Mark 9:43 And if your hand offends you, cut it off:

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And when it trips up, that hand of yours trips you up, cut of. Good it is for you maimed to go into the life than having those two hand having to depart into the Gehenna into that pyre unquenchable.

KJV : 

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The first unusual aspect of this verse is that all the second person pronouns are in the singular, addressed to one person, rather than a group. The previous second-person pronouns (in Mark 9:41) were in plural. The key word here is a "Greek" word translated as "offend" that is found only in the Bible.  It ties this verse to the previous one, Mark 9:42, which also used this word. It refers to putting a stumbling block before someone so that they trip and thereby offending them. In English, we would simply say, "trips you up." Though it doesn't sound like it in English translation, Christ uses this word to make light of his affect on the thinking of others. The word translated as "go" in the "go into hell" line means to depart from life.

Though a slightly difference vocabulary is used here than in Mat 18:8, it preserves the same the play on words, where "cutting it off" also means "stop it." While this sounds in translation like a pretty extreme, there is a lot more humor in the original Greek.

Wordplay: 

The word chosen as "go into hell" means "to depart from life."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἐὰν (conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

σκανδαλίσῃ ( verb 2nd sg aor subj mid ) "Offend" is skandalizo, which means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize." -

σε (pron 2nd sg acc) "Thee" is from se, the second person singular accusative pronoun.

(article sg fem nom ) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

χείρ ( noun sg fem nom ) "Hand" is cheir (cheir) which means "the hand and arm," and "with the help of agency of another." Like "hand" in English, it has a lot of meanings including "an act or deed", "a body of people," and the measurement "handful."

σου, (adj sg masc gen) "Thy" is sou which means "of you" and "your." 

ἀπόκοψον [uncommon]( verb 2nd sg aor imperat act ) "Cut off" is apokopto, which means "cut off", "hew off", "exclude from reckoning", "cut short", "bring to an abrupt close," and "smite in the breast from mourning."

αὐτήν: ( adj sg fem acc ) "His" (adj sg masc acc) "Him" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

καλόν ( noun sg neut nom ) "Good" is kalos, which means "beautiful", "good", "of fine quality", "noble," and "honorable." It is most often translated as "good" juxtaposed with "evil" in the New Testament, but the two ideas are closer to "wonderful" and "worthless", "noble" and "base."

ἐστίν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen",  and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

σε (pron 2nd sg acc) "Thee" is from se, the second person singular accusative pronoun. -

κυλλὸν [unique]( adj sg masc acc ) "Maimed" is from kullos (kyllos) which means "club-footed", "deformed", "crooked," and "crippled."

εἰσελθεῖν ( verb aor inf act ) "To enter" is eiserchomai which means both "to go into", "to come in", "to enter", "to enter an office", "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind."

εἰς (prep) "Into" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ζωὴν ( noun sg fem acc ) "Life" is zoe, which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

(conj/adv)  "Than" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (exclam) "Or" is e which is an exclamation meaning "hi!" OR (adv) "Or" is e, which is an adverb meaning "in truth" and "of a surety".

τὰς (article pl fem acc) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

δύο (number) "Two" is duo, which means the number "two", "a couple," and "a pair."

χεῖρας (noun pl fem acc) "Hands" is cheir which means "the hand and arm," and "with the help of agency of another." Like "hand" in English, it has a lot of meanings including "an act or deed", "a body of people," and the measurement "handful."

ἔχοντα ( part sg pres act masc acc ) "Having" is echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to have due to one", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

ἀπελθεῖν ( verb aor inf act ) "Go into" is aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

εἰς (prep) "Into" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)." -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

τὴν (article sg fem acc) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

γέενναν, ( noun sg fem acc ) "Hell" is geenna which is Greek for Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom (the Hebrew word), south of Jerusalem where trash, including diseased animals and human corpses was burned. A constant fire was kept burning there.

εἰς (prep) "Into" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)." -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

τὸ (article noun sg neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

πῦρ ( noun sg neut acc) "Fire" is pyr (pur), which means "fire", "sacrificial fire", "funeral fire", "hearth-fire", "lightning", "the light of torches," and "heat of fever."

τὸ (article sg fem acc) "That" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἄσβεστον. [uncommon]( adj sg neut acc ) "Never shall be quenched" is from asbestos which means "unquenchable," and "inextinguishable."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

if -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

untranslated -- The untranslated word is the Greek definite article.The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

thy -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person pronoun.

hand -- The Greek word translated as "hands" means "the hand and forearm". It can mean both the idea of a helping hand and being in someone's control. 

offend -- "Offend" is a verb that means means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize." 

thee, -- The "thee" here is singular, meaning that the line was likely addressed to an individual instead of all his listeners. 

cut -- "Cut off" is an uncommon verb for Jesus, used only here and in the next verse, that means "cut off", "hew off", "exclude from reckoning", "cut short", "bring to an abrupt close," and "smite in the breast from mourning." It is in the form of a command or request.

it -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  

off  -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb.

it -- This pronoun comes from the singular/plural, third person form of the verb. 

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." 

better -- The word translated as "good means "good", "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality."  See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."  The word translated as "well" means, as an adverb, "well", "rightly",  "happily",  "thoroughly", "altogether", and "deservedly".  

for -- These is no "for" in the Greek.

thee - The "thee" here is singular. This is uncommon for Jesus when he is teaching, meaning that the line was likely addressed to an individual instead of all his listeners. The "maimed" appears here as an adjective modifying this pronoun.

to -- This is from the infinitive form of the verb.

enter -- "Enter" is a word that means "go or come into" and has the double meaning of "coming into one's mind."

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

untranslated -- -The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

life -- The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance", "existence," and "property." Christ uses it to mean "existence" beyond physical life.

maimed, -- "Maimed" is a word Jesus only uses here. It means "club-footed", "deformed", "crooked," and "crippled." This word appears in the Greek as an adjective modifying, "you."

than -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

having -- The word translated as "have" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep" and many specific uses.  The form is that of an adjective, "having."

untranslated -- -The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

two -- The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

hands -- The Greek word translated as "hands" means "the hand and forearm". It can mean both the idea of a helping hand and being in someone's control. 

to -- This is from the infinitive form of the verb.

go -- The Greek verb translated as  "go" means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life." 

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

untranslated -- -The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

hell,  -- The word "hell" is the name of an area, Gehenna, where a constant fire was kept for disposing of trash from Jerusalem. This area was originally where children were sacrificed to Baal, and Baal (Beelzebub, "lord of the flies"), Christ's personification of evil.

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

fire -- "Fire" is a noun that means "fire", "sacrificial fire", "funeral fire", and so on, but Christ only uses this word to describe the fire of a trash dump. He usually uses it with the word that is translated as "hell" but which was the name of the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem.

that -- The word translated as "the"  is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

never shall be quenched: -- Never shall be quenched" is a single adjective that means "unquenchable," and "inextinguishable." Though an adjective, the preceding article makes it more like a noun, "the unquenchable."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Putting this verse in the larger context of the topic of the chapter of contrasting the spiritual world and the temporal world, the point here is the total value of a temporal life. Our lives can be completely wasted by making the wrong decisions. The alternative of going through life without the capability of making certain mistakes is much preferable. Life is not measure by everything that we can do, but by the quality of what we do.

Front Page Date: 

Sep 20 2019