Matthew 5:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 5:26, NIV: Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5:26, ESV: Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5:26, KJV: Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Matthew 5:26, NASB: Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the lastquadrans.

Matthew 5:26, NLT: And if that happens, you surely won't be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5:26, CSB: Truly I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny.

What does Matthew 5:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The sixth commandment of the Ten Commandments is clear enough: You shall not murder. Jesus, though, has elevated the commandment by revealing God's intent for the hearts of His people: Don't even be angry with your brother, and don't in your anger call him a fool. Otherwise, you are liable for hell (Matthew 5:21–25).

Jesus is showing that God expects His disciples to live for God in both their actions and in their attitudes. Anger is not exactly the same thing as murder, but it is just as much a sin. With that kind of standard, none of us can expect to be righteous enough for the kingdom of God.

Christ's final example was someone taken to court by an accuser; the wise thing to do when sued is to make every effort to make peace before the judge gets involved. Otherwise, the guilty party risks being thrown in prison for the wrongdoing. Jesus' spiritual application is that a prison of sorts—hell—should be avoided at all costs by not wronging anyone or causing them to wrong us by provoking their anger.

Now He adds, solemnly, that someone who is thrown into prison will never get out until they have paid the last penny in restitution for their wrongdoing. Coming up with cash from prison is difficult. Instead of risking it, Jesus tells His listeners to make things right with everyone as quickly as possible.