Synonyms of the New Testament

§ i.  ̓Εκκλησία, συναγωγή, πανήγυρις

There are words whose history it is peculiarly interesting to watch, as they obtain a deeper meaning, and receive a new consecration, in the Christian Church; words which the Church did not invent, but has assumed into its service, and employed in a far loftier sense than any to which the world has ever put them before. The very word by which the Church is named is itself an example—a more illustrious one could scarcely be found—of this progressive ennobling of a word. For we have ἐκκλησία in three distinct stages of meaning—the heathen, the Jewish, and the Christian. In respect of the first, ἡ ἐκκλησία (= ἔκκλητοι, Euripides, Orestes, 939) was the lawful assembly in a free Greek city of all those possessed of the rights of citizenship, for the transaction of public affairs. That they were summoned is expressed in the latter part of the word; that they were summoned out of the whole population, a select portion of it, including neither the populace, nor strangers, nor yet those who had forfeited their civic rights, this is expressed in the first. Both the calling (the κλῆσις, Phil. 3:14; 2 Tim. 1:9), and the calling out (the ἐκλογή, Rom. 11:7; 2 Pet. 1:10), are moments to be remembered, when the word is assumed into a higher Christian sense, for in them the chief part of its peculiar adaptation to its auguster uses lies. Both these points are well made by Flacius Illyricus, in his Clavis Scripturæ, s. v. Ecclesia: 'Quia Ecclesia a verbo καλεῖν venit, hoc observetur primum; ideo conversionem hominum vocationem vocari, non tantum quia Deus eos per se suumque Verbum, quasi clamore, vocat; sed etiam quia sicut herus ex turba famulorum certos aliquos ad aliqua singularia munia evocat, sic Deus quoque tum totum populum suum vocat ad cultum suum (Hos. 11:1), tum etiam singulos homines ad certas singularesque functiones. (Act. 13:2) Quoniam autem non tantum vocatur Populus Dei ad cultum Dei, sed etiam vocatur ex reliquâ turbâ aut confusione generis humani, ideo dicitur Ecclesia, quasi dicas, Evocata divinitus ex reliquâ impiorum colluvie, ad cultum celebrationemque Dei, et æternam felicitatem.' Compare Witsius In Symbol. pp. 394-397. It is interesting to observe how, on one occasion in the N. T., the word returns to this earlier significance (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).

Before, however, more fully considering that word, it will need to consider a little the anterior history of another with which I am about to compare it. Συναγωγή occurs two or three times in Plato (thus Theœt. 150 a), but is by no means an old word in classical Greek, and in it altogether wants that technical signification which already in the Septuagint, and still more plainly in the Apocrypha, it gives promise of acquiring, and which it is found in the N. T. to have fully acquired. But συςαγωγή, while travelling in this direction, did not leave behind it the meaning which is the only one that in classical Greek it knew; and often denotes, as it would there, any gathering or bringing together of persons or things; thus we have there συναγωγὴ ἐθνῶν (Gen. 48:4); συναγωγὴ ὕδατος (Isai. 19:6); συναγωγὴ χρημάτων (Ecclus. 31:3), and such like. It was during the time which intervened between the closing of the O. T. canon and the opening of that of the New that συναγωγή acquired that technical meaning of which we find it in full possession when the Gospel history begins; designating, as there it does, the places set apart for purposes of worship and the reading and expounding of the Word of God, the 'synagogues,' as we find them named; which, capable as they were of indefinite multiplication, were the necessary complement of the Temple, which according to the divine intention was and could be but one.

But to return to ἐκκλησία. This did not, like some other words, pass immediately and at a single step from the heathen world to the Christian Church: but here, as so often, the Septuagint supplies the link of connexion, the point of transition, the word being there prepared for its highest meaning of all. When the Alexandrian translators undertook the rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures, they found in them two constantly recurring words, namely, ‏עֵדָה‎ and ‏קָהָל‎. For these they employed generally, and as their most adequate Greek equivalents, συναγωγή and ἐκκλησία. The rule which they seem to have prescribed to themselves is as follows—to render ‏עדה‎ for the most part by συναγωγή (Exod. 12:3; Lev. 4:13; Num. 1:2, and altogether more than a hundred times), and, whatever other renderings of the word they may adopt, in no single case to render it by ἐκκλησία. It were to be wished that they had shown the same consistency in respect of ‏קהל‎; but they have not; for while ἐκκλησία, is their more frequent rendering (Deut. 18:16; Judg. 20:2; 1 Kin. 8:14, and in all some seventy times), they too often render this also by συναγωγή (Lev. 4:13; Num. 16:3; Deut. 5:22, and in all some five and twenty times), thus breaking down for the Greek reader the distinction which undoubtedly exists between the words. Our English Version has the same lack of a consistent rendering. Its two words are 'congregation' and 'assembly;' but instead of constantly assigning one to one, and one to the other, it renders ‏עדה‎ now by 'congregation' (Lev. 10:17; Num. 1:16; Josh. 9:27), and now by 'assembly' (Lev. 4:23); and on the other hand, ‏קהל‎ sometimes by 'assembly' (Judg. 21:8; 2 Chron. 30:23), but much oftener by 'congregation' (Judg. 21:5; Josh. 8:35).

