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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: δεσποτης
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Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/d/d-e-s-p-o-t-et-sfin.html

δεσποτης

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

δεσποτης

The noun δεσποτης (despotes) means [house-]master, hence our word "despot," which has a far more negative ring to it than its Greek source word. Our Greek word comes from a combination of the Proto-Indo-European root dem-, meaning house (hence English words like "domestic"), and pota, meaning power (hence words like "potent").

Since the original meaning of the ancient concept of "house" had much more in common with a modern commercial company, or rather an incorporated working community such as a farming village, the despotes was rather like the CEO of the outfit: the one who hired (or bought, back then) people and put them to work, the employer. By New Testament times this word had come to denote any kind of master or employer, and was frequently used for God (Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, Jude 1:4, Revelation 6:10). Since God's law is natural law (Romans 1:20), God's people are free people (Galatians 5:1), because subjection to the employ by natural law does not enslave but liberate from the tyranny of bogus human law (John 8:32), just like a war-banner that says "LOVE" doesn't lead to war but only to love (Song of Solomon 2:4).

This noun is used 10 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.

Because our word δεσποτης (despotes), meaning house-master, had come to denote any kind of master, an amended version was needed to indicate the more specific house-master of indeed a house. Hence our word δεσποτης (despotes) was attached to the familiar noun οικος (oikos) meaning house or enterprise, to form the noun οικοδεσποτης (oikodespotes), meaning house-master. This word occurs 12 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:

  • The verb οικοδεσποτεω (oikodespoteom), meaning to be a house-master, to rule or govern a household. This word is used only in 1 Timothy 5:14, where Paul assigns it to young women (see Proverbs 31:10-31).
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