26For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
For [clarification of verse 24] what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Jesus offered the radical hyperbole (overemphasis for effect) of gaining control of the entire world by two rhetorical questions. The first question has to do with the primacy of the soul over against ruling the entire world. That would be of little effect in contrast to possessing eternal life.
The Greek answers this question with “nothing.” A person will gain nothing if he wins the whole world but loses his soul.
Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
The second question emphasizes the supreme value of one’s life over against anything we can exchange for it in this life. There is no tradeoff here. The believer has no possession that he could exchange for his soul. In himself, he is bankrupt of eternal value. The soul has no market price. It does not make sense to own everything in the world and lose our souls. We have to leave possessions behind in the finality of eternity.
The soul is far more important than things.
There are people who forfeit their souls for other things. This is loss of eternal value.