There is an interesting discussion by Vitringa (De Synag. Vet. pp. 77-89) on the distinction between these two Hebrew synonyms; the result of which is summed up in the following statements: 'Notat proprie ‏קהל‎ universam alicujus populi multitudinem, vinculis societatis unitam et rempublicam sive civitatem quandam constituentem, cum vocabulum ‏עדה‎ ex indole et vi significationis suæ tantum dicat quemcunque hominum cœtum et conventum, sive minorem sive majorem' (p. 80). And again: '̔Συναγωγή, ut et ‏עדה‎, semper significat cœtum conjunctum et congregatum, etiamsi nullo forte vinculo ligatum, sed ἡ ἐκκλησία [= ‏קהל‎] designat multitudinem aliquam, quæ populum constituit, per leges et vincula inter se junctam, etsi sæpe fiat ut non sit coacta vel cogi possit' (p. 88). Accepting this as a true distinction, we shall see that it was not without due reason that our Lord (Matt. 16:18; 18:17), and his Apostles claimed this, as the nobler word, to designate the new society of which He was the Founder, being as it was a society knit together by the closest spiritual bonds, and altogether independent of space.

Yet for all this we do not find the title ἐκκλησία wholly withdrawn from the Jewish congregation; that too was "the Church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38); for Christian and Jewish differed only in degree, and not in kind. Nor yet do we find συναγωγή wholly renounced by the Church; the latest honourable use of it in the N. T., indeed the only Christian use of it there, is by that Apostle to whom it was especially given to maintain unbroken to the latest possible moment the outward bonds connecting the Synagogue and the Church, namely, by St. James (2:2); ἐπισυναγωγή, I may add, on two occasions is honorably used, but in a more general sense (2 Thess. 2:1; Heb. 10:25). Occasionally also in the early Fathers, in Ignatius for instance (Ep. ad Polyc. 4; for other examples see Suicer, s. v.), we find συναγωγή still employed as an honorable designation of the Church, or of her places of assembly. Still there were causes at work, which led the faithful to have less and less pleasure in the appropriation of this name to themselves; and in the end to leave it altogether to those, whom in the latest book, of the canon the Lord had characterized for their fierce opposition to the truth even as "the synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 3:9; cf. John 8:44). Thus the greater fitness and dignity of the title ἐκκλησία has been already noted. Add to this that the Church was ever rooting itself more predominantly in the soil of the heathen world, breaking off more entirely from its Jewish stock and stem. This of itself would have led the faithful to the letting fall of συναγωγή, a word with no such honorable history to look back on, and permanently associated with Jewish worship, and to the ever more exclusive appropriation to themselves of ἐκκλησία, so familiar already, and of so honorable a significance, in Greek ears. It is worthy of note that the Ebionites, in reality a Jewish sect, though they had found their way for a while into the Christian Church, should have acknowledged the rightfulness of this distribution of terms. Epiphanius (Hœres. xxx. 18) reports of these, συναγωγήν δὲ οὗτοι καλοῦσιν τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ οὐχὶ ἐκκλησίαν.

It will be perceived from what has been said, that Augustine, by a piece of good fortune which he had no right to expect, was only half in the wrong, when transferring his Latin etymologies to the Greek and Hebrew, and not pausing to enquire whether they would hold good there, as was improbable enough, he finds the reason for attributing συναγωγή to the Jewish, and ἐκκλησία to the Christian Church, in the fact that 'convocatio' (= ἐκκλησία) is a nobler term than 'congregatio' (= συναγωγή), the first being properly the calling together of men, the second the gathering together ('congregatio,' from 'congrego,' and that from 'grex') of cattle. See Field, On the Church, i. 5.

