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Two Greek words, πρὸς ἐπιθυμῆσαι, generate a variety of translations.

Matthew 5:28 New International Version

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

English Standard Version

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Berean Study Bible

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Berean Literal Bible

But I say to you that everyone looking upon a woman in order to lust after her already has committed adultery with her in his heart.

Weymouth New Testament

But I tell you that whoever looks at a woman and cherishes lustful thoughts has already in his heart become guilty with regard to her.

Young's Literal Translation

but I -- I say to you, that every one who is looking on a woman to desire her, did already commit adultery with her in his heart.

What is the best translation? Or does it matter?

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A preposition such as πρὸς τὸ with the infinitive forms a purpose clause

preceding the purpose use of an infinitive. Mt. 6.1: πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς (to be seen by them), with an infinitive following πρός. -- Porter, S. E. (1999). Idioms of the Greek New Testament (pp. 231–232). Sheffield: JSOT.

Purpose: εἰς (common) and πρός (rare) are both used to mean in order that. See Wallace 590–92. -- Long, F. J. (2005). Kairos: a beginning Greek grammar (p. 214). Mishawaka, IN: Fredrick J. Long.

Πρὸς τό is the remaining idiom for discussion. It was used by the ancients in much the same sense as εἰς τό and ἐπὶ τῷ, ‘looking to,’ ‘with a view to.’ -- Robertson, A. T. (2006). A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (p. 1075). Logos Bible Software.

Thus, a good translation of πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι should convey the idea of looking at a woman with the intent to desire or long for her. Using lust is a matter of philosophy of translation. Because it is no longer used it everyday language, it is one of those religious terms not always familiar to the general public. One has to ask if the Bible should remain koine, even Biblia Sacra Vulgata means the Holy Scriptures in the common language (at the time it was translated).

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ESV Matthew 5:28:

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

ESV is correct. Jesus is against a man who looks at a woman with the intent to lust after her.

NIV:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

NIV is incorrect. A man can look at a woman innocently. After looking, lust can develop. The man then decides not to look anymore.

Jesus' concern here is intention. NIV fails to make this point clear. There is a difference between temptation and sin.

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What is the best translation for πρὸς ἐπιθυμῆσαι (to lust) in Matthew 5:28?

βλέπων looking at γυναῖκα woman

πρὸς toward τὸ the ἐπιθυμῆσαι to desire

What is the best translation? Or does it matter?

Yes, it does matter. If you want to please God one should know how God feels about pornography. Therefore reading a correct translation is very important.

Here, Jesus is not just merely speaking about a passing immoral thought; rather, he is emphasizing the seriousness of the matter when one "keeps on looking." Continued looking often arouses passionate desire.

Matthew 5:28-29 Young's Literal Translation [emphasis mine]#

but I -- I say to you, that every one who [keeps on ] looking on a woman [ so as] to desire her, did already commit adultery with her in his heart.

How do we protect our heart?Jesus points to the corrective action required,, [figuratively ] he says:

29 `But, if thy right eye doth cause thee to stumble, pluck it out and cast from thee, for it is good to thee that one of thy members may perish, and not thy whole body be cast to gehenna.

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  • Great answer. I like this Answer Sep 28 at 16:55

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