This page last modified April 8, 2012
Versions   Greek   Texts   What To Seek   Others   Commentators   Index
seeketh not her own,
(ou ze-TEI ta heauTE-S)
KJV, DR, Rhe, Wes: "seeketh not her own"
AKJV, Worrell, EJ2000, Lamsa: "seeks not her own"
Mur: "and seeketh not her own"
NHEB: "does not seek its own way"
WEB: "doesn't seek its own way"
Riv: "does not seek her own interest"
Darby: "does not seek what is its own"
ACV: "does not seek the things of itself"
YLT: "doth not seek its own things"
NASB, CENT: "it does not seek its own"
ASV: "seeketh not its own"
NJB: "and never seeks its own advantage"
NKJV, CAB: "does not seek its own"
ALT: "it does not seek its own [things]"
Godbey: "seeks not its own"
ABPE: "neither does it seek its own"
ICB, HCSB, NCV: "is not selfish,"
NSB: "it is not selfish"
REB: "love is never selfish"
NIV: "it is not self-seeking,"
CLNT: "is not self-seeking"
TEV, GNT: "or selfish"
MNT: "nor selfish"
CEV: "Love isn't selfish"
AMP: "Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking;"
RSV: "Love does not insist on its own way;"
Good: "It does not insist on its rights."
NRSV, ESV: "it does not insist on its own way"
NWT: "does not look for its own interests,"
Mace: "is not self-interested"
CPV: "nor try to get things for itself"
ISV: "Never does she think of self"
Wey: "nor seek to aggrandize herself"
BBE: "it takes no thought for itself"
WENT: "Love does not just think of itself"
TFEC: "is not preoccupied with the interests of the self"
Vul: "non quaerit quae sua sunt"
Mes: "Isn't always 'me first'"
NLT, LB: "Love does not demand its own way"
GWT: "It doesn't think about itself"
Rot: "seeketh not her own things"
Bis: "seeketh not her owne"
MKJV: "does not seek her own"
LITV: "does not pursue its own things"
LONT: "does not seek its own things"
ED: "not seeks the things of herself"
UTV: "seeks not inwardly"
NET: "it is not self-serving"
Gen: "it seeketh not her own things"
1st: "It seeketh not the thingis that ben her owne"
Tyn: "seketh not her awne"
Wyc: "it sekith not tho thingis that ben hise owne"
RVR, SSE, NBLH: "no busca lo suyo"
CEI: "non cerca il suo interesse"
Luther: "sie suchet nicht das Ihre"
Elb: "sie sucht nicht das Ihrige"
FD: "il ne cherche pas son propre intérêt"
FLS: "elle ne cherche point son intérêt"
BPKS: "ne traži svoje"

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Into the Original Greek
Roots, Definitions, and Cross-References
Word: ze-TEo- (2212)


