Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
There are three different verbs that were spelled as κλειω (kleio) in the dialect of the epic poetry of Homer and followers. Epic Greek was used until the third century BC but became wholly surpassed by Koine Greek (the Greek of the New Testament), in which our verbs are spelled differently and are obviously separate. Still, learned authors such as Paul were undoubtedly aware of these ancient similarities; similarities that would certainly have had meaning to creative poets:
- The verb κλειω (kleio), to shut or close (see below). This is the regular form of this verb.
- The verb κλεω (kleo), to celebrate (see below). The name of the muse Κλειω (Kleio, or Clio) is commonly derived from this verb, although it's spelled the same as the previous verb.
- The verb καλεω (kaleo), to call, from which comes the noun εκκλεσια (ekklesia), the "called-out", the name of the church. In Homeric Greek, this verb was spelled κλειω (kleio).
The verb κλεω (kleo) isn't used in the Bible, but it's generally considered the root of the first part of names like Cleopas and Cleopatra. In Greek literature there is even a Muse called Κλειω (Clio, daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, or memory).
Our verb describes a verbal glorifying: to tell about someone, to forward one's fame, to propagandize. In the classics this verb also covered the discussion of men and gods in lyric poetry (since that is what theogonies were designed to do: to forward the fame of a deity by means of discussing his or her deeds).
The only Biblical derivation of our verb is the noun κλεος (kleos), which describes the fame, repute or renown purported by means of the verb. It occurs only once in the New Testament, namely in 1 Peter 2:20.
The verb κλειω (kleio) means to shut or close. As mentioned above, in Homer this verb was spelled identical to κλεω (kleo), to celebrate, and the link between these two meanings also exists within the verb χαιρω (chairo), to be glad or rejoice (hence words like charity and charisma), which stems from the Proto-Indo-European root "gher- I", to like or want. The identical root "gher- II" means to enclose or shut in (hence words like court and garden).
These two meanings meet in words like choir and chorus, which are enclosures in which people celebrate, and the whole bridge is explained by the enigmatic noun ελευθερια (eleutheria), or freedom-by-law: freedom obtained when participants willingly submit to a common law. Without a joint adherence to common rules, there can be no choral singing. And a joint adherence to common rules is also required to obtain freedom of speech, since freedom of speech begins to exist when all speakers begin to adhere to the rules that govern the language. In Galatians 5:1, Paul submits that eleutheria, or freedom-by-law, is the very purpose of the gospel.
Our verb κλειω (kleio), to shut or close, speaks of inclusivity and exclusivity and creates divisions between inner and outer realms. It is used 16 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αποκλειω (apokleio), meaning to shut away from, or to shut off (Luke 13:25 only).
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εκκλειω (ekkleio), to shut out, to exclude (Romans 3:27 and Galatians 4:17 only). Note the similarity with the aforementioned verb εκκαλεω (ekkaleo), to call out, from which derives εκκλεσια (ekklesia), the called-out, or assembly.
- Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb κατακλειω (katakleio), meaning to shut up, to confine, to imprison (Luke 3:20 and Acts 26:10 only).
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or jointly: the verb συγκλειω (sugkleio), meaning to jointly shut, to collectively capture. This verb is used 4 times; see full concordance.