Matthew 16:24 If any man will come after me,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

After Peter wishes Jesus didn't have to die and Jesus corrects him.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

If anyone desires after me to show up, let him reject himself and lift up that stake of his, and follow with me.

My Takeaway: 

Following Jesus means pulling away from what holds you down.

KJV : 

Matthew 16:24 If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

NIV : 

Matthew 16:24 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The translation of this verse as "taking up a cross" was only possible after Christ's death. During his lifetime, people would have heard this as "lifting up a walking stick" or "pulling up a stake," as in a tent stake, which was also used as a walking stick. While people were killed by staking them up, no one at the time would have heard this verse as referring to a death stake or carrying one before Jesus's death. Tent stakes, house posts, and walking sticks were much more common. 

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. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Εἴ  (conj)"If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever," "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

τις (pron sg masc/fem nom) "What" is from tis which can mean "someone," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what." -- 

θέλει (verb 3rd sg pres ind 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."

ὀπίσω [15 verses](prep) "After" is from opiso, which means "back," "behind," and "hereafter."

μου (noun sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou, which mean "my," "of me," or "mine."

ἐλθεῖν, (verb aor inf act) "Come" 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.

ἀπαρνησάσθω [9 verses](verb 3rd sg aor imperat mp) "Let him deny" is from aparneomai, which means "to deny utterly," "to refuse," "to reject," and "to deny."

ἑαυτὸν (adj sg masc acc) "Himself" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself," "herself," "itself" "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos.

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."

ἀράτω [55 verses](verb 3rd sg aor imperat act) "Take up" is airo,, which means "to lift up," "to raise up," "to take up," "to exalt," and "to remove."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

σταυρὸν [5 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Cross" is 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 (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."

ἀκολουθείτω [22 verses](verb 3rd sg pres imperat act ) "Follow" 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.

μοι. (pron 1st sg masc/fem dat)"Me" is from emoi/moi, which is 1st person,singular dative pronoun meaning "me' as the indirect object of a verb.

KJV Analysis: 

If  - The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

any man  -- The Greek word translated as "any man" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." The same form applies either to men or women so "anyone" would be closer in English.

will  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses consent and even a delight in doing something so "wants" or "desires" is closer.

come -- (WF) The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. 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." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

after -  -- The term translated as "back" means "back" in space but "after" in time. It is followed by a possessive which tells us whose back it is.  The logic regarding time is that, since the future is unseen, it should be regarded as behind us, whereas the past is known and therefore before our eyes. This seems quite strange to English speakers, but the use of this word in Greek is well-established to mean "future." Our English view coincides with the ancient Greek when discussing books. The "back" of the book in English means the "end" of the book, which is the future for the reader. This use of "back" is identical to the Greek.

me,-- "Me" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun.

let -- This "let" is the helping verb used to translate the Greek form of the third-person command. In English all commands are in the second-person. This form is used as something like our word "must."

him -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

deny  - "Deny" is translated from a Greek word that means "to rejects" and "to deny utterly." It is in the form of a third party command ("let him" in English) where the subject is acting on himself. The form is either the middle voice or passive.

himself,  - "Himself" is the Greek reflexive pronoun in the singular, masculine form, "himself." It makes it clear this is a middle voice.

and  - 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 is here, is best translated as "not only...but also." That construction could work here.

take up - "Take up" is from a verb that means "to lift up," "to raise up," "to take up," "to exalt," and "to remove." It is also in the form of a third party command, "let him."

his  - The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

cross,  -(CW)  The word translated as "cross" means a stake or post, like those used to hold up a tent. It describes not the crossbar of a cross, but the stake on which the crossbar is hung. Among people traveling, it would mean pulling up the central stake of a tent to use it as a walking stick. See this article about this word.

and - 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 is here, is best translated as "not only...but also."

follow  - The term "follow" 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."

me.  - -- The "me" is in the indirect object form on the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me," though the form has other uses in Greek. 

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "will" is not the helper verb but means "want" or "desire.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "come" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to come."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "cross" is not a Greek word that means "cross." It is an upright post or stake.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "if"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

Whoever - The Greek word translated as "any man" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." The same form applies either to men or women so "anyone" would be closer in English.

wants -  The Greek word translated as "wants"  express consent and even a delight in doing something so "wants" or "desires" is closer.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

be -- (WW) The word translated as "be" primarily means "to start out" but Jesus usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. 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." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

my  (WF) "Me" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun.

disciple-  -- (WW) The term translated as "disciple" means "back" in space but "after" in time. It is followed by a possessive which tells us whose back it is.  The logic regarding time is that, since the future is unseen, it should be regarded as behind us, whereas the past is known and therefore before our eyes. This seems quite strange to English speakers, but the use of this word in Greek is well-established to mean "future." Our English view coincides with the ancient Greek when discussing books. The "back" of the book in English means the "end" of the book, which is the future for the reader. This use of "back" is identical to the Greek.

must -- This "must" is the helping verb used to translate the Greek form of the third-person command. In English all commands are in the second-person. This form is used as something like our word "must."

deny  - "Deny" is translated from a Greek word that means "to rejects" and "to deny utterly." It is in the form of a third party command ("let him" in English) where the subject is acting on himself. The form is either the middle voice or passive.

themselves  - (WN) "Themselves " is the Greek reflexive pronoun in the singular, masculine form, "himself." It makes it clear this is a middle voice.

and  - 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 is here, is best translated as "not only...but also." That construction could work here.

take up -  "Take up" is from a verb that means "to lift up," "to raise up," "to take up," "to exalt," and "to remove." It is also in the form of a third party command, "let him."

their - (WN) The word translated as "their " is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

cross,  -(CW)  The word translated as "cross" means a stake or post, like those used to hold up a tent. It describes not the crossbar of a cross, but the stake on which the crossbar is hung. Among people traveling, it would mean pulling up the central stake of a tent to use it as a walking stick. See this article about this word.

and - 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 is here, is best translated as "not only...but also."

follow  - The term "follow" 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."

me.  - -- The "me" is in the indirect object form on the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me," though the form has other uses in Greek. 

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "if" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "be" should be "come."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "my" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "me."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "disciple" should be "follow."
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "themselves" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "cross" is not a Greek word that means "cross." It is an upright post or stake.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 16 2021