Bible Study

“The Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt.” Matthew 18:27 KJV

The Art of Forgiveness
A Bible Study Lesson

by Stella Pete
Devotional Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
Central Verse:

“The Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt.” Matthew 18:27 KJV

Focus: Forgiveness
Essential Thought: An unforgiving heart brings bondage. When we forgive, we are free of the hatred and bitterness that unforgiveness causes.
Words to Know:

Forgiveness, art, debt, compassion, parable, patience, reconciliation, repentance, resentment.

Forgiveness means the giving up of resentment or claim to an offense. The Hebrew word for forgive means to pardon or spare. The Greek word for forgiveness means to send forth, lay aside, let go. In general, we can say to forgive is to release the resentment caused by an offense.

Art is a method of executing or a way of carrying out a plan.

Compassion is feeling pity for the suffering or trouble of another.

Debt is something owed by one person to another or an obligation to pay or return something.

Parable is a short simple story, usually of something familiar that occurred, from which a religious lesson may be drawn.

Patience, in Greek means longsuffering as opposed to hasty anger or punishment.

Reconciliation is making friendly again or winning over to a friendly attitude, making content.

Repentance is a change of mind and heart that results in a change of behavior.

Resentment is a feeling of displeasure from being injured or offended.



Lesson Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35 KJV

  • Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
  • Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
  • Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
  • And when had begun to reckon one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
  • But forasmuch as he had not to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
  • The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
  • Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
  • But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat saying, Pay me that thou owest.
  • And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me and I will pay thee all.
  • And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
  • So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
  • Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because desiredst me.
  • Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
  • And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
  • So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.



  1. How many times should we forgive someone who has hurt us?
  2. What does Jesus teach about forgiveness?
  3. How did Jesus respond to Peter’s seemingly generous offer to forgive seven times? What did Jesus mean?
  4. Why is forgiveness so important?
  5. How does the idea of debt relate to our need to forgive?
  6. What does the parable mean?
  7. True of False: The parable of the king who wished to settle accounts with his servants was told by Jesus to emphasize His admonition to forgive as you would be forgiven.
  8. What did Jesus tell Peter to do when others sinned against him?
  9. In Jesus’ parable, how did a master show mercy?
  10. What did the forgiven servant do when he had a chance to show mercy?
  11. What did the master want the forgiven servant to do?


Food for Thought

“Forgiveness is not condoning. Nor is it even repairing what has been broken, though often that is possible. Forgiveness isn’t really about the other person. Forgiveness is deciding that you need to make peace with a personal situation. You forgive so you can get on with your life.”

R. Scott Colglazeier
Senior Minister, First Congregational Church of Los Angeles



Nuggets on Forgiveness

Principles of forgiveness: Matthew 18:21-23, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37; 17:3-4, 2 Corinthians 2:7-10; James 5:15-16.
Forgiving, forgiven: Matthew 5:23-24.
Forgiven, not forgiving: Matthew 18:23-35.
Full measure of forgiveness: Luke 17:3-4.
Forgiveness, patience: Colossians 3:13.
Forgiving prayer: Job 42:7-10.
God’s reason for forgiving: Isaiah 43:25.
God’s total forgiveness: Jeremiah 50:20.
Love and forgiveness: 1 Peter 4:8.



Anderson, Ken. Little Book of Where to Find It in the Bible. Illustrated by John Hayes. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996, p. 137.

Hayford, Jack W., ed. Spirit-Filled Life Bible. New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.

Neufeldt, Victoria E. ed. Webster’s New World Dictionary. 3rd college ed. Cleveland & New York: Webster’s New World, 1988.

Zodhaites, Spiros, ed. The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. King James Version. Red Letter Edition. World Bible Publishers.



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