Matthew 5 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Jesus Teaches the People
5 When Jesus saw the crowds of people there, he went up on a hill and sat down. His followers came and sat next to him. 2 Then Jesus began teaching the people. He said,
3 “Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need.[a]
11 “People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do that, know that great blessings belong to you. 12 Be happy about it. Be very glad because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did these same bad things to the prophets who lived before you.
You Are Like Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, it cannot be made salty again. Salt is useless if it loses its salty taste. It will be thrown out where people will just walk on it.
14 “You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. 15 People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Jesus and the Old Testament Writings
17 “Don’t think that I have come to destroy the Law of Moses or the teaching of the prophets. I have come not to destroy their teachings but to give full meaning to them. 18 I assure you that nothing will disappear from the law until heaven and earth are gone. The law will not lose even the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter until it has all been done.
19 “A person should obey every command in the law, even one that does not seem important. Whoever refuses to obey any command and teaches others not to obey it will be the least important in God’s kingdom. But whoever obeys the law and teaches others to obey it will be great in God’s kingdom. 20 I tell you that you must do better than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. If you are not more pleasing to God than they are, you will never enter God’s kingdom.
Jesus Teaches About Anger
21 “You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘You must not murder anyone.[d] Any person who commits murder will be judged.’ 22 But I tell you, don’t be angry with anyone. If you are angry with others, you will be judged. And if you insult someone, you will be judged by the high court. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “So, what if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that someone has something against you? 24 Leave your gift there and go make peace with that person. Then come and offer your gift.
25 “If anyone wants to take you to court, make friends with them quickly. Try to do that before you get to the court. If you don’t, they might hand you over to the judge. And the judge will hand you over to a guard, who will throw you into jail. 26 I assure you that you will not leave there until you have paid everything you owe.
Jesus Teaches About Sexual Sin
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that if a man looks at a woman and wants to sin sexually with her, he has already committed that sin with her in his mind. 29 If your right eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Jesus Teaches About Divorce
31 “It was also said, ‘Any man who divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce.’[f] 32 But I tell you that any man who divorces his wife, except for the problem of sexual sin, is causing his wife to be guilty of adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman is guilty of adultery.
Jesus Teaches About Making Promises
33 “You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘When you make a vow, you must not break your promise. Keep the vows that you make to the Lord.’[g] 34 But I tell you, when you make a promise, don’t try to make it stronger with a vow. Don’t make a vow using the name of heaven, because heaven is God’s throne. 35 Don’t make a vow using the name of the earth, because the earth belongs to him.[h] Don’t make a vow using the name of Jerusalem, because it also belongs to him, the great King. 36 And don’t even say that your own head is proof that you will keep your promise. You cannot make one hair on your head white or black. 37 Say only ‘yes’ if you mean ‘yes,’ and say only ‘no’ if you mean ‘no.’ If you say more than that, it is from the Evil One.
Jesus Teaches About Fighting Back
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[i] 39 But I tell you, don’t fight back against someone who wants to do harm to you. If they hit you on the right cheek, let them hit the other cheek too. 40 If anyone wants to sue you in court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. 41 If a soldier forces you to walk with him one mile,[j] go with him two. 42 Give to anyone who asks you for something. Don’t refuse to give to anyone who wants to borrow from you.
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[k] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. 45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. 46 If you love only those who love you, why should you get a reward for that? Even the tax collectors do that. 47 And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than anyone else. Even the people who don’t know God are nice to their friends. 48 What I am saying is that you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.