Matthew 18:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:8, NIV: "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire."

Matthew 18:8, ESV: "And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire."

Matthew 18:8, KJV: "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."

Matthew 18:8, NASB: "'If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire."

Matthew 18:8, NLT: "So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet."

Matthew 18:8, CSB: "If your hand or your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire."

What does Matthew 18:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has placed "woe" on anyone who would cause those who believe in Him, His little ones, to stumble into sin. God's judgment will come on those who set temptation to sin in the path of Jesus' followers.

Jesus has said that temptations in this world, in this life, are necessary. This simply means that they're natural to the human life (Hebrews 4:15). It does not mean Christians must give into them (1 Corinthians 10:13). In fact, Jesus now uses hyperbole to command His followers to take sin so seriously that they go to extraordinary lengths to avoid giving into temptation.

Jesus says to His little ones that if their hand or foot causes them to sin, they should cut those appendages off and throw them away. By comparison, it would be better to live crippled in this way than to be thrown into the eternal fire of hell. Jesus used similar language when preaching about lust in Matthew 5:27–30.

Again, we must understand that Jesus is not saying that anyone who sins will irrevocably be bound for hell. If He were, all of us would go to hell (Romans 3:23). Those who sin can be restored, as Peter will be after denying Jesus before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:74–75; John 21:15–19). Jesus did not truly want His disciples to maim themselves to avoid sin; He did want them to take their own sin—and anything they might do to cause others to sin—with extreme seriousness. He wanted them to see that sin was a life-and-death issue.

Paul also described the seriousness with which believers should deal with their own sin. He described it as an execution: "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth" (Colossians 3:5–8).