Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: ερεω

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/e/e-r-e-om.html


Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The verb ρεω (reo) means to flow; hence the dictum panta rhei, or everything flows, made famous by Heraclitus of Ephesus. This philosopher of the Persian Empire, who lived during the century of post-exilic restoration of Jerusalem, also pioneered the idea of Logos, which proposes that the universe is governed by a single unchangeable unified natural law (Colossians 2:16-17) rather than whimsically warring deities.

Our verb is thought to derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "srew-", to flow, from which also come words like serum and stream. From the Hebrew equivalent of our verb, namely the verb יבל (yabal), to flow, come the names of the final generation of the line of Cain: Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-cain, which is of course rather striking, since their father's name was Lamech, which was also the name of the father of Noah, who survived the flood.

Our verb ρεω (reo) is used for anything that flows: water but also words, which helps to explain the stream of living water that would flow from people's within (John 7:38; which is where our verb's only occurrence happens). From our verb come:

  • Together with the noun αιμα (haima), meaning blood: the verb αιμορροεω (haimorroeo), meaning to flow blood (hence our English word hemorrhage). This word occurs only in Matthew 9:20, in the majestically composed story of Jesus who on his way to restore the deceased twelve-year old daughter of Jairus (according to Mark's more elaborate version) heals the woman who has had blood-flow for the same twelve years. All this is an obvious commentary on the state of affairs and purposes of the templar complex.
  • Together with the prefix δια (dia), meaning through or throughout: the familiar noun διαρροια (diarroia), meaning diarrhea: a flowing through-and-through. This word has existed since antiquity but is not used in the New Testament, which instead uses terms like δυσεντερια (dusenteria), "dys-intestines" or dysentery, and δυσκολος (duskolos), "dys-colon" or troubled bowels. The formation of our noun διαρροια (diarroia), which its curious double-r, may have been helped along by its proximity to its Aramaic equivalent, namely דרריא (derarya'), diarrhea, which actually stems from the verb דרר (darar), to flow freely (noun דרור, deror, means freedom), which in turn may have spawned the Greek verb λοιδορεω (loidoreo), to revile, rail at or verbally abuse.
  • The noun ρυσις (rhusis), meaning a flowing (Mark 5:25, Luke 8:43 and 8:44 only).
  • Together with the noun χειμα (cheima), meaning winter (in the sense of time of the year): the noun χειμαρρος (cheimarros), meaning winter-flow; a brook or stream that only flows during the rainy season and is dry during summer (John 18:1 only).

The verb ρωομαι (roomai) means to move with speed or violence, to rush on, especially of warriors or horse's manes streaming in the wind. It obviously relates to the previous (whether formally or merely by association). This verb is common in Homer but not used in the New Testament. It's of unclear origin and from it (probably) derive:

  • The noun ρωμη (rome) means strength or might, but mostly in a dynamic and collective sort of way: of nations and armies and such. It may also mean confidence. This noun is not used in the New Testament but we list it here because it is identical to the name Rome.
  • The curious verb ρωννυμι (rhonnumi) means to strengthen or be in good health and may even indicate eagerness or enthusiasm (in the sense of displaying strength of will and mind). In the New Testament, our verb occurs in Acts 15:29 and 23:30 only, only as cheerful imperative: have good health! It's not perfectly clear how this verb relates to the previous verb (as parent, derivative, or accidentally similar), and like the previous of unknown origin. It's also the only Greek word that starts with the letters ρων- (ron-), which suggests that it may not even be Greek. Conveniently, in Hebrew exists the cheerful verb רנן (ranan), to produce a ringing cry (out of joyous cheer, distress or to introduce a declaration of some sort). Derived nouns רן (ron), רנה (rinna) and רננה (renana) all describe ringing cries. The plural noun רננים (renanim) refers to birds that deliver piercing cries. A not dissimilar verb in Greek would be βοαω (boao), to roar or cry out, which relates to βυας (buas), a kind of owl, whence the verb βυζω (buzo), to hoot, and of course the name Boanerges. From our verb ρωννυμι (rhonnumi), to be in good health, comes:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the adjective αρρωστος (arrostos), meaning not in good health, not enthusiastic. In the classics this word could also describe weakness or feebleness in a moral sense, and perhaps even of morale (argued by the connection to enthusiasm). In that sense, our adjective may mean depressed or oppressed (for whatever reason). It's used 5 times; see full concordance

