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

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/k/k-a-l-u-p-t-om.html


Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The verb καλυπτω (kalupto) means to envelop, wrap or cover, and applies mostly to knowledge (in its broadest sense), which is notoriously covered and must be discovered by the passionate investigator. The nymph who kept Odysseus for seven years on the island Ogygia (means primeval) was named Calypso (καλυψω, kalupso). This indicates that, even on this island, Odysseus wasn't merely lounging about but preparing to embark on a journey of exploration: "... many men's townships he saw, and learned their ways of thinking" (Od.1.3) — and see our article on Hellas for a lengthy look at the relation between Homer and Moses.

The familiar noun μυστηριον (musterion), meaning mystery, comes from the verb μυω (muo), to cover. The nephew of patriarch Abraham was called Lot, which likewise means covering or wrapping. And the cover of the Ark of the Covenant was called כפרת (kapporet), from the verb כפר (kapar), to cover, from which also comes the name Yom Kippur, meaning Day of Atonement. "Love (αγαπη, agape) will cover (καλυπτω, kalupto) a multitude of sins", explains Peter in 1 Peter 4:8.

It's quite unclear where our verb comes from, or even whether it is of Indo-European stock (as most Greek is). Since the Greek alphabet is an adaptation of the Phoenician abjad, several core concepts of information technology were imported along with it, and since our verb deals with the uncovering of knowledge — information technology is not merely about the conscious storage and retrieval of known data, but also about the synchronization of human minds, and thus the retrieval of data that exists spread out over many separate minds, like a dream that society has — it may be (and this is a wild guess of us here at Abarim Publications) that our verb καλυπτω (kalupto) has something to do with the phrase כלפד (kalappid), meaning "like a torch", which occurs in Isaiah 62:1, Daniel 10:6, Nahum 2:4 and Zechariah 12:6 (also see Genesis 15:17, Judges 7:16 and 2 Corinthians 4:7).

When very early humans were anatomically capable of speech, but had not yet developed a single word, their private thoughts existed like juice inside individual grapes. Language turned those grapes into wine.

The first words emerged when large groups of people began to imitate each other's verbal expressions, and over eons, entire basins of human interaction eventually converged upon the common point of gravity of what to call a thing. This gradual convergence upon a common and consensual point is what allowed language to form and ultimately thoughts to be exchanged (Luke 2:35).

From complex standards of language came the complex social codes that make us human. Then came law, which formalized humanity's common center of ethics, and science, which formalized humanity's common center of knowledge. And it will ultimately result in the New Jerusalem and an intimate understanding of the singular nature of the Creator (Revelation 21:22).

Truth, therefore, is not something that has to be obtained from some impossible place by some heroic explorer and brought into mankind from outside, but is something that has always existed, buried deep within humanity (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Luke 17:21, Ephesians 4:6), and which is manifested when human society contracts, cools off and reaches a state of internal synchronicity (Matthew 28:20, Revelation 21:2). Truth is what all humans will ultimately agree on, and sin is what all humans will unanimously do away with (Isaiah 40:5, Luke 3:6).

In modern times, the plant Eucalyptus, the "well-covered one", was named from the prefix ευ (eu), meaning good or well (or pretty), plus our verb, on account of natural covers that protect its young blossoms.

Our verb καλυπτω (kalupto) is used 8 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:

  • Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on, upon, again or upwardly: the verb ανακαλυπτω (anakalupto), meaning to uncover, or rather to recover (implying an earlier deliberate and temporary covering). In the Classics, this verb is used in the sense of to reveal, to be clear and transparent (as opposed to cryptic and vague), or literally in the sense of removing some disposable cover from a well-known and precious item. In the New Testament, it's used in 2 Corinthians 3:14 and 3:18 only.
  • Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αποκαλυπτω (apokalupto), which also means to uncover, but contrary to the previous, this verb speaks of discovering something new, or rather something that was there all along, but which existed inherently covered and had to be dug up or won: human language, human understanding of natural law, consensual truth, the nature of God, the Logos, the New Jerusalem; all instances of so-called emergent properties.
    The point is made that God hides these things from the wise and "reveals" them to children (Matthew 11:25), which does not add up to a license to be ignorant, but rather an urge to not judge (Matthew 7:1) and not band under banners that severs one from the population at large (Song of Solomon 2:4). The "wise" in this case are the opinionated, who think they're better than the rest, whereas the "children" are those who feel intimate kinship with anything that moves (other kids, dogs, worms, clouds, stars). God makes the sun shine on all (Matthew 5:43-48), and these wonderful things will be revealed only to everybody and not to a select few. The Bible is certainly not about propagating some exclusive religion, but instead explains how the special talents of some of us are only there to serve all of us (Genesis 22:18, Isaiah 40:5, Joel 2:28). This magnificent verb is used 26 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
    • The noun αποκαλυψις (apokalupsis), meaning discovery, disclosure or revelation — hence the familiar word apocalypse, which does not describe some disastrous end of the world but rather a discovery of all things hidden, including dead people (Daniel 7:10, Matthew 10:26, Luke 8:17, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Revelation 20:12-13).
      Here at Abarim Publications we roguishly prefer the word "discovery" over the word "revelation", since the latter implies an utterly external Almighty who reveals otherwise unobtainable things to an inert audience, whereas the former implies an active and eager audience that contracts and matures under the eternal guidance of the Almighty, and hence sets out to become intimately familiar with the Goings On (Matthew 2:2). As any teacher will attest, pupils to whom all things are revealed will never amount to much (or be anything other than screen-watchers, voters and blamers), but pupils who are inspired and handed the tools to little-by-little carve out their own paths, will eventually rise above their guidance and become like their teachers. This splendid noun is used 18 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επικαλυπτω (epikalupto), meaning to cover over, to shroud, to veil (Romans 4:7 only). From this verb comes:
    • The noun επικαλυμμα (epikalumma), meaning a covering-over, a shroud, a veil (1 Peter 2:16 only).
  • The noun καλυμμα (kalumma), meaning a covering. In the classics this word is often used to mean any sort of hood, veil or head-covering, but also spans a wide generic range of covering items (sacks, cloaks, eye lids, grave lids, fruits shells, and so on). In the New Testament this word is used 4 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb κατακαλυπτω (katakalupto), meaning to cover with a down-hanging item: a veil (1 Corinthians 11:6 and 11:7 only). From this verb comes:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the adjective ακατακαλυπτος (akaktakaluptos), meaning without a veil (1 Corinthians 11:5 and 11:13 only). This word and the previous one occur in a notoriously difficult passage, also because Paul invokes an element of natural law that's not easily recognized: according to Paul, nature teaches that a man should have short hair and a woman long (11:14). Here at Abarim Publications we don't have the answers either, but we've pondered the hair-aspect of this issue somewhat in a 2008 article on Hair in the Bible.
  • Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the verb παρακαλυπτω (parakalupto), meaning to cover "sideways", to hide something by disguising it (rather than making it entirely invisible), to remove something from obvious sight by setting it aside or just out of sight (Luke 9:45 only).
  • Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περικαλυπτω (perikalupto), meaning to cover all around (typical of a blindfold). This verb also appears to have been used as slang for getting hammered (very drunk). It occurs in the New Testament in Mark 14:65, Luke 22:64 and Hebrews 9:4 only, and note the gracious association made between Jesus' blindfold during his trial and the gold of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or jointly: the verb συγκαλυπτω (sugkalupto), meaning to jointly hide or cover all together. This verb is the Greek equivalent of our modern phrasal verb to cover up: to hide all elements of a potential scandal in a unified effort by some authoritative office (Luke 12:2 only).

The verb κρυπτω (krupto), hence English words like crypt and cryptology, means to cover, hide or conceal. It too is of unknown pedigree, but scholars have proposed a close kinship with the verb καλυπτω (kalupto), to envelop, wrap or cover, which we discuss above (and which may be Semitic rather than Indo-European). Our verb κρυπτω (krupto) differs from καλυπτω (kalupto) in that it tends to describe a willful hiding, and describes the physical burial of tangible items as often as a figurative concealment of information (by simply withholding information, by deception or misleading rhetoric, or by going around in disguise).

Our verb κρυπτω (krupto) mostly means to bury or hide, mostly in order to temporarily protect a thing or person from violators, and with the explicit intent of digging it up again once the coast is clear. In the classics it frequently describes a literal burial of something in the earth, but also the setting of stars below the horizon.

Our verb is used 16 times, see full concordance, in the New Testament, and from it derive:

  • Again together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αποκρυπτω (apokrupto), meaning to hide from, with the from-part mostly referring to general sight: to hide from sight. This verb is used 6 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
    • The adjective αποκρυφος (apokruphos), meaning hidden or concealed (Mark 4:22, Luke 8:17 and Colossians 2:3 only). From this word comes our English term apocrypha, which originally described texts hidden from public circulation, for whatever reason. To modern freedom-loving sentiments, the idea of a though-police forbidding certain texts may be rather revolting, but it should be remembered that upon the collapse of the Roman Empire, the collective mind of humanity lay openly wounded for all manner of nonsense to infect it. The Gospel of Christ is the most precious idea mankind has ever come up with, but after the liquidation of Rome, mankind needed a period of protected incubation to solidify upon a sustainable mold. Ask around and not many people will guess it correctly, but the purpose of the Gospel is to settle mankind in a state of ελευτερια (eleutheria), which is freedom-by-law, the opposite of anarchy, which is lawless freedom (see Galatians 5:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:24). When some kind of societal collapse occurs and humanity at large is forced to go through a period of childlike innocence, whatever collective or governmental maturity is left will rightfully declare certain texts off limits, until humanity has returned to a level of scientific rigor at which it can review certain follies without being swept up by them. For this same reason, many governments today still ban Hitler's Mein Kampf.
  • Together with the preposition εν (en), meaning in, at, on: the verb εγκρυπτω (egkrupto), meaning to hide or bury in or within something (Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:21 only).
  • The adjective κρυπτος (kruptos), meaning hidden or concealed, and when used substantially, a hidden thing or a thing of hiding: a thing in which to hide. This word implies both the vulnerable preciousness of what is hidden, as well as the care and concern of whoever did the hiding. As with the parent verb, this adjective speaks of a temporary concealment, to protect a thing from potential violators, with the explicit intention to bring it back in the open again when the threat is gone. This adjective is used 19 times; see full concordance.
  • The adverb κρυφη (kruphe), meaning secretly, or in a way that protects something precious from a temporary threat, but with the intent to reveal it once the coast has cleared (Ephesians 5:12 only).
  • Again together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περικρυπτω (perikrupto), which appears to emphasize an all-round or complete-in-all-aspects of a hiding (Luke 1:24 only).