Minister of Administration
Northwest Bible Church
In Matt 16:25–26 Jesus is speaking to His disciples and makes the following statement:2
For whoever wants to save his psychē will lose it; but whoever loses his psychē for My sake will find it. For what will a man be profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his psychē? Or what will a man give in exchange for his psychē?
The phrase “salvation of the psychē” is found in five other passages in the Gospels. Two of those are in the parallel accounts of Mark 8:35–37 and Luke 9:24–25. The other occurrences are in Matt 10:39, Luke 17:33, and John 12:25.3 The repetition of the phrase indicates its importance for the Lord.
The phrase is also important because many commentaries give the phrase the meaning of “salvation from eternal damnation.”4 The word psychē in these commentaries is understood to refer to the immaterial part of man which transcends his earthly life. Thus the phrase which speaks of saving the psychē means the preserving of the person for life after death, and when it speaks of losing the psychē the reference is to the state of eternal damnation in hell. If this is the case, these passages tell the reader what is required for eternal salvation.
The interpretation that holds that it is talking about eternal salvation presents a serious theological problem. The phrase generally occurs within a context of suffering. In Matthew 16, Christ says that those who wish to follow Him must be willing to suffer with Him and deny themselves. If the phrase and this context are interpreted as soteriological, then one must conclude that a requirement for salvation is the willingness to deny everything and follow Christ, even if it means suffering. A person who does not follow Christ to this degree is not saved. This seems to contradict passages such as John 3:16 and Eph 2:8–9, where simple faith in the gospel alone is the only requirement for salvation. Most commentaries ignore this problem.
It appears that there are only two ways to solve this dilemma. One can redefine the requirements for salvation. For example, the word “faith” in verses like John 3:16 can be said to include the idea of denial and suffering. The other option is to look at the phrase “salvation of the soul” in a non-soteriological sense. This article will argue that the phrase should be interpreted in a non-soteriological manner.5 If done so, the apparent conflict in the requirements for salvation will be eliminated.
II. COMMON INTERPRETATIONS
Some commentaries are unclear on the meaning of the phrase.6 Commentaries that do comment on the meaning usually understand it in one of two ways. Some see it completely within a soteriological framework. They understand Christ to be talking about the salvation of an individual from eternal damnation to eternal life. Others, however, take the view that the saying is a statement that Christ makes to His disciples, who were Christians, concerning the way to obtain a richer future life with eternal rewards.
It should be noted that this article treats the word “Christian” and “disciple” as meaning different things. A disciple is a Christian who totally follows Christ. But there are also Christians who are not willing to follow Christ to this degree, even though they have believed in Him for everlasting life. Thus, the second view is stating that the logion is a reward for those Christians who fall in this special class of being “disciples.” All other Christians forfeit this reward. An attempt is made in this article, when referring to the second view, to only quote those writers who make a distinction between a “disciple” and a “Christian.” There are some commentators who appear to support the second view because they focus on the reward aspect of the logion, but these commentaries will be omitted if it cannot be determined that they make this distinction.7
Lane is an example of one who sees the logion in a soteriological sense. In Mark 8:35–37, he interprets the whole context as referring to salvation for eternal life. The call to “follow” Christ in v 34 does not possess the technical meaning of “discipleship,” but refers to the common commitment to Jesus that all Christians have. On the paradox of 8:35, Lane says that Jesus warns us that the man who seeks to secure his own existence brings about his “destruction.” Paradoxically, the one who yields his life to Jesus “safeguards it in a deeper sense.” His soteriological understanding of the logion not only comes through with the phrase “safeguards it in a deeper sense,” but also in his understanding of the word “destruction.” Lane says that there is a “distinction between eternal loss and salvation.”8
Lenski also takes the logion in a soteriological manner. He takes the whole context of Matt 16:24–27 in that sense. To deny oneself in 16:24 refers to Christian conversion. To deny oneself is to enter into a new relationship with Christ. To “save the psychē “means to secure for it what this world affords. A man need not die to lose his psychē, for he loses it when he fails to secure salvation.9
It appears that Lenski also sees two different meanings in the word psychē in Matt 16:25–26. In v 25 he says that the psychē makes the body alive. This is the physical meaning of the word. But in v 26, Lenski says it refers to the immaterial part of man.10 Lane evidently holds the same view, but does not point it out specifically.
