Gain the World and Lose Your Soul: What does Mark 8:36 Mean?

Mark 8:36 reads, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationMark 8:36
ESVFor what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
NASB“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
NIVWhat good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
NLTAnd what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

Gain the World and Lose Your Soul: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

8:34-38 Frequent notice is taken of the great flocking there was to Christ for help in various cases. All are concerned to know this, if they expect him to heal their souls.

They must not indulge the ease of the body. As the happiness of heaven with Christ, is enough to make up for the loss of life itself for him, so the gain of all the world in sin, will not make up for the ruin of the soul by sin.

And there is a day coming, when the cause of Christ will appear as glorious, as some now think it mean and contemptible. May we think of that season, and view every earthly object as we shall do at that great day.

Mark 8:36 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Verse 36. – What doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (ζημιωθῆναι); literally, forfeit his life (ψυχή).

The word ψυχή in the Greek, originally meaning simply “breath,” as the sign of life, is of very comprehensive import, embracing not merely “the breath of life,” but also the “soul,” or immortal part of man, as distinguished from his mortal body, also the mind or understanding, as the organ of thought.

“Life” seems here to be the best English synonym, as being, like the Greek ψυχή, the more comprehensive term.

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