Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb μναομαι (mnaomai) is a so-called depondent verb of μιμνησκω (mimnesko), which means that the former was formed from the latter. Both verbs have to do with memory or remembering.
Often in Koine Greek depondent verbs are so different in meaning from their root verb that they are considered fully unrelated in meaning, but in the case of our present verbs, this is clearly not so.
The striking "mn" of these words stem from an ancient proto-Indo-European root men-, from which also come our English verbs "to mind", "to admonish" and thus the noun "monument".
Note the disproportional prevalence of these two groups of words in the New Testament, which demonstrates that the New Testament aims to make the reader "remember" something rather than teach something wholly new (Romans 2:15, Hebrews 10:16).
The gospel is not just some new product or elaborate artificial scheme, but rather a contemplation on the natural world of which humanity is an integral part (Romans 8:19-22). When we come to the Lord we don't find a stranger, but a loving Father whom we've always known very well (Luke 15:20).
The verb μιμνησκω (mimnesko) means to recall or to remind (Matthew Hebrews 2:6 and 13:3 only). It comes with the following derivatives:
- Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb αναμιμνησκω (anamimnesko), meaning to impose recall on someone or deliberately put to mind again (Mark 11:21, 1 Corinthians 4:17, 2 Timothy 1:6). From his verb in turn come:
- The noun αναμνησις (anamnesis), meaning a remembrance or commemoration. This noun occurs four times in the New Testament, three times in the phrase "in remembrance of Me", from the familiar communion formula (Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25). The fourth time this noun occurs is in Hebrews 10:3.
- Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επαναμιμνησκω (epanamimnesko), meaning to re-remind or to put once again to mind (Romans 15:15 only).
- Together with the preposition υπο (hupo), meaning under, beneath or through: the verb υπομιμνησκω (hupomimnesko), meaning to bring to mind (John 14:26, 2 Peter 1:12, Titus 3:1). From this verb comes:
- The noun υπομνησις (hupomnesis), meaning a remembrance or reminder (2 Peter 1:13, 3:1 and 2 Timothy 1:5 only).
The verb μναομαι (mnaomai) means to remember, to recollect or to be mindful (hence our English adjective "mnemonic"). It's used in the New Testament with pretty much the same nuances and applications as our English verb, from abruptly recalling something out of one's own memory (Matthew 5:23, 26:75, John 2:22), to reviewing one's memory in a controlled way (Acts 11:16, 2 Timothy 1:4, 2 Peter 3:2), to keeping continuously in one's conscious mind (1 Corinthians 11:2, Luke 24:6).
In a slightly different way than in English, our verb is also used with the meaning of to appeal to or evoke an established agreement or decree (Luke 1:54, 1:72), or to recall and recount someone's deeds, whether good or bad (Acts 10:31, Revelation 16:19, Hebrews 8:12).
Our verb comes with the following derivations:
- The noun μνεια (mneia), meaning remembrance or recollection (Philippians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:6) or a mentioning of (Romans 1:9, Ephesians 1:16).
- The noun μνημα (mnema), meaning a memorial or monument. In the New Testament this word is solely used to describe a tomb (Mark 5:5, Luke 8:27, Acts 2:29), and since Jewish tradition didn't really sport tomb stones, this word seems to demonstrate that a slowly decaying body in a tomb was seen as something closely similar to a fixed memory in one's mind (how the English language acquired its phrase "skeleton in the closet" is not clear but it's doubtlessly a Jewish contribution; also see Ezekiel 37:1-14). Note that the demoniac called Legion lived among these "items of remembrance" according to the Lukan evangelist (Luke 8:27), and this may indicate that this man was not only suffering from a demonic infestation, he was also living among the memories of a painful past and doubtlessly burdened by severe psychological trauma. Also note that a similar double meaning exists in the verb κατατιθημι (katatithemi), which means both to inter and to be remembered (favorably).
- The noun μνημειον (mnemeion), which is similar to the previous one but appears to describe more elaborate sepulchers (Matthew 8:28, Mark 5:2, Luke 11:47). The Markan author places Legion among these more elaborate memorials (Mark 5:2). One may expect that these "memorials" were not only the actual graves and mausoleums but also, and perhaps more so, the corpus of traditions and legends associated with whoever was interred in this literature (Acts 2:29). Note how all this adds additional magnificence to the already boggling account of the resurrection of Jesus (Mark 16:2) and that of the saints (Matthew 27:52, John 5:28).
- The noun μνημη (mneme), meaning remembrance or recollection (2 Peter 1:15 only).
- The verb μνημονευω (mnemoneuo) meaning to actively remember or recount (Acts 20:31, Hebrews 11:22, Revelation 2:5).
- The noun μνημοσυνον (mnemosunon), again meaning memorial or remembrance (Matthew 26:13, Mark 14:9, Acts 10:4).
- The verb μνηστευω (mnesteuo), meaning to betroth or promise in marriage. This act surely came with lavish symbols and public pomp, all with the interest of collective remembering who was promised to whom. In the classics this verb also occurs with the sense of pestering someone for something long remembered, or even to give someone a piece of one's mind, in order to consign that piece to the mind of the recipient.