Allen is not as clear and precise in his definition of the logion, but he, too, takes it in a soteriological sense. He says that the phrase in Matthew 16 means that if a man were to shrink back from martyrdom, he would “save” his physical life but would “lose” the higher life of his soul.11
Others take the logion as referring to a reward that Christians who are faithful disciples of Christ will receive. Hodges sees the context of Luke 9:23–27 as one of discipleship. Christ is addressing believers and tells them what they must do if they want to follow Him as disciples. Hodges plainly states that discipleship is not a requirement for initial salvation. If Jesus is giving the requirements for eternal salvation here, nobody would ever have assurance that they had met such requirements.12 Instead, Christ is seeking to discover how many of those who had believed in Him would stick by Him through His suffering. He tells them what it would cost to follow Him. To be His disciples would require suffering.
However, being a disciple will result in a great reward. The reward is the salvation of one’s psychē for eternity. Hodges seems to equate this salvation with one’s capacity to enjoy his environment as determined by the positive or negative development of his own character. To save one’s psychē in the present life is to enjoy the present life to the fullest, but that would hinder the development of one’s character and thus lessen one’s ability to enjoy the future life in the Kingdom. But to lose one’s psychē in the present is to forfeit the enjoyment of the present life in order to develop one’s character with the result that future enjoyment of the Kingdom is enhanced. This is the reward for discipleship.
Hodges says that nothing in the existence of a man is eternal except the man himself. The believer is called to cultivate himself, rather than the world in which he lives. He must learn the lessons of life by entering into its most precious secrets if he wants to be prepared to enjoy the Kingdom of God. The issue for the disciple is not “what did you have,” but “what did you become?”13
Unger supports the reward for discipleship view. He briefly comments on Matt 16:24–26 and states that Peter and the other disciples did not understand Christ’s sudden prediction of His sufferings and death. They needed to be instructed in the rigors of true discipleship and rewards at the Second Coming when the King and His Kingdom would come to Israel.14
The view that the logion refers to eternal salvation has profound theological problems. It does appear to add the necessity of works to salvation. At first glance, the view that the logion deals with requirements of discipleship is to be preferred.
III. THE MEANING OF PSYCHE
The key to understanding the logion is to understand the meaning of the word psychē. The common definition of the term is “soul, life,” but the term “soul” can be misleading since the common English meaning of it is the “immaterial essence” of man.15
However, in the NT it is very questionable if it refers to the total immaterial essence of man. If it does not, the soteriological view of the logion is not possible.
In the LXX, the Greek translation of the OT, the word psychē occurs 680 times. In 650 of those occurrences, the Hebrew word is nephesh. It is clear that the translators understood psychē to be a reflection of this Hebrew word. The word has various shades of meaning. One lexicon lists ten major categories of meaning.16 One is that it can mean the substance of man that keeps him alive, or simply “life.”
The point of this usage is that the body and the “soul” are combined to make a living human being. The soul is the substance that makes a body become alive. The OT does not make clear what happens to the soul at death. The soul is wrapped up with a material body, and it gives life to the body. Nothing can be said about the existence of the soul in an immaterial state.17
The word in the OT can also carry the meaning of an individual man, or self. It can refer to an individual person. The word can be used to describe a person who is either dead or alive.18 In Job 9:21, for example, the word is best translated “myself.”
A third meaning is the seat of one’s appetite. The appetite can be, for example, hunger or thirst. This is connected to the immaterial part of man, but it does not refer to the totality of man’s immaterial nature, but only a small part of it, namely his appetite.19
A final major nuance of “soul” in the OT is the seat of emotions and passions. Some of these emotions are joy, sorrow, love, hate, and desire.20 This meaning of the word, like the previous one, can also be connected to the immaterial part of man, but only as an aspect of it and not the total immaterial substance of man.
