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

πνεω

The verb πνεω (pneo) means to blow. In the New Testament this word solely describes the blowing of wind (Matthew 7:25-27, Luke 12:55, John 3:8), but in other Greek literature it's also used to describe a person exhaling (as in the Septuagint's translation of Isaiah 40:24).

This verb is the parent verb of the much debated noun πνευμα (pneuma), commonly translated with "spirit", which describes our ability to join with other people into teams, companies and cultures (read our article on this noun for a more extensive discussion).

The derivations of this verb are:

  • Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εκπνεω (ekpneo), meaning to breathe out or forth. In the New Testament this verb is used only in the sense of to breathe one's last and only of Jesus (Mark 15:37-39, Luke 23:46 only).
  • Together with the preposition εν (en), meaning in, on, at or by: the verb εμπνεω (empneo), meaning to breathe into, to inspire or instill one's state of mind into others (Acts 9:1 only).
  • Together with θεος (theos), meaning god or God: the adjective θεοπνευστος (theopneustos), meaning God-breathed. This adjective occurs only once in the Bible, in the much debated verse 2 Timothy 3:16, which some people take as proof that only the Bible is God's word. This is nonsense, of course, because the canon and thus the covers of the Bible didn't exists when Paul wrote this. In stead Paul declares that all writing (holy and secular, such as for instance the legend of Jannes and Jambres he refers to just eight verses prior) are God-breathed and can be used to drive the gospel home (quite comparable to Peter's vision of the Great Sheet — Acts 10:9-22). Paul's writing are subsequent treasure troves for extra-Biblical references (see our article on the name Homer).
  • The noun πνευμα (pneuma), which is commonly translated with "spirit" but which really denotes one's ability to log onto someone else's mind. See our feature article on this noun for more details. From this noun comes:
    • The adjective πνευματικος, pneumatikos, which denotes an entity that has, lives by or serves the spirit; someone or something that seeks, forges and cultivates relationships (1 Corinthians 15:44, Ephesians 6:12, Galatians 6:1). From this word in turn comes:
      • The adverb πνευματικως (pneumatikos), denoting the nature or means of the previously mentioned entity (1 Corinthians 2:14 and Revelation 11:8 only).
  • The noun πνοη (pnoe), meaning wind (John 3:8, Acts 2:2) or breath (Acts 17:25). In all three of these instances, the audience is clearly supposed to be very well aware of the motivational dimension of these "winds".
  • Together with the preposition υπο (hupo) meaning under: the verb υποπνεω (hupopneo), meaning to blow softly (Acts 27:13 only).
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