  • Strong's:
    ze-TEo-, dzay-teh'-o; of uncertain affinity
    To seek (literally or figuratively); specifically (by Hebrew) to worship (God), or (in a bad sense) to plot (against life). KJV "be (go) about", "desire", "endeavor", "enquire (for)", "require", "(x will) seek (after, for, means)".
  • Zodhiates:
    ze-TEo-; contracted ze-TO-, future ze-TE-so.
    To seek, transitive.
    1. Particularly, to seek after, look for, strive to find.
      1. Generally without any direct object.
        • As in Mat. 7:7,8, "seek, and ye shall find."
        • Followed by the accusative of person (Mat. 2:13; Mark 3:32; Luke 2:45; John 7:11; Acts 9:11; 2 Tim. 1:7; Sept.: Gen. 17:15).
        • To seek God means to turn to Him, to strive humbly and sincerely to follow and obey Him (Acts 17:27; Rom. 10:20 [cf. Is. 65:1]; Sept.: Ex. 33:7; Ps. 24:6). See the comp. ekze-TEo- (1567), to search or seek out.
        • Followed by the accusative of thing, something lost. (Mat. 18:12; Luke 19:10)
        • With the accusative implied. (Luke 15:8; Sept.: 1 Sam. 10:2, 14)
        • Generally. (Mat. 12:43; 26:59; Mark 14:55; Luke 13:6,7; 22:6; Rev. 9:6)
        • Of what one seeks to buy, e.g., pearls. (Mat. 13:45)
        • To seek the life of someone means seeking to kill him. (Matt. 2:20; Rom. 11:3 [cf. 1 Kgs. 19:10, 14]; Sept.: Ex. 4:19; 2 Sam. 16:11; Jer. 44:30)
        • To seek how means to seek opportunity. (Mark 11:18; 14:1, 11)
      2. To seek, in the sense of endeavor, to try.
        • E.g., followed by the accusative of thing, to try to gain, to strive after, with the idea of earnestness and anxiety (Mat. 6:33; Luke 12:29; John 5:44; 7:18; 8:50; 1 Cor. 10:24, 33; Phil. 2:21; Col. 3:1; Sept.: Ps. 4:2; 34:14)
        • Generally, to endeavor, strive.
          • Followed by HIna (2443), so that. (1 Cor. 14:12)
          • By the aorist infinitive. (Mat. 21:46; Luke 5:18; 17:33; John 10:39; 19:12; Acts 13:8; 16:10; Rom. 10:3)
          • With the present infinitive. (Luke 6:19; Gal. 1:10)
          • With the infinitive implied. (John 5:30; Sept.: Deut. 13:10; 1 Sam. 19:10)
      3. By implication, to desire or wish.
        • Followed by the aorist infinitive. (Mat. 12:46, 47 [cf. Luke 6:19; 9:9; 11:54; John 7:4; Acts 27:30])
        • By the accusative. (John 1:38; 4:27; 1 Cor. 7:27; 2 Cor. 12:14; Sept.: Gen. 37:15)
    2. To seek, require, demand, expect.
      • With the accusative of thing. (1 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 13:3; Heb. 8:7).
      • Followed by paRA and the genitive, meaning from someone. (Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; 12:48)
      • In 1 Cor. 4:2, "it is required in the steward that one be found faithful" (author's translation).
      • See John 4:23; Sept.: Neh 5:12, 18.
    3. By implication, to inquire, ask.
      • With peRI (4012), concerning. (John 16:19)
  • Mounce's:
    GK 2426 (S 2212) Word occurs 117 times.
    • To seek, look for. (Mt. 18:12; Lk. 2:48, 49)
    • To search after. (Mt. 13:45)
    • To be on the watch for. (Mt. 26:16)
    • To pursue, endeavor to obtain. (Rom. 2:7; 1 Pet. 3:11)
    • To desire, wish, want. (Mt. 12:47)
    • To seek, strive for. (Mt. 6:33)
    • To endeavor. (Mt. 21:46)
    • To require, demand, ask for. (Mk. 8:11; Lk. 11:16; 12:48)
    • To inquire or ask questions, question. (Jn. 16:19)
    • To deliberate. (Mk. 11:18; Lk. 12:29)
    • In NT from Hebrew, ze-TEIN te-n psyCHE-N, to seek the life of any one, to seek to kill. (Mt. 2:20)
    • A person can search for physical objects. (Mt. 13:45; Lk. 15:8)
