What does Matthew 18:8 mean?
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.
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.
NASB: And if your hand or your foot is causing you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or without a foot, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.
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.
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.
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.
NKJV: “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.
Verse Commentary:
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).
Verse Context:
Matthew 18:7–9 contains Jesus declaration of woe—the promise of judgment—to the world for temptations to sin, though He says that temptations are necessary. Still, Jesus uses hyperbole to warn the disciples to go to extremes to avoid sin. If your hand or foot or eye causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Better to be crippled or blind in this life than to be thrown into the fire of hell.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus uses two questions from the disciples to teach important lessons. The "greatest" in the kingdom is the one who humbles himself like a child. Temptation is unavoidable in earthly life, but it's worth going to extremes to avoid falling for it. Even so, those who fall should not be hated and despised. God the Father values them highly and wants none of them to perish. In fact, Jesus lays out a clear, careful process to confront sin in others before removing them from the community. Christ also replies to Peter's question about forgiveness with a parable. This story represents both God's amazing forgiveness, and the way we ought to respond as Christians.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 18 follows the action of the previous chapter with teaching from Jesus on several issues. These include humility, using the example of a child. Jesus also teaches about avoiding sin and offering forgiveness to others. Interestingly, the following chapter will also feature references to children and to wealth, as Christ continues to explain the will of God to His disciples.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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