But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell (geenna) fire. —Matthew 5:22 (KJV)
Jesus is talking to his disciples here (Matt 5:1-2) and teaching them how to live on this earth. Jesus reveals that our sin problem is with our hearts and not necessarily with physical acts—i.e. anger without cause is equal to murder; lust is equal to adultery, etc.
Starting in verse 5:21, Jesus gives us a new perspective on what murder is. Jesus says that the scriptures teach that you shall not murder and that if you do murder you will be in danger of judgment. However, Jesus breaks that paradigm and says that if you
- are angry without cause towards someone
- say Raca! to someone
- say you fool! to someone
you are in danger of judgment.
Due to the wording of "But whoever says, You Fool!...—it's easy to read that as though Jesus is teaching that saying "You fool" is worse than being angry without cause and/or saying Raca! and, therefore, is worthy of Hell—which is, apparently, worse than the council or judgment. However, to me, that really doesn't make sense in the context of what Jesus is teaching.
I think the word "But" is misleading—it makes more sense if the word "And" or "Also" or "Moreover" was used. In other words, I am suggesting that Jesus is using the three concepts to teach one principle as opposed to teaching that calling somebody a fool is "extra" bad so much so that it's hell deserving.
Is there any evidence in the original language that can back up my theory that the word "but" could have been (or should have been) translated to "and", "also", "moreover", etc?