While there are other uses of the word “soul” in the OT, they are rare. These four major uses are the primary ones. In none of the uses can it be said that it refers to the immaterial substance of man. At the most, it only refers to one aspect of it.
IV. THE GREEK BACKGROUND OF PSYCHE
The Greek uses of psychē would include the ones discussed above, found in the OT uses of nephesh. However, in the Greek world psychē did come to refer to the whole immaterial substance of man. The first use of psychē as the immaterial substance of man is hard to pinpoint; however, by around 500 BC we find the idea that the body is the tomb of the soul. It is the essential core of man that can be separated from his body and does not share in the dissolution of the body.21
This use of psychē as the essential core of man was probably made most popular in the writings of Plato.22 He also thought of the body as the tomb of the soul and as the source of impurities in the soul. Plato’s writings are probably the primary reason why psychē became connected with the total immaterial substance of man. The main difference between this Platonic use of psychē and the previous uses, which one finds for the word in the OT, can be seen in the connotation that each use assumes about the nature of man. Although nephesh had various nuances, it was always viewed in reference to the totality of man.
The Platonic use of psychē, however, focuses upon man as a dual object. The Greeks began to view the “soul” as alive after death, whereas the Hebrews would not make that distinction. The Hebrews saw man as a unitary organism.23
Since the concept of the psychē as an entity that exists after death arose with the Greeks and not from the Hebrew Scripture, it is very questionable whether the NT writers used the word in this manner. However, we must look at the nuances of the word as used by the NT writers. Did they use it to refer to the immaterial nature of man?
V. THE NEW TESTAMENT USE OF PSYCHE
The word psychē occurs 102 times in the NT. Since it is a reflection of the Hebrew word nephesh, it is not surprising that it has many shades of meaning. One lexicon says that the many meanings often make it “impossible to draw hard and fast lines between the meanings of this many-sided word.”24 For the purpose of this discussion four major uses and one minor use will be defined.
Since these five uses do not include the Greek use of psychē as the total immaterial substance of man that transcends his earthly existence, and since this meaning is often read into the word, a brief discussion will look at the possibility of psychē having this meaning in the NT. The NT uses the word psychē in the following ways:
A. In Reference to the Physical Life
There are many instances in the NT in which psychē refers to the literal physical life of an individual. This nuance appears to be different from any of those cited above for nephesh. This use of the word occurs in Matt 2:20; 20:28; Mark 3:4; 10:45 and Luke 6:9. Taking Luke 6:9 as an example, Christ encounters a man with a withered hand and asks those in the synagogue whether or not is it permissible to save a man’s “soul” on the Sabbath.
The fact that Jesus uses the word psychē here in the physical sense is proven by the fact that the issue is whether or not He can physically heal this man’s hand. John also uses psychē in a physical sense in his many references to Christ laying down His psychē for Christians (John 10:11, 15, 17; 15:13; 1 John 3:16). This nuance of psychē is also used in Pauline writings referring to the physical life of Elijah, Paul, and Epaphroditus (Rom 11:3; 16:4; Phil 2:30).
B. In Reference to Individual Persons
Many times psychē is used simply as a way of saying a “person” or “persons.” In Acts 2:41 Luke records that there were three thousand “souls” baptized on the day of Pentecost. In Rom 13:1 Paul says that every “psychē” is to be in subjection to the government. The word is also used in this sense in Acts 2:43; 3:23; 7:14; 27:37; 1 Pet 3:20; and 2 Pet 2:14. This nuance of psychē as a substitute for an individual is a reflection of one of the nuances of nephesh cited above.
C. In Reference to the Reflexive “Self”
Arndt and Gingrich point out that many Semitic languages use nephesh in a reflexive sense.25 Since psychē corresponds to nephesh, one may look for this nuance of psychē in the NT. It does appear that this is the case, and would be the third major use of psychē. In John 10:24, the Jews ask Jesus how long they themselves (their psychē) would be kept in suspense concerning His identity.
Paul uses this sense of the word in 2 Cor 1:23 when he calls God as a witness to himself (his psychē). Other passages that appear to use the word in this sense include Matt 11:29; 26:28; Mark 14:34; Luke 12:19; 14:26; John 12:27; 2 Cor 12:15; Heb 12:17; and 3 John 2.26
D. In Reference to the Inner Self Which Experiences Pleasures and Sorrows
The fourth and final major use of psychē in the NT is in reference to the inner self within an individual that experiences the joys and sorrows of life. This use approaches the Greek use of psychē as the immaterial part of man in that this use is one aspect of man’s immaterial nature. However, it does not refer to man’s total immaterial being. In addition, it is not separated from the total nature of man. This use is seen in Luke 12:19-23. The rich man has stored many goods so that his psychē can rest, eat, drink, and be joyous. In Matt 6:25, the psychē receives the benefits of eating and drinking. The psychē experiences joy or sorrow in Matt 12:18; 26:38; Mark 14:34; Luke 1:46; and Heb 10:38.
E. In Reference to a Life-Giving Substance
One minor use of psychē should be noted. Like nephesh, in Acts 20:10 psychē seems to refer to the substance that gives life to an individual. In this verse Paul states that Eutychus’s psychē is in him. The presence of the psychē was an indication of life.
F. In Reference to the Immaterial Nature of Man
It is very questionable whether the Greek use of psychē as referring to the total immaterial nature of man, and used by Plato and others, is found in the NT. Arndt and Gingrich include this meaning under the category of “the ‘soul’ as the seat and center of life that transcends the earthly,”27 but it is very difficult to prove that the passages that Arndt and Gingrich cite under this category use psychē in this manner. In all the passages cited, except possibly one, this meaning of psychē must be read into the passage. There is not one single passage in which the context defines psychē as being a transcendent immaterial substance.
The only possible exception is Matt 10:28, where God is said to be able to destroy the psychē in hell but the psychē cannot be destroyed by men. The use of psychē as the total immaterial substance of man is certainly possible here, but if this is the only clear use with this meaning out of 102 uses of psychē in the NT one might look for another meaning here as well.
It is also possible that all of the passages cited by Arndt and Gingrich in this category use psychē as the total immaterial nature of man, but one must ask whether or not this is the most probable use. Is it more probable that a common meaning from secular Greek (that psychē is the total immaterial nature) should be read into psychē, or should the exegete interpret it in a manner that is consistent with the majority of the uses of psychē in the NT and OT? The latter option seems to be the most plausible.
There are four major and one minor use of psychē in the NT. It refers to the physical life, individuals, the reflexive “self,” the inner self which experiences the pleasures and sorrows of life, as well as the life giving substance. It does not seem probable that it has the meaning of the total immaterial substance of man in the NT, even though some have read that meaning in some passages. Due to its wide range of meaning, in any given passage one must not read into the word a fixed meaning. The meaning of psychē in each occurrence, including in the logion under question, must be determined by the context. Specifically, one should not read into the word the English concept of “soul” as the total immaterial nature of man, especially since this concept originates in secular Greek. It is very questionable whether the Bible uses nephesh or psychē in this manner.
VI. THE MEANING OF THE LOGION IN MATTHEW 16, MARK 8 AND LUKE 9
Not only does the soteriological interpretation of the logion have the theological problem of adding works to the free offer of eternal life, it generally reads into psychē the meaning of the transcendent immaterial nature of man. Since this meaning is very questionable, it is necessary to look for another interpretation. It does appear that the view of the logion as a reward for faithful discipleship has a lot of merit.
In order to give a proper meaning to the logion, one must make a detailed study of the context. Since the two common interpretations given to the logion are that it is either soteriological or that it is a reward for faithful discipleship, the question needs to be asked which interpretation the context supports. There are at least three contextual indications that prove that Jesus is discussing rewards for faithful service.
A. The Audience
The first indication is the spiritual level of the audience Jesus is addressing. Both Mark and Luke seem to indicate that Jesus is speaking to both the multitudes and the disciples when He gives the logion (Mark 8:34; Luke 9:24). One might conclude, since Jesus is also speaking to the multitudes, that He is offering eternal life to unbelievers. However, two factors indicate that Jesus is addressing believers.
