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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Greek word: χριω
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Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

χριω

The verb χριω (chrio) means to smear or anoint. The Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses this verb to describe any kind of smearing, pouring or anointing, ranging from regular armory maintenance (2 Samuel 1:21, Isaiah 21:5) to basic medical routines (Isaiah 1:6).

In Israel, the ritualistic act of anointing was performed to inaugurate people into certain specific offices, and only offices that had no earthly superior and were subject only to God. Thus only a High Priest (Leviticus 4:3) and a prophet and a king would be anointed into office (1 Kings 19:16). Regular priests and certain venerable objects would be consecrated by receiving a mere sprinkling of the oil (Exodus 30:26, Leviticus 8:30).

The derivations of this verb are:

  • The noun χρισμα (chrisma), meaning an anointing or the anointed. This noun is used to indicate the anointing oil (Exodus 29:7) and the Anointed One (Daniel 9:26) and in 1 John 2:20 it indicates the state of being anointed (in the Holy Spirit).
  • The noun χριστος (christos), denoting anyone anointed with the holy oil (high priests, prophets and kings; see the link below for our article on the pseudo-name Christ). From this word in turn derive:
    • Together with the preposition αντι (anti), meaning over or against: the noun αντιχριστος (antichristos), meaning antichrist (see the link below for our article on the pseudo-name Antichrist).
    • The noun χριστιανος (christianos), which is a name given to the followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16; see the link below for our article on the spectacular misnomer Christian).
    • Together with the adjective ψευδης (pseudes), meaning false: the noun ψευδοχριστος (pseudochristos), denoting someone who claims to be anointed (1 John 2:26-27) but who is probably just being religious (Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22 only).

Compound derivations that contain our verb χριω (chrio):

  • The verb εγχριω (egchrio), from the preposition εν (en), meaning in, on, at or by, and our verb χριω (chrio). The verb εγχριω (egchrio) also means to anoint but with a rather mundane reflection, largely indicating a smearing in a medical or perhaps even recreational sense; eyes with salve (Revelation 3:18).
  • The verb επιχριω (epichrio), from the preposition επι (epi) meaning on or upon, and our verb χριω (chrio). The verb επιχριω (epichrio) means a smearing over. This verb occurs only in John 9:6 and 9:11, where Jesus over-smears the eyes of the blind man.

Associated Biblical names

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