The πανήγυρις, differs from the ἐκκλησία, in this, that in the ἐκκλησία, as has been noted already, there lay ever the sense of an assembly coming together for the transaction of business. The πανήγυρις, on the other hand, was a solemn assembly for purposes of festal rejoicing; and on this account it is found joined continually with ἑορτή, as by Philo, Vit. Mos. ii. 7; Ezek. 46:11; cf. Hos. 2:11; 9:5; and Isai. 66:10, where πανηγυρίζειν = ἑορτάζειν: the word having given us 'panegyric,' which is properly a set discourse pronounced at one of these great festal gatherings. Business might grow out of the fact that such multitudes were assembled, since many, and for various reasons, would be glad to avail themselves of the gathering; but only in the same way as a 'fair' grew out of a 'feria,' a 'holiday' out of a 'holy-day.' Strabo (x. 5) notices the business-like aspect which the πανηγύρεις commonly assumed (ἥ τε πανήγυρις ἐμπορικόν τι πρᾶγμα: cf. Pausanias, x. 32. 9); which was indeed to such an extent their prominent feature, that the Latins rendered πανήγυρις by 'mercatus,' and this even when the Olympic games were intended (Cicero, Tusc. v. 3; Justin, xiii. 5). These with the other solemn games were eminently, though not exclusively, the πανήγυρεις of the Greek nation (Thucydides, i. 25; Isocrates, Paneg. 1). Keeping this festal character of the πανήγυρις in mind, we shall find a peculiar fitness in the word's employment at Heb. 12:23; where only in the N. T. it occurs. The Apostle is there setting forth the communion of the Church militant on earth with the Church triumphant in heaven,—of the Church toiling and suffering here with that Church from which all weariness and toil have for ever passed away (Rev. 21:4); and how could he better describe this last than as a πανήγυρις, than as the glad and festal assembly of heaven? Very beautifully Delitzsch (in loc.): Πανήγυρις ist die vollzählige, zahlreiche und insbesondere festliche, festlich fröhliche und sich ergötzende Versammlung. Man denkt bei πανήγυρις an Festgesang, Festreigen und Festspiele, und das Leben vor Gottes Angesicht ist ja wirklich eine unaufhörliche Festfeier.'

§ ii. θειότης, θεότης

Neither of these words occurs more than once in the N. T.; θειότης only at Rom. 1:20 (and once in the Apocrypha, Wisd. 18:9); θεότης at Col. 2:9. We have rendered both by 'Godhead;' yet they must not be regarded as identical in meaning, nor even as two different forms of the same word, which in process of time have separated off from one another, and acquired different shades of significance. On the contrary, there is a real distinction between them, and one which grounds itself on their different derivations; θεότης being from Θεός, and θειότης, not from τὸ θεῖον, which is nearly though not quite equivalent to Θεός, but from the adjective θεῖος.

Comparing the two passages where they severally occur, we shall at once perceive the fitness of the employment of one word in one, of the other in the other. In the first (Rom. 1:20) St. Paul is declaring how much of God may be known from the revelation of Himself which He has made in nature, from those vestiges of Himself which men may everywhere trace in the world around them. Yet it is not the personal God whom any man may learn to know by these aids: He can be known only by the revelation of Himself in his Son; but only his divine attributes, his majesty and glory. This Theophylact feels, who on Romans 1:20 gives μεγαλειότης as equivalent to θειότης; and it is not to be doubted that St. Paul uses this vaguer, more abstract, and less personal word, just because he would affirm that men may know God's power and majesty, his θεῖα δύναμις (2 Pet. 1:3), from his works; but would not imply that they may know Himself from these, or from anything short of the revelation of his Eternal Word. Motives not dissimilar induce him to use τὸ θεῖον rather than ὁ θεός in addressing the Athenians on Mars' Hill (Acts 17:29).

But in the second passage (Col. 2:9) St. Paul is declaring that in the Son there dwells all the fulness of absolute Godhead; they were no mere rays of divine glory which gilded Him, lighting up his person for a season and with a splendour not his own; but He was, and is, absolute and perfect God; and the Apostle uses θεότης to express this essential and personal Godhead of the Son; in the words of Augustine (De Civ. Dei, vii. 1): 'Status ejus qui sit Deus.' Thus Beza rightly: 'Non dicit: τὴν θειότητα, i.e. divinitatem, sed τὴν θεότητα, i.e. deitatem, ut magis etiam expresse loquatur;... ἡ θειότης attributa videtur potius quam naturam ipsam declarare.' And Bengel: 'Non modo divinæ virtutes, sed ipsa divina natura.' De Wette has sought to express the distinction in his German translation, rendering θειότης by 'Göttlichkeit,' and θεότης by 'Gottheit.'

