Matthew 5:48
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

New Living Translation
But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

English Standard Version
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Berean Study Bible
Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

Berean Literal Bible
You shall be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

New American Standard Bible
"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

King James Bible
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

International Standard Version
So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

NET Bible
So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

New Heart English Bible
You therefore are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Be therefore perfect, just as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.

New American Standard 1977
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.

King James 2000 Bible
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

American King James Version
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

American Standard Version
Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

Darby Bible Translation
Be ye therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

English Revised Version
Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Webster's Bible Translation
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

Weymouth New Testament
You however are to be complete in goodness, as your Heavenly Father is complete.

World English Bible
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Young's Literal Translation
ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.
Study Bible
Love Your Enemies
47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Cross References
Leviticus 19:2
"Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

Deuteronomy 18:13
"You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.

2 Samuel 22:31
"As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Matthew 5:47
And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same?

2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, beloved, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that defiles body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:1
Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children,

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:15
All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well.

Colossians 1:28
We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

James 1:4
Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Treasury of Scripture

Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to …

Leviticus 11:44 For I am the LORD your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, …

Leviticus 19:2 Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say …

Leviticus 20:26 And you shall be holy to me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed …

Deuteronomy 18:13 You shall be perfect with the LORD your God.

Job 1:1,2,3 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man …

Psalm 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

Luke 6:36,40 Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful…

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves …

2 Corinthians 13:9,11 For we are glad, when we are weak, and you are strong: and this also …

Philippians 3:12-15 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: …

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all …

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always …

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and …

1 Peter 1:15,16 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner …


Matthew 5:16,45 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, …

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 5:1,2 Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children…

1 John 3:3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

(48) Be ye therefore perfect.--Literally, Ye therefore shall be perfect--the ideal future that implies an imperative.

Your Father which is in heaven.--The better reading gives, your heavenly Father. The idea of perfection implied in the word here is that of the attainment of the end or ideal completeness of our being. In us that attainment implies growth, and the word is used (e.g., in 1Corinthians 2:6; Hebrews 5:14) of men of full age as contrasted with infants. In God the perfection is not something attained, but exists eternally, but we draw near to it and become partakers of the divine nature when we love as He loves:

------"Earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice."