    • Other people. (Lk. 9:9; Mt. 28:5)
    • Blessings such as healing. (Lk. 5:18; 6:19)
    • And opportunities to do things such as to betray, (Mt. 26:16; Lk. 22:6)
    • Arrest, (Mt. 21:46)
    • And kill. (Mt. 2:13; Mk. 11:18; Ac. 21:31)
    • People are to "search for" spiritual principles and realities such as God's kingdom, righteousness, glory, immortality, wisdom, and peace. (Mt. 6:33; cf. 7:7-8; Lk. 5:44; 7:18; 11:9-10; 12:31; 1 Cor. 1:22; 1 Pet. 3:11)
    • Christians are not to "seek their own interests" but rather those of Jesus Christ and his servants. (Phil. 2:21)
    • Paul seeks for the good of others, (1 Cor. 10:33)
    • which is a characteristic of genuine love. ("not self-seeking", 1 Cor. 13:5)
    • Regarding prayer, those who "seek" from the Father will find. (Mt. 7:7-8)
    • To those who "seek" glory, honor, and immortality, God gives eternal life. (Rom. 2:7)
    • To those "seeking" the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all necessities will be given as well. (Mt. 6:33)
    • The majority of Jews in Jesus' and Paul's day were "seeking to establish their own" righteousness (Rom 10:3b)
    • but they did not obtain it. (Rom. 9:31)
    • God's purpose in creating humans is "that they would seek God". (Ac. 17:27)
    • God himself seeks for things: people who repent, (Lk. 13:5-6)
    • worshipers in Spirit and truth, (Jn. 4:23)
    • and stewards who are trustworthy, especially in the mysteries of Christ. (1 Cor. 4:2)
    • Revealing his truly divine nature and mission, Jesus declares that he is the good shepherd and will bring back the sheep that are not yet in the fold; (Jn. 10:14-16)
    • in fact, he himself has come "to seek and to save the lost". (Lk. 19:10)
  • Vine's:
    • Endeavor, No. 2: ze-TEo-, to seek after, is translated "endeavor" in Ac. 16:10, AV, RV "sought".
    • Inquire, No. 2: ze-TEo-, to seek.
      • Rendered "inquire" in John 16:19.
      • "Inquire ... for" in Ac. 9:11.
    • Require, No.1: ze-TEo-, to seek, seek after.
      • Also signifies to require, demand, "shall be required", Lk. 12:48.
      • In 1 Cor. 4:2, "it is required (in stewards)".
    • Seek, No. 1: ze-TEo- signifies
      1. To seek, to seek for.
        • Matt. 7:7-8; 13:45; Luke 24:5; John 6:24.
        • Of plotting against a person's life. (Matt. 2:20; Acts 21:31; Rom. 11:3)
        • Metaphorically, to seek by thinking, to seek how to do something, or what to obtain. (Mark 11:18; Luke 12:29)
        • To seek to ascertain a meaning, John 16:19, "do ye inquire".
        • To seek God. (Acts 17:27 RV, Rom. 10:20)
      2. To seek or strive after, endeavor, to desire.
        • Matt. 12:46-7 RV, "seeking" (AV, "desiring"); Luke 9:9, RV, "sought" (AV, "desired"); John 7:19, RV, "seek ye" (AV, "go ye about"); so verse 20; Rom. 10:3, RV, "seeking" (AV "going about").
        • Of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, in the sense of coveting earnestly, striving after. (Matt. 6:33)
        • "The things that are above". (Col. 3:1)
        • Peace. (1 Pet. 3:11)
      3. To require or demand.
        • Mark 8:12; Luke 11:29 (some manuscripts have epize-TEo-); 1 Cor. 4:2 "it is required"; 2 Cor. 13:3, "ye seek".
  • Thayer's:
    1. To seek in order to find
      1. to seek a thing
      2. to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into
      3. to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after
    2. To seek i.e. require, demand
      1. to crave, demand something from someone
Word: heauTOU (1438)

