Matthew 16:24 If any [man] will come after me,

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 16:24 If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

If anyone wishes to make his way after me, let him reject himself and pull up his stake, and be guided by 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. While people were killed by staking them up, no one would have heard this verse as referring to that before Jesus's death. Tent stakes as walking sticks were much more common. 

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 term translated as "after" means "back" both in space and in time.

"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" in English) where the subject is acting on 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 from 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, "let him."

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: 

 The wordplay here is interesting because it could only be seen after Christ's death. The word translated as "cross" means "stake" as in the stakes holding up a tent or the posts in a foundation. It is also the upright post on which a cross is hung for crucifixion, but no one would have thought of that at the time. 

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) "What" 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 (prep) "After" is from opiso, which means "back", "behind," and "hereafter."

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

ἐλθεῖν, (verb aor inf act) "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.

ἀπαρνησάσθω (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 (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 one's own accord."

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."

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: