The Meaning of Mark 8:36 Explained

Mark 8:36

KJV: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

YLT: for what shall it profit a man, if he may gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?

Darby: For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?

ASV: For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?

What does Mark 8:36 Mean?

Context Summary

Mark 8:22-38 - The Cost Of Following Jesus
Our attention has been drawn to the Master's sighs; here, however, was another characteristic act. He spat on the eyes of the blind man, perhaps to excite his expectation and faith. Repulsive as ophthalmia is in the East, it did not repel Him nor staunch the flow of His pity.
We do not at once see everything clearly, but step by step we come unto perfect vision. Here we see through a glass darkly, there face to face. There was a great price to be paid; it was only through suffering and death that Jesus could do His greatest work, in redeeming and cleansing the children of men. He might have been the miracle-worker apart from Calvary; but to be the Savior, He must not spare Himself but be willing to pour out His soul even unto death. It was hard for the Apostles to learn this lesson; they wanted the Master to spare Himself. Peter, especially, sought to dissuade Him; but the Lord knew better the desperate need of men and how it must be met. There are three conditions to be fulfilled by those who have resolved to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. 1. We must deny self; 2. Each must take up his cross; 3. We must think more of others than of ourselves. If these are realized, the soul is following Christ and making progress, even though it deems itself stagnant or drifting back. [source]

Chapter Summary: Mark 8

1  Jesus feeds the people miraculously;
10  refuses to give a sign to the Pharisees;
14  admonishes his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod;
22  gives a blind man his sight;
27  acknowledges that he is the Jesus who should suffer and rise again;
34  and exhorts to patience in persecution for the profession of the gospel

Greek Commentary for Mark 8:36

Gain - lose []
See on Matthew 16:26. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Mark 8:36

Romans 3:1 The profit [η ωπελια]
The help. Old word, only here in N.T. See Mark 8:36 for ωπελει — ōphelei the verb to profit. [source]
1 Corinthians 3:15 He shall suffer loss [ζημιωτησεται]
First future passive indicative of ζημιω — zēmiō old verb from ζημια — zēmia (damage, loss), to suffer loss. In Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25 the loss is stated to be the man‘s soul But he himself shall be saved (αυτος δε σωτησεται — autos de sōthēsetai). Eternal salvation, but not by purgatory. His work is burned up completely and hopelessly, but he himself escapes destruction because he is really a saved man a real believer in Christ. Yet so as through fire Clearly Paul means with his work burned down (1 Corinthians 3:15). It is the tragedy of a fruitless life, of a minister who built so poorly on the true foundation that his work went up in smoke. His sermons were empty froth or windy words without edifying or building power. They left no mark in the lives of the hearers. It is the picture of a wasted life. The one who enters heaven by grace, as we all do who are saved, yet who brings no sheaves with him. There is no garnered grain the result of his labours in the harvest field. There are no souls in heaven as the result of his toil for Christ, no enrichment of character, no growth in grace. [source]

What do the individual words in Mark 8:36 mean?

What for does it profit a man to gain the world whole and to lose the soul of him
Τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖ ἄνθρωπον κερδῆσαι τὸν κόσμον ὅλον καὶ ζημιωθῆναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ

ὠφελεῖ  does  it  profit 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ὠφελέω  
Sense: to assist, to be useful or advantageous, to profit.
ἄνθρωπον  a  man 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.
κερδῆσαι  to  gain 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἐπικερδαίνω 
Sense: to gain, acquire, to get gain.
κόσμον  world 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: κόσμος  
Sense: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.
ὅλον  whole 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ὅλος  
Sense: all, whole, completely.
ζημιωθῆναι  to  lose 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Passive
Root: ζημιόω  
Sense: to affect with damage, do damage to.
ψυχὴν  soul 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ψυχή  
Sense: breath.
αὐτοῦ  of  him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.