This word answers to two different terms in the original, the one signifying a breach of the law, Ro 5:15,17, the other a stumbling-block or cause of sin to others, Mt 5:29; 18:6-9; or whatever is perverted into an occasion or excuse for sin, Mt 15:12; Joh 6:61; Ro 9:33; Ga 5:11.
(2.) A stumbling-block or cause of temptation (Isa 8:14; Mt 16:23; 18:7). Greek skandalon, properly that at which one stumbles or takes offence. The "offence of the cross" (Ga 5:11) is the offence the Jews took at the teaching that salvation was by the crucified One, and by him alone. Salvation by the cross was a stumbling-block to their national pride.
The Greek word skandalon is properly used of a 'stick in a trap on which the bait is placed, and which, when touched by the animal, springs up and shuts the trap' (Liddell and Scott). The word is used by Christ (Mt 18:7; Lu 17:1) of offences in the form of hindrances to the faith of believers, especially of Christ's little ones. The context makes it clear what kind of stumbling-blocks are referred to. In the corresponding passage in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:29-30; cf. Mr 9:45,47) the right eye and right hand are given as instances of the kind of offences that may arise. The members here cited are not only in themselves good and serviceable, but necessary, though they are capable, in certain circumstances, of becoming the occasion of sin to us. In the same way the Christian may find pursuits and pleasures, which in themselves are innocent, bringing unexpected temptations and involving him in sin. The possible applications of this are numerous, whether the warning be referred to artistic gifts (the 'hand' and 'eye'), or abuses of certain kinds of food and drink, or any other circumstances which may lead a man from the higher life or divert him from his aims. All these may be compared to the stumbling-blocks which cause a man to fall. Such things must be dispensed with, for the sake of entering the 'eternal life,' which is the Christian man's goal.
T. A. Moxon.