Matthew 16:25 For whoever will save his life shall lose it:

KJV Verse: 

Mat 16:25 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

For when someone might desire to keep his awareness [from death], he is going to [utterly] destroy it. When someone, however,  [utterly] destroys his awareness [at some point] because of me is going to discover it.

Hidden Meaning: 

Here, the key opposites are "save" and "lose", which, in English, are very general words,  but in Greek, the words used have a meaning more directly related to life in the sense of awareness and death. 

The word translated as "whoever" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, singular) which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

In the KJV translating the Geek verb as "will" makes it sound as if the verb following verb is in the future tense. It isn't. There are two verbs here. The first means "to desire" and is in the present tense.

The second "save" verb is a present infinitive "to be preserved from death" or "keep alive." 

The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "the true self" as opposed to appearances.

In the original Greek, the word translated as "life" means not only life and breath, but the spirit, the soul, and the consciousness of a person. In the alternative, the phrase could be "his soul" or "his spirit" but to emphasize the concept of "self", that is conscious awareness.

"Shall lose" is a very strong form of "to destroy", "to kill", "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It is in the future tense, unlike the "desire to save from death" phrase that begins the verse. 

The Greek word translated as "and" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

The pattern of words, using the same vocabulary changes in the next phrase though the KJV shows a similar pattern.

The "will destroy" verb is neither in the future tense nor is the verb meaning "to desire" used. It is a tense that means something happening at a specific point in time.

The "my" is the possessive pronoun, so "my", "of me," or "mine."

The word translated as "sake" is a preposition means "on account of", "as far as regards", "in consequence of," and "because."

The term used for "shall find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." It is in the future tense. 

The form of the Greek word translated as "it" refers to the word translated as "life" that means "self-awareness". 

Wordplay: 

A word for preserving something from 

Vocabulary: 

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "Whoever" is from hos, which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms (hê, ho, gen. hou, hês, hou, etc. ; dat. pl. hois, hais, hois, etc. gen. hoou). It means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἐὰν (conj) Untranslated is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

θέλῃ (3rd sg pres subj act) "Shall" is from thelô (thelo), which as a verb means "to be willing", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

τὴν ψυχὴν (noun sg fem acc) "Life" is from psyche, which means "breath", "life", "self", "spirit," and "soul." It has the clear sense of the conscious self and is often translated as "life" in the Gospels. It is also used to describe "the spirit" of things. It is often translated as "soul."

αὐτοῦ  (adj sg masc gen) "His" is from autos (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."

σῶσαι (aor inf act) "Save" is soizo, which means "save from death", "keep alive", "keep safe", "preserve", "maintain", "keep in mind", "carry off safely," and "rescue."

ἀπολέσει (3rd sg fut ind act) "lose" is from apollumi, which is a very strong form of "to destroy", "to kill", "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It also means "to ruin" a woman.

αὐτήν: (adj sg fem acc) "It" is from autos (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."

ἂν (conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) Whoever" is from hos, which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms (hê, ho, gen. hou, hês, hou, etc. ; dat. pl. hois, hais, hois, etc. gen. hoou). It means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δ᾽ (partic) "And" is from de (de), which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἀπολέσῃ (3rd sg aor subj act) "Will lose" is from apollumi, which is a very strong form of "to destroy", "to kill", "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It also means "to ruin" a woman.

τὴν ψυχὴν (noun sg fem acc)"Life" is from psuchê (psyche), which means "breath", "life", "self", "spirit," and "soul." It has the clear sense of the conscious self and is often translated as "life" in the Gospels. It is also used to describe "the spirit" of things. It is often translated as "soul."

αὐτοῦ  (adj sg masc gen)"His" is from autos (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."

ἕνεκεν "Sake" is from heneka, which means "on account of", "as far as regards", "in consequence of," and "because."

ἐμοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "My" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

εὑρήσει (3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall find" is from heuriskô, which means "to find", "to find out", "to discover", "to invent", "to get", "to gain," and "to earn."

αὐτήν (adj sg fem acc) "It" is from autos (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."

Related Verses: