From my search the KJV includes the phrase, "do good to them that hate you"

But that phrase doesn't seem to exist in the versions I typically use.


I would like to know whether the KJV is correct here or not please?

1 Answer 1


This is a textual issue. That is, the reason that the translations vary is that they are based on different Greek manuscripts.

The manuscript that the KJV is based on is called the "Textus Receptus" aka "Received Text". This is a text that first appeared in 1514. It has the longer reading:

5:44 Ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς καὶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς

Modern Bibles, except for those which are consciously following in the KJV tradition now use texts that have been vetted by accepted scholarship which considers the provenance of Textus Receptus to be untraceable and use scientific methods to determine the actual text. They come up with this shorter version:

5:44 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς

You can always compare the Textus Receptus to the modern critical text at BlueLetterBible.org.

This article may be helpful to learn more about the matter of textual criticism.

As to which manuscript has Matthew 5:44 "correct", only time will tell for sure.

  • Yes, this is a textual issue but you are being pretty hard on the TR. The Byzantine tradition has a direct lineage from early Christianity until Erasmus produced the TR. Yes, he did it on the cheap and we have earlier texts to go on now, but it's not fair to call TR "unscientific" or "not vetted by scholarship". Just call it a text based on older witnesses from the Byzantine Empire.
    – Robert
    Jun 22, 2021 at 3:59

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