Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The familiar adjective νεος (neos), means new and in that sense young (1 Timothy 5:11, Titus 2:4), fresh (1 Corinthians 5:7), or of wine, still fermenting (Matthew 9:17), or renewed or of a new kind (Colossians 3:10, Hebrews 12:24). But have a look at the following words:
- The noun ναος (naos), meaning temple, from the verb ναιω (naio) meaning to dwell or abide.
- The noun ναυς (naus), meaning ship, from the verb ναω (nao), meaning to flow. From this verb derives the verb ναιω (naio), meaning to overflow or be full, which is identical to the previous verb.
- Our adjective νεος (neos), meaning new. This word may derive from the form νεω, which represents one noun meaning next [year], and three identical verbs, meaning (1)(a) to heap or pile up, or 1(b) to be stuffed, (2) to swim or float, (3) to spin [what the Fates were known for; spinning out the fate(s) of mortals].
It takes no great poetic leap to see the distinct similarities between these words, which seem to beg for the hypothesis that they all derive from one and the same ancient proto-Indo-European root. This root would have expressed both accumulation and fullness, and if this root stems from the earliest agricultural periods, it would possibly express the miracle of one seed that grows within in a plant, reaches fullness and separates from the plant, and then brings forth that same plant. People like to believe that the idea of divinity stemmed from fear of nature and artificial consolation, but here at Abarim Publications we don't think so.
We are guessing that ideas such as expressed in John 12:24 reflect the most basic sense of divinity (and humanity for that matter), and lay at the heart of the quest for social cohesion, which ultimately resulted in the development of language, and then trade and exploration. In fact, burying deceased people may have been derived from the act of planting (also because what isn't planted is eaten), and the idea of an afterlife may have explained why one's dead grandfather didn't germinate. It's been said that man is a species with amnesia, but the miracle of the seed is a heck of a thing to forget.
From our adjective νεος (neos) come the following derivations, and note how easily this root takes on the hues of the other words mentioned above:
- The noun νεανιας (neanias), literally meaning a young [man], not being a πρεσβυτερος (presbuteros), meaning an old [man]. This noun was applied to men in their prime, up to an age of about forty, so "young man" doesn't really convey the range of age that νεανιας (neanias) does. Perhaps the English words junior and senior somewhat come close. In the New Testament our noun is applied to Paul (Acts 7:58), Eutychus (Acts 20:9) and Paul's nephew (Acts 23:17).
- The noun νεανισκος (neaniskos), also meaning young [man] in the same way as the previous noun does. This noun occurs more frequently than the previous (Matthew 19:20, Luke 7:14, Acts 5:10).
- The noun νεοσσος (neossos), meaning a young [animal], and particularly a young bird (Luke 2:24 only). From this word come:
- The noun νοσσια (nossia), meaning a nest with young (Luke 13:34 only).
- The diminutive noun νοσσιον (nossion), also meaning a young bird (Matthew 23:37 only).
- The noun νεοτης (neotes), denoting the state of being νεος (neos): a youth (Matthew 19:20), one's youth (Mark 10:20, Luke 18:21), or one's youthfulness or juniority (spoken of Timothy's by Paul: 1 Timothy 4:12).
- Together with the verb φυω (phuo), meaning to produce: the adjective νεοφυτος (neophutos), meaning newly sprung up. In the New Testament this word is used to describe someone who's newly converted (1 Timothy 3:6). This word exists in English as neophyte.
- The adjective νεωτερικος (neoterikos), meaning youthful or young (2 Timothy 2:22).
- Together with the noun μην (men), meaning month: the noun νουμηνια (noumenia), meaning new moon (Colossians 2:16 only).