Matthew 5
Contemporary English Version

The Sermon on the Mount

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down.+


(Luke 6.20-23)

Jesus' disciples gathered around him, 2and he taught them:

3God blesses those people

who depend only on him.

They belong to the kingdom

of heaven!+

4 God blesses those people

who grieve.

They will find comfort!

5 God blesses those people

who are humble.

The earth will belong

to them!

6 God blesses those people

who want to obey him+

more than to eat or drink.

They will be given

what they want!

7God blesses those people

who are merciful.

They will be treated

with mercy!

8 God blesses those people

whose hearts are pure.

They will see him!

9God blesses those people

who make peace.

They will be called

his children!

10 God blesses those people

who are treated badly

for doing right.

They belong to the kingdom

of heaven.+

11 God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.

Salt and Light

(Mark 9.50; Luke 14.34,35)

13 You are the salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.

14 You are the light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, 15 and no one lights a lamp and puts it under a clay pot. Instead, it is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. 16 Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

The Law of Moses

17Don't suppose I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets.+ I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning. 18 Heaven and earth may disappear. But I promise you not even a period or comma will ever disappear from the Law. Everything written in it must happen.

19If you reject even the least important command in the Law and teach others to do the same, you will be the least important person in the kingdom of heaven. But if you obey and teach others its commands, you will have an important place in the kingdom. 20You must obey God's commands better than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law obey them. If you don't, I promise you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.


21 You know our ancestors were told, “Do not murder” and “A murderer must be brought to trial.” 22But I promise you if you are angry with someone,+ you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.

23So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God.

25Before you are dragged into court, make friends with the person who has accused you of doing wrong. If you don't, you will be handed over to the judge and then to the officer who will put you in jail. 26I promise you will not get out until you have paid the last cent you owe.


27 You know the commandment which says, “Be faithful in marriage.” 28But I tell you if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, poke it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to end up in hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, chop it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.


(Matthew 19.9; Mark 10.11,12; Luke 16.18)

31 You have been taught that a man who divorces his wife must write out divorce papers for her.+ 32 But I tell you not to divorce your wife unless she has committed some terrible sexual sin.+ If you divorce her, you will cause her to be unfaithful, just as any man who marries her is guilty of taking another man's wife.


33 You know our ancestors were told, “Don't use the Lord's name to make a promise unless you are going to keep it.” 34 But I tell you not to swear by anything when you make a promise! Heaven is God's throne, so don't swear by heaven. 35 The earth is God's footstool, so don't swear by the earth. Jerusalem is the city of the great king, so don't swear by it. 36Don't swear by your own head. You cannot make one hair white or black. 37When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.


(Luke 6.29,30)

38 You know you have been taught, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 39But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek,+ turn and let that person slap your other cheek. 40If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well. 41If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one kilometer, carry it two kilometers.+ 42When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them.


(Luke 6.27,28,32-36)

43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for this? Even tax collectors+ love their friends. 47If you greet only your friends, what's so great about this? Don't even unbelievers do that? 48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven.


5.1 sat down: Teachers in the ancient world, including Jewish teachers, usually sat down when they taught.
5.3 They belong to the kingdom of heaven: Or “The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”
5.6 who want to obey him: Or “who want to do right” or “who want everyone to be treated right.”
5.10 They belong to the kingdom of heaven: See the note at 5.3.
5.17 the Law and the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
5.22 someone: In verses 22-24 the Greek text has “brother,” which may refer to people in general or to other followers.
5.31 write out divorce papers for her: Jewish men could divorce their wives, but the women could not divorce their husbands. The purpose of writing these papers was to make it harder for a man to divorce his wife. Before this law was made, all a man had to do was to send his wife away and say that she was no longer his wife.
5.32 some terrible sexual sin: This probably refers to the laws about the wrong kinds of marriages that are forbidden in Leviticus 18.6-18 or to some serious sexual sin.
5.39 right cheek: A slap on the right cheek was a bad insult.
5.41 two kilometers: A Roman soldier had the right to force a person to carry his pack as far as one kilometer.
5.46 tax collectors: These were usually Jewish people who paid the Romans for the right to collect taxes. They were hated by other Jews who thought of them as traitors to their country and to their religion.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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