There have not been wanting those who have denied that any such distinction was intended by St. Paul; and they rest this denial on the assumption that no such difference between the forces of the two words can be satisfactorily made out. But, even supposing that such a difference could not be shown in classical Greek, this of itself would be in no way decisive on the matter. The Gospel of Christ might for all this put into words, and again draw out from them, new forces, evolve latent distinctions, which those who hitherto employed the words may not have required, but which had become necessary now. And that this distinction between 'deity' and 'divinity,' if I may use these words to represent severally θεότης and θειότης, is one which would be strongly felt, and which therefore would seek its utterance in Christian theology, of this we have signal proof in the fact that the Latin Christian writers were not satisfied with 'divinitas,' which they found ready to their hand in the writings of Cicero and others; and which they sometimes were content to use (see Piper, Theol. Stud. u. Krit. 1875, p. 79 sqq.); but themselves coined 'deitas' as the only adequate Latin representative of the Greek θεότης. We have Augustine's express testimony to the fact (De Civ. Dei, vii. 1): 'Hanc divinitatem, vel ut sic dixerim deitatem; nam et hoc verbo uti jam nostros non piget, ut de Græco expressius transferant id quod illi θεότητα appellant, &c.;' cf. x. 1, 2. But not to urge this, nor yet the different etymologies of the words, that one is τὸ εἶναί τινα θεόν, the other τὸ εἶναί τινα [or τι] θεῖον, which so clearly point to this difference in their meanings, examples, so far as they can be adduced, go to support the same. Both θεότης and θειότης, as in general the abstract words in every language, are of late introduction; and one of them, θεότης, is extremely rare. Indeed, only two examples of it from classical Greek have hitherto been brought forward, one from Lucian (Icarom. 9); the other from Plutarch (De Def. Orac. 10): οὕτως ἐκ μὲν ἀνθρώπων εἰς ἥρωας, ἐκ δὲἡρώων εἰς δαίμονας, αἱβελτίονες ψυχαὶ τὴν μεταβολὴν λαμβάνουσιν. ἐκ δὲ δαιμόνων ὀλίγαι μὲν ἔτι χρόνῳ πολλῷ δἰ ἀρετῆς καθαρθεῖσαι παντάπασι θεότητος μετέσχον: but to these a third, that also from Plutarch (De Isid. et Osir. 22), may be added. In all of these it expresses, in agreement with the view here asserted, Godhead in the absolute sense, or at all events in as absolute a sense as the heathen could conceive it. Θειότης is a very much commoner word; and its employment everywhere bears out the distinction here drawn. There is ever a manifestation of the divine, of some divine attributes, in that to which θειότης is attributed, but never absolute essential Deity. Thus Lucian (De Cal. 17) attributes θειότης to Hephæstion, when after his death Alexander would have raised him to the rank of a god; and Plutarch speaks of the θειότης τῆς ψυχῆς, De Plac. Phil. v. 1; cf. De Is. et Os. 2; Sull. 6; with various other passages to the like effect.

It may be observed, in conclusion, that whether this distinction was intended, as I am fully persuaded it was, by St. Paul or not, it established itself firmly in the later theological language of the Church—the Greek Fathers using never θειότης, but always θεότης, as alone adequately expressing the essential Godhead of the Three several Persons in the Holy Trinity.

§ iii. ἱερόν, ναός

We have in our Version only the one word 'temple' for both of these; nor is it easy to perceive in what manner we could have marked the distinction between them; which is yet a very real one, and one the marking of which would often add much to the clearness and precision of the sacred narrative (see Fuller, A Pisgah Sight of Palestine, p. 427). Ἱερόν (= templum) is the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, the τέμενος, including the outer courts, the porches, porticoes, and other buildings subordinated to the temple itself; αἱ οἰκοδομαὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ (Matt. 24:1). But ναός (= 'ædes') from ναίω, 'habito,' as the proper habitation of God (Acts 7:48; 17:24; 1 Cor. 6:19); the οἶκος τοῦ Θεοῦ (Matt. 12:4; cf. Exod. 23:19), the German 'duom' or 'domus,' is the temple itself, that by especial right so called, being the heart and centre of the whole; the Holy, and the Holy of Holies, called often ἁγίασμα (1 Macc. 1:37; 3:45). This distinction, one that existed and was acknowledged in profane Greek and with reference to heathen temples, quite as much as in sacred Greek and with relation to the temple of the true God (see Herodotus, i. 181, 183; Thucydides, iv. 90 [τάφρον μὲν κύκλῳπερὶ τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ τὸν νεὼν ἔσκαπτον]; v. 18; Acts 19:24, 27), is, I believe, always assumed in all passages relating to the temple at Jerusalem, alike by Josephus, by Philo, by the Septuagint translators, and in the N. T. Often indeed it is explicitly recognized, as by Josephus (Antt. viii. 3. 9), who, having described the building of the ναός by Solomon, goes on to say: ναοῦ δʼ ἔξωθεν ἰερὸν ᾠκοδόμησεν ἐν τετραγώνῳ σχήματι. In another passage (Antt. xi. 4. 3), he describes the Samaritans as seeking permission of the Jews to be allowed to share in the rebuilding of God's house (συγκατασκευάσαι τὸν ναόν). This is refused them (cf. Ezra 4:2); but, according to his account, it was permitted to them ἀφικνουμένοις εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν σέβειν τὸν Θεόν—a privilege denied to mere Gentiles, who might not, under penalty of death, pass beyond their own exterior court (Acts 21:29, 30; Philo, Leg. ad Cai. 31). The distinction may be brought to bear with advantage on several passages in the N. T. When Zacharias entered into "the temple of the Lord" to burn incense, the people who waited his return, and who are described as standing "without" (Luke 1:10), were in one sense in the temple too, that is, in the ἱερόν, while he alone entered into the ναός, the 'temple' in its more limited and auguster sense. We read continually of Christ teaching "in the temple" (Matt. 26:55; Luke 21:37; John 8:20); and we sometimes fail to understand how long conversations could there have been maintained, without interrupting the service of God. But this 'temple' is ever the ἱερόν, the porches and porticoes of which were excellently adapted to such purposes, as they were intended for them. Into the ναός the Lord never entered during his ministry on earth; nor indeed, being 'made under the law,' could he have so done, the right of such entry being reserved for the priests alone-It need hardly be said that the money-changers, the buyers and sellers, with the sheep and oxen, whom the Lord drives out, He repels from the ἱερόν, and not from the ναός. Profane as was their intrusion, they yet had not dared to establish themselves in the temple more strictly so called (Matt. 21:12; John 2:14). On the other hand, when we read of another Zacharias slain "between the temple and the Altar" (Matt. 23:35), we have only to remember that 'temple' is ναός here, at once to get rid of a difficulty, which may perhaps have presented itself to many—this namely, Was not the altar in the temple? how then could any locality be described as between these two? In the ἱερόν, doubtless, was the brazen altar to which allusion is here made, but not in the ναός: "in the court of the house of the Lord" (cf. Josephus, Antt. viii. 4. 1), where the sacred historian (2 Chron. 24:21) lays the scene of this murder, but not in the ναός itself. Again, how vividly does it set forth to us the despair and defiance of Judas, that he presses even into the ναός itself (Matt. 27:5), into the 'adytum' which was set apart for the priests alone, and there casts down before them the accursed price of blood! Those expositors who affirm that here ναός stands for ἱερόν, should adduce some other passage in which the one is put for the other.

