Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Just exactly as the child of humanity set out not really to be served but to serve and to offer his personal life, the payment to free many.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

What is hidden in this verse is a more specific description of the reason for Jesus's sacrifice on the cross.


The word translated as "ransom" has many meanings from the general idea of repayment to the specific idea of the payment used to free a slave or a captive. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὥσπερ "Even as" is from hosper, which means "the very man who", "the very thing, which", "the same as", "like as," "even as," "just exactly as," to limit or modify an assertion or apologize for a metaphor, "as it were," "so to speak," and, in references to time, "so long as", "however long," or "as soon as."

υἱὸς (noun sg masc nom) "The Son" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

οὐκ "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.

ἦλθεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Came" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

διακονηθῆναι (verb aor inf pass)"To be ministered unto" is from diakoneô, which "to act as a servant", "to minister," and "to perform services." In the passive, it means "to be served."

ἀλλὰ "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay."

διακονῆσαι (verb aor inf act) "To ministered" is from diakoneô, which "to act as a servant", "to minister," and "to perform services."

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."

δοῦναι (verb aor inf act) "To give" is from didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "give freely", "to be ready to give," "offer," "appoint", "establish," "grant" another to one's entreaties, "pardon" at one's request, "forgive" one a thing, "condone." "concede" in argument, "give oneself up," "devote oneself," of the laws, "grant permission," and "to describe."

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, 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."

λύτρον (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Ransom" is from lutron, which "ransom," "the price paid for ransom", "the price paid for the freedom of a slave", "sum paid for redemption of a pledge", "atonement," and generally, "recompense."

ἀντὶ "For" is from anti which means "opposite", "over against", "instead", "in place of", "at the price of", "in return for", "for the sake of", "against", "in return", "equal to", "corresponding to," and "mutually."

πολλῶν. (adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Many" is from polus, which means "many (in number)", "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)."

KJV Analysis: 

The Greek word translated as "even as" indicates a match with a person or thing, "just exactly as."

The phrase "son of man" is discussed in this article. The word translated as "son" more generally means "child." The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact, in fact, which is captured in English with adverbs like "really."

The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway."

The word translated as "to be ministered unto" simply means, in the passive, "to be served." The noun form of this word, meaning "servant" appeared in Mat 20:26 .

The word translated as "to minister" means "to serve." It is the active form of the verb used above in the passive.

The word translated as "give" is the common word for "give" in Greek, but it has a number of special uses that our word does not have, including "to forgive", "to offer," and so on.

The word translated here as "life" is psyche, a common word in Greek meaning "life", "soul", "consciousness," and "a sense of self." For more about this word, read this article.

The word translated as "ransom" means the money paid for a ransom, but it also means the money paid to free a slave, or, more generally, "recompense."

The word translated as "many" means many in number, great in power or worth, and large in size.