Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

Greek Word of the Day


Ἰησοῦς means “Jesus, Joshua.”


“If you confess with your mouth, ‘ Ἰησοῦς is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Noun: Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), GK G2652 (S G2424), 917x. The name Ἰησοῦς is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name “Joshua.” The name Ἰησοῦς was common among Jews at the time of Jesus Christ and prior to the first century (for other individuals named Joshua/Jesus, see, e.g., Neh. 3:19; possibly Mt. 27:16f; Lk. 3:29; Col. 4:11). The personal name given to Jesus is an especially appropriate one for the Messiah to bear since its Hebrew antecedent, Joshua, means “The LORD [Yahweh] is salvation.” The words of the angel to Joseph in Mt. 1:21 emphasize this very point: “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who will save his people from their sins.”


θεός means “God, god.”


“ ‘Emmanuel’ is translated ‘θεός is with us’ ” (Matt 1:23).

“I found also an altar on which was inscribed, ‘To an unknown θεός’ ” (Acts 17:23).

Noun: θεός (theos), GK G2536 (S G2316), 1317x. As a general term, θεός means “god.” It is used for any being, real or imagined, whom people acknowledge as a “god” (Acts 17:23; 19:26). But the vast majority of times in which θεός occurs in the NT, it refers to the Lord God  who is one, he is only, and he is unique (Mt. 23:9; Rom. 3:20; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Gal. 3:20). God is “holy” (Lev. 19:1–2; 1 Pet. 1:16; Rev. 4:8), “perfect” (Mt. 5:48), “faithful” (Rom. 3:3; 1 Cor. 1:9), the ultimate “promise keeper” (Rom. 9:6–8), a constant “teller of the truth” (Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18), “wise” (Rom. 16:27), “invisible” (Col. 1:15–16), “immortal” (1 Tim. 1:17), “blessed” (6:15–16), “totally righteous” (2 Cor. 5:21), and “love” (1 Jn. 4:8). But while God maintains his transcendence (sovereign sway and ultimate control) over all the creation, he is also immanent (in our midst), intimately involved with his creation. Jesus describes θεός as personal, compassionate, and tender, with a love that extends far beyond the abilities of the most loving human father (Mt. 7:7–12).


κύριος means “Lord; master, sir.”


“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is κύριος,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

“κύριος, you have no bucket and the well is deep” (John 4:11).

Noun: κύριος (kyrios), GK G3261 (S G2962), 717x. kyrios means “master, lord, sir” as well as “Lord.” In the secular sense, κύριος in the NT is translated as the “master” of a slave (Mt. 10:24–25; Eph. 6:5), “owner” (Mt. 15:27; Gal. 4:1), or “employer” (Lk. 16:3, 5). The husband is characterized as kyrios with respect to his wife (1 Pet. 3:6; cf. Gen. 18:12, where “master” is kyrios in the LXX). God is consistently depicted as kyrios, especially when the NT author is quoting an OT passage that uses kyrios for Yahweh (Rom. 4:8; 9:28–29; 10:16). The earliest Christian confession is that “Jesus is Lord.” The Roman emperor was called “king of kings” because he presided over the vassal kings of the empire, but how puny and conceited in light of the absolute sovereignty of the Lamb, the true Lord of lords. NT writers found their evidence for Jesus’ lordship in Ps. 110:1, the most quoted psalm in the NT (see Mt. 22:44; 26:64; Acts 2:34; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3, 13).


ἡμέρα means “day.”


“Concerning that ἡμέρα and hour, no one knows except the Father” (Matt 24:36).

Noun: ἡμέρα (hēmera), GK G2465 (S G2250), 389x. ἡμέρα is an indication of time that can refer to either a literal day (24–hour period of time) or a period of time that is unspecified (cf. Heb. yôm). As to the former, ἡμέρα is often linked with νύξ (“night,” 23x) to indicate a cycle of time as “night and day” (e.g., Lk. 2:37; cf. Mt. 4:2; Acts 9:24; 1 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 4:8). However, ἡμέρα most frequently indicates a period of time of unspecified length, as in Mt. 23:30, “the days of our forefathers.” In the NT, 49 times we read about “those days” or in “that day.” ἡμέρα can also indicate the time between Christ’s first coming and second coming known as the “last days.” Finally, ἡμέρα is used in an end-time sense to denote future events. Jesus declares in Jn. 6:40, “everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” This “last day” refers to the time of judgment at the consummation of the ages.


γυνή means “woman; wife.”


“O γυνή, great is your faith!” (Matt 15:28).

“Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary as your γυνή” (Matt 1:20).

Noun: γυνή (gynē), GK G1222 (S G1135), 215x. γυνή can refer to an adult female person, including virgins (e.g., Mt. 9:20; 13:33; 27:55; Lk. 1:42). γυνή also denotes a “wife.” Paul uses the word 21x in his important chapter dealing with marriage in 1 Cor. 7. γυνή appears with ἀνήρ (“man, husband”) in the qualifications pertaining to elders and deacons being the husband of but one wife (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Tit. 1:16). γυνή can also refer to a newly married woman, i.e., a bride (Rev. 19:7; 21:9).


γῆ means “earth, land; region; humanity.”


“You are the salt of the γῆ” (Matt 5:13).