First, His message here is vastly different from clear salvation messages. With Nicodemus in John 3 and the woman at the well in John 4, Christ offers eternal salvation as a free gift to those who believe in Him. Nowhere when talking to them does He state that one must take up a cross for eternal salvation.
A second and more important factor which proves Christ is addressing believers is that Matthew states that Christ is addressing His disciples (Matt 16:24), and omits the multitudes. This indicates that Jesus’ words were directed toward and applied to the disciples.
The disciples had already believed in Him (John 2:11), so Christ must be talking about more than the requirements for eternal salvation. Christ seems to be addressing the disciples and all the multitude present as believers, and He is instructing them in the requirements for those who want to totally follow Him, which is a step beyond initial saving faith. Even Lane, who interprets the logion as soteriological, states that the multitude represents believers.28 Since Christ is addressing believers, the context indicates that Christ is not talking about eternal salvation in the logion. This, in turn, would support the rewards interpretation.
B. The Rewards View Explains the Paradox
The second contextual indication in support of the rewards viewpoint is that it is the only view that can adequately explain the paradox through which Christ spoke to the multitude. Christ’s statement that “whoever should want to save his psychē will lose it; but whoever should lose his psychē on behalf of me will save it,” seems to be a contradiction of terms. It is obvious that this statement cannot be understood in the literal sense if psychē refers to the physical life. One cannot literally die and save his physical life at the same time. One must look for a deeper, metaphorical sense.
In interpreting the paradox, one must be consistent in interpreting the parallel elements in the same manner. That which a person wants to save in the first half of the paradox must be the same as that which a person loses in the second half. To make it simpler, the paradox can be divided into four clauses as follows:
Clause 1. For whoever should want to save his psychē
Clause 2. will lose it;
Clause 3. But whoever should lose his psychē on behalf of Me
Clause 4. he will save it.
If the saving of the psychē is physical in clause 1, then it must also be physical in clause 3; if it is metaphorical in clause 1, then it must be metaphorical in clause 3. If the losing of psychē is physical in clause 2, then it must be physical in clause 4; if metaphorical in clause 2, then it must be metaphorical in clause 4. All four clauses cannot be interpreted in the physical sense, because the paradox would not make sense. Thus, the possibilities for interpretation that remain are as follows:
1. Clauses 1 and 3 are physical, and clauses 2 and 4 are metaphorical
2. Clauses 1 and 3 are metaphorical, and clauses 2 and 4 are physical
3. All four clauses are metaphorical
The second possibility is not very logical. No matter what metaphorical meaning is given to clauses 1 and 3, it is questionable to assert that one’s desire will determine whether or not one’s physical life will continue as clauses 2 and 4 state. Thus only possibilities 1 and 3 remain to explain the paradox.
The reward for faithful discipleship view is correct because that view is the only one that adequately explains the paradox. If clauses 1 and 3 refer to one’s physical life, and clauses 2 and 4 refer to eternal salvation, then the same theological problem exists of eternal salvation obtained by works or by a willingness to totally follow Christ, which are doctrines foreign to Scripture. If all four clauses are interpreted metaphorically as referring to eternal salvation, the statement does not make sense. It would read, “whoever wants to eternally save his live will lose it eternally, but whoever wants to lose his life eternally will eternally save it.” If all the clauses are used metaphorically, then it is most likely that they are given the same metaphorical meaning. The view that the logion refers to a reward for faithful discipleship adequately explains the paradox.
C. The Context Deals with Rewards
A third contextual indication supports the rewards view as well. In the context, Christ seems to be talking about rewards. In Matt 16:27, Jesus says that when He returns He is going to recompense every man according to his deeds. Mark and Luke state that Christ is going to be ashamed of those who are ashamed of Him.
