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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: εχω

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/e/e-ch-om.html

εχω

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

εχω

The verb εχω (echo) means to have or hold and occurs in its various forms 708 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. Its usage slightly transcends that of the English equivalent. Where our English verb "to have" mostly emphasizes possession and control of external things, our Greek verb mostly describes the set of features that collectively define identity. When someone "has" something (say: an object or property, a quality or condition, a word to say, a feeling, a skill, an obligation or conviction), that something helps to determine who that person is, what his past might have looked like, and what his future might be all about.

The Greek verb εχω (echo) sums up the substance of one's reality, and this might in turn explain the similarity between our verb εχω, echo, and the verb ηχεω, echeo, meaning to sound (hence our word "echo"), and deep down perhaps even the relation between the Latin word audio (from the Proto-Indo-European root au, to perceive) and the Greek reflective pronoun αυτος (autos), meaning "self" (but these are wild assumptions, we readily admit).

The Greek verb εχω (echo) sums up the internal and external qualities of someone or something rather than merely the external things that come in addition to someone or something (Mark 1:38, Romans 5:2, Hebrews 6:9). As such, our verb is the core element of a formidable array of derivations:

  • Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb ανεχω (anecho), meaning to bear; to hold out or on to, to endure or to maintain a certain condition. This verb occurs 15 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. From this verb in turn derive:
    • The comparative adjective ανεχτοτερος (anektoteros), meaning more easy to bear, hold on to, have patience with, et cetera. This adjective occurs 6 times; see full concordance.
    • Together with the adjective κακος (kakos), meaning bad or wicked: the adjective ανεξικακος (anexikakos), meaning patient in bearing bad things. This word occurs only in 2 Timothy 2:24 (also see the verb κακουχεω, kakoucheo, below).
    • The noun ανοχη (anoche), meaning forbearance or patience (Romans 2:4 and 3:25 only).
  • Together with the common preposition αντι (anti), meaning over or against: the verb αντεχω (antecho). This verb literally means to have or hold against, but is not always as negative as one might suppose. In the classics our word is often used in the sense of supporting something against collapse or assault. Our word occurs four times in the New Testament; three times in the sense of holding on to (against an enticing alternative: Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13; against alternative teachings: Titus 1:9) and once in the sense of protective support (of the weak: 1 Thessalonians 5:14). See full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition απο (apo), meaning from: the verb απεχω (apecho), meaning to hold off from, to restrain or simply to have out of (that is: to have elements from some larger set). This verb occurs 18 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, most notably in Matthew 15:8: "their heart is held off from me" and Philippians 4:18: "I have from everything", meaning "I have some of everything."
  • Together with the common preposition εν (en), meaning in, on, at or by: the verb ενεχω (enecho), meaning to have at [someone/something], or to have it in [for someone] (Mark 6:19, Luke 11:53 and Galatians 5:1 only). From this verb derives:
    • The adjective ενοχος (enochos), meaning holding within, contained in, or captured by. This word expresses an inherent quality or proper, deserved result of a given situation. It occurs 10 times; see full concordance.
  • The adverb εξης (hexes), meaning following, one after another, successively or regularly, or simply next to. This word occurs 5 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:
    • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from or down upon: the adverb καθεξες (kathexes), meaning successively, or afterwards. This word also occurs 5 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
  • The noun εξις (hexis) meaning a having or possession. In later writings it's used predominantly in the sense of (the having of) a habit or a permanent condition due to practice. It occurs in the New Testament only once, in Hebrews 5:14, meaning just that.
  • Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επεχω (epecho), having rather the same meaning as the verb ενεχω (enecho), namely to hold on, to endure or to persevere in some doctrine, or to concentrate the mind upon. It occurs 5 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the otherwise unused noun ευνη (eune), primarily meaning bed, but by implication also bedding or lair (in case of animals), marriage bed and even grave: the noteworthy noun ευνουχος (eunouchos), literally meaning bed-haver or bed-keeper (or more elaborate: "he who is restrained because of the bed"). It describes someone who was in charge of his lord's most private place of repose-slash-love-making, and was subsequently often emasculated to avoid conflicting arousals — hence our word "eunuch".
