Luke 9:23 If any man will come after me,

KJV Verse: 

Luke 9:23 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

If anyone wishes behind me to make his way he must reject himself for himself and he must take up that stake of his for days and he must follow me. 

Hidden Meaning: 

The translation of this verse as "taking up a cross" was only possible after Christ's death. During his lifetime, people would have heard this as "lifting up a walking stick" or "pulling up a stake", as in a tent stake, which were also used as walking canes. 

The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether than condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

The word translated as "any man" means "anything" or "anyone." The same form applies either to men or women so "anyone" would be closer in English.

The Greek word translated as "will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something so "wants" or "wishes" is closer.

The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "getting or being underway." More about the meaning of this word in this article. The form of the verb is someone acting on themselves, so "bring himself" or "make his way". 

The term translated as "after" means "back" both in space and in time, so "behind" me is the sense. 

"Let him deny" is translated from a Greek word that means "to rejects" and "to deny utterly." It is in the form of a third party command ("let him"), but in today's English, we would express this idea as "he must". The verb form indicates that the subject is acting on himself or for himself. However, since the "himself" as an object is explicit here, which is unusual for this verb form. The sense of the verb could be that he does this for himself. 

"Himself" is the Greek reflexive pronoun in the singular, masculine form, "himself."

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series as it is here, is best translated as "not only...but also."

"Take up" is a verb that means "to lift up", "to raise up", "to take up", "to exalt," and "to remove." It is also in the form of a third party command, so "he must". 

The word translated as "cross" means a stakes or post, like those used to hold up a tent. It describes not the crossbar of a cross, but the stake on which the crossbar is hung. Among people traveling, it would meant pulling up the central stake of a tent to use it as a walking stick.

The term "follow" means "to follow," or "go with," in a physical sense, but it is also a metaphor meaning "to be guided by" or "to follow the meaning of."

Wordplay: 

Vocabulary: 

Εἴ (conj) "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

τις (pron sg masc/fem nom) "Any man" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." 

θέλει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Will" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

ὀπίσω "After" is from opiso, which means "back", "behind," and "hearafter."

μου (noun sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou, which mean "my", "of me," or "mine."

ἔρχεσθαι, (verb pres inf mp) "Come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

ἀρνησάσθω (verb 3rd sg aor imperat mp) "Let him deny" is from aparneomai, which means "to deny utterly", "to refuse", "to reject," and "to deny."

ἑαυτὸν (adj sg masc acc) "Himself" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself" "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos.

καὶ (conj) "And" is from 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."

ἀράτω (verb 3rd sg aor imperat act) "Take up" is from aeirô, which means "to lift up", "to raise up", "to take up", ""to exalt," and "to remove."

τὸν σταυρὸν (noun sg masc acc) "Cross" is from stauros, which means "upright post or stake," "pointed stick", "posts or piles for a foundation," and "a stake for impaling." In Christ's time, it was used for describing the upright post that held the crossbar for crucifixion.

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "His" is from 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 ones own accord."

καθ᾽ (prep) "Daily" is kata (with hemera below), which, as a preposition, means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "for" (a time), "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally." As an adverb, it means "according as", "just as", "in so far as", "wherefore", "like as if" and "exactly as." -- The word translated as "against" means "down from", "down into", "against", "opposite", "separately", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

ἡμέραν, (noun sg fem acc or noun pl fem gen) "Day" is hemera, which, as a noun, means "day" "a state or time of life", "a time (poetic)", "day break" and "day time." It is also and also has a second meaning, of "quiet", "tame (animals)", "cultivated (crops)," and "civilized (people)." -- The Greek word translated as "day" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime."

καὶ (conj) "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." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

ἀκολουθείτω (verb 3rd sg pres imperat act ) "Follow" is from akoloutheo, which means "to follow," and "to go with." It also means "to be guided by" and means following a leader as a disciple.

μοι. (pron 1st sg masc/fem dat)"Me" is from emoi/moi, which is 1st person,singular dative pronoun meaning "me' as the indirect object of a verb.

Related Verses: 

Dec 20 2017