Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 8:35 For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The one, consequently, when he might desire that self spirit to rescue, he is going to demolish it. Whoever, however, when he might demolish that spirit of his one account of me and the good news, he is going to rescue it.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The difference between this verses and similar verse in Matthew and Luke is the mention of the "gospel" instead of "my" sake. This version also makes it more clear that the word translated as "life" means "awareness" since in this verse the phrase "self-awareness" is used explicitly. 

This is a choice that we make. Though in the KJV, the first "will" looks the same as the future tense shall used in the other verbs in this verse, it isn't. It is the "will" of choice, of desiring or wanting something.

Whenever Jesus discusses life in the sense of being alive and especially when he promises "everlasting life," he uses a different Greek word (zoê) which is not the word used here.  The word used here is the basis of our word psyche, which in Greek means "life" but specifically our sense of self. It is most commonly translated as "soul" in the NT.

KJV Analysis: 

For --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. 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 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. It is not the same word translated as "whoever" in the previous verse, Mark 8:34.

untranslated -- 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".

will - The Greek verb translated as "will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. The primary purpose of this verb is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose". As an participle, it means "willingly" and "gladly".

save -- "Save" is the Greek word that means "to keep alive" when applied to people or "to keep safe" when applied to things. Jesus uses it to mean "rescue" in most cases.

untranslated -- The untranslated word  is the Greek definite article.  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

his -- "His" is a special reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself," and so on. It is not the word usually translated as "his." The sense here is "self."

life -- The word translated here as "life" 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 commonly call our "ego", not the soul that lives after death. See this article for detail about this word and related words. 

shall -- This helper verb indicates the future tense of the following verb, but the KJV uses this word for a variety of verb forms.

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.

it; -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

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

whosoever -- The word translated as "whoever" 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. It is not the same word translated as "whoever" in the previous verse, Mark 8:34.

untranslated -- 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".

shall -- This helper verb indicates the future tense of the following verb, but the KJV uses this word for a variety of verb forms.

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.

untranslated -- The untranslated word  is the Greek definite article.  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English. 

life -- The word translated here as "life" 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 commonly call our "ego", not the soul that lives after death. See this article for detail about this word and related words. 

for -- The form of the pronoun "my" requires that addition of extra words in English to capture its meaning.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns. 

my -- 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. 

sake  -- The word translated as "sake" means "on account of", "because," and "in consequence of."

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, is best translated as "not only...but also." When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

gospel's, --  "Gospel" is translated from a Greek word meaning "good news," and "good tidings." Originally, this term described a reward, like a tip, given to a messenger who brought good news.

the -- There is no Greek article "the" in the original text.

same -- There is no Greek  meaning "same" in the original text.

shall -- This helper verb indicates the future tense of the following verb, but the KJV uses this word for a variety of verb forms.

save -- "Save" is the Greek word that means "to keep alive" when applied to people or "to keep safe" when applied to things. Jesus uses it to mean "rescue" in most cases.

it. -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective but he it is the object, not a subject.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "Whoever" is from hos, which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms (hê, ho, gen. hou, hês, hou, etc. ; dat. pl. hois, hais, hois, etc. gen. hoou). It 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 (3rd sg pres subj act) "Shall" is from thelô (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) "Unto them that" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by a conjunction.

ἑαυτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "his" is heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself" "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos.

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."

σῶσαι (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 from apollumi, 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 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."

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) Whoever" is from hos, which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms (hê, ho, gen. hou, hês, hou, etc. ; dat. pl. hois, hais, hois, etc. gen. hoou). It means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δ᾽ (partic) "And" is from de (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..

ἀπολέσει  (verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall lose" is from apollumi, 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) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" 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. 

ψυχὴν (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 "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".

[kai] (conj) "And" is 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."

τοῦ (article sg neut gen) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

εὐαγγελίου ( noun sg neut gen) "The gospel's" is from euaggelion a "reward of good tidings," a "thank offering for good tidings, ""good news," and "good tidings." Originally, this terms described a reward, like a tip, given to a messenger who brought good news.

 σώσει (verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall save" is sozo (soizo), which means "save from death", "keep alive", "keep safe", "preserve", "maintain", "keep in mind", "carry off safely," and "rescue." -- "Made whole" is the Greek word that means "to keep alive" when applied to people or "to keep safe" when applied to things. Christ uses it to mean "rescue" in most cases.

αὐτήν (adj sg fem acc) "It" 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."

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

The question that Jesus addresses here is about our sense of  "self" is and what happens to it in life and death. In context of this discussion Jesus is saying that if we follow the ways of man, we lose our sense of self by trying to preserve it within the context of human society.  If we understand the ways of God, we realize that only by destroying that false sense of self that comes from society, can we find the self that persists after death.

If we strip away the metaphysical aspects of this verse, it is a very basic statement about how life works. We cannot stop time and how times changes us.  If we think of ourselves as our physical being and our place in society, we will see that self destroyed over the course of time.  However, if we can get rid of the sense of self, separating ourselves from our body and our current place in the world, we can preserve our sense of self through these changes.

This reality reflects the real good news, that though physical life ends, these is an eternal vitality (zoe) and spirit (psyche) that continues beyond the life we are currently living.

Aug 30 2019