Don’t be a fool

For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? (Mark 8: 37)

In context:

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life?

Despite the sexism of ‘a man,’ I prefer the way the individual choice is brought out by using a singular noun. Eugene Petersen, in his translation, makes it the ‘3rd person’ impersonal you. How about: How do you profit if you gain the whole world but then lose your life? What can you give in return for your life?

The best commentary on this is Jim Eliott’s:

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

Elliott, too, became a martyr.

About Will Fitzgerald

I work on recommendation systems and lexical resources for Wordnik.

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