§ iv. ἐπιτιμάω, ἐλέγχω (αἰτία, ἔλεγχος)

One may 'rebuke' another without bringing the rebuked to a conviction of any fault on his part; and this, either because there was no fault, and the rebuke was therefore unneeded or unjust; or else because, though there was such fault, the rebuke was ineffectual to bring the offender to own it; and in this possibility of 'rebuking' for sin, without 'convincing' of sin, lies the distinction between these two words. In έπιτιμᾶν lies simply the notion of rebuking; which word can therefore be used of one unjustly checking or blaming another; in this sense Peter 'began to rebuke' his Lord (ἤρξατο ἐπιτιμᾶν, Matt. 16:22; cf. 19:13; Luke 18:39):—or ineffectually, and without any profit to the person rebuked, who is not thereby brought to see his sin; as when the penitent robber 'rebuked' (ἐπετίμα) his fellow malefactor (Luke 23:40; cf. Mark 9:25). But ἐλέγχειν is a much more pregnant word; it is so to rebuke another, with such effectual wielding of the victorious arms of the truth, as to bring him, if not always to a confession, yet at least to a conviction, of his sin (Job 5:17; Prov. 19:25), just as in juristic Greek, ἐλέγχειν is not merely to reply to, but to refute, an opponent.

When we keep this distinction well in mind, what a light does it throw on a multitude of passages in the N. T.; and how much deeper a meaning does it give them. Thus our Lord could demand, "Which of you convinceth (ἐλέγχει) Me of sin?" (John 8:46). Many 'rebuked' Him; many laid sin to his charge (Matt. 9:3; John 9:16); but none brought sin home to his conscience. Other passages also will gain from realizing the fulness of the meaning of ἐλέγχειν, as John 3:20; 8:9; 1 Cor. 14:24, 25; Heb. 12:5; but above all, the great passage, John 16:8; "When He [the Comforter] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" for so we have rendered the words, following in our 'reprove' the Latin 'arguet;' although few, I think, that have in any degree sought to sound the depth of our Lord's words, but will admit that 'convince,' which unfortunately our Translators have relegated to the margin, or 'convict,' would have been the preferable rendering, giving a depth and fulness of meaning to this work of the Holy Ghost, which 'reprove' in some part fails to express. Lampe gives excellently well the force of this ἐλέγξει: 'Opus Doctoris, qui veritatem quæ hactenus non est agnita ita ad conscientiam etiam renitentis demonstrat, ut victas dare manus cogatur.' See an admirable discussion on the word, especially as here used, in Archdeacon Hare's Mission of the Comforter, 1st edit. pp. 528-544. "He who shall come in my room, shall so bring home to the world its own 'sin,' my perfect 'righteousness,' God's coming 'judgment,' shall so 'convince' the world of these, that it shall be obliged itself to acknowledge them; and in this acknowledgement may find, shall be in the right way to find, its own blessedness and salvation." See more on ἐλέγχειν in Pott's Wurzel-Wörterbuch, vol. iii. p. 720.


