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Matthew 18 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Who Is the Greatest?

18 At that time the ·followers [disciples] came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Jesus called a little child to him and stood the child before his ·followers [disciples]. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you must ·change [or turn from your sins; convert; L turn] and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven [L therefore] is the one who makes himself humble [and becomes] like this [little] child.

[L And] Whoever ·accepts [welcomes; receives] a child ·in my name [C as a representative or follower of Jesus] ·accepts [welcomes; receives] me [C indicates concern for the lowly; children had low social status]. If someone causes one of these little children who believes in me to ·sin [lose faith; stumble], it would be better for that person to have a ·large stone [large millstone; L millstone of a donkey] tied around the neck and be ·drowned [L thrown] in the [L depths of the] sea. ·How terrible for [L Woe to] ·the people of the world [L the world] because of ·the things that cause them to sin [temptations to sin; L stumbling blocks]. ·Such things will happen [L It is necessary for stumbling blocks to come], but ·how terrible for [L woe to] the one ·who causes them to happen [L through whom the stumbling block comes]! If your hand or your foot causes you to ·sin [lose faith; stumble], cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you ·to lose part of your body and live forever [L to enter life maimed or crippled] than to have two hands and two feet and be thrown into the ·fire that burns forever [eternal fire]. If your eye causes you to ·sin [lose faith; stumble], ·take [tear; gouge] it out and throw it away. It is better for you to ·have only one eye and live forever [L enter life one-eyed] than to have two eyes and be thrown into the ·fire of hell [L Gehenna of fire; 5:22].

A Lost Sheep

10 “Be careful [Watch out; or See that you…]. Don’t ·think these little children are worth nothing [L despise/look down on one of these little ones]. [L For] I tell you that they have angels in heaven who are always ·with [in the presence of; L see the face of] my Father in heaven. |11 The Son of Man came to save ·lost people [that which was lost].|[a]

12 [L What do you think?] If a man has a hundred sheep but one of the sheep ·gets lost [goes astray; wanders off], ·he will [L won’t he…?] leave the other ninety-nine on the ·hill [L hills; mountains] and go to look for the lost sheep. 13 I tell you the truth, if he finds it he ·is happier about [rejoices more over] that one sheep than ·about [over] the ninety-nine that ·were never lost [never went astray/wandered off]. 14 In the same way, your Father in heaven ·does not want [is not willing that] any of these little children to ·be lost [perish].

When a Person Sins Against You

15 “If your ·fellow believer [L brother (or sister)] sins against you,[b] go and ·tell him what he did wrong [L reprove/convict/correct him] ·in private [L between you and him alone]. If he listens to you, you have ·helped that person to be your brother or sister again [L gained/won back your brother (or sister)]. 16 But if he refuses to listen, go to him again and take one or two other people with you. ‘Every ·case [matter; charge] may be proved by [the testimony of; L the mouth of] two or three witnesses’ [Deut. 19:15]. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, then treat him like a ·person who does not believe in God [pagan; Gentile] or like a tax collector.

18 “I tell you the truth, ·the things [whatever] you ·don’t allow [forbid; L bind] on earth will be ·the things God does not allow [forbidden/bound in heaven]. And ·the things [whatever] you ·allow [permit; L loose] on earth will be ·the things that God allows [permitted/L loosed in heaven].”

19 “·Also [Again], I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about something ·and pray for it [L for which you have asked], it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 ·This is true because if [L For where] two or three people ·come [are assembled/gathered] together in my name, I am there ·with them [among them; in their midst].”

An Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when my ·fellow believer [L brother (or sister)] sins against me, how many times ·must [should] I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him not just seven times, but ·seventy times seven times [or seventy-seven times; C the Greek can mean either 490 or 77; the point is unlimited forgiveness]!

23 [L Therefore; For this reason] The kingdom of heaven is like a king who decided to ·collect the money his servants owed him [L settle accounts with his servants/slaves]. 24 When the king began ·to collect his money [the settlement/reckoning], a ·servant [slave] who owed him ·several million dollars [or billions of dollars; L ten thousand talents; C a talent was worth about six thousand days’ wages; this is an impossibly high debt] was brought to him. 25 But ·the servant [L he] did not have enough money to pay his master. So the master ordered that ·the servant [L he] be sold, together with his wife and children and everything he owned, and the debt paid.

26 “But the ·servant [slave] fell ·on his knees [face down; in obeisance] and begged, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.’ 27 The master felt ·sorry [compassion] for ·his servant [that slave], so he let him go free and ·forgave [canceled] the debt.

28 “·Later [L After departing], that same ·servant [slave] found ·another servant [a fellow servant/slave] who owed him a ·few dollars [hundred denarii]. ·The servant [L He] grabbed him ·around the neck [L and began choking him] and said, ‘Pay me the money you owe me!’

29 “The ·other servant [fellow servant/slave] fell on his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.’

30 “But ·the first servant [L he] refused. He threw ·the other servant [him] into prison until he could pay everything he owed. 31 When ·the other servants [his fellow servants/slaves] saw what had happened, they were very ·sorry [upset; distressed]. So they went and ·told [reported to] their master all that had happened.

32 “Then the master called ·his servant [L him] in and said, ‘You ·evil [wicked] ·servant [slave]! Because you ·begged [pleaded with] me, I forgave [canceled] all that debt. 33 ·You should have [L Shouldn’t you have…?] showed mercy to ·that other servant [your fellow servant/slave], just as I showed mercy to you.’ 34 The master was very angry and ·put the servant in prison to be punished [L delivered him to the tormenters/torturers] until he could pay everything he owed.

35 “·This king did what [L So also] my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


  1. Matthew 18:11 The … people. Some Greek copies do not contain the bracketed text.
  2. Matthew 18:15 against you Some Greek copies do not have “against you.”
Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.


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