Matthew 10:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 10:34, NIV: Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34, ESV: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34, KJV: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34, NASB: 'Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34, NLT: 'Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34, CSB: Don't assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

What does Matthew 10:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the years leading up to Christ's birth, many Israelites believed the arrival of the Messiah would immediately bring a time of great peace and prosperity to Israel. Even Jesus' disciples may have believed this. Jesus has shown through His teaching and miracles that He is, in fact, the Messiah. Now, though, He wants to help His followers understand that the season of political peace will not come soon.

Instead, His arrival will bring great division to the world. He has come to bring a sword. Jesus is not describing the sword of God's judgment, nor one of military action, or of personal violence. The item Jesus refers to here is the Greek term machairan, most often used for large knives such as those used by fisherman. The main purpose of those blades was to separate different parts of a cut of meat—this is the same term used in the book of Hebrews to depict Scripture's ability to separate truth and error (Hebrews 4:12).

In other words, Jesus' message will naturally create division; this "sword" will divide the world into those who believe in Him and those who do not. His arrival will bring great conflict as those who reject Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God will turn in hatred against those who hear and believe (1 Peter 4:3–4; John 15:18–21), including the members of one's own family.