.

28 “But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said.

29 “The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I’ll pay it back.’

30 “But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed. 31 The other servants saw what had happened and were very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed.

35 “This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”