Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The preposition or prefix εκ (ek or εξ ex when followed by a vowel) means of or from when a situation is described in which an object or person becomes separated from what it was previously one with; it's the opposite of εις (eis), meaning in or into. It differs from the similar prefix απο (apo) in that the latter often describes a distantiation of elements that were separate to begin with, and existed next to each other.
Our prefix εκ (ek) attached to verbs of motion or direction is used to describe a coming out of a place (Matthew 2:6, Mark 1:11, Luke 5:3, John 19:23). It may mark a source or origin (2 Corinthians 4:7), or place of residence (Luke 8:27, Acts 4:6) or the commencement point of a period within which events occur (Matthew 19:12, John 9:1). It may denote the source of result (John 4:6) or of motive (Philippians 1:16) or of manner or mode (Matthew 12:34, Luke 10:27).
In the sense of a going out as exceeding, our prefix is frequently deployed to form an intensive form (comparable to the out-part of the English word outstanding).
Independently, the preposition εκ (ek) occurs 913 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. From it in turn derive:
- The adverb εκτος (ektos), meaning outwardly. It's the counterpart of εντος (entos), meaning inwardly. Our adverb εκτος (ektos) occurs 9 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. Also note that this word is spelled the same as the ordinal εκτος (ektos), meaning sixth (see below).
- The familiar adverb εξο (exo), meaning out or outward (hence English words such as exoskeleton, exocrine and exonym). This adverb is used 63 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- The adverb εξωθεν (exothen), exterior, which refers to an origin outside (hence also our English word exotic) or it simply directs the attention to the exterior rather than the interior (εσωθεν, esothen) of something (hence also our word exoteric). This adverb is used 13 times; see full concordance.
- The comparative εξωτερος (exoteros), meaning further-out than simply "out" but not but not furthest-out: halfway between just out and all the way out. Our modern medieval view of hell is based on the Late Greek bipolar view of an underworld below and a heaven above, but the New Testament is based on the monopolar view of the Hebrew Testament, in which God is the illuminating center of everything and darkness increases the further away from the center one goes. In this Hebrew model, the darkness surrounds the light and the lost are not below but rather outside (Revelation 22:5). The use of our comparative word suggests that the Hebrew model maintained distinct levels of darkness, just like it depicted distinct levels of enlightenment (2 Corinthians 12:2, Revelation 14:6). Our adverb is used in Matthew 8:12, 22:13 and 25:30 only.
The cardinal number εξ (hex) means six (hence English words like hexagram). It comes from a different Proto-Indo-European root as the particle εκ (ek) — namely root s(w)eks, meaning six versus root eghs, meaning out — but the similarity in spelling is striking. The Hebrew word for six is שש (shesh), which also means lily.
Our cardinal number εξ (hex) is used 12 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- The ordinal number εκτος (hektos), meaning sixth. This word is used 14 times, see full concordance, and note that it is spelled identical to the adverb εκτος (ektos), meaning outwardly (see above).
- Together with the cardinal number εκατον (hekaton), meaning hundred: the cardinal εξακοσιοι (hexakosioi), meaning six hundred (Revelation 14:20 only).
- The cardinal number εξηκοντα (hexekonta), meaning sixty. This word is used 8 times; see full concordance.