Better maimed than eternal fire (Mt 18:8-18:8)

“If your hand

Or your foot

Causes you to sin

Or stumble,

Cut it off!

Throw it away!

It is better for you

To enter life maimed

Or lame

Than to have

Two hands

Or two feet

But thrown

Into the eternal fire.”

 

Εἰ δὲ ἡ χείρ σου ἢ ὁ πούς σου σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔκκοψον αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· καλόν σοί ἐστιν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν κυλλὸν ἢ χωλόν, ἢ δύο χεῖρας ἢ δύο πόδας ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον.

 

This saying about better to be maimed than sin can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:43-45, with some minor changes.  Matthew also has something similar in chapter 5:30.  In a rather harsh statement, Jesus said that if your hand (Εἰ δὲ ἡ χείρ σου) or your foot (ἢ ὁ πούς σου) causes you to stumble or sin (σκανδαλίζει σε), cut them off (ἔκκοψον αὐτὸν)!  Throw them away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ·)!  It would be better for you to enter life maimed or lame (καλόν σοί ἐστιν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν κυλλὸν ἢ χωλόν) than to have two hands (ἢ δύο χεῖρας) or two feet (ἢ δύο πόδας) but thrown into the eternal fire (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον).  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block, or snare is, get rid of it, even if it is one of your hands or feet.

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