Between αἰτία and ἔλεγχος, which last in the N. T. is found only twice (Heb. 11:1; 2 Tim. 3:16), a difference of a similar character exists. Αἰτία is an accusation, but whether false or true the word does not attempt to anticipate; and thus it could be applied, indeed it was applied, to the accusation made against the Lord of Glory Himself (Matt. 27:37); but ἔλεγχος implies not merely the charge, but the truth of the charge, and further the manifestation of the truth of the charge; nay more than all this, very often also the acknowledgment, if not outward, yet inward, of its truth on the part of the accused; it being the glorious prerogative of the truth in its highest operation not merely to assert itself, and to silence the adversary, but to silence him by convincing him of his error. Thus Job can say of God, ἀλήθεια καὶ ἔλεγχος παρʼ αὐτοῦ (23:7); and Demosthenes (Con. Androt. p. 600); Πάμπολυ λοιδορίατε καὶ αἰτία κεχωρισμένον ἐστὶν ἐλέγχου αἰτία μὲν γάρ ἐστιν, ὅταν τις ψιλῷ χρησάμενος λόγῳ μὴ παράσχηται πίστιν, ὧν λέγει· ἔλεγχος δέ, ὅταν ὧν ἂν εἴπῃ τις καὶ τἀληθὲς ὁμοῦ δείξῃ. Cf. Aristotle (Rhet. ad Alex. 13): Ἔλεγχος ἔστι μὲν ὃ μὴ δυνατὸν ἄλλως ἔχειν, ἀλλʼ οὓτως, ὡς ἡμεῖς λέγομεν. By our serviceable distinction between 'convict' and 'convince' we maintain a difference between the judicial and the moral ἔλεγχος. Both indeed will flow together into one in the last day, when every condemned sinner will be at once 'convicted' and 'convinced;' which all is implied in that "he was speechless" of the guest found without a marriage garment (Matt. 22:12; cf. Rom. 3:4).

§ v. ἀνάθημα, ἀνάθεμα

Some affirm that these are merely different spellings of the same word, and that they are used indifferently. Were the fact so, their fitness for a place in a book of synonyms would of course disappear; difference as well as likeness being necessary for this. Thus far indeed these have right—namely, that ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα, like εὕρημα and εὕρεμα, ἐπίθημα and ἐπίθεμα, must severally be regarded as having been once no more than different pronunciations, which issued in different spellings, of one and the same word. Nothing, however, is more common than for slightly diverse pronunciations of the same word finally to settle and resolve themselves into different words, with different orthographies, and different domains of meaning which they have severally appropriated to themselves; and which henceforth they maintain in perfect independence one of the other. I have elsewhere given numerous examples of the kind (English Past and Present, 10th edit. pp. 157-164); and a very few may here suffice: θράσος and θάρσος, Gregory Nazianzene (Carm. ii. 34, 35.):

          θράσος δέ, θάρσος πρὸς τὰ μὴ τολμητέα.
'Thrax' and 'Threx,' 'rechtlich' and 'redlich,' 'fray' and 'frey,' 'harnais' and 'harnois,' 'mettle' and 'metal.' That which may be affirmed of all these, may also be affirmed of ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα. Whether indeed these words had secured each a domain of meaning of its own was debated with no little heat by some of the chief early Hellenists. Foremost names among these are ranged on either side; Salmasius among them who maintained the existence of a distinction, at least in Hellenistic Greek; Beza among those who denied it. Perhaps here, as in so many cases, the truth did not absolutely lie with the combatants on either part, but lay rather between them, though much nearer to one part than the other; the most reasonable conclusion, after weighing all the evidence on either side, being this—that such a distinction of meaning did exist, and was allowed by many, but was by no means recognized or observed by all.

In classical Greek ἀνάθημα is quite the predominant form, the only one which Attic writers allow (Lobeck, Phrynichus, pp. 249, 445; Paralip. p. 391). It is there the technical word by which all such costly offerings as were presented to the gods, and then suspended or otherwise exposed to view in their temples, all by the Romans termed 'donaria,' as tripods, crowns, vases of silver or gold, and the like, were called; these being in this way separated for ever from all common and profane uses, and openly dedicated to the honour of that deity, to whom they were presented at the first (Xenophon, Anab. v. 3, 5; Pausanias, x. 9).

