What does Mark 9:46 mean?
KJV: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
NKJV: where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
Verse Commentary:
Like verse 44, this statement is not found in this place in the oldest and most reliable transcripts. When it is included, it and verse 44 are identical to Mark 9:48. Jesus quotes from Isaiah 66:24 which describes the fate of sinners facing God's final judgment.

Jesus is saying that we should take practical steps to prevent real sin. The examples He gives—to cut off hands or feet, or pluck out eyes—are all things we do to ourselves. Our first reaction when facing temptation should be to control ourselves, not other people. That's not always our first instinct. In contrast, when faced with a fellow believer who can afford a nice car, we may sing the praises of a more modest life to cover up our own jealousy. When beset by sexual temptation, we may rail against people who dress in a way that grabs our attention. When driving, we may get angry at other drivers, pedestrians, and the traffic engineers who set the timing on traffic lights rather than admit we have an issue loving other drivers made in the image of God.

Whatever temptation we are faced with, we need to go to God with it first. It may be that He will lead us to gently rebuke someone who unwittingly tempts others to sin; Jesus does say that it would be better to die than lead someone into sin (Mark 9:42). But we must never blame them for our lack of self-control. Our sin nature is our own, and is to be dealt with through the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), practical steps, the encouragement and prayers of fellow Christians, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Verse Context:
Mark 9:42–48 shows that even if we follow the letter of the law, or maim ourselves in the attempt, we cannot be good enough to get to heaven on our own. In Matthew, directly after Jesus' hard words against sinning and tempting others to sin, Jesus talks about God's forgiveness and love for us (Matthew 18:12–14) and our responsibility to forgive others (Matthew 18:15–35). The various parallels in Matthew and Luke, as well as phrasing intended to transition subjects along suggest this passage is a synopsis of several different teachings. Still, Matthew 18:7–9 gives a reasonable parallel.
Chapter Summary:
Mark chapter 9 contains an account of Jesus' transfiguration, where three of the disciples witness Him in a glorified form. In this passage, Jesus also heals a demon-possessed boy. His teachings in this section include a prediction of His death and resurrection, and corrections to the disciples' errors on questions of pride and temptation.
Chapter Context:
Mark 9 continues Jesus' efforts to teach the disciples who He is, what He has come to do, and what their role is in His mission. The chapter begins with the transfiguration, where Peter, James, and John catch a glimpse of Jesus' glory, and ends back in Capernaum. Jesus spends most of that time teaching. Although the disciples do quarrel with the scribes, the misconceptions and errors Jesus addresses come from the disciples, themselves, not outsiders. In the next chapter, He will leave Galilee and travel toward Jerusalem and the cross.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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