Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun βουλη (boule) means will, purpose or intention. It's the result of contemplative thought or deliberation and occurs in relation to a council or governing body (or God). It reflects the result of this thinking process: a plan or course of action (Luke 7:30, Hebrews 6:17, Ephesians 1:11). The absence of such a plan is called αβουλος (aboulos), meaning inconsiderate or ill-advised, and the familiar word αβουλια (aboulia) means ill-advisedness or thoughtlessness (neither of these words are used in the Bible).
Derivations of this word that are used in the Bible are:
- The verb βουλευω (bouleuo), meaning to counsel, consult or resolve (Luke 14:31, 2 Corinthians 1:17).
- The noun βουλευτης (bouleutes), meaning a councilman. In the New Testament this word is used only to describe a member of the Sanhedrin (Matthew 15:43, Luke 23:50).
- Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby, or in this case askew: the verb παραβουλευομαι (parabouleuomai), meaning to sidestep counsel. This verb occurs only in Philippians 2:30, where Paul describes Epaphroditus as going against the intuitions of his own spirit to complete the work of Christ, whatever that might mean.
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συμβουλευω (sumbouleuo), meaning to counsel with or advise someone (John 18:14, Revelation 3:18).
- Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the noun επιβουλη (epiboule), meaning a scheme or plot (Acts 9:24, 20:3).
- Again together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the noun συμβουλος (sumboulos), meaning counselor (Romans 11:34 only).
- The noun συμβουλιον (sumboulion), meaning a consult (Matthew 12:14, Mark 3:6), or a counsel (a group of men: Acts 25:12).