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Chapter 18 of the Gospel of Matthew contains the fourth of the five Discourses of Matthew, also called the Discourse on the Church.[1] It includes the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Unforgiving Servant which also refer to the Kingdom of Heaven. The general theme of the discourse is the anticipation of a future community of followers, and the role of his apostles in leading it.[2][3]

Matthew 18
Let the Little Children Come unto Jesus.jpg
Christ with children by Carl Heinrich Bloch.
BookGospel of Matthew
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part1

Verses 15-17 are of particular significance to Baptists in their support of the principle of autonomy of the local church (see Baptist beliefs).

Addressing his apostles in Matthew 18:18, Jesus states: "what things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven", see also Binding and loosing. The discourse emphasizes the importance of humility and self-sacrifice as the high virtues within the anticipated community. It teaches that in the Kingdom of God, it is childlike humility that matters, not social prominence and clout.[2][3]



"Jesus teaches about greatness" by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld, 1860

The chapter can be divided into the following subsections:


Woe to the worldEdit

In Matthew 18:7, Jesus utters "an exclamation of pity at thought of the miseries that come upon mankind through ambitious passions" [5] - woe to the world (Greek: οὐαὶ τῶ κόσμῳ, Ouai tō kosmō).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Preaching Matthew's Gospel by Richard A. Jensen 1998 ISBN 978-0-7880-1221-1 pages 25 & 158
  2. ^ a b Matthew by Larry Chouinard 1997 ISBN 0-89900-628-0 page 321
  3. ^ a b Behold the King: A Study of Matthew by Stanley D. Toussaint 2005 ISBN 0-8254-3845-4 pages 215-216
  4. ^ texts of Matthew 18:11
  5. ^ Expositor's Greek Testament on Matthew 18, accessed 1 February 2017

Preceded by
Matthew 17
Chapters of the New Testament
Gospel of Matthew
Succeeded by
Matthew 19