Definition: Of himself, herself, itself. Third person reflexive pronoun.

Sharing a Relevant Semantic Affinity
Word: eriTHEIa (2052)


STRONG'S:  Properly intrigue, that is, (by implication) faction.

THAYER:  Electioneering or intriguing for office.

  1. Apparently, in the NT a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts.
  2. Partisanship, fractiousness.

VINE'S:  Denotes ambition, self-seeking, rivalry, self-will being an underlying idea in the word; hence it deontes party-making. It is derived, not from ERis, strife, but from erithos, a hireling. Faction is the fruit of jealousy.

ZODHIATES:  Contention, strife, rivalry.

  1. It represents a motive of self-interest, mercenary interest.
  2. It also meant canvassing for public office, scheming.


  1. Phil. 1:16; 2:3;
  2. Rom. 2:8; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:20; James 3:14,16.
Word: IDios (2398)


STRONG'S:  Of uncertain affinity; pertaining to self, that is, one's own; by implication private or separate.

THAYER:  Pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self.

VINE'S:  One's own, his own, private.

ZODHIATES:  Properly one's own. As pertaining to a private person and not to the public, private, particular, individual, as opposed to demOSios (1209), public, open, and koiNOS (2839), common.

  1. Used adverbially:
    1. iDIa, individually, severally, to each one.
    2. kat' iDIan with the preposition kaTA (2596), according to, meaning privately, by oneself, apart from others, e.g., one individual alone.
  2. As belonging to oneself and not to another, one's own, peculiar.
    1. Denoting ownership, that of which one is himself the owner, possessor, producer, as my own, your own, his own.
    2. In the sense of peculiar, particular, as distinguishing one person from others.
    3. As denoting that which in its nature or by appointment pertains in any way to a person or things.
    4. Sometimes iDIos is used instead of a possessive pronoun without any emphasis. Equivalent to heauTOU (1438), of his own.

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Full Texts of Selected References

Prov. 25:27-- It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one's own honor. (NIV)
LXX:--It is not good to eat much honey; but it is right to honour venerable sayings. (BLXX)
Alt.:--Just as it is harmful to eat too much honey, so also it is bad for men to think about all the honors they deserve. (LB)
Alt.:--for people to search out their own glory, is it glory? (NWT)
Alt.:--... nor to seek honor after honor. (NAB)
Alt.:--Too much honey is bad for you, and so is trying to win too much praise. (TEV)
Alt.:--... so for men to search their own glory is not glory. (KJV)
Alt.:--... so be sparing of complimentary words. (RSV)

Mat. 6:32f-- For the pagans (ta ETHne-) run after (epize-TEI) all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek (ze-TEIte) first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)
Alt.:--(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) ... 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God (KJV)
Alt.:--That is what pagans are always looking for ... 33 Set your heart on his kingdom (Phillips)
Alt.:--(These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) ... 33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God (TEV)
Alt.:--... Seek first his kingship over you, his way of holiness (NAB)
Alt.:--Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, 33 and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to. (LB)

1 Cor 10:24-- Nobody should seek his own good (to heauTOU ze-TEIto-), but the good of others. (NIV)
Alt.:--Don't think only of yourself. Try to think of the other fellow, too, and what is best for him. (LB)
Alt.:--Let each one keep seeking, not his own [advantage], but that of the other person. (NWT)
Alt.:--No one should be looking out for his own interests (TEV)
Alt.:--Let no man, then, set his own advantage as his objective, but rather the good of his neighbor. (Phillips)
Alt.:--Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. (KJV)

1 Cor 10:32f-- Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God -- 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good (me- ze-TO-n to emauTOU symPHEron) but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (NIV)
Alt.:--... not doing what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them (LB)
Alt.:--... not seeking my own advantage but that of the many (NWT)
Alt.:--... not thinking of my own good, but of the good of all (TEV)
Alt.:--not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many (KJV)

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What to Seek
(NIV unless otherwise noted)
To Seek

First the Kingdom:

  • "But seek (ze-TEIte) first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Mat. 6:33)
  • "But seek (ze-TEIte) his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well." (Lk. 12:31)
  • Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on (ze-TEIte) things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on (phroNEIte) things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:1)
  • "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for (ze-TOUNti) fine pearls. When he found heurO-N de one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Mat. 13:45-6)
  • "Make every effort (ago-NIzesthe) to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try (ze-TE-sousin, KJV: will seek) to enter and will not be able to." (Lk. 13:24)


  • "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek (ze-TEIN) him (ton theON) and perhaps reach out for (pse-laPHE-Seian) him and find (HEURoien) him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Ac. 17:26-7)
  • And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him (ton proserCHOmenon) must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek (tois ekze-TOUsin) him. (Heb. 11:6)
  • As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one (ouk EStin) who seeks (ho ekze-TO-N) God. (Ro. 3:11)


