Matthew 5:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 5:30, NIV: And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Matthew 5:30, ESV: And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 5:30, KJV: And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30, NASB: And if your right hand is causing you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; for it is better for youto lose one of the parts of your body,than for your whole body to go intohell.

Matthew 5:30, NLT: And if your hand--even your stronger hand--causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Matthew 5:30, CSB: And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

What does Matthew 5:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus could not be more forcefully clear about the sins of lustful intent or attempted adultery (Matthew 5:22–28). He has indicated that avoiding sex with another person's spouse is good, but not "good enough." There is more involved in God's command not to commit adultery than the scribes and Pharisees have taught. What happens in the heart is equally important. In the prior verse, Jesus quipped that it's better for a person to lose an eye, rather than that eye tempt them into sins that lead to hell (Matthew 5:29).

This verse follows the same pattern of hyperbole—exaggeration for effect—as made clear by the rest of Jesus' teachings. Jesus is not literally telling people to mutilate themselves in order to avoid sinning and going to hell. His purpose is to emphasize how high the stakes are when it comes to sin.

While the prior reference involved the eyes, and implied sins like lust, Jesus' current analogy speaks of one's hand. The overt meaning is that we ought to be in control of our urges—not to let the desires of the body take us over. Once again, the point is that it's better to lose a body part rather than be thrown into hell. Some scholars suggest the words used here might have also been used as a polite euphemism for lustful acts, more generally.

Once more, Jesus is demonstrating how seriously God takes sin. It is not only action, but motivation, which matters to God (Matthew 5:20). Sin starts in the inner places of a person. Along with this, Jesus is demonstrating how impossible it is for anyone to be worthy of the kingdom of heaven, based on their own goodness (Matthew 5:48). Every person is a sinner, based on God's standards.