Matthew 18:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:9, NIV: "And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

Matthew 18:9, ESV: "And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire."

Matthew 18:9, KJV: "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

Matthew 18:9, NASB: "'If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell."

Matthew 18:9, NLT: "And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It's better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

Matthew 18:9, CSB: "And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire."

What does Matthew 18:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has pronounced "woe," God's judgment, on those who place temptation in the path of His "little ones," believers in Jesus. He has said temptation is a necessary part of life, but He is now telling believers to go to great lengths to keep themselves from giving in to temptations to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Does Jesus really want His followers to cut off hands or feet or to tear out their eyes in order to avoid sinning? No. He is using the communication technique of hyperbole to communicate to His disciples the degree of seriousness with which they should deal with sin. Jesus did not want any of them to have a casual attitude to the deadly consequences of sin.

Was Jesus really warning that any believer who sins—ever—will go into the "hell of fire"? Again, we would say no. If He had meant these two things to be taken literally, first-century Christians would have been maimed and blind, and all of us would be destined for hell. Jesus will restore Peter after his sin of denying Christ and, by His death on the cross, will make it possible for all people to be forgiven for all their sin through faith in Him. In fact, Jesus will illustrate in the following verses the great lengths the Father will go to in order not to lose a single one of His little ones who have gone astray (Matthew 18:12–14).

Jesus is showing, though, that sin is the reason for the coming wrath of God. Those not forgiven for sin will face God's judgment in hell. Those who believe in Him must not tolerate giving in to the temptation to sin or, especially, leading anyone else into sinfulness. Jesus does not allow for any casualness about sin or its consequences.