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Matthew 10:37 He who loves his father
Greek Verse:

Matthew 10:37  φιλῶν πατέρα μητέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος: καὶ φιλῶν υἱὸν θυγατέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος:

KJV Verse:

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

NIV Verse:

Matthew 10:37  Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Literal Alternative:

The one preferring a father or a mother instead of me isn't worth as much as me. The one preferring a son or a daughter instead of me isn't worth as much as me.

Hidden Meaning:

In the Greek, this verse states the obvious: that the apostles must prefer Jesus if they are going to leave their families to go out on the road to preach as Jesus did. The key to this verse is the specific meaning of the Greek word translated as "love." The word used here is NOT the word usually used for the love of parents and children (see this article of the meaning of the two Greek words translated as "love").  The verb used here means the "liking" we have toward friends. The Greek word can mean "prefer." The Greek terms for "love" and "hate" do not describe raw emotions, but they are comparisons of types of preferences, so "prefer" works well here.

As in all discussions of the term translated as "worthy" or "deserving," the focus in Greek is one of balance.  Jesus is saying that those who love him less the parents and children are not his "counterbalance" or, more generally, not his equal. When putting the "my" before the adjective as it is here, the adjective should be treated like a noun form.


 One of Christ's parallel phrases where the world play is in the differences between the two. Here, the contrast is between the past (parents) and the future (children). 

The Spoken Version:

“If only we knew someone who could speak for the Father,” offered Judas in a mock bemused manner. “Maybe some like that, if we knew such a person, could tell us how the Father feels about this division within a household.”
Everyone laughed at themselves and turned toward the teacher.
The teacher bowed and stood up on a couch. He took a pose like one of the Greek statues of their gods. Everyone laughed.
“The one liking a father or a mother above me,” he said, using a deep resonate, serious voice. “Isn’t worthy of me. The one liking a son or a daughter above me isn’t worthy of me.”

Christ's Words Articles

About this Site

I started this project over a decade ago. The initial goal was to satisfy my own curiosity about how the original Greek of Jesus's words was translated into English comparing it to my work in translating ancient Chinese. 

This site does not promote any religious point of view about Christianity. I purposely use nonreligious sources for Greek translation.  My goal is simply to identify how Jesus used words. His use of Greek words somewhat unique since his words were spoken, not written.

The range of quality of the articles on this site reflects that it is a personal site, not a commercial one. No one proofreads my work. Some articles are over a decade old when I knew much less ancient Greek. Matthew articles are best since I have updated them all at least once. The ones in Mark are the oldest and poorest. Luke is not yet complete.