Greek Words for Know in the New Testament

Good Morning!

Kelly Minter, in our study, What Love Is, has shared a few of the Greek definitions for the English word, know. For those of you that would like more detail, I thought an expanded version of the definitions of these Greek words for know in the New Testament would be beneficial to our understanding of 1,2,3 John. I have included the scriptural references in the definitions that I thought were particularly applicable to our study. These definitions are from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words  W.E. Vine pp. 346-348.

Greek Verbs for Know

  1. Ginosko:  “signifies “to be taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand,”or “to understand completely,” e.g.,…1 John 2:5, 4:2,6 (twice), 7, 13; 5:2,20; in its past tenses it frequently means “to know in the sense of realizing;” the aorist or point tense usually indicating definiteness,… In the NT [New Testament –translation mine] ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person “knowing” and the object known; in this respect, what is “known” is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of the relationship, e.g., especially of God’s “knowledge,” 1 Cor. 8:3, “if any man love God, the same is known of Him”; Gal. 4:9,”to be known of God”; here the “knowing “ suggests approval and bears the meaning “to be approved”; … The same idea of appreciation as well as “knowledge” underlies several statements concerning the “knowledge” of God and His truth on the part of believers, e. g. ,…1 John 2:3,13,14; 4:6,8,16; 5:20; such “knowledge” is obtained, not by mere intellectual activity, but by operation of the Holy Spirit consequent upon acceptance of Christ…”
  2.  oida: “from the same root as eidon, “to see, “ is a perfect tense with a present meaning, signifying, primarily, “to have seen or perceived”; hence, “to know, to have knowledge of,” whether absolutely, as in divine knowledge,…or in the case of human “knowledge,” to know from observation, … The differences between ginosko and oida demand consideration: (a) ginosko, frequently suggests inception or progress in “knowledge,” while oida suggests fullness of “knowledge,”…(b) while ginosko frequently implies an active relation between the one who “knows” and the person or thing “known” … oida expresses the fact that the object has simply come within the scope of the “knower’s “ perception;…”
  3. epiginosko: “denotes (a) “to observe, fully perceive, notice attentively, discern, recognize” (epi, “ upon,” and ginosko).; it suggests generally a directive, a more special, recognition of the object “known” than does ginosko; it also may suggest advanced “knowledge” or special appreciation; …J. Armitage Robinson (on Ephesians) points out that epignosis is “knowledge directed towards a particular object, perceiving, discerning,” whereas gnosis is knowledge in the abstract.”
  4. proginosko: “to know beforehand,” is used (a) of the divine “foreknowledge” concerning believers, …(b) of human previous “knowledge,” of a person …”
  5. epistamai: “‘to know, know of, understand” (probably an old middle voice form of ephistemi,”to set over”)…”
  6. sunoida: “sun, “with,” and oida, a perfect tense with a present meaning, denotes (a) “to share the knowledge of , be privy to,” …(b) “to be conscious of, “ especially of guilty consciousness,…”
  7. agnoeo: “‘not to know, to be ignorant”’
  8. gnorizo: “signifies (a) “to come to know, discover, know,” …(b) “to make known,” whether(1) communicating things before “unknown,” …(2)reasserting things already “known,”…”

Greek Nouns for Know

  1. gnosis: “primarily “a seeking to know, an enquiry, investigation” …denotes , in the NT, “knowledge,” especially of spiritual truth; …”
  2. epignosis: “denotes “exact or full knowledge, discernment, recognition,” and is a strengthened for of gnosis, expressing a fuller or a full “knowledge,” a greater participation by the “knower” in the object “known,” thus more powerfully influencing him. It is not found in the Gospels and Acts. Paul uses it 15 times… out of the 20 occurrences;…”
  3. agnosia: “the negative of gnosis, “ignorance, “ is rendered “no knowledge” …”

Blessings,

Mimi

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