Does Jesus Really Want You to Cut Off Your Hand?
Early in my walk with Christ, a man I was witnessing to caught me off guard. He asked, “You say the Bible is true, so do I really need to cut off my hand?” He silenced me. I had no answer. I realized I was willing to give my life for a Book I did not understand. Maybe that encounter is one of the reasons I have studied the Bible so much.
Christians believe the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God. We believe every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible is truth. We build our lives around it. That doesn’t mean we understand everything in it, or that we are correct about what we do understand. But that is not a reflection on God; it is a reflection of our own fallibility.
So how would you explain what Jesus said in Matthew 5:30—“If your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away”?
If I had a do over, I would say, “No, you don’t need to cut off your hand. Christians believe that the Bible is literally true according to its literary genre. In this case Jesus is using hyperbole. All of us use hyperbole to make our points. “He is the greatest quarterback who ever played the game.” Hyperbole is simply overstating the case to make a point—in this case, better for your hand to perish than your soul.
Today I would say: keep your hand. You’re going to need it for all the good things you will do for him once you believe.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, Ph.D.