The following paraphrastic translation is neither a strict translation nor a free paraphrase of Matthew chapter five.
In a strict translation, an attempt is made to give a precise rendition of the writer's very words, taken straight from the ancient language he wrote in. Even the thoughtforms of the writer's own ancient culture are then preserved. They are literalistically transferred into their exact verbal equivalent in the modern language concerned. For example: "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel… Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:24,33)
In a free paraphrase, however, an attempt is made to give the meaning of the ancient writer's central idea in modern and colloquial language for our own culture. This is done by judiciously changing his thought-forms and cultural expressions into those easily intelligible and familiar to us today. For example: "You are leaders with no insight! You are very concerned with tiny details! But you don't care at all about the really important things! … You reptiles! You bunch of snakes! You're all headed for the judgment of the fiery trash-heap!" (Compare Matthew 23:24,33)
In this present study, we show that the Sermon on the Mount is itself essentially Jehovah-Jesus' inspired "paraphrase" of His Own ancient Decalogue as previously published by Him to Moses on Mount Sinai. For in His Sermon, Christ re-presented the exact meaning of the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law, by infallibly paraphrasing them into the thought-forms and cultural ideas of His Own contemporary culture a millenium-and-a-half later.
Now we ourselves cannot give either an infallibly-inspired translation or an infallibly-inspired paraphrase — as Jesus did! But, fallible and uninspired as our effort is, we do try here to provide both a reasonable translation (underlined) and a strict paraphrase (in regular type), while stressing the key ideas (IN BLOCK CAPITALS). We do not give an exhaustive analysis of Matthew chapter five. But we do try to concentrate on its central message: the Moral Law of Jehovah-Jesus! Where we do paraphrase passages in Matthew five, however, we offer footnote references to Biblical material elsewhere in Scripture — in defense of our paraphrase. And in this way, the Sermon on the Mount's central Biblical focus on Mount Sinai's Moral Law of the Kingdom of Heaven is preserved throughout.
In Matthew 5:17-27 & 5:48, Jesus Himself clearly declared to His audience: "You must not even begin to presume I have come to start demolishing either the Law [alias the Pentateuch] or the Prophets! I have not come to start demolishing, but to finish constructing…. For I tell you [all], even at the melting away of the Heaven and the Earth when all things have finished occurring — not one jot or one tittle will ever melt away from the Law [alias the Old Testament Scriptures]….
"Therefore whosoever starts and keeps on loosening even one of the least of these Commandments and shall thus keep on teaching people — shall be called the least as
regards the Kingdom of Heaven. But whosoever shall keep on doing and keep on teaching [these Commandments thus] — shall be called great as regards the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the Scribes and the Pharisees — you too shall no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to the Ancients: 'You shall not murder!' … You have heard that it was said to the Ancients: 'You shall not commit adultery!'[etc.] … Therefore, you [all] must be perfect — even as your Father Who is in Heaven is perfect."