What does the Bible mean when it refers to the gnashing of teeth?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The phrase "gnashing of teeth" is found in several places in the Bible and is used exclusively in reference to the final judgment of sinners, either directly or in a parable. "Gnashing of teeth" is...

July 01 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Gnash according to the Easton's Bible Dictionary [EBD] comes from the Hebrew, harak, meaning "to grate the teeth", (Job 16:9; Ps. 112:10; Lam. 2:16), denotes rage or sorrow. (See also Acts 7:54; Mark 9:18.)

Teeth in the NAVE Topical Bible refers to these references:

Prov. 10:26.

Gnashing of, Psa. 112:10; Lam. 2:16; Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Mark 9:18; Luke 13:28.

Gnashing of Teeth in the NAVE Topical Bible is specifically referred to here:

Job 16:9; Psa. 35:16; 37:12; 112:10; Lam. 2:16; Matt. 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28.

When sinners fail to answer God’s invitation to His feast, they are the ones who die. They are “thrust out” of the joys of the kingdom and are punished with “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28). It is a picture of people who are overwhelmed with regret because they see how foolish they were to delay, but, alas, it is too late. One of the agonies of hell will be the remembrance of opportunities wasted. 

What is the answer? “Strive to enter in at the narrow gate” (Luke 13:24). The word strive comes from the sports arena and describes an athlete giving his best to win the contest. Our English word agonize comes from this word. If people today would put as much effort into things spiritual as they do things athletic, they would be much better off. --This is Wiersbe writing on one of the occurrences of "gnashing of teeth."

The context for the above is this from the Voice Bible:

Jesus: 24 Strive to enter through the narrow door now, because many people—hear Me on this—will try to enter later on and will not be able to. 25 Imagine you want to enter someone’s home, but you wait until after the homeowner has shut the door. Then you stand outside and bang on the door, and you say, “Sir, please open the door for us!” But he will answer, “I don’t know where you’re from.”

26 Then you’ll say, “Just a minute. We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” 27 But he’ll say, “Sorry, I have no idea where you’re from. Leave me, all of you evildoers.” 28 Then you’ll see something that will make you cry and grind your teeth together—you’ll see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves will be on the outside looking in.

29 And then you’ll see people streaming in from east and west, from north and south, gathering around the table in the kingdom of God, but you’ll be on the outside looking in. 30 That’s how it will be; some are last now who will be first then, and some are first now who will be last then.

Jesus’ response shows that the Jewish people will be surprised by who enters the kingdom of God. It will not be just the Jews but people from all around the world—east and west, north and south. And they will also be surprised by who does not enter the kingdom, since some Jews will be on the outside looking in.

May 08 2022 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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