Matthew 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And he, who desires to become the best among you, he is going to be your slave.

KJV : 

Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also,""just,"). In comparisons, it means "as." Here it compares the previous verse to this one

This verse reads like a punch line to the previous verse, Mat 20:26. It also uses one of Christ's favorite "many meaning" words. The one for "first."


 To be "great" under Christ's new rule, you must be a servant. To be among "the foremost," you must be a slave.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ "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." In questions, introduces an objection or express surprise, "pray." Before a participle, express either "and" or "and if," "although," and "albeit." With adverbs and in answers, to give emphasis, "really,"

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

ἂν "-Soever" is from an, (with hosabove) which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

θέλῃ (verb 3rd sg pres subj 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."

ἐν "Among" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from humin, the 2nd person pronoun.

εἶναι (verb pres inf act) "Be" is from einai which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

πρῶτος (adj sg masc nom) "First" is from protos. In place, this means "the foremost." Of time, it means "the initial." In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best." -- The word translated as "first" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context. Here, it is technically an adjective but it plays the role of the English adverb "initially."

ἔσται (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Be" is from esti which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, the 2nd person pronoun.

δοῦλος: (noun sg masc nom) "Servant" is from doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

KJV Analysis: 

Two words are translated as "whosoever." The first is a demonstrative pronoun ("this," "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("he", "she", "who"). The second is a particle usually translated as "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

The Greek word translated as "will" is not the same as the "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something, "want," and "desire" capture it.

The verb translated as "" is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It is not the 3rd person imperative in today's source, as it was in the KJV source, which is usually translated as "let be" but the 3rd person future, "he will be."

The word translate as "servant" means "slave." The word in the previous verse means "servant."

The Spoken Version: 

Just as if he, who wants the first among you, is going to serve you.