Matthew 5:48
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

King James Bible
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Darby Bible Translation
Be *ye* therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

World English Bible
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Young's Literal Translation
ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.

Matthew 5:48 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Be ye therefore perfect - as your Father - God himself is the grand law, sole giver, and only pattern of the perfection which he recommends to his children. The words are very emphatic, εσεσθε ουν υμεις τελειοι, Ye shall be therefore perfect - ye shall be filled with the spirit of that God whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is love. God has many imitators of his power, independence, justice, etc., but few of his love, condescension, and kindness. He calls himself Love, to teach us that in this consists that perfection, the attainment of which he has made both our duty and privilege: for these words of our Lord include both a command and a promise.

"Can we be fully saved from sin in this world?" is an important question, to which this text gives a satisfactory answer: "Ye shall be perfect, as your Father, who is in heaven, is perfect." - As in his infinite nature there is no sin, nothing but goodness and love, so in your finite nature there shall dwell no sin, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus shall make you free from the law of sin and death, Romans 8:2. God shall live in, fill, and rule your hearts; and, in what He fills and influences, neither Satan nor sin can have any part. If men, slighting their own mercies, cry out, This is impossible! - whom does this arguing reprove - God, who, on this ground, has given a command, the fulfillment of which is impossible. "But who can bring a clean out of an unclean thing?" God Almighty - and, however inveterate the disease of sin may be, the grace of the Lord Jesus can fully cure it; and who will say, that he who laid down his life for our souls will not use his power completely to effect that salvation which he has died to procure. "But where is the person thus saved?" Wherever he is found who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself; and, for the honor of Christianity and its Author, may we not hope there are many such in the Church of God, not known indeed by any profession of this kind which they make, but by a surer testimony, that of uniformly holy tempers, piety to God, and beneficence to man?

Dr. Lightfoot is not perfectly satisfied with the usual mode of interpreting the 22nd verse of this chapter. I subjoin the substance of what he says. Having given a general exposition of the word brother, which the Jews understood as signifying none but an Israelite - ενοχος, which we translate is in danger of, and which he shows the Jews used to signify, is exposed to, merits, or is guilty of - and the word gehenna, hell - fire, which he explains as I have done above, he comes to the three offenses, and their sentences.

The First is causeless anger, which he thinks too plain to require explanation; but into the two following he enters in considerable detail: -

"The Second. Whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Racha,' a nickname, or scornful title usual, which they disdainfully put one upon another, and very commonly; and therefore our Savior has mentioned this word, the rather because it was of so common use among them. Take these few examples: -

"A certain man sought to betake himself to repentance (and restitution). His wife said to him, 'Rekah, if thou make restitution, even thy girdle about thee is not thine own, etc.' Tanchum, fol. 5.

"Rabbi Jochanan was teaching concerning the building of Jerusalem with sapphires and diamonds, etc. One of his scholars laughed him to scorn. But afterwards, being convinced of the truth of the thing, he saith to him, 'Rabbi, do thou expound, for it is fit for thee to expound: as thou saidst, so have I seen it.' he saith to him, 'Rekah, hadst thou not seen, thou wouldst not have believed, etc.' Midras Tillin, fol. 38, Colossians 4.

"To what is the thing like? To a king of flesh and blood, who took to wife a king's daughter: he saith to her, 'Wait and fill me a cup;' but she would not: whereupon he was angry, and put her away; she went, and was married to a sordid fellow; and he saith to her, 'Wait, and fill me a cup;' she said unto him, 'Rekah, I am a king's daughter, etc.' Idem in Psalm 137:1-9.

"A Gentile saith to an Israelite, 'I have a choice dish for thee to eat of.' He saith, 'What is it ?' He answers, 'Swine's flesh.' he saith to him, 'Rekah, even what you kill of clean beasts is forbidden us, much more this.' Tanchum, fol. 18, Colossians 4.

