Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

Greek Word of the Day

ὁ means “the.”


“Are you ὁ teacher of Israel, and you do not understand these things?” (John 3:10).

Adjective: ὁ (ho), GK G3836 (S G3588, G5120]), 19,867x. The prepositive article corresponds somewhat to the english article “the,” but it can also function as the demonstrative (“this, that”) or personal pronoun (“he, she, it”) and also a correlative, ὁ μὲν ... ὁ δέ, the one ... the other (Phil. 1:16, 17; Heb. 7:5, 6, 20, 21, 23, 24). It can aid it turning an adjective or participle into a substantive.


μέγας means “large, great.”


“Whoever would be μέγας among you must be your servant” (Matt 20:26).

Adjective: μέγας (megas), GK G3489 (S G3173), 243x. μέγας means “great, loud, large.” It can simply refer to something that exceeds the norm. For example, the shepherds in Lk. 2:10 rejoice with “great” joy. The witness of God is “great” (1 Jn. 5:9). Paul writes that the mystery of Christ and the church is “great” (Eph. 5:32), as is the mystery of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16). The Sermon on the Mount ascribes true “greatness” to those who serve (Lk. 22:27).


ἅγιος means “holy”; plural noun: “saints.”


“The one who comes after me will baptize you with the ἅγιος Spirit” (Matt 3:11).

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, to the ἅγιος who are in Ephesus” (Eph 1:1).

Adjective: ἅγιος (hagios), GK G41 (S G40 & 39), 233x. ἅγιος describes that which is distinct or separate from the common or profane, set aside for special purpose. God is specifically described as holy (Jn. 17:11; 1 Pet. 1:15–16; Rev. 4:8; 6:10), and Christ is called holy in the same sense as God (Rev. 3:7; cf. 1 Jn. 2:20). The proper sphere of the holy in the NT is not the priestly or ritual but the prophetic. The sacred no longer belongs to things, places, or rites, but to manifestations of life produced by the Spirit. Hence, people in relationship to God through the work of the Spirit as the “Saints,” the “Holy Ones.”


Χριστός means “Christ, Messiah.”


“Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Χριστός” (Matt 2:38).

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Χριστός, the Son of the living God’ ” (Matt 16:16).

Noun: Χριστός (Christos), GK G5986 (S G5547), 529x. Χριστός means “Messiah, anointed one, Christ.” Its root is the verb chriō, which in Greek meant “to smear, rub, spread.” In the LXX, because of the connection with “rubbing or smearing oil,” the term was associated with “one who had been anointed, or set apart, for a special task.” In the Hebrew Bible, the “anointed ones” were the king and the high priest, occasionally a prophet. In later Jewish writings, Χριστός came to mean “the Messiah.” NT preaching, especially among Jews, focuses on presenting Jesus as the Christos (Acts 8:5; 17:2–3; Rom. 9:1–5).


υἱός means “son; descendant.”


“You are the Christ, the υἱός of the living God” (Matt 16:16).

“Joseph υἱός of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife” (Matt 1:20).

Noun: υἱός (huios), GK G5626 (S G5207), 377x. υἱός describes the son of human parents; it can also refer more generally to offspring and descendants. (1) The “parent to child” relationship is set in a new light by Jesus’ call to discipleship (Mt. 10:37; Lk. 14:26–27; cf. Mk. 13:12). (2) Although the phrase “Son of Man” seems to emphasize Jesus’ humanity, it is actually a stronger title of divinity than the title “Son of God” (Dan. 7:13–14). (3) The title “Son of God,” though it certainly evokes a divine understanding, does so by emphasizing the divine relationship between the Father and Jesus the “Son.” (4) Just as Israel was a “son” to God in its elected status, and just as Jesus the “Son” made complete that relationship for all who desire, believers today are called sons and daughters of God (Jn. 1:12–13; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). (5) The NT also uses υἱός to describe qualities that should characterize God’s people. For example, when we are called “sons of the light” (Lk. 16:8; Jn. 12:36), that means we must live as if the light of God’s Word and Jesus as the light of the world are living within us.


σωτήρ means “savior.”


“Today in the town of David a σωτήρ has been born” (Luke 2:11).

Noun: σωτήρ (sōtēr), GK G5400 (S G4990), 24x. Whereas in the OT the noun yešûꜥa, (“Savior”) describes Israel’s God, in the NT σωτήρ becomes a title for Jesus. The angel in Bethlehem announced the birth of a “Savior” in the town of David (Lk. 2:11). The townspeople in Sychar, after meeting Jesus, told the Samaritan woman, “We know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (Jn. 4:42). Typical in the NT letters are references to “our Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 1:4; 2:13; 2 Pet. 3:18).


πνεῦμα means “spirit, Spirit; wind, breath.”


“Unless one is born of water and πνεῦμα, they cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

“The πνεῦμα blows wherever it chooses, and you hear its sound, but do not know where it is coming from or where it is going” (John 3:8).

