Matthew 18:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:21, NIV: "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?'"

Matthew 18:21, ESV: "Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”"

Matthew 18:21, KJV: "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?"

Matthew 18:21, NASB: "Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'"

Matthew 18:21, NLT: "Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?'"

Matthew 18:21, CSB: "Then Peter approached him and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?""

What does Matthew 18:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter likely thinks he is being generous and noble in this question to Jesus. Jesus has just finished describing a process for what to do when another believer in Jesus sins against you. It's a process that starts with a one-on-one conversation and ends, if there is not repentance on the part of the sinful person, with removing that person from the community of Jesus-followers (Matthew 18:15–20).

Peter seems to be thinking about cases when someone repeatedly sins against you. The Jewish rabbis required those who followed the law to forgive a person who was guilty of the same offense three times. Then they were free to stop forgiving—in that mindset, the offending person had exhausted any reason to be forgiven. Peter seems to know that Jesus' standard will be higher, so he more than doubles that number. He forms his suggestion into a question: As many as seven times? Jesus, as usual, will give Peter a surprising answer.