Matthew 5:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 5:25, NIV: Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.

Matthew 5:25, ESV: Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

Matthew 5:25, KJV: Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Matthew 5:25, NASB: Come to good terms with your accuser quickly, while you are with him on the way to court, so that your accuser will not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will not be thrown into prison.

Matthew 5:25, NLT: 'When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison.

Matthew 5:25, CSB: Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you're on the way with him to the court, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.

What does Matthew 5:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In giving examples to illustrate the importance of setting aside anger and reconciling relationships, Jesus has once again escalated standards far beyond what makes us comfortable. In the previous verses, He described a worshiper setting down their gift before making the offering to God in order to go make things right with a brother (Matthew 5:23–24).

Now He describes someone who is being taken to court for some reason. The assumption here seems to be that the accused wasn't aware of their offense until it was brought to court, or they were not able to reconcile before then. The advice here is not only practical, it's also meant to continue the spiritual lesson Jesus began in earlier verses. If the courtroom accuser wins the case before the judge, the accused will be handed over to the guard and taken to prison. No longer is the motive simply to have a right spirit and a good relationship with people. Now the motive is to avoid judgment and prison.

Jesus is comparing the spiritual stakes of unresolved conflict to the civil stakes of an unresolved lawsuit. In either case, if you've truly wronged another person, you are in danger of judgment. The proper response is to make things right quickly— both to have a pure heart and to avoid judgment for wrongdoing.