Matthew 10:28-31

Matthew 10:28-31
Narrative Lectionary


28 Do not fearA those who killB the bodyC but cannotD kill the soul;E

Notes on verse 28a

A “fear” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.
B “kill” = apokteino. From apo (from, away from) + kteino (to kill). To put to death, kill, slay. Figuratively, this word can mean abolish, destroy, or extinguish.
C “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
D “cannot” = me + dunamai. Dunamai is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
E “soul” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.

ratherF fear him who can destroyG both soul and body in hell.H 

Notes on verse 28b

F “rather” = mallon. This is rather, more than, or better.
G “destroy” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
H “hell” = geenna. 12x in NT. From Hebrew Gehinnom (valley of Hinnom); from gay (valley; a gorge that is not a winter torrent) + Hinnom (most likely of foreign origin, perhaps from the Jebusites). This is Gehenna or hell, referring to a valley outside of Jerusalem and used figuratively for hell.

29 Are not two sparrows soldI for a penny?J Yet not one of them will fall to the groundK apart from your Father.L 

Notes on verse 29

I “sold” = poleo. This is to barter or sell. It can also refer to the thing that is sold.
J “penny” = assarion. 2x in NT. From Latin assarius (related to an “as”); from as (a Roman coin that is bronze). This is an assarion or penny, one tenth of a drachma. It does not have a high value. See &
K “ground” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
L “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

30 And even the hairs of your headM are all counted.N 31 So do not be afraid;O you are of more valueP than many sparrows.

Notes on verses 30-31

M “head” = kephale. This is head or chief. It can be a literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord. It can also refer to a corner stone. This is where the word “cephalic” comes from.
N “counted” = arithmeo. 3x in NT. From arithmos (a number or total that has been counted to together); from airo (to raise, take up, lift, remove). This is to number of count. It shares a root with “arithmetic,” which literally means the “art of counting.” See
O “be afraid” = phobeo. Same as “fear” in v28. See note A above.
P “are of more value” = diaphero. 13x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to carry through as in all the way to the end. It is differing or fully distinguishing – separating by comparison. Literally, it means transport – figuratively it can mean report or surpass.

Image credit: “Passer Moabiticus – Dead Sea Sparrow” by Joseph Wolf, 1867.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply