Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
Scholars and dictionaries commonly report the existence of two separate verbs of the form εικω (eiko), but here at Abarim Publications we doubt that the ancients saw them as different.
The verb εικω (eiko I) means to give way, to make way for or to yield to pressure or impulse. It's frequently used by the ancient writers but in the Bible it occurs only once, namely in Galatians 2:5, where Paul reports that he and company did not yield in subjection to false brothers in Jerusalem, or that they were not in any way impressed by them.
The verb εικω (eiko II) is commonly reported to simply mean to resemble or be like, but in fact it's an industrial term that expresses what happens when a mould is pressed into a material like clay or metal: the material gives way under pressure and a likeness of the mould appears. The result of this procedure is an εικον (eikon, hence our word "icon"), which is typically a mass produced reproduction or impression of an original prototype.
From our verb derive the following words:
- The noun εικον (eikon) — from which we get our word "icon", as said above — denotes a usually mass-produced, pressed, stamped or punched reproduction or impression of a prototype. This word occurs frequently in the New Testament — 23 times, actually; see full concordance — but probably most notable in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15, where the Christ is said to be the εικον (eikon) of God, and Romans 8:29 where Christ's followers are said to be images of Christ (also see 1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:10).
Other "icons" mentioned in the New Testament are mass produced impressions of Caesar on coins (Matthew 22:20, and note that the Caesar was usually deified), and sacred images (Romans 1:23), most notably those of the beast (Revelation 13:14-15, 14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4). Significantly, the Law is said to be a shadow (σκια, skia) but not an εικον (eikon) of the "coming good things" (Hebrews 10:1). Also see the word ειδωλον (eidolon), meaning "idol".
- Together with the preposition υπο (hupo), meaning under, beneath or through, our verb forms the verb υπεικω (hupeiko), meaning to submit to or surrender to (Hebrews 13:17 only).