The verb ερεω (ereo) means to verbally convey. It's clearly related to the verb ρεω (reo), meaning to flow, and is often spelled the same (without the leading ε). Speaking to the Greeks was what snow is to Eskimos, and our verb ερεω (ereo) appears to emphasize the associative flowing out of words, rather than the actual message (λεγω, lego) or the act of emitting information (επω, epo), or simply to babble (λαλεω, laleo). Heraclitus' famous dictum doesn't only mean "everything flows" but also "everything speaks," which brings to mind Jesus' assertion that man should live on not only bread but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Also see the verb ερειδω (ereido), to fix firmly or ridicule.

Our verb is used 95 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:

  • Together with both the particle of negation α (a), meaning without, and the preposition αντι (anti), meaning against: the adjective αναντιρρητος (anantirretos), meaning not to be spoken against, or verbally unopposable (Acts 19:36 only). From this adjective in turn comes:
    • The adverb αναντιρρητως (anantirretos), meaning without verbal opposition (Acts 10:29 only).
  • Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the verb παραρρεω (pararreo), meaning to flow by. This verb was used to describe how an adrift ship might float by, and came to be applied to describe situations in which something or someone slipped away or glided by, with implied absence of immediate detection (Hebrews 2:1 only).
  • The noun ρημα (rema), uttering. This noun occurs mostly in plural, in which it denotes speech or saying(s). It's used 69 times; see full concordance.
  • The noun ρητωρ (retor), meaning speaker (hence our English word rhetoric). This noun is used in Acts 24:1 only.
  • The adverb ρητος (retos), meaning uttered or spoken (1 Timothy 4:1 only). In the classics this word mostly modified the declaring of a covenant or formal statement or perhaps some famous dictum. From this adverb comes:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning without: the adjective αρρηος (arretos), meaning unutterable (2 Corinthians 12:4 only).

The verb ερευναω (ereunao) means to search out, track, explore or scrutinize. From this verb comes the modern Greek noun ερευνα (ereuna), meaning research. In the classics this verb was also used to describe the examination of someone by interrogation or quiz. It's used 6 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derives:

  • Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εξερευναω (exereunao), also meaning to search out, but with an apparent emphasis on the final extraction of information: to scrutinize and extract information out of (1 Peter 1:10 only). From this verb in turn comes:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the adjective ανεξερευνητος (anexereunetos), meaning inscrutable, or perhaps unfathomable or rather inexhaustible, since the Lord's ways are certainly scrutable (Romans 1:20, 1 Corinthians 2:10) but not exhaustibly so. This thoughtful word occurs in Romans 11:33 only, which appears to reflect Proverbs 25:3, which uses the verb חקר (haqar), to search.

The verb ερεθιζω (erethizo) means to irritate, agitate or provocate (2 Corinthians 9:2 and Colossians 3:21 only). It stems from a verb of similar meaning, ερεθω (eretho), which is much rarer in the classics and unused in the New Testament. From this root come ever useful nouns such as ερεθισμα (erethisma), provocation, and ερεθιστος (erethistos), one who is irritated or easily provoked (both unused in the NT).

These words appear to relate to the familiar adjective ορθος (orthos), straight, erect or upright, and stem from the Proto-Indo-European root "herd-", to rise. But a creative poet might be forgiven to relate them to the verbs ρεω (reo), to flow, and ερεω (ereo), to verbally convey, we discuss above.

Associated Biblical names