Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb πλεω (pleo) means to float or sail; to move on or through water. Below (under the noun πλοιον, ploion, boat), we briefly discuss the many correspondences between sailing a ship and governing a nation. Note the striking similarity between our verb πλεω (pleo) and the adjective πλειων (pleion), meaning more, which is the comparative of πολυς (polus), meaning many. This word in turn looks a lot like the noun πολις (polis), meaning city, and ancient cities usually developed near major rivers: see our article on the Tigris.
Our verb πλεω (pleo) is used a mere 6 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- Together with the preposition απο (apo), meaning from: the verb αποπλεω (apopleo), meaning to sail from. This verb is used 4 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the adjective βραδυς (bradus), meaning slow: the verb βραδυπλοεω (braduploeo), meaning to sail slow, to drift (Acts 27:7 only).
- Together with the preposition δια (dia), meaning through: the verb διαπλεω (diapleo), meaning to sail through or across (Acts 27:5 only).
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the verb εκπλεω (ekpleo), meaning to sail out (Acts 15:39, 18:18 and 20:6 only).
- Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb καταπλεω (katapleo), meaning to sail down [a stream] or sail back. This verb also became a technical term denoting landing or docking a boat; coming ashore (Luke 8:26 only).
- Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the verb παραπλεω (parapleo), meaning to sail by or past (Acts 20:16 only).
- The noun πλοιον (ploion), meaning boat. The disciples were fishers, so this word occurs rather often: 67 times; see full concordance. But Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19) and the Greek word for ship, namely ναυς (naus), bears a striking resemblance to the word ναος (naos), meaning temple. Liquid water is a major component of earth's hydrological cycle, which in Biblical theology provides a major metaphor for cognition; see our article on the noun νεφελη (nephele), cloud. From the verb κυβερναω (kubernao), to steer (a ship), came the English words government and cybernetics (i.e. the study of control). From this noun in turn derives:
- The diminutive noun πλοιαριον (ploiarion), meaning little boat or sloop. This noun is used 6 times; see full concordance.
- The noun πλοος (ploos), meaning a sailing, that is: a journey by ship (this word relates to our parent verb the way the English noun "a walk" relates to the verb "to walk"). This word occurs in Acts 21:7, 27:9 and 27:10 only.
- Together with the preposition υπο (hupo) meaning under: the verb υποπλεω (hupopleo), literally meaning to sail under but taken to mean under the lee of (Acts 27:4 and 27:7 only).
Unused in the New Testament, the adjective απλοος (aploos) combines the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or un-, with the noun πλοος (ploos), meaning a sailing (see above). It literally means un-sailable: unseaworthy (of ships) or not navigable (or seas and ocean passages). On playful occasion this word describes a non-seafarer or land-lubber. This word is clearly similar to the following (which doubtlessly invited poets to creative wordplay):
The adjective απλοος (haploos) means one-fold or singular, simple, consistent, straightforward, frank; the opposite of complex, inconsistent, obscure or overly verbose (hence our English prefix haplo- as in haplogroup). From this word's Latin equivalent, namely simplus, comes our English word simple.
This very special adjective combines a prefix with a suffix. The prefix is the "collecting" α- (a-), the same prefix that formed the noun αδελφος (adelphos), meaning brother or womb-mate, from the noun δελφυς (delphus), meaning womb.
The suffix is -πλοος (-ploos), which forms adjectives indicating repetition or multiplication: -fold, as in διπλοος (diploos), twofold; τριπλοος (triploos), trifold; τετραπλοος (tetraploos), fourfold, and so on. But note the similarities with maritime terms like αγχιπλοος (agchiploos), near by sea (as opposed to far by land); διαπλοος (diaploos), a sailing through or continuously; ταχυπλοος (tachuploos), quick-sailing, and so on.
Our adjective occurs in Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34 only, both times in reference to the human eye, which in modern times is often hailed for its remarkable complexity. Still, the word used for eye refers to one's sight rather than to one's physical eye, and Jesus statements relate to algorithmic observation rather than simply seeing.
Algorithmic thought — that is "lawful" thought, or thought based on general rules that always work identically for everybody (Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, 1 Timothy 5:21, Hebrews 13:8), rather than "lawless" thought, or thought based one's specific feelings that vary on mood and time of day — is the basis of all justice, intelligence and abstract thought. Abstractions are "things" that are real but can't be seen because they have no physical aspect: things like love, honor or virtue are all very real but can only be considered when one thinks in algorithms rather than experience.
Thinking in general rules make the whole chaotic world an ordered and increasingly simple affair, which is why scientists hope to one day be able to describe the whole of everything in an utterly simply Theory of Everything. God is One, which is why the Divine Nature is clearly observed (Romans 1:20) from the harmonic working-together of all things (Romans 8:28), and can be partaken in by humans who are capable of lawful thought (2 Peter 1:4, Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 12:10). God, or the Oneness Of All Things, is both the hardest thing to imagine and the simplest abstraction possible: the focal point of all law (Isaiah 45:6-7).
A definition of divinity that fails to incorporate literally all the things that the Creator placed on our earth, and much rather equals the Oneness Of All Things That I Personally Like, leads to fascism and the destruction of all things deemed unworthy. That deplorable position is both common and utterly detrimental, and must always ultimately result in a complete collapse of All Things Favored. Both salvation and utter destruction always comes in the stone that the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22). This in turn means that salvation comes not from the way one glorifies what one knows, but rather from the respect that one shows to the things unknown, unfavored and unrecognized. People who confuse Truth with their own personal faith, also confuse themselves with God. People who judge and condemn, even if the object of their judgment is satan, will follow satan into Gehenna. People who are saved, are saved because they don't judge, not even satan (Jude 1:9).
From our adjective derive:
- The noun απλοτης (haplothes), meaning simplicity, or rather: consistency from rules that work the same always and for everybody. This noun is used 8 times; see full concordance.
- The adverb απλως (haplos), meaning sincerely or consistently with a consistency from rules that work the same always and for everybody (James 1:5 only).