Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb ποιεω (poieo) mostly means to do and is mostly translated as such (John 5:19, 1 Corinthians 7:38, Ephesians 6:9). But it may also be used in the sense of to make or bring about, and the object of this verb can be anything that requires some level of contemplation or effort: the "doing" or bringing forth of the whole of creation (Acts 4:24), the "doing" as someone said (Matthew 1:20), or the "doing" of good (Matthew 21:43, Galatians 6:9).
Our verb may express "straightening" a path in the wilderness (Matthew 3:3), "yielding" fruits (Matthew 7:17) or "sprouting" branches (Mark 4:32), "establishing" a core of emissaries (Mark 3:14) or "training" recruits (Matthew 4:19), "turning" hair color (Matthew 5:36) or proselytes (Matthew 23:15), "putting" folks outside (Acts 5:34), "spending" time (Acts 18:23) or, specifically, a year (James 4:13) or a day (2 Corinthians 11:25), "setting up" tents (Matthew 17:4), "giving" alms (Acts 9:36), "weaving" a conspiracy (Mark 3:6), "committing" murder (Acts 15:7), "keeping" the law (John 7:19) or traditions (Acts 16:21), "executing" judgment (John 5:27), "waging" war (Revelation 12:17), and "performing" miracles (Revelation 16:14).
One may "make" laments (Acts 8:2), remembrance (Romans 1:9), progress (Luke 13:22), diligence (Jude 1:3), clarity (Matthew 26:73), restoration (Mark 7:37), lawlessness (1 John 3:4), transgressions (Romans 16:17) and falsehood (Revelation 22:15), or righteousness (1 John 3:7) and peace (Ephesians 2:15, James 3:18), a crowd (Acts 24:12), slaves (Revelation 13:16), little souvenir shrines (Acts 19:24), or plans (Romans 13:14). A mina may "make" five (Luke 19:18). One may "make" friends (Luke 16:9), "make" sure one's calling and election (2 Peter 1:10), or "make himself out" to be something (this particular usage appears to occur exclusively in John: John 5:18, 8:53, 19:7, 19:12), or someone else to be something (1 John 5:10).
Our verb may be used in a similar sense as our English colloquialism "to make trouble" (Romans 3:8), or "what do you make of this?" (Mark 11:5; compare German: was machst du?). One may "bring about" a state of purchased freedom, which obviously means one bought someone on a slave market and then released them (Luke 1:68). One may "bring about" a big feast, which means to throw one (Luke 5:29). One may "bring about" a dispensing of justice, which in Moses' case entailed the whacking of an Egyptian (Acts 7:24). Olive trees "bring about" olives, a fountain "brings about" either salt or fresh water (James 3:12), and Paul and Barnabas "brought about" mega-joy (Acts 15:3).
God "established" humans as men and women (Matthew 19:4). He "established" the inside of things along with their outsides (Luke 11:40). He "established" Jesus lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). And his hand "established" all things (Acts 7:50). God "accomplished" great things among the gentiles by means of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:12), and both the world (Hebrews 1:2) and his eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:11), who in turn "made" his people a kingdom of priests to God (Revelation 1:6). These people, in turn, "do" the will of the Father (Mark 3:35, Ephesians 6:6, Revelation 22:14), which both means that they follow his directives, serve as agents in bringing about his designs (John 6:28), and as the constitutional elements of the final product (Matthew 7:21, 1 John 2:17).
In Revelation 13:14 our verb occurs twice in one statement, making it seem that by "doing" the power of the first beast, the second beast was "making" its image. Similarly, in Revelation 17:17, God puts it in people's hearts to "do" his will, and therewith to "make" one mind.
Altogether, our verb occurs 576 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and comes with the following derivations:
- Together with the noun ειρηνη (eirene), meaning peace: the verb ειρηνοποιεω (eirenopoieo), meaning to peace-make. Making peace can of course be done in all sorts of ways, but the peace meant here describes a situation in which all parties can exist without being clipped of essential elements (read our article on the familiar Hebrew word שלם, shalom, for a closer look at this majestic but difficult principle). Our Greek word occurs in the New Testament only in Colossians 1:20, but from it derives:
- The adjective ειρηνοποιος (eirenopoios), meaning peace-maker (and that is not a compromise-maker or "the guy with the bigger gun"). Our word is used only once, as a substantive, in the famous statement of Jesus that the peacemakers shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).
