Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few [are] chosen.
Many, for this reason, are invited. Few, however, pure.
Interesting and Hidden Aspects:
In the Greek, the meaning is much plainer and somewhat different in flavor. In the KJV, this phrase also appears at the end of Mat 20:16 , but it doesn't appear in today's Greek sources. Like so many of Christ's "punch lines" it is a play on words that is hidden in translation.
The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.
The word translated as "many" means many in number, great in power or worth, and large in size.
The Greek word translated as "called" means "invited", "welcome", "called out", "chosen," and "summoned to court." It is NOT the word usually translated as "called" in the NT, which is more like our word "called."
"Few" is translated from a Greek word that means "little", "small", "slight", "few," and "weak." It is the base for our word "oligarchy" meaning "rule of the few."
"Chosen" is translated from a Greek word that means "picked out", "select", "choice," and "pure." The "chosen" are not those specially selected for the feast. They are the few guests that are truly "pure," that is, that are without fault.
The usual translation reinforces the idea that the wedding feast is somehow restricted, or, for those who interpret the feast as the afterlife, that few will be chosen to go into heaven. This is confusing, however, because everyone is invited to the wedding feast in the parable, which is the obvious metaphor for heaven. The only one "chosen" is the one man who is ejected. Everyone else gets to stay, so how can they be the "few?"
πολλοὶ (adj pl masc nom) "Many" is from polus, which means "many (in number)", "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)." As an adverb, it means "far", "very much", "a great way," and "long."
δὲ "But" is from 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"). -- The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.