    But where in our world the word "eunuch" almost solely describes a man separated from his jolly bundle, in Greek it primarily denotes a chamberlain; a highly trusted individual of often high rank. In larger operations this would denote a chief of staff or chief housekeeper (and note the intuitive similarity with the otherwise unrelated adjective ευνους, eunous, meaning kindly or well-minded).
    The defining characteristic of this person was that he was kept, or kept himself, from investing his natural and private capacities in his own benefit, and solely sought that of his master. Our word is used 8 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it stems:
    • The verb ευνουχιζω (eunouchizo) meaning to make someone an eunuch. This word is used only twice in the New Testament, both times in Matthew 19:12, where it positively has nothing to do with one's testicles and everything with one's ability to devote oneself wholly to either wife, God or the Kingdom.
      In our day and age such service is often discussed but rarely recognized to require the greatest and rarest kind of character. But it's obviously the most recognizable quality of someone who is in Christ (John 12:26, Romans 12:1, Galatians 5:13). It's also precisely in this sense that Jesus' gruesome statements of Matthew 5:9 and 18:9 can be understood in the spirit of the gospel.
  • Again together with the adjective κακος (kakos), meaning bad or wicked: the verb κακουχεω (kakoucheo), literally meaning bad-having: having bad things happen to you, or rather being treated badly. This verb occurs only twice in the New Testament, namely in Hebrews 11:37 and 13:3. From it stems:
    • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συγκακουχεω (sugkakoucheo), meaning to be treated badly together (Hebrews 11:25 only).
  • Again together with κατα (kata), meaning down from or down upon: the verb κατεχω (katecho), meaning to hold down; to hold fast in order to master, to retain, seize, manipulate, or simply to steer (a ship: Acts 27:40) or be firmly associated to an unpleasant condition (Luke 14:9). This word occurs 19 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • Together with the preposition α (a), meaning without: the adjective ακατασχετος (akataschetos), meaning unrestrainable, uncontrollable. It's used in James 3:8 only, where it describes a quality of the tongue.
    • The noun κατασχεσις (kataschesis), which describes a thing possessed, occupied or controlled (Acts 7:5 and 7:45 only).
  • Together with the preposition μετα (meta), meaning with or among: The verb μετεχω (metecho), meaning to share, to have together or to have jointly; to partake. This verb is used 8 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • The noun μετοχη (metoche), meaning partnership (2 Corinthians 6:14 only).
    • The adjective μετοχος (metochos), meaning partnered, or when used as substantive: partner or partaker. This word occurs 6 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
      • Again together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the adjective συμμετοχος (summetochos), meaning partaking with. It's used only twice (in Ephesians 3:6 and 5:7), both times as substantive that describes the relation between one group or partakers and another group of partakers (or not-partakers).
  • Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the verb παρεχω (parecho), which describes a deliberate or causal cause of a resultant having or holding; it roughly means to let have, render, bring about or (when applied to one self) assume a certain attitude. It is used 16 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περιεχω (periecho), meaning to surround or to embrace (and hence by extension to contain). It's used only three times in the New Testament, namely in Luke 5:9, Acts 23:25 and 1 Peter 2:6. From it comes:
    • The noun περιοχη (perioche), literally meaning an enclosing or a containing. In the classics it often denotes a circumference or an actual fence, but also an encircled portion of a text, or its summary. Our word occurs only once in the New Testament, namely in Acts 8:32, where it means "passage" or "paragraph" or literally "that which contains". It's highly unlikely that the Ethiopian eunuch (there's that word again) was scribbling study notes in this most expensive treasure or highlighted its grooviest passages.
  • Together with the adjective πλειον (pleion), meaning more: the verb πλεονεκτεω (pleonekteo), literally meaning to more-have, but used in the sense of wanting to have more, and specifically more than someone else: to be covetous, and hence by common implication: to exploit, be fraudulent or abusive. Our verb occurs 5 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and also yields:
    • The noun πλεονεκτης (pleonektes), which describes someone who wants more, who is covetous and hence likely exploitative. This word occurs 4 times; see full concordance.
    • The noun πλεονεξια (pleonexia), meaning covetousness and thus exploitation. This word is used 10 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and wouldn't be misplaced in the DSM (along with the related personality disorder of "billionairism").
  • Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before: the verb προεχω (proecho), meaning to "consider primary" or to think of as superior. This word occurs only once, namely in Romans 3:9. Also see the similar verb υπερεχω (huperecho) below.
  • Together with the prefix προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the verb προσεχω (prosecho), meaning to direct or incline toward. In the classics it's used as a nautical term (to steer a ship toward somewhere). In the New Testament it occurs 24 times, see full concordance, but solely with mental objects (one's will or mind, et cetera).
