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

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

After answering the question about the places of James and John, the other apostles were made at them for asking for special places.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And he, when he desires to be first among you, he will be your slave.

My Takeaway: 

A preson may work from sun to sun, but to be the best you're never done.

KJV : 

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

NIV : 

Matthew 20:27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse reads like a punch line to the previous verse, Matthew 20:26. It also uses one of Jesus's favorite "many meaning" words. The one for "first." The ending word should be "slave" as the NIV translates it, to give it the desired punch, but this same word is often translated in the NIV as "servant," which is more the sense of the final word in the previous verse. 
 

Wordplay: 

 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 (conj/adv) "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 (conj) "-Soever" 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](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 (prep) "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 [41 verses](adj sg masc nom) "Chief" 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: [56 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Servant" is from doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

who- -- The word translated as "who" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

soever -- The Greek word meaning "soever -" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

will  - - (CW) The Greek word translated as "will" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose." It is not the helping verb that creates a future these.

be  - (WF) The verb translated as "be" is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. The form her is an infinitive not an active verb.

chief  - -- (CW) The word translated as "chief" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context. In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best."

among  - - The word translated as "among" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. 

let  - -- (OS) 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 was the form in the KJV source but not the source we use today. 

him -- There is no Greek pronoun here, but Greek does not need pronouns when the object can be assumed from the context. In English, they are added for the subject-verb-object form of our sentences.

be  - (WT) The verb translated as "be" is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. The tnese of this word in today's sources is future.

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case.

servant:  - The word translates as "servant" means "slave." The word in the previous verse means "servant."

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "will" does not mean the future tense.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "be" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to be."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "chief" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "let" made sense in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "be" is the present tense, but Greek is in the future "will be."

NIV Analysis: 

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

who- -- The word translated as "who" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

ever -- The Greek word meaning "soever -" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

wants - -  The Greek word translated as "wants" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose." It is not the helping verb that creates a future these.

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

be  - The verb translated as "be" is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

first - -- CW) The word translated as "first" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context. In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best."

among  - - The word translated as "among" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. 

must - -- (WW)  This should be "will." This "must" is the helping verb used to translate the Greek form of the third-person command. This was the form in the KJV source but not the source we use today.

be  - (WT) The verb translated as "be" is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. The tnese of this word in today's sources is future.

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case.

servant:  - The word translates as "servant" means "slave." The word in the previous verse means "servant."

NIV Translation Issues: 

2
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "must" should be "will."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "be" is the present tense, but Greek is in the future "will be."

Front Page Date: 

May 28 2021