“When they crossed over, they came to the γῆ of Gennesaret” (Matt 14:34).

“I have not come to bring peace to γῆ, but a sword” (Matt 10:34).

Noun: γῆ (gē), GK G1178 (S G1093), 250x. γῆ is the standard word for “earth, land” in the NT. γῆ is not nearly as theologically important in the NT as it is in the OT. This is due to the theological shift from an ethnic, land-based people (Israel) to a sojourning remnant consisting of people from all nations (the church). As a result, the vast majority of the occurrences of γῆ in the NT refer simply to geographic space — the land, earth, or soil — on which people travel or in which they live (Mt. 9:26; Mk. 4:1; Lk. 5:3; Jn. 12:24). There are other times, however, when γῆ is used in a theologically charged way. Taking their cue from the OT and intertestamental literature, NT authors sometimes combine γῆ with heaven to emphasize a contrast or comparison between God’s ways and human ways.


ἄνθρωπος means “man; person, human being; people, mankind.”


“There is one mediator between God and mankind; an ἄνθρωπος, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

“An ἄνθρωπος does not live on bread alone” (Matt 4:4).

“There is one mediator between God and ἄνθρωπος; a man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

Noun: ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), GK G476 (S G444), 550x. ἄνθρωπος means “man, human being, mankind.” ἄνθρωπος is significantly different from God, as in Mk. 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (cf. Mk. 10:9; Jn. 10:33; Acts 5:29). ἄνθρωπος is also distinct from angels (1 Cor. 4:9; 13:1) and animals (Mt. 12:12; 1 Cor. 15:39). Although ἄνθρωπος is grammatically masculine, it often refers to humanity collectively, including both men and women (e.g., Rom. 3:5; 1 Cor. 3:3; 9:8; 15:32; Gal. 1:11; 3:15; 1 Pet. 4:6). Nevertheless, ἄνθρωπος may also refer to a specific individual, and in each instance the person is male: Matthew (Mt. 9:9), John the Baptist (11:8), Judas (Mt. 26:24), Nicodemus (Jn. 3:1), Stephen (Acts 6:13), and Adam (Rom. 5:12, 19).


ἀπόστολος means “apostle; envoy, messenger.”


“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an ἀπόστολος” (Romans 1:1).

“The servant is not greater than the master, nor is the ἀπόστολος greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16).

Noun: ἀπόστολος (apostolos), GK G693 (S G652), 80x. apostolos broadly refers to a “messenger, delegate,” or “sent one.” In classical Greek, apostolos referred to a person of merit sent as an envoy or on behalf of a master in an administrative role. John uses the term in a similar way, applying it to any messenger without the specific idea of an office with special status (Jn. 13:16). In contrast, in Luke apostolos is used almost solely as a designation for the Twelve. Matthew and Mark use apostolos rather sparingly when referring to the Twelve (Mt. 10:2; Mk. 3:14; 6:30). Paul uses apostolos to refer more generally to a group of believers with special status as God’s messengers or envoys. (a) The call to apostleship is not initiated by the human agent but by God in Jesus Christ alone (Gal. 1:1) and comes about through meeting the risen Lord (1 Cor. 9:1; 15:7; Gal. 1:16). (b) Suffering is a mark of apostleship (1 Cor. 4:9–13; 2 Cor. 4:7–12; 11:23–29). (c) Apostles have special insight into the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1). (d) Apostolic authority is not the result of inherent quality in the office holder but is a function of the gospel’s own power to convict and communicate truth (Rom. 15:18; 2 Cor. 4:2).


λόγος means “word, Word; statement, message.”

“In the beginning was the λόγος, and the λόγος was with God, and the λόγος was God” (John 1:1).

“Whatever you do, whether in λόγος or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord” (Col 3:17).

λόγος (logos), GK G3364 (S G3056), 330x. λόγος means “word, message, report” and sometimes even “deed.” It has similar meanings as dābār in the OT. (1) The NT uses λόγος to express many forms of communication, both verbal and physical. (2) It is not surprising to find that the NT uses λόγος to mean Jesus himself. The Synoptic Gospels identify Jesus’ preaching as the proclamation of the “logos of God,” reminiscent of the OT use of the prophetic “word” (“word of the kingdom,” Mt. 13:19; “word of God,” Lk. 5:1). But in Jn. 1:1, the λόγος is not only from God, but is God. (3) Paul calls the “message” that is to be proclaimed in the churches the “λόγος of God” (1 Cor. 14:36; 1 Thess. 2:13). (4) It common for modern Christians to use the term “word” as a synonym for the Bible.


ἀνήρ  means "male, husband; man."

“Because her ἀνήρ Joseph was a just man, he planned to divorce Mary quietly” (Matt 1:19).

“The anger of ἀνήρ does not bring about the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

Noun: ἀνήρ (anēr), GK G467 (S G435), 216x. anēr generally means a “man” as opposed to a woman (e.g., Mt. 14:21; 1 Cor. 11:3–15); it is also the word for “husband” (e.g., Mk. 10:2; Rom. 7:2–3; Eph. 5:22–25, 28, 33). Occasionally it can mean simply “adult male” (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:11) or even “human being” (Lk. 5:8; Jas. 1:20).