First Corinthians 3:12–15 seems to indicate that some believers will receive much reward while others will not. In Mark and Luke, the discipline directed toward those who are not rewarded is not that they are cast out from the presence of Christ, but only that He is ashamed of them. Hodges points this out:
But some were there of whom He was ashamed! He said nothing of casting them out, nothing of banishing them from Him, only that He was ashamed of them, amidst the splendor all around. If they were there, they had to possess the gift of life.29
It has already been seen that in at least clauses 2 and 4, psychē cannot refer to physical life. The uses of psychē that indicate an individual person or to the substance that makes a body alive may also be ruled out because they would not make sense in the paradox. That leaves only the uses of psychē in the reflexive sense or in reference to that part of man which experiences joys and sorrows. The use of psychē in the reflexive sense, however, would really not satisfy the requirement of a metaphorical meaning required by clauses 2 and 4. In the passages cited above where psychē is used in a reflexive sense, one sees that it is just another way of referring to an individual. It is never used in a metaphorical sense. But such a sense is necessary in clauses 2 and 4.
However, the reflexive use of the word is relevant when it comes to the English translation. Following the paradox, Mark and Matthew use the phrase “his soul” (psychē autou). In Luke, the phrase is omitted and the reflexive “himself” (eauton) is used. “His soul” must have the same meaning as “himself.” Thus, the reflexive “himself” translation is used. However, a deeper metaphorical meaning can also be given to the word.
The only use of psychē that remains is that it refers to that part of man that experiences the joys and sorrows of earthly life. However, when one inserts this meaning directly into the logion, the meaning seems illogical because one cannot actually lose that part of himself which experiences joys and pleasures, he can only lose the experiences themselves.
However, psychē here can be a metonymy of the subject.30 If the psychē is the part of man that enjoys the joys and pleasures of life, here it is substituted for the joys and pleasures it experiences. To save the psychē would be to cling to and keep the joys and pleasures connected with one’s existence. To lose the psychē would mean to give up the enjoyment of the joys and pleasures connected with one’s earthly life. It seems that Jesus is using psychē as a metonymy of subject in the logion. It refers to the pleasures that the psychē enjoys.
If all four clauses are understood metaphorically, the logion can be understood as saying that the man who saves his psychē by enjoying all the pleasures of this age to its fullest measure, will lose his psychē eternally because he will lose the ability to enjoy the pleasures of the age to come. The man who loses his psychē in this age by giving up the pleasures of this age for the sake of Christ and His gospel will be able to enjoy the pleasures of the age to come. That which a man saves in this age, he will lose for eternity. That which he gives up in this age, he will receive back for eternity. The salvation of the psychē is a reward for those willing to give up the pleasures of this age for Christ. Those who do not receive this reward will not be able to enjoy the age to come like those who do receive it. The salvation deals with one’s ability to enjoy pleasure in the age to come.
The character of the man who saves his psychē in this age can be described as selfish and disobedient. That character will not exist in the age to come. Such a Christian will thus have nothing to show for his time spent in this age since he focused on temporary things. While he will be transformed into the image of Christ (1 John 3:2), he will suffer real loss in that age.
The character of the man who loses his psychē in this age for Christ is sacrificial and obedient. Such characteristics will endure into the age to come. He will be for eternity what he became in this age. One saves his privilege to enjoy eternity based on the kind of character he developed in this age. Thus, in essence, it can be said that one will save or lose “himself” for eternity based on his actions in this age. “Himself” is a metonymy of the subject, where it is used for all that a man enjoys.
But in a second sense it stands for the character of the man, since the ability of the man to enjoy the age to come depends upon the character he has developed. The man who saves himself in this age by enjoying its fullest pleasures at the expense of Christ’s work will lose himself in the age to come because he will not be able to enjoy its pleasures since he did not develop a character able to enjoy it. But the man who loses himself in this age by giving up its fullest pleasure for the purpose of Christ’s work will in effect be saving himself for the age to come because he will enjoy that age to its fullest since he developed a character able to do so.
The logion is found in a context where Christ is addressing believers. Therefore, it cannot be soteriological in nature. The view that it refers to a reward for faithful discipleship has much merit since the context is one that deals with rewards, deals with totally following Christ, and satisfies the requirements of a metaphorical meaning within the paradox.
