Matthew 18:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:7, NIV: "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!"

Matthew 18:7, ESV: "“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!"

Matthew 18:7, KJV: "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"

Matthew 18:7, NASB: "'Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!"

Matthew 18:7, NLT: "'What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting."

Matthew 18:7, CSB: "Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses will inevitably come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes."

What does Matthew 18:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus began by stating that His disciples will need to be like little children both to enter the kingdom of heaven and to be great in it. He was describing holding on to a childlike faith and humility instead of relying on one's own goodness, skill, or achievement (Matthew 18:1–6).

Now, He seems to have begun describing His disciples, those who believe in Him, as little children or little ones. From God's perspective, even the most experienced believers are still little children. Jesus has spoken of them with harsh and protective language, warning of judgment for anyone that would cause one of His little ones to fall into sin.

Now Jesus uses one of the familiar words Old Testament prophets often used when describing God's judgment: "Woe." Woe on the world for temptations to sin, those stumbling blocks it puts in the way of believers in Jesus to trip them up into sin. Judgment will come for them.

Jesus adds that such temptations are necessary. He does not mean by this that God is directly causing His little ones to experience temptation to sin. He seems to be saying that temptation to sin is part of living in a world that if full of sin. Facing temptation may be unavoidable for Christians, but those who lead them into sin will face God's painful judgment.

Two other things Jesus is not saying here: He is not saying it is necessary for Christians to give in to temptation. Temptation to sin may be a fact of life for believers but giving in to it is always avoidable (1 Corinthians 10:13). Second, Jesus is not saying that believers who sin, who stumble, are lost to Him. They can get up and continue to follow after Him.