Matthew 16:25 For whoever will save his life shall lose it:

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

To Apostles after Peter wishes Jesus didn't have to die and Jesus corrects him.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because someone when he desires this self of his to rescue, he will destroy it. Someone, when, however,  he destroys the self of his on account of me will discover it.

My Takeaway: 

Awareness of our current life is preserved only if we are willing to sacrifice our current life to a greater one.

KJV : 

Matthew 16:25 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

NIV : 

Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The same Greek word translated as "life" in this verse is translated as "soul" in the next verse. This creates a clear paradox because Jesus clearly meant the same thing because he used the same word in the same context. This concept is discussed in detail in this article about this Greek word

We also see the opposite problem where two different Greek words are translated as the same English word. The word "save" here is a more common Greek word, while the one in the next verse is only used in that verse and its parallels in Mark and Luke. The key opposites here are "save" and "lose," which, in English, are very general words,  but in Greek, the words used have a meaning more directly related to what is translated as "life" and "soul." They have the sense of "rescue" and "kill."

Wordplay: 

A word for preserving something from 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for," "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἐὰν (conj) Untranslated is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

θέλῃ [64 verses](3rd sg pres subj act) "Shall" is thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing," "to wish," "to ordain," "to decree," "to be resolved to a purpose" and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ψυχὴν [43 verses](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 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."

σῶσαι [25 verse](aor inf act) "Save" is soizo, which means "save from death," "keep alive," "keep safe," "preserve," "maintain," "keep in mind," "carry off safely," and "rescue."

ἀπολέσει (3rd sg fut ind act) "lose" is apollymi, which is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It also means "to ruin" a woman.

αὐτήν: (adj sg fem acc) "It" is 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."

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

δ (partic) "And" is de, which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἂν (conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

ἀπολέσῃ (3rd sg aor subj act) "Will lose" is from apollymi, which is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It also means "to ruin" a woman.

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ψυχὴν [43 verses](noun sg fem acc)"Life" is from psuchê (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 (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."

ἕνεκεν [17 verses](prep )"Sake" is from heneka, which means "on account of," "as far as regards," "in consequence of," and "because."

ἐμοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "My" is from emou, which means "me," and "mine."

εὑρήσει [43 verses](3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall find" is heuriskô, which means "to find," "to find out," "to discover," "to invent," "to get," "to gain," and "to earn."

αὐτήν (adj sg fem acc) "It" is 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."

KJV Analysis: 

For   - --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause."

whoever - The word translated as "whoever" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, singular) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

will -- (CW) The word translated as "will" expresses consent and even delight in doing something.It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. The form indicates something that "might" happen, which is assumed with the "when."

save  - (WF) The second "save" verb is a present infinitive "to be preserved from death" or "keep alive." 

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. 

life  --The word translated here as "soul" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, what we might call the "social self," or what we commonly call our "ego."  See this article for detail about this word and related words.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

lose  - "Lose" is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It is in the future tense, unlike the "desire to save from death" phrase that begins the verse. 

it:  - "It" is 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."

and  - (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

whoever - The word translated as "whoever" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, singular) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

will -- (CW) This helping verb "will" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form but in this case, it is implied by the "when" that wasn't translated.

lose  - "Lose" is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It is in the future tense, unlike the "desire to save from death" phrase that begins the verse. 

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. 

life  --The word translated here as "soul" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, what we might call the "social self," or what we commonly call our "ego."  See this article for detail about this word and related words.

for...sake -- This preposition means "on account of," "as far as regards," "in consequence of," and "because." This proposition is usually paired with the noun "sake" in English. The word translated as "sake" means "on account of," "because," and "in consequence of."

my  - The "my" is the possessive pronoun, so "my," "of me," or "mine."

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

find  - The term used for "shall find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." It is in the future tense. 

it. - "It" is 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."

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "will" does not mean the future tense.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "save" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to save."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "life" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "but."
  • MW - Missing Word -- A second word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The second "will" does not mean the future tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- A second "the" before the second "life" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

For   - --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause."

whoever - The word translated as "whoever" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, singular) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

wants -- The word translated as "wants" expresses consent and even delight in doing something.It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. The form indicates something that "might" happen, which is assumed with the "when."

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

save  - The second "save" verb is a present infinitive "to be preserved from death" or "keep alive." 

their -- 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. 

life  --The word translated here as "soul" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, what we might call the "social self," or what we commonly call our "ego."  See this article for detail about this word and related words.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

lose  - "Lose" is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It is in the future tense, unlike the "desire to save from death" phrase that begins the verse. 

it:  - "It" is 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."

but - The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

whoever - The word translated as "whoever" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, singular) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

loses  - "Lose" is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," "to slay," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." It is in the future tense, unlike the "desire to save from death" phrase that begins the verse. 

their -- (WN) 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. 

life  --The word translated here as "soul" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, what we might call the "social self," or what we commonly call our "ego."  See this article for detail about this word and related words.

for  -- This preposition means "on account of," "as far as regards," "in consequence of," and "because." This proposition is usually paired with the noun "sake" in English. The word translated as "sake" means "on account of," "because," and "in consequence of."

me  - The "my" is the possessive pronoun, so "my," "of me," or "mine."

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

find  - The term used for "shall find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." It is in the future tense. 

it. - "It" is 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."

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN - Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "life" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- A second word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN - Wrong Number- The second word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- A second "the" before the second "life" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 17 2021