Matthew 10:38 And he who takes not his cross,

Greek Verse: 

Literal Translation: 

And whoever doesn't really get those stakes of hos and follow hereafter of me, isn't really my counterpart.

KJV Verse: 

Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse was almost certainly heard by the people of Christ's time differently than we hear it now. The big difference is the word translated as "cross". See this article for a discussion of the Greek word translated as "cross".

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 appears here, is usually best translated as "not only...but also."

The word translated as "whoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that). This form makes this the subject of the sentence.

The word translated as "taketh" primarily means "take." However, it is usually translated as "receive" in the KJV. It means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing."

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" is sometimes useful in English to clarify this idea.

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

The term "followeth" 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." It describes how a follower "follows" a leader. The form of the word could be third- or second-person, but only the third-person from follows the form of the sentence.

"After" is an adverb, not a preposition like "after, meaning "backward", "back again," and "hereafter (in time)." Interestingly, the Greeks considers the past "in front" because we can see it while the future was "behind" because it was hidden. This is the term Christ uses in in Mat. 4:19 when he says (KJV) "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."

The "me" here is the Greek possessive 1st person pronoun, so "my" or "mine" or "of me". Though in English, we might want to translate the previous word as "back" so Christ is referring to following "his back." But the above word isn't the noun for "back" but the adverb as in "I am going back." So what does the possessive "my" refer to? To the "stake" or "cross" as the only preceding noun.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

The word translated here as "worthy" means "counterbalancing." It is the idea of weighing the sames as something of equal value. From this comes the idea of "being worthy" or "due," not from inherent worth but because you give value for equal value.

The word translated as "of me" is the possessive from of the first personal pronoun, "my" or "mine." It doesn't really translated to "of me" except in phrases such as "part of me." In those cases, an article appears before the noun and the pronoun after. This word here appears before the verb, not after, which translated better as "my".

Greek Vocabulary: 

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."

ὃς (pron sg masc nom ) "That" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

λαμβάνει (3rd sg pres ind act ) "Taketh" is from lambano means to "take", "take hold of", "grasp", "seize", "catch", "overtake", "find out", "detect", "take as", "take [food or drugs]", "understand", "take in hand", "undertake", "take in", "hold", "get", "receive [things]", "receive hospitably", "receive in marriage", "receive as produce", "profit", "admit", "initiate", "take hold of", "lay hold on", "seize and keep hold of", "obtain possession of", "lay hands upon", "find fault with", "censure," "to apprehend with the senses", "to take hold of," and "to seize." It is also specifically used to mean "seized with emotion."

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 (partic) "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."

ἀκολουθεῖ (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Followeth" 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.

ὀπίσω (adv ) "After" is from opiso, which means "backwards (of place)", "back (of movement)", "back again (reversing movement)," and "hearafter (of time)."

μου, (pron 1st sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἔστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

μου (pron 1st sg masc gen ) "Of me" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

ἄξιος. (adj sg masc nom) "Worthy" is from axios, which means "counterbalancing", "weighing as much", "of like value", "worth as much as", "worthy", "goodly", "deserved", "due", "worthy", "estimable", "worthy of", "deserving", "fit", "due," and "as deserved."

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. 

The Spoken Version: 

Then he changed to his regular light-hearted voice and added, “And whoever doesn’t really pull up those stakes of his and follow after me, isn’t worthy of me.”

This made most of the followers laugh, but some of their relatives were not won over.

Related Verses: 

evidence: 

143.00

Front Page Date: 

Jun 13 2017