Verse 48. - In Luke 6:36, "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful," we have certainly a reminiscence of the same saying, and, almost as certainly, from the smoothing away of difficulties, a less original form of it. Be ye therefore perfect; Revised Version, ye therefore shall be perfect (ἔσεσθε οϋν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι). The form is based on Deuteronomy 18:13, τέλειος ἔσῃ. While the introduction of ὑμεῖς emphasizes the contrast between Christ's disciples and those who followed the usual deduction from the Law, the position of ἔσεσθε (reversing that of Deuteronomy) shows that still greater emphasis is placed on their "perfection" as something to be attained. Also, while in the parallel passage of Luke the stress is upon the change that must take place (γὶνεσθε) - unless, as is possible, it has the simple meaning "show yourselves" (cf. ver. 45, note) - in Matthew the possibility or even the certainty of attaining it is definitely stated. You shall make this your aim, and shall attain to it. Therefore. A deduction from the principle laid down in vers. 44-47. From the consideration of the example of your Father, and of the insufficiency of being like publicans and heathen. Perfect (τέλειοι). In the Gospels here and Matthew 19:21 only. The word denotes those who have attained the full development of innate powers, in contrast to those who are still in the undeveloped state - adults in contrast to children. Thus the thought here is - Ye shall be satisfied with, and shall attain to, no lower state than that of maturity. But what is it as to which they shall be mature? Surely not the whole Law as illustrated by all the examples since ver. 21; for vers. 31, 32 are excluded by the comparison with God immediately following. It must be the subject with which the sentence is closely connected, vers. 44-47 (cf. Meyer); love to others even though they have done you wrong. In this respect, viz. love to others, you shall admit, says our Lord, no lower ideal than that of' maturity, even such maturity as is found in him who sends sun and rain on all alike. Some (Augustine, Trench) have seen in this a merely relative maturity, itself capable of further development; but the subject rather demands absolute and final maturity. This does not imply that man will ever have such fulness of love as the Father has, but that he will fully and completely attain to that measure of love to which he as a created being was intended to attain. It may, however, be in accordance with true exegesis to see, with Weiss, for such apparently is his meaning, also an indication of further teaching - the nature of the revelation made known by Christ. For whereas "the fundamental commandment" of the Old Testament, "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44, 45), was the more negative thought of God's exaltation above the impurity of created beings, our Lord now puts forth "the positive conception of the Divine perfection, whose nature is all-embracing, self-sacrificing love. And in place of the God, for ever separated from his polluted people by his holiness, to whom they can only render themselves worthy of approach through the most anxious abstinence from all impurity, and by means of the statutes for purification contained in the Law, there is on the ground of this new revelation the Father in heaven, who stoops to his children in love, and so operates that they must and can be like him" (Weiss, 'Life,' 2:156). The simple and straightforward meaning of the verse, however, is this - You shall take no lower standard in love to enemies than God shows to those who ill treat him, and you shall, in fact, attain to this standard. Upon this (for the limitation of the meaning to one point makes no real difference) there arises the question which has been of so much importance in all ages of the Church - What is the measure of attainment that is really possible for Christ's disciples upon earth? ought they not to expect to live perfect lives? But the text gives no warrant for such an assertion. No doubt it says that attainment to maturity - to perfection according to creaturely limits - is eventually possible. That is implied in ἔσεσθε (vide supra). But when this attainment can be made is not stated. Many will, indeed, affirm that, as our Lord is giving directions to his disciples concerning things in this life, the attainment also is affirmed to be possible in this life. But this by no means follows. Christ gives the command, and by the form of it implies that it shall be carried out to the full. But this is quite consistent with the conception of a gradually increasing development of love which, in fact will attain maturity, a state in which God's love has ever been; but not immediately and not before the final completion of all Christ's work in us. The words form, indeed, a promise as well as a command, but the absence of a statement of time forbids us to claim the verse as a warrant for asserting that the τελειότης referred to can be attained in this life. Trench ('Syr.,' § 22.) explains the passage by saying that the adjective is used the first time in a relative, and the second time in an absolute, sense. But this does not seem as probable as the interpretation given above, according to which the adjective is in both cases used absolutely. His following words, however, deserve careful attention. "The Christian shall be ' perfect,' yet not in the sense in which some of the sects preach the doctrine of perfection, who, so soon as their words are looked into, are found either to mean nothing which they could not have expressed by a word less liable to misunderstanding; or to mean something which no man in this life shall attain, and which he who affirms he has attained is deceiving himself, or others, or both." Even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect; Revised Version, as your heavenly Father is perfect; so the manuscripts. The epithet, ὁ οὐράνιος, is wanting in Luke, but Matthew wishes to lay stress on their Father's character and methods being different from those of an earthly father. Observe again not "the Father" but your Father; nerving them to fulfil the summons to likeness to him (cf. ver. 16).

Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father,.... This perfection is to be restrained to the subject Christ is upon, love to men, and not to be referred to any, or every other thing; wherefore, in Luke 6:36 it is, "be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful"; and regards not a perfection of degree in that, but objects and quality: that is to say, not that men may, or can, or ought to be as perfect in love, as to the degree of it, as God is; that is impossible: the "as" here, is not a note of equality, but of likeness: such, who profess God to be their Father, ought to imitate him, particularly in their love to men, which ought to be extended to the same objects, as the divine goodness is; that, as he shows regard in a providential way to all men, good and bad, just and unjust, and his tender mercies are over all his works; so ought they to love all men with a natural affection, and hate no man, no, not their enemies: for he that loves only his friends, and not his enemies, loves imperfectly; he does not take in the whole compass of objects his love is to extend unto; and as God loves sincerely, and without dissimulation, so should they. To be "perfect", is to be sincere and upright: in this sense is the word often used, and answers to the Hebrew word which signifies the same: see Deuteronomy 18:13 which is the passage Christ seems to refer to here; and the sense is, be ye sincere and upright in your love to all men, as your heavenly Father is hearty and sincere in his affections to them. 48. Be ye therefore—rather, "Ye shall therefore be," or "Ye are therefore to be," as My disciples and in My kingdom.

perfect—or complete. Manifestly, our Lord here speaks, not of degrees of excellence, but of the kind of excellence which was to distinguish His disciples and characterize His kingdom. When therefore He adds,

even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect—He refers to that full-orbed glorious completeness which is in the great Divine Model, "their Father which is in heaven." 5:43-48 The Jewish teachers by neighbour understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1Pe 1:15,16. Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves his children.
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