Matthew 12:36

ESV I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
NIV But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
NASB But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment.
CSB I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.
NLT And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.
KJV But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
NKJV But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

What does Matthew 12:36 mean?

This is yet another reference to the day of judgment. This will happen at Christ's triumphant return to earth, also called the second coming or the day of the Lord. When Jesus returns, He will hold all people accountable for their words and actions. This includes even a person's "every careless word."

Scripture implies there will be two major judgments taking place in the end. Christ will be judge at both. One is for all who have rejected Christ (John 3:36) and refused God's gift of eternal life through putting their faith in Jesus (John 5:22–29; Revelation 20:11–15). Non-believers will be judged on their own righteousness and come up short of reaching God's standard (Romans 3:23). This is often referred to as the "white throne judgment."

The other judgment will be of those who are Christians. This is sometimes called the judgment seat of Christ, or the "Bema seat." There, Jesus will examine each believer's words and works and determine what rewards will be given or withheld in eternity (2 Corinthians 5:10). That judgment does not determine eternal destiny, nor can a believer lose their salvation there (John 10:28).
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