"The Third offense is to say to a brother, 'Thou fool,' which, how to distinguish from racha, which signifies an empty fellow, were some difficulty, but that Solomon is a good dictionary here for us, who takes the term continually here for a wicked wretch and reprobate, and in opposition to spiritual wisdom: so that in the first clause is condemned causeless anger; in the second, scornful taunting and reproaching of a brother; and, in the last, calling him a reprobate and wicked, or uncharitably censuring his spiritual and eternal estate. And this last does more especially hit the scribes and Pharisees, who arrogated to themselves only to be called חכמים chocamim, wise men, but of all others they had this scornful and uncharitable opinion, 'This people, that knoweth not the law, is cursed,' John 7:49.

"And now for the penalties denounced upon these offenses, let us look upon them, taking notice of these two traditions of the Jews, which our Savior seems to face, and to contradict.

"1st. That they accounted the command, Thou shalt not kill, to aim only at actual murder. So that in their collecting the six hundred and thirteen precepts out of the law, they understand that command to mean but this: 'That one should not kill an Israelite,' and accordingly they allotted this only violation of it to judgments; against this wild gloss and practice, he speaks in the first clause: Ye have heard it said, Thou shalt not kill, and he that killeth, or committeth actual murder, is liable to judgment, and ye extend the violation of that command no farther; but I say to you, that causeless anger against thy brother is a violation of that command, and even that maketh a man liable to judgment.

2nd. They allotted that murder only to be judged by the council, or Sanhedrin, that was committed by a man in propria persona: let them speak their own sense, etc. Talm. in Sanhedrin, per. 9.

"'Any one that kills his neighbor with his hand, as if he strike him with a sword, or with a stone that kills him, or strangle him till he die, or burn him in the fire, seeing that he kills him any how in his own person, lo! such a one must be put to death by the Sanhedrin; but he that hires another to kill his neighbor, or that sends his servants, and they kill him, or that violently thrusts him before a lion, or the like, and the beast kills him - any one of these is a shedder of blood, and the guilt of shedding of blood is upon him, and he is liable to death by the hand of Heaven, but he is not to be put to death by the Sanhedrin. And whence is the proof that it must be thus! Because it is said, He that sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. This is he that slays a man himself, and not by the hand of another. Your blood of your lives will I require. This is he that slays himself. At the hand of every beast will I require it. This is he that delivers up his neighbor before a beast to be rent in pieces. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of man. This is he that hires others to kill his neighbor: In this interpretation, requiring is spoken of all the three; behold, their judgment is delivered over to Heaven (or God). And all these man-slayers and the like, who are not liable to death by the Sanhedrin, if the king of Israel will slay them by the judgment of the kingdom, and the law of nations, he may, etc.' Maym. ubi supr. per. 2.


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me...

Leviticus 11:44 For I am the LORD your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy...

Leviticus 19:2 Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.

Leviticus 20:26 And you shall be holy to me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that you should be mine.

Deuteronomy 18:13 You shall be perfect with the LORD your God.

Job 1:1,2,3 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God...

Psalm 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

Luke 6:36,40 Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful...

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit...

2 Corinthians 13:9,11 For we are glad, when we are weak, and you are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection...

Philippians 3:12-15 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after...

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers...

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1 Peter 1:15,16 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation...


Matthew 5:16,45 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven...

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 5:1,2 Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children...

1 John 3:3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

Agree with Thine Adversary
Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867. St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did several others. For we find it also in the 12th
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

Salt Without Savour
'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'--MATT. v. 13. These words must have seemed ridiculously presumptuous when they were first spoken, and they have too often seemed mere mockery and irony in the ages since. A Galilean peasant, with a few of his rude countrymen who had gathered round him, stands up there on the mountain, and says to them, 'You,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lamp and the Bushel
'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'--Matt. v. 14-16. The conception of the office of Christ's disciples contained in these words is a still bolder one than that expressed by the preceding metaphor, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Form of the Old Law
'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Cross References
Leviticus 19:2
"Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.

Deuteronomy 18:13
You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

2 Samuel 22:31
"As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

Matthew 5:47
And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Ephesians 5:1
Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

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