  • The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for (ze-TEIte) Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." (Mt. 28:5)
  • And when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for (ze-touSI) you!" (Mk. 1:37)
    Alt: "All men seek for thee." (KJV)
  • "You will look for (ze-TE-seTE) me, but you will not find (heuRE-sete) me; and where I am, you cannot come."
    The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find (heuRE-somen) him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What did he mean when he said, 'You will look for (ze-TE-seTE) me, but you will not find me,' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?" (John 7:34-36)
  • Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek (ze-TE-seTE) me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come (elthEIN). (John 8:21 KJV)

The Glory of God:

  • "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. ... but he who (ho de) works for (ze-TO-N) the honor of the one who sent him (KJV: seeketh his glory that sent him) is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." (John 7:17-18)

The Good Of Many:

  • Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God -- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not (me-) seeking (ze-TO-n) my own good (KJV: mine own profit) but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Cor. 10:33)
  • So it is with you. Since you are eager (ze-lo-TAI) to have spiritual gifts, try (ze-TEIte) to excel in gifts that build up the church. (1 Cor. 14:12)
  • For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek (ze-te-SAto-) peace (eiRE-ne-n) and pursue it." (1 Pet. 3:11)


  • "Ask and it will be given to you; seek (ze-TEIte) and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks (ho ze-TO-N) finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Mat. 7:7-8)
  • What then? What Israel sought so earnestly (ho epize-TEI israE-L) it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, (Ro. 11:7)

Not To Seek

Material Things:

  • "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after (epize-TEI) all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." (Mat. 6:31-2)
    Alt: "all these things do the Gentiles seek"
  • "And do not set your heart on (ze-TEIte) what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after (epize-TEI) all such things, and your Father knows that you need them." (Lk. 12:29-30)
    Alt: "And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or ... the nations of this world seek after" (KJV)


  • He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for (epize-TEI, KJV: seeketh after) a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." (Mat. 12:39)
  • "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for(epize-TEI, KJV: seeketh after) a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away. (Mat. 16:4)
  • The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for (ze-TOUNtes seeking, KJV: sought of him) a sign from heaven. (Mark 8:11)

Your Own:

  • Seeketh not her own (1 Cor 13:5)
  • Nobody should seek his own good (to heauTOU ze-TEIto-), but the good of others. (1 Cor. 10:24)

The Glory of Men:

  • "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain (ou ze-TEIte) the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44)
  • "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself (te-n DOXan te-n iDIan ze-TEI, KJV: seeketh his own glory)," (John 7:17-18)


  • Are you married? Do not seek (me- ze-TEI) a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for (me- ze-TEI) a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. (1 Cor 7:27-8)
  • In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for (ze-TEIte) the living among the dead?" (Lk. 24:5)
  • "Now the hand of the Lord is against you (Elymas). You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand (eZE-tei cheirago-GOUS, he sought guides) . (Ac 13:11)

Higher Seeking


  • "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins (or, ten drachmas, each worth about a day's wages) and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search (ze-TEI) carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Lk. 15:8-10)
  • "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for (ze-TEI) the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost." (Mat. 18:12-14)
  • "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks (ze-TEI)." (John 4:23)
  • Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for (E-Lthe ze-TO-N, came seeking) fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for (ERchomai ze-TO-N) fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
    "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'" (Lk. 13:7-9)


  • "For the Son of Man came to seek (ze-TE-sai) and to save what was lost." (Lk. 19:10)
  • "By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not (ou ze-TO-) to please myself (KJV: I seek not mine own will) but him who sent me." (John 5:30)
  • "I am not seeking (ou ze-TO-) glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it (EStin ho ze-TO-N), and he is the judge." (John 8:50)

The Devil:

  • Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for (peripaTEI ze-TO-N, walks about seeking) someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8)

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