Matthew 18:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:15, NIV: "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over."

Matthew 18:15, ESV: "“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother."

Matthew 18:15, KJV: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."

Matthew 18:15, NASB: "'If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."

Matthew 18:15, NLT: "'If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back."

Matthew 18:15, CSB: ""If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother."

What does Matthew 18:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verses, Jesus has warned His disciples about the grave seriousness of leading any of the other believers into sinfulness. He has also warned them not to despise or disrespect other believers, even ones who have gone astray. After all, God the Father's will is that none of the believers in Jesus should perish or be eternally separated from Him (Matthew 18:10–14).

But what should the community of believers do if someone does fall into sin? How can they both take sinfulness seriously and attempt to bring the sinner back to faithfulness? Jesus gives a process for doing exactly that.

He begins by describing a scenario in which one among them sins. Some scholars question how the words "against you" should be read in this verse. Some earlier Greek manuscripts don't have those two words, simply saying "If your brother sins." Is Jesus talking about someone who sins only against another believer? Or someone who offends or does something disagreeable? Or is this someone who sins in any obviously and truly clear way? It's reasonable that the same process should be applied in all cases.

If another believer in Jesus sins against us—or if we become aware of the clear and obvious sin of another Jesus-follower—Jesus insists that the first step is always to have a private conversation with the person. This is often the most effective step in helping anyone to recognize and repent from sin. However, it's only likely to work if one approaches that person in childlike love and humility and without despising him or her. The goal is to keep this person as a brother or sister, not to shame or humiliate them.

If the result is not repentance, and we are still convinced of this person's ongoing sin, it is time to carefully bring someone else into the conversation (Matthew 18:16).