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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Greek word: αυτος

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/a/a-u-t-o-sfin.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

αυτος  εαυτου  ουτος

The familiar pronoun αυτος (autos) means "self", and can as such be applied to "(him)self", "(her)self" or "(it)self", and in plural: "(them)selves". As such it serves as the third person personal pronoun (he, him, his; she, her, hers, it and its, and in plural: they, their and theirs). Our word may on occasion also be applied to (my)self (Acts 10:26, Romans 7:25) or (your)self (Luke 6:42, Acts 21:24), although the first and second persons have their own specific sets of personal pronouns.

When one self and another self are equal, they are of the same self, which means that our word may also be used to express sameness (in which case it's usually preceded by the definite article). In Romans 10:12 our word majestically refers to the unique self-hood of the Lord: ...for the αυτος (autos) Lord is Lord of all.

The obviously related word εαυτου (heautou) is the third person reflexive pronoun, meaning of himself, herself or itself (and "themselves" in plural). Both these words yield a declined form αυτου (pronounced either autou or hautou, as is assumed, but note that at the time in which the New Testament was written, these words were in all ways identical).

The rather similar demonstrative pronoun ουτος (houtos) means this or that. The derived adverbs ουτω (houto) and ουτως (outos) mean thus, in this manner. In plural and prefixed by the definite article τα (ta), our word ουτος (houtos) becomes ταυτα, meaning "these". This latter form is spelled the same as the word derived from αυτος (autos), also by prefixing it with τα (ta). This latter word also means "these", and although there is an obvious theoretical difference between these words spelled ταυτα and meaning "these", this theoretical difference may not have carried much weight in the practical arena. A combination of the definite article and our word αυτος (autos) often can be translated with "the same" (Matthew 5:46). Both preceded by επι (epi) forms a formula that means "together" or "gathered" (Matthew 22:34, Acts 1:15).

The form αυτου (autou), which is the genitive neuter of our word αυτος (autos) would literally mean something like "of it", and is sometimes used in the sense of "here" or "there" (Matthew 26:26, Acts 18:19).

Our core word αυτος (autos) declines in all the expected ways and, as in English, also serves as element of a modest array of compounds:

  • Together with the unused verb ηδομαι (hedomai), meaning to enjoy oneself, be amused or be glad, the adjective αυθαδης (authades), denoting someone who is or wants to be pleased with himself and not too much with others; someone who values his own pleasure (or general worth) over that of others (Titus 1:7, 2 Peter 2:10).
  • Together with the verb αιρεω (haireo), meaning to take or choose, the noun αυθαιρετος (authairetos), meaning voluntary or choosing on one's own accord (2 Corinthians 8:3, 8:17 only).
  • Together with the unused noun εντεα (entea), meaning gear or equipment (often for fighting: armor), the unused noun αυθεντης (authentes, hence our slightly askew word "authentic") is formed. In Greek it denotes someone who literally "takes matters into his own hand", and that mostly in order to kill someone, or at least exercise ultimate authority over that person. From this noun comes:
    • The important verb αυθεντεω (authenteo), meaning to domineer or bully someone into submission. Paul uses this verb to describe what he forbids women to do to men, which possibly has not so much to do with women and their curbed right to dispense their wisdoms, but more so with men and the natural resistance they display when someone, especially a women, tries to bludgeon them into a state of attention. Paul is not saying that women can't teach. He's saying that whereas men naturally engage other men in rivalry, women should use more subtle tactics of interaction.
  • Together with the verb αρκεω (arkeo), meaning to suffice, the adjective αυταρκης (autarkes), meaning self-sufficient or adequate (Philippians 4:11 only). From this word derives:
    • The noun αυταρκεια (autarkeia), meaning self-sufficiency (2 Corinthians 9:8, 1 Timothy 6:6 only).
  • Together with the verb κατακρινω (katakrino), meaning to judge against or declare judgment against, the adjective αυτοκατακριτος (autokatakritos), literally meaning self-critical in the sense of self-condemning: pronouncing condemnation upon oneself (Titus 3:11).
  • Together with a spawn from the same ancient proto-Indo-European root that gave us the word "mind" (although the closest Greek verbs have to do with seeking diligently, and thus seeking idly and thus blabbering idly), the familiar word αυτοματος (automatos), literally meaning self-mindedness, or automatic(ally). The reader needs to remember that where our word "automatic" brings to mind a common mechanical device of some sort, in the first century AD there were far less such devices. Back then something automatic was something that undertook some kind of action but for reasons that were not directly obvious: it just happened, happened by itself or for self-evident or self-enclosed reasons: soil producing crop (Mark 4:28), or doors that open for self-contained reasons (Acts 12:10, which is a no-subtle reference to the "automatic" gates of Olympus, see Illiad 5.745-755).
  • Together with the verb οπτομαι (optomai), meaning to see, the noun αυτοπτης (autoptes), denoting someone who himself has seen; an eye witness (Luke 1:2 only).
  • Together with the noun χειρ (cheir), meaning hand, the adjective αυτοχειρ (autocheir), meaning "with one's own hand(s)" (Acts 27:19 only).
  • Together with εμου (emou), meaning of me or mine, the reflexive first person pronoun εμαυτου (emautou), meaning of myself, to myself (Matthew 8:9, John 5:30, Acts 20:24).
  • Together with the second person personal pronoun σε (se), meaning you or thee, the reflexive pronoun σεαυτου (seautou), meaning of thyself, or yourself (Matthew 4:6, John 1:22, Acts 9:34).
  • Together with the definite article τα (ta), meaning "the", the word ταυτα (tauta), meaning these, these things (Matthew 13:53, Luke 1:39, John 5:3). This word often appears in formulas, such as combined with μετα (meta), in this case meaning after, to form μετα ταυτα, literally "after these things" or simply "afterward". Note that this form ταυτα is spelled the same as the neuter plural nominative and accusative of ουτος (houtos).
  • Together with the adjective φιλος (philos), meaning loved or dear, the adjective φιλαυτος (philautos), meaning self-loving (2 Timothy 3:2 only).
  • Together with the adverb ως (hos), meaning as, so as, in the way which, the adverb ωσαυτως (hosautos), meaning likewise, in the same way (Matthew 20:5, Mark 12:21, Luke 13:5).