But with the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, a new thought demanded to find utterance. Those Scriptures spoke of two ways in which objects might be holy, set apart for God, devoted to Him. The children of Israel were devoted to Him; God was glorified in them: the wicked Canaanites were devoted to Him; God was glorified on them. This awful fact that in more ways than one things and persons might be ‏חרֶם‎ (Lev. 27:28, 29)—that they might be devoted to God for good, and for evil; that there was such a thing as being "accursed to the Lord" (Josh. 6:17; cf. Deut. 13:16; Num. 21:1-3); that of the spoil of the same city a part might be consecrated to the Lord in his treasury, and a part utterly destroyed, and yet this part and that be alike dedicated to Him (Josh. 6:19, 21), "sacred and devote" (Milton);—this claimed its expression and utterance now, and found it in the two uses of one word; which, while it remained the same, just differenced itself enough to indicate in which of the two senses it was employed. And here let it be observed, that they who find separation from God as the central idea of ἀνάθεμα (Theodoret, for instance, on Rom. 9:3: τὸ ἀνάθεμα διπλῆν ἔχει τὴν διάνοιαν̇ καὶ γὰρ τὸ ἀφιερώμενον τῷ Θεῷ ἀνάθημα ὀνομάζεται, καὶ τὸ τούτου ἀλλόπριον τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχει προσηγορίαν),—are quite unable to trace a common bond of meaning between it and ἀνάθημα, which last is plainly separation to God; or to show the point at which they diverge from one another; while there is no difficulty of the kind when it is seen that separation to God is in both cases implied.

Already in the Septuagint and in the Apocryphal books we find ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα beginning to disengage themselves from one another, and from a confused and promiscuous use. How far, indeed, the distinction is observed there, and whether universally, it is hard to determine, from the variety of readings in various editions; but in one of the later critical editions (that of Tischendorf, 1850), many passages (such for instance as Judith 16:19; Lev. 27:28, 29; 2 Macc. 2:13), which appear in some earlier editions negligent of the distinction, are found observant of it. In the N. T. the distinction that ἀνάθημα is used to express the 'sacrum' in a better sense, ἀνάθεμα in a worse, is invariably maintained. It must be allowed, indeed, that the passages there are not numerous enough to convince a gainsayer; he may attribute to hazard the fact that they fall in with this distinction; ἀνάθημα occurring only once: "Some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts" (ἀναθήμασι, Luke 21:5; even here Codd. A and D and Lachmann read ἀναθέμασι); and ἀνάθεμα no more than six times (Acts 23:14; Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 12:3; 16:22; Gal. 1:8, 9). So far however as these uses reach, they confirm this view of the matter; while if we turn to the Greek Fathers, we shall find some of them indeed neglecting the distinction; but others, and these of the greatest among them, not merely implicitly allowing it, as does Clement of Alexandria (Coh. ad Gen. iv. 59: ἀνάθημα γεγόναμεν τῷ Θεῷ ὐπὲρ Χριστοῦ: where the context plainly shows the meaning to be, "we have become a costly offering to God"); but explicitly recognizing the distinction, and tracing it with accuracy and precision; see, for instance, Chrysostom, Hom. xvi. in Rom., as quoted by Suicer (Thes. s. v. ἀνάθεμα).

And thus, putting all which has been urged together,—the anterior probability, drawn from the existence of similar phenomena in all languages, that the two forms of a word would gradually have two different meanings attached to them; the wondrous way in which the two aspects of dedication to God, for good and for evil, are thus set out by slightly different forms of the same word; the fact that every passage in the N. T., where the words occur, falls in with this scheme; the usage, though not perfectly consistent, of later ecclesiastical books,—I cannot but conclude that ἀνάθημα and ἀνάθεμα are employed not accidentally by the sacred writers of the New Covenant in different senses; but that St. Luke uses ἀνάθημα (xxi. 5), because he intends to express that which is dedicated to God for its own honour as well as for God's glory; St. Paul uses ἀνάθεμα because he intends that which is devoted to God, but devoted, as were the Canaanites of old, to his honour indeed, but its own utter loss; even as in the end every intelligent being, capable of knowing and loving God, and called to this knowledge, must be either ἀνάθημα or ἀνάθεμα to Him (see Witsius, Misc. Sac. vol. ii. p. 54, sqq.; Deyling, Obss. Sac. vol. ii. p. 495, sqq.; Fritzsche on Rom. ix. 3; Hengstenberg, Christologie, 2nd ed. vol. iii. p. 655; Cremer, Biblisch-theologisches Wörterbuch, 2nd ed. p. 550).

§ vi. προφητεύω, μαντεύομαι

Προφητεύω is a word of constant occurrence in the N. T.; μαντεύομαι occurs but once, namely at Acts 16:16; where, of the girl possessed with the "spirit of divination," or "spirit of Apollo," it is said that she "brought her masters much gain by soothsaying" (μαντευομένη). The abstinence from the use of this word on all other occasions, and the use of it on this one, is very observable, furnishing a notable example of that religious instinct wherewith the inspired writers abstain from words, whose employment would tend to break down the distinction between heathenism and revealed religion. Thus εὐδαιμονία, although from a heathen point of view a religious word, for it ascribes happiness to the favour of some deity, is yet never employed to express Christian blessedness; nor could it fitly have been thus employed, δαίμων, which supplies its base, involving polytheistic error. In like manner ἀρετή, the standing word in heathen ethics for 'virtue,' is of very rarest occurrence in the N. T.; it is found but once in all the writings of St. Paul (Phil. 4:8); and where else (which is only in the Epistles of St. Peter), it is in quite different uses from those in which Aristotle employs it. In the same way ἤθη, which gives us 'ethics,' occurs only on a single occasion, and, which indicates that its absence elsewhere is not accidental, this once is in a quotation from a heathen poet (1 Cor. 15:33).