The use of psychē as that part of man that experiences joys and pleasures of earthly life is very logical within the context. The believer who clings to the pleasures in this age will suffer loss in the Kingdom because he will not have developed a character able to enjoy the Kingdom to a greater degree. The believer who loses the pleasures in this age for the cause of Christ will develop a character able to enjoy the kingdom to its fullest. Thus, a believer can decide whether or not he will save “himself” for this world or for the Kingdom. The meaning of the logion in regards to the “salvation of the psychē” in the eternal sense is the preserving of the pleasures one will enjoy in eternity. This salvation, then, concerns rewards for faithful discipleship. To fully enjoy the privileges and pleasures of the Kingdom, one must lose his soul.
These ideas are expressed by Hodges:
The self-sacrificing pathway of discipleship is in reality self-preserving, for it leads to self-fulfillment in the kingdom of God. The self-seeking pathway is self-destructive, leaving behind it nothing but the shell of the person who lives on earth.31
The logion is a very direct statement that passes judgment on the quality of life that one lives today. If one really grasps the concepts in this logion, then many of the crucial decisions one makes in life as a servant of God can be made more intelligently. If one decides to keep his experiences of pleasures in this age, then he will lose them in the age to come. If one decides to give up those pleasures for the sake of Christ, then he will receive them back in the age to come. Each Christian can decide now what kind of person he wants to be for eternity, and that decision will determine the “salvation of the psychē.”32
1 Editor’s Note: This article is a condensed version of Jerry Pattillo’s Th.M. thesis, written in 1978, while a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. The footnotes are as they appeared in the original thesis.
2 This statement is referred to as the “logion” in this thesis and simply means “saying.”
3 It will be argued later that the phrase in Matthew 16 is used metaphorically. There are some passages, such as Luke 6:9, where a similar phrase is used literally. This thesis, however, will only deal with the metaphorical uses of the phrase.
4 See, for example, R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1961), 643–46.
5 Editor’s note: The term “soteriological” can have a temporal meaning as deliverance from physical dangers. But here Pattillo uses the term to refer exclusively to eternal salvation.
6 For example, Bernard in his commentary on John in the ICC series is unclear on the meaning of the phrase when he states that “the true life of man is achieved only through sacrifice.” It is difficult to determine what he means by this statement. J. H. Bernard, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John, ed. A. H. McNeile, ICC, 2 vols (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1928), 2:433.
7 For example, Tasker seems to support the reward view when he states that a man must find his true self in order to receive a reward on the day of judgment. But it cannot be determined whether he means that only some Christians receive rewards or all Christians receive them. R. V. G. Tasker, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961), 161.
8 William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans., 1974), 307–308.
9 Lenski, St. Matthew’s Gospel, 643, 646.
10 Ibid., 418–19.
11 Willoughby C. Allen, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, ICC (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1912), 182.
12 Zane C. Hodges, The Hungry Inherit (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1972), 72–73.
13 Ibid., 76, 80.
14 Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1966), 400–01.
15 A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, 4th rev. ed. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1979), 901; Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam, 1969), s.v. “soul.”
16 A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs (Oxford: Clarendon, 1907, 1978), 659–61.
17 Walther Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, trans. J. A. Baker, 2 vols (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1964), 2:135.
18 Ibid., 2:137.
19 BDB, 660.
21 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, eds. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, trans. and ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 9:611.
22 Zane Hodges, class notes of student in 226 General Epistles, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1976.
23 Glenn E. Whitlock, “The Structure of Personality in Hebrew Psychology,” Interpretation 14 (1960): 9–10.
24 BAG, 901.
25 Ibid., 902.
28 Lane, Mark, 306.
29 Hodges, The Hungry Inherit, 78.
30 E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1968), 538.
31 Zane C. Hodges, class notes of author in 226 General Epistles, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1976.
32 Editor’s Note: The original author of this thesis has suggested that if the reader is interested in reading more about the salvation of the soul, he should obtain a book that was originally published in 1912 as a commentary on the book of Hebrews. It was republished after the thesis was written in 1978 and was not available at that time. See Philip Mauro, God’s Pilgrims: Their Dangers, Their Resources, Their Rewards (Hayesville, NC: Schoettle, 1989).