  • Together with the noun ραβδος (rhabdos), meaning staff or scepter (particularly as show of authority — see our article on the noun κυριος, kurios, meaning sir or lord): the noun ραβδουχος (rhabdouchos), meaning staff-holder. It denotes someone who maintained law and order; the umpires at games were known by this word. But mostly this word describes an official who worked for Roman magistrates and executed their orders. These orders often contained penal decrees, which usually involved being whacked silly with billy clubs, so this word is practically on a par with chief of police (and our "police" comes from the Greek noun πολις, polis, meaning city) or even torturer/executioner. It occurs only twice in the New Testament, namely in Acts 16:35 and 16:38.
  • Together with the noun στομα (stoma), meaning mouth: the noun στομαχος (stomachos), which describes the repository space just behind the mouth. In the classics this tended to denote the throat or gullet but by New Testament times it denotes the stomach (hence indeed our English word stomach). Figuratively, this word denoted anger (having a figurative upset stomach), which may be how Paul meant it. This word is used in 1 Timothy 5:23 only.
  • Again together with the preposition συν (sun), which usually means together or with, but which in this case is used as an intensifier (an extra dose): the verb συνεχω (sunecho), meaning to firmly seize, hold very fast or be very much engaged in. This word occurs 12 times, see full concordance, and from it derives:
    • The noun συνοχη (sunoche), meaning a holding very fast. In the classics this word is used to describe a clenching fist or roads that contract and become narrow. It's is used only twice in the New Testament. In 2 Corinthians 2:4 it describes a private anguish (a "clenched heart"), but the usage in Luke 21:25 is less clear. Tradition dictates that our word describes a state of panic among nations, but all that's told is that the nations are packed together.
  • The adverb σχεδον (schedon), which derives from an infinitive form of our verb εχω (echo), and describes resemblance or proximity (to "have something" of something else). It's used three times in the New Testament in the sense of nearly or almost (Acts 13:44, 19:26 and Hebrews 9:22 only).
  • From the same infinitive form comes the noun σχημα (schema, hence our word "scheme"), which in Greek means resemblance, that is: form or appearance. It's used only twice; in 1 Corinthians 7:31 it describes the 'form' of the world and in Philippians 2:8 the 'form' of Christ. Both cases describe an apparent resemblance of something that is essentially different. From our word in turn come:
    • Again together with the negating preposition α (a), meaning without: the adjective ασχημων (aschemon), meaning to resemble nothing or nothing worth resembling, that is: to be ugly or misshapen. This word is used in 1 Corinthians 12:23 only, where it is often thought to denote the unmentionable parts of the human anatomy, but that is probably incorrect. The ancients had little trouble with the body parts we moderns tend to hide, and actually bestowed upon these parts the greater "honor". The parts Paul talks about are probably deformed or diseased members (deformation due to sickness, accidents or corporal penalty was of course very common in those days). From this word in turn derive:
      • The verb ασχημονεω (aschemoneo), meaning to behave indecently (that is: not compliant with social norms; anti-social), to disgrace or to uglify (1 Corinthians 7:36 and 13:5 only).
      • The noun ασχημοσυνη (aschemosune), meaning a disgrace or disgraceful quality; that is: unconventionalism; a mode of behavior that is neither purely natural or animalistic, nor a part of conventional modern human behavior which still reflects God's natural law. This word occurs only twice in the New Testament. In Romans 1:27, Paul uses this word as opposite of φυσικος (phusikos), meaning natural, and in Revelation 16:15 this word occurs as extension of γυμνος (gumnos), meaning naked (that is not outfitted to serve in a proper social function).
        Most commentators demand that these texts deal primarily with a divinely ordained sexual convention, but that's due to zealous projection. These texts primarily deal with the manifestation of natural law in human society as requisite of perfection (see Romans 13:14, Colossians 3:12 and of course Genesis 3:7 and 3:21).
    • Together with the prefix ευ (eu), meaning good: the adjective ευσχημων (euschemon), which obviously means the opposite of the previous set of words: well-formed in the sense of being like Christ (see Colossians 2:3), social in the sense of well-fitting a society that runs according to God's laws of nature. This word occurs 5 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it come:
  • Together with the preposition υπερ (huper), meaning over or beyond: the verb υπερεχω (huperecho), meaning to hold over or to "out-have" or be superior. In the classics this word is used in the sense of having authority or power over (somewhat similar to the verb mentioned above, προεχω, proecho). In the New Testament this verb occurs 5 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:
  • Together with the preposition υπο (hupo) meaning under: the verb υπεχω (hupecho), meaning to be subjected to or experience (Jude 1:7 only).