In conformity with this same law of moral fitness in the admission and exclusion of words, we meet with προφητεύειν as the constant word in the N. T. to express the prophesying by the Spirit of God: while directly a sacred writer has need to make mention of the lying art of heathen divination, he employs this word no longer, but μαντεύεσθαι in preference (cf. 1 Sam. 28:8; Deut. 18:10). What the essential difference between the two things, 'prophesying' and 'soothsaying,' 'weissagen' (from 'wizan' = 'wissen') and 'wahrsagen,' is, and why it was necessary to keep them distinct and apart by different terms used to designate the one and the other, we shall best understand when we have considered the etymology of one, at least, of the words. But first, it is almost needless at this day to warn against what was once a very common error, one in which many of the Fathers shared (see Suicer, s. v. προφήτης), namely a taking of the προ in προφητεύειν and προφήτης as temporal, which it is not any more than in πρόφασις, and finding as the primary meaning of the word, he who declares things before they come to pass. This foretelling or foreannouncing may be, and often is, of the office of the prophet, but is not of the essence of that office; and this as little in sacred as in classical Greek. The προφήτης is the outspeaker; he who speaks out the counsel of God with the clearness, energy and authority which spring from the consciousness of speaking in God's name, and having received a direct message from Him to deliver. Of course all this appears in weaker and indistincter form in classical Greek, the word never coming to its full rights until used of the prophets of the true God. But there too the προφήτης is the 'interpres Deorum;' thus Euripides (Ion, 372, 413; Bacch. 211): ἐπεὶ σὺ φέγγος, Τειρεσία, τόδʼ οὐχ ὁρᾷς, ἐγὼ προφήτης σοι λόγων γενήσομαι: and Pindar (Fragm. 15), μαντευέο, Μοῖσα, προφατεύσω δʼ ἐγώ: while in Philo (Quis Rer. Div. Hær. 52) he is defined as ἑρμηνεὺς Θεοῦ, and again as ὄργανον Θεοῦ ἠχοῦν, κρουόμενον καὶ πληττόμενον. From signifying thus the interpreter of the gods, or of God, the word abated a little of the dignity of its meaning, and ἀοράτως ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ was no more than as interpreter in a more general sense; but still of the good and true; thus compare Plato, Phædr. 262 d; and the fine answer which Lucian puts into the mouth of Diogenes, when it is demanded of him what trade he followed (Vit. Auct. 8 d). But it needs not to follow further the history of the word, as it moves outside the circle of Revelation. Neither indeed does it fare otherwise within this circle. Of the προφήτης alike of the Old Testament and of the New we may with the same confidence affirm that he is not primarily, but only accidentally, one who foretells things future; being rather one who, having been taught of God, speaks out his will (Deut. 18:18; Isai. 1; Jer. 1; Ezek. 2; 1 Cor. 14:3).

In προφήτης we are introduced into quite a different sphere of things. The word, connected with μαντεύομαι, is through it connected, as Plato has taught us, with μάντις and μανία. It will follow from this, that it contains a reference to the tumult of the mind, the fury, the temporary madness, under which those were, who were supposed to be possessed by the god, during the time that they delivered their oracles; this mantic fury of theirs displaying itself in the eyes rolling, the lips foaming, the hair flying, as in other tokens of a more than natural agitation. Cicero, who loves to bring out, where he can, superiorities of the Latin language over the Greek, claims, and I think with reason, such a superiority here, in that the Latin had 'divinatio,' a word embodying the divine character of prophecy, and the fact that it was a gift of the gods, where the Greek had only μαίνομαι, which, seizing not the thing itself at any central point, did no more than set forth one of the external signs which accompanied its giving (De Divin. i. 1): 'Ut alia nos melius multa quam Græci, sic huic præstantissimæ rei nomen nostri a divis; Græci, ut Plato interpretatur, a furore duxerunt.' It is quite possible that these symptoms were sometimes produced, as no doubt they were often aggravated, in the seers, Pythonesses, Sibyls, and the like, by the inhalation of earth-vapours, or by other artificial excitements (Plutarch, De Def. Orac. 48). Yet no one who believes that real spiritual forces underlie all forms of idolatry, but will acknowledge that there was often much more in these manifestations than mere trickeries and frauds; no one with any insight into the awful mystery of the false religions of the world, but will see in these symptoms the result of an actual relation in which these persons stood to a spiritual world—a spiritual world, it is true, which was not above them, but beneath.

Revelation, on the other hand, knows nothing of this mantic fury, except to condemn it. "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32; cf. Chrysostom, In Ep. 1 ad Cor. Hom. 29, ad init.). The true prophet, indeed, speaks not of himself;