Noun: πνεῦμα (pneuma), GK G4460 (S G4151), 379x. (1) Similar to rûaḥ in the OT, πνεῦμα can mean “air in movement.” In Jn. 3:8 Jesus uses pneuma twice: once for “wind” or “air” and once for the “Spiri.” (2) πνεῦμα can mean that which animates or gives life to the body (Mt. 27:50) or the human spirit in general (Jas. 2:26). (3) πνεῦμα can refer to evil and good “spirits” (Mt. 8:16; Lk. 4:36; Acts 19:12–16). (4) πνεῦμα can also refer to the “Holy Spirit.” The OT contains Isaiah’s promise of a Messiah who would have a special endowment of the Spirit (Isa. 61:1–3) and on Joel’s prophecy about the pouring out of the Spirit on the godly in the last days (Joel 2:28–29). In the NT that understanding was fulfilled in the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:1–36).


πίστις means “faith, belief; trust; teaching.”


“When Jesus saw their πίστις, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ (Mark 2:5).”

“Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your πίστις has healed you" (Matt 9:22).

“By rejecting their πίστις and good conscience, some have shipwrecked the πίστις” (1 Tim 1:19).

Noun: πίστις (pistis), GK G4411 (S G4102), 243x. πίστις means “belief, trust, confidence,” though it can also mean “faithfulness.” (1) Faith can refer to the act of believing, such as having faith in God (Mk. 11:22; 1 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 1:21; Heb. 6:1) and faith in Jesus (Acts 3:16; 20:21; 24:24; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 1:15; Col. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:13). A major theme in Romans and Galatians is that believers are justified by faith and not by works (Rom. 3:28, 30; 4:5, 11, 12, 13, 16; 5:1, 2; 9:30–32; 10:6; Gal. 2:16; 3:8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 22, 24; 5:5). Paul shows the proper relationship between faith and works. Righteousness is received by faith from first to last (Rom. 1:17). At the same time, true faith produces obedience (Rom. 1:5; 16:26; see also Gal. 5:6; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:5; Tit. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:5). (2) πίστις can also refer to Christian doctrine or collection of beliefs (Jas. 2.17; Phil. 1:27; 1 Tim. 1:13; Tit. 2:2; Jude 3). (3) πίστις can denote a conviction or certainty of belief. Jesus says that if someone tells a mountain to be thrown into the sea and has faith that it will happen, then it will (Mk. 11:23). (4) πίστις can also mean “faithfulness” or “trustworthiness.” Jesus remonstrates with the Pharisees for neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness (Mt. 23:2).


πατήρ means “father.”


“Our πατήρ in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt 6:9).

Noun: πατήρ (patēr), GK G4252 (S G3962), 413x. πατήρ refers to a male parent (e.g., Mk. 9:24), one’s ancestors (e.g., Mt. 3:9; Jn. 4:12; Acts 7:4, 11, 12, 14) or as a term of respect for an older man (Acts 7:2). It is also used to refer to God, who is the Father of all believers (Mt. 5:16) and of Jesus (Mt. 7:21; Mk. 11:10; Lk. 1:32). Jesus’ words in Mt. 12:50 are significant: “For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.” In creating a new “family” of believers, Jesus recognizes that his followers will be mothers, brothers, and sisters to each other, but he reserves the role of “father” for God alone (cf. Mt. 23:9). In Mk. 14:36, Jesus refers to God as “Abba” (a corresponding Aramaic word) and πατήρ (cf. Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). Though stressing the validity of the fifth commandment to honor one’s father and mother (Mt. 15:4; 19:19), Jesus also recognizes that his claims on those who follow him will sometimes cause fractures even in father-son relationships (Mt. 10:35–37).


οὐρανός means “heaven; sky.”


“May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in οὐρανός” (Matt 6:10).

“Look at the birds of the οὐρανός. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matt 6:26).

Noun: οὐρανός (ouranos), GK G4041 (S G3772), 273x. οὐρανός is used in a variety of ways in the NT. At times it simply denotes the “sky” (Mt. 16:3; Mk. 13:25). Other times, God is shown to be the creator of heaven and earth (Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24; Rev. 10:6; 14:7), and Jesus will return from heaven with his angels (Mt. 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 19:11f.). The Christian’s citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), along with his or her treasures and rewards (Mt. 5:12; 6:20; Lk. 5:23; 1 Pet. 1:4). In Revelation, we are given an extensive picture of heaven, where the slain Lamb reigns and is worshiped by his saints (Rev. 4:2ff.). While heaven is important in NT theology, the goal of God’s redemption is not a disembodied heavenly experience (as many hymns teach). Instead, all of creation itself is awaiting redemption (Rom. 8:19–22), and the consummation of God’s work will be a new creation, a new heaven and earth (Isa. 65:17; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1).