This post is the beginning of a number of posts listing various hyperbole found in the Bible. Clicky here, for all my posts detailing what I’ve found.
Hyperbole is extravagant exaggeration that is not meant to be taken literally. It is littered all over the Bible. Here are a few examples.
Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Paul does not mean to literally castrate those who preach another gospel.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Christ does not literally mean they have large enough mouths to swallow a camel whole.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Jesus is not teaching a way to avoid hell is maiming the offending part of your body.