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Matthew 5 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down 1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
2 and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said: 2 and he began to teach them, saying:
3 "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are - no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'carefull,' you find yourselves cared for. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 "You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Not only that - count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 You can be glad when that happens - give a cheer, even! - for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 "Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand - shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
17 "Don't suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures - either God's Law or the Prophets. I'm not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. 17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18 God's Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God's Law will be alive and working. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
19 "Trivialize even the smallest item in God's Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same 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 Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won't know the first thing about entering the kingdom. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 "You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' 21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
22 I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, 23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
25 "Or say you're out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don't lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you're likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. 25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
26 If that happens, you won't get out without a stiff fine. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 "You know the next commandment pretty well, too: 'Don't go to bed with another's spouse.' 27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
28 But don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices - they also corrupt. 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 "Let's not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here's what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 "Remember the Scripture that says, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights'? 31 "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'
32 Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are 'legal.' Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you're responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you're automatically an adulterer yourself. You can't use legal cover to mask a moral failure. 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
33 "And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. 33 "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'
34 You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;
35 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
37 Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. 37 Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
38 "Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' 38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'
39 Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41 And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 "You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44 I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best - the sun to warm and the rain to nourish - to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.