- Together with the adjective ζωος (zoos), meaning living or alive: the verb ζωοποιεω (zoopoieo), meaning to make alive. This verb is used most often in reference to the resurrection as a general principle and occurs 12 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. From it derives:
- Together with the adjective κακος (kakos), meaning bad or wicked: the adjective κακοποιος (kakopoios), literally to mis-give or to cause misgivings, meaning trouble-making in the sense of disrupting society and causing the opposite of a happy, healthy and wealthy world. In the New Testament this word is only used as a substantive, meaning trouble-maker, but it should be noted that in the Roman world, trouble-making was considered both an act of treason as well as blasphemy against the state deities, and would be punished by mass-crucifixion of everybody involved. Traditional translations interpret this word as "evildoer", but the evil came from the Roman retaliation rather than the act itself. Our word is used 5 times, see full concordance, and from it derives:
- Together with the adjective καλος (kalos), mean good or rather godly: the verb καλοποιεω (kalopoieo), meaning to do good (2 Thessalonians 3:13 only).
- Together with the noun μοσχος (moschos), meaning calf: the curious verb μοσχοποιεω (moschopoieo), meaning to calf-make. It's used in Acts 7:41 only, where it describes Israel's fabrication of the golden calf.
- Together with the noun οχλος (ochlos), meaning crowd: the verb οχλοποιεω (ochlopoieo), meaning to crowd-make; to raise a crowd (Acts 17:5 only).
- Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the curious verb περιποιεω (peripoieo), which appears to express an agricultural process, namely to enclose; the establishing of a circumference around something that one considers property (predominantly a herd, one would surmise). It means to pocket, purchase or acquire in the sense that one makes the enclosed items his own. This verb occurs in Acts 20:28 and 1 Timothy 3:13 only. From it comes:
- The noun περιποιησις (peripoiesis), which describes whatever it was one built his fence around; an acquisition or purchase. This noun occurs 5 times in the New Testament, and is exclusively applied to the "pocketing" of the members of the Body of Christ; see full concordance.
- The noun ποιημα (poiema), which denotes a thing made, done or brought about; a production (Romans 1:20 and Ephesians 2:10 only).
- The noun ποιησις (poiesis), which denotes the act of making or doing. This word appears only in James 1:25, along with the next word: the "doer" of the work is blessed in the "doing" of it.
- The noun ποιητης (poietes), which denotes a maker or doer. In the New Testament this word is most often used generally (as a "doer/maker" of whatever) but once it obviously describes a producer of the literary persuasion: a composer/writer (Acts 17:28). Our noun occurs 6 times: see full concordance.
- Together with the prefix προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the verb προσποιεομαι (prospoieomai), quite literally meaning to make-believe or to pretend (German: vorgeben). This verb occurs in Luke 24:28 and John 8:6 only, and both times it Jesus who's making a deliberate show of things. John 8:6 finishes with our verb preceded by a negation, which the King James Version interpreted as "as though he heard them not," but perhaps this statement rather explains how Jesus refused to let them on, or in on, what he was up to.
- Together with the noun σκηνη (skene), meaning shelter: the noun σκηνοποιος (skenopoios), meaning shelter-maker. It occurs only in Acts 18:3, where it is applied to Aquila, Priscilla and Paul.
- Together with the noun χειρ (cheir), meaning hand: the adjective χειροποιητος (cheiropoietos), meaning made by hands, manufactured (from the Latin word manus, meaning hand, and facere, to perform). This noun occurs 6 times, see full concordance, and from it derives:
- Together with the particle of negation α (a): the noun αχειροποιητος (acheiropoietos), which denotes something that's not made by hands; something natural. It occurs only three times in the New Testament; twice it refers to the Body of Christ (Mark 14:58, 2 Corinthians 5:1) and once to the "circumcision" of/in Christ (Colossians 2:11, also see our article on the verb περιτεμνω, peritemno, to circumcise).