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

γινομαι

The important verb γινομαι (ginomai) means to be, begin to be, or begin to be in a certain state or condition. It's distinguished from the verb ειμι (eimi), meaning to be, in that the latter expresses a mere existence and the former explicitly the beginning of it; a coming into being. It lives on in the English language in words such as gene, generation and to generate. Also note the similarity with the noun γυνη (gune), meaning woman or wife.

The verb γινομαι (ginomai) is used in the sense of to be born (John 8:58), or to descend from (Romans 1:3), the production of fruits and plants (Matthew 21:19), the coming about of natural phenomena (Matthew 8:24), or of day or night (Matthew 14:15, Acts 27:27).

It may denote a coming about by agency: to create (John 1:3, Acts 19:26), to perform (a miracle; Matthew 11:20), to promise (Acts 26:6), or to become something (1 Corinthians 1:30). It may imply a pending result, a having to take place (Matthew 1:22) or happen (Luke 14:12). And it may imply a change of state (Matthew 4:3), or location (Acts 20:16).

As to be expected, this dominant verb comes with an impressive array of derivations:

  • The noun γενεα (genea) originally means generation or genealogical descent (Matthew 1:17, Acts 8:33), but in the New Testament it's predominantly used as an indicator of a time period (Matthew 11:16, Luke 16:8, Hebrews 3:10). This noun itself yields the following derivations:
    • Together with the verb λεγω (lego), meaning to relate: the verb γενεαλογεω (genealogeo), meaning to be reckoned in a genealogy (Hebrews 7:6). This verb in turn yields:
      • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the adjective αγενεαλογητος (agenealogetos), meaning without genealogy (Hebrews 7:3).
      • The noun γενεαλογια (genelogia), meaning a genealogy (Titus 3:9, 1 Timothy 1:4).
    • The noun γενετη (genete), meaning generation or birth (John 9:1).
  • The noun γενεσις (genesis), literally meaning origin (Matthew 1:1) or original/natural (James 1:23). This word also serves as the Greek title of the first book of the Bible. From this noun come:
    • The noun γενεσια (genesia), meaning birthday (Matthew 14:6, Mark 6:21).
    • Together with παλιν (palin), meaning again: the noun παλιγγενεσια (paliggenesia), meaning regeneration or rebirth (Matthew 19:28, Titus 3:5).
  • The noun γενος (genos), meaning offspring, posterity, family or stock (Mark 7:26, Acts 17:28, Revelation 22:16). From this noun come:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the adjective αγενης (agenes), denoting someone who is not part of an acknowledged stock; a homeless bum in the genealogical sense: the unassociated (1 Corinthians 1:28 only).
    • Together with the adjective αλλος (allos), meaning another: the adjective αλλογενης (allogenes), meaning from another family or race; a stranger or foreigner (Luke 17:18).
    • The verb γενναω (gennao), meaning either to beget, to bear, or to be born (Matthew 1:2, 1 John 5:1, 1 Corinthians 4:15). From this verb come:
      • Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb αναγενναω (anagennao), meaning to beget again, to regenerate (1 Peter 1:3).
      • The noun γεννημα (gennema), meaning that which was born or produced (Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7, 2 Corinthians 9:10).
      • The noun γεννησις (gennesis), meaning birth (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:14).
      • The adjective γεννητος (gennetos), meaning born or brought fort (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28). This adjective yields:
        • Together with the adverb αρτι (arti), meaning now: the adjective αρτιγεννητος (artigennetos), meaning new-born (1 Peter 2:2 only).
    • Together with the adverb ευ (eu), meaning good: the adjective ευγενης (eugenes), meaning of noble birth or high rank (Luke 19:12, 1 Corinthians 1:26).
    • Together with the adjective μονος (monos): the important but difficult adjective μονογενης (monogenes), meaning unique, one of a kind; a quality famously ascribed to Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 1:18, 3:16, 3:18, 1 John 4:9) but also to several others (the son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:12; Jairus' daughter, Luke 8:42; a demoniac boy, Luke 9:38; Isaac, Hebrews 11:17). The delicate nuance of the word monogenes becomes clear in Hebrews 11:17 where the author ascribes it to Isaac, who was by no means Abraham's only born son; just one of a kind. Most parents will attest that their child is like no other, but some special kids just happen to be more special than others. Take Mozart or Einstein, for instance. These guys all broke the mould. Our core verb γινομαι (ginomai) appears to be mostly concerned with the generation of classes and stocks, and the generation of individuals within those classes or stocks. Words like αγενεαλογητος (agenealogetos) and αγενης (agenes; see above) denote a person's derogatory detachment from the class of his origin, but the word μονογενης (monogenes) describes someone who is a class of his or her own: peerless. Even Jesus is obviously not God's only son, as the Bible is riddled with references to His offspring (and also have a look at our article on the word בן, ben, meaning son):
      • Adam (Luke 3:38)
      • The Pre-flood Pack (Genesis 6:2)
      • Israel (Exodus 4:22, Hosea 11:1); the Israelites (Isaiah 1:2, Hosea 1:10); Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:9)
      • The Angelic Earth Patrol (Job 1:6)
      • The pre-incarnate Messiah (Psalm 2:12)
      • Everyone called by the Lord's Name (Isaiah 43:6-7)
      • Peace makers (Matthew 5:9)
      • The resurrected (Luke 20:36)
      • Those led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14-19)
      • Those who have faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26)
    • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together with: the adjective συγγενης (suggenes), meaning a relative or kinsman or -woman (Mark 6:4, Luke 1:36, Acts 10:24). From this adjective comes:
      • The noun συγγενεια (suggeneia), meaning kin, kindred or relatives collectively (Luke 1:61, Acts 7:3)
  • The noun γονευς (goneus), meaning (either) parent. This word occurs in the New Testament only in plural (Matthew 10:21, Mark 13:12, Luke 2:27).
  • Together with the preposition δια (dia), meaning through: the verb διαγινομαι (diaginomai), meaning to be through (of time), to have elapsed (Mark 16:1, Acts 25:13).
  • Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επιγινομαι (epiginomai), meaning to arise upon, come on (of wind; Acts 28:13 only).
  • Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near: the verb παραγινομαι (paraginomai), meaning to come, approach, arrive (Matthew 3:1, Mark 14:43, Luke 19:16). From this verb comes:
    • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together with: the verb συμπαραγινομαι (sumparaginomai), meaning to stand by someone (2 Timothy 4:16) or to convene (Luke 23:48).
  • Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before: the verb προγινομαι (proginomai), meaning to be done or have been before (Romans 3:25). From this verb comes:
    • The adjective προγονος (progonos), meaning born earlier; ancestral or parental (2 Timothy 1:3, 5:4).

Associated Biblical names

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