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Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

I was wondering whether or not the phrase "deny yourself" or the idea of "denying oneself" (See Mat 16:24) was an idea that was current to the day and age in which Christ lived or if He coined it there and it later became a common idiom as a result of His statement in the same way that "carrying a cross" has become an idiom.

I ask because the only other way this word for denial, "ἀπαρνέομαι" is used, is in reference to what is essentially a disowning or a disassociation (see Peter's denial of Christ, and Luke 12:9 where Christ says “but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God”).

Would it be more accurate for it to be translated "disown yourselves" or "disassociate with yourselves" or even "disassociate with your own nature?"

additionally were there any 2nd temple notions/writings/theology that this is connected to or makes reference to?

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    It is a matter of opinion whether a particular expression is an idiom or whether it is not. Authorities may differ on particular expressions as to whether they were idiomatic at a particular time or not, based on how extensive their research is of the available documents of the time.
    – Nigel J
    May 6 at 7:07
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    @NigelJ That's like saying that it's a matter of opinion which sense of a word is in view in a particular context. Well, technically yes, but if we closed all questions like that there'd be nothing left here! I think this is a question that perfectly fits this site, and answers will need to quote and explain the evidence for their answer.
    – curiousdannii
    May 6 at 8:38
  • @curiousdannii Point taken. The question has a point in regard to the meaning 'deny' or 'disown'. 'Disown self' does appear to have merit, in my view.
    – Nigel J
    May 6 at 9:17
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Luke 12:9 English Standard Version

but the one who denies [G720] me before men will be denied [G533] before the angels of God.

The two English words for "deny" here are different words in Greek. In fact, the two Greek words are related. G533 is the intense form of G720.

HELPS Word-studies

533 aparnéomai (from 575 /apó, "from" which intensifies 720 /arnéomai, "deny") – properly, to deny, looking back to what was originally refused (rejected, forsaken). Note the force of the prefix, 575 /apó ("away from").

720 (arneomai) already means "deny," so 533 (aparnéomai) suggests "strongly reject" (especially the source). That is, utterly refusing to recognize the original source involved. Hence 533 (aparnéomai) can imply "ignore, disown, or repudiate" (Abbott-Smith, so also in Herodotus, Thucydides).

[The high level of personal involvement (interest) motivating 533 (aparnéomai) accounts for why it always in the Greek middle voice.]

We are talking about intense emotion and action. My translation:

but the one who denies me before men will be utterly denied before the angels of God.

Now, let's get on to Matthew 16:24 Berean Study Bible

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.

he must deny
ἀπαρνησάσθω (aparnēsasthō)
Verb - Aorist Imperative Middle - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 533: From apo and arneomai; to deny utterly, i.e. Disown, abstain.

himself
ἑαυτὸν (heauton)
Reflexive Pronoun - Accusative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 1438: Himself, herself, itself.

The verb is already in its apo-intensified form. Add to it another level of intensification by the Middle voice. Add to that another level of intensification by the following word of the Reflexive pronoun. On top of all these, put it in the Imperative mood. Yes, this is extremely serious. My translation:

he must completely and utterly deny his whole being

Would it be more accurate for it to be translated "disown yourselves" or "disassociate with yourselves" or even "disassociate with your own nature?"

"disassociate with your own nature" sounds pretty good to me here.

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Yes, Jesus is extremely serious about this.

Matthew 10:38 and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.

This applies to us even today.

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