Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The curious verb φενω (pheno) means to slay. It appears to have evolved from the verb θεινω (theino), to strike or wound (not used in the New Testament), and particularly from an aorist form επεφνον (hepephnon). But in an obvious case of convergent evolution, our verb φενω (pheno) appears to mimic the appearances of the verb φαω (phao), to emit, and its own twin offspring: the verb φαινω (phaino), to emit light (the word for light is φως, phos), and φονεω (phoneo), to emit sound (sound is φονη, phone).
This begs the question: are the verbs φενω (pheno), to slay, and φαω (phao), to emit, similar like moth and butterfly, only superfluously and not at all to a critical observer who recognizes the vastly divergent deeper qualities? Or are they similar like pug and St. Bernard, who look very different on the outside but are in fact quite the same?
Here at Abarim Publications we don't know either, but the idea that one's soul leaves one's body upon death seems to consolidate much of this conundrum. And then of course there are nuclear fusion of elements lighter than iron and nuclear fission of elements heavier than iron, which release energy and could be described as kinds of slaying. So yes, maybe, populations of Greek speakers — and particularly Greek speakers who contemplated life and death and the modes of transit between them, and who routinely pressed grapes into wine and wrath into war — could be expected to draw a natural twig from a trunk of violence and graft it forgivingly on a trunk of information technology.
Our verb φενω (pheno), to slay, isn't used independently in the New Testament, but from it come the following derivations and compounds:
- The noun φονος (phonos), meaning a murder, a slaying. This word may obviously literally describe the killing of someone, but since the Bible maintains that living and breathing persons may very well be "dead in their trespasses and sin" (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13), someone who causes someone else to sin is also a murderer (Malachi 2:8, Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:1, Romans 14:13). On the mountain, Jesus proclaimed that the ancients had been told "You shall not murder [φονευω, phoneuo, see below]", but added that anyone who is angry with his brother is equally guilty (Matthew 5:21-22).
Life, like electricity, it not a substance but an effect of which light is the substance. And that means (irrespective of how the technicals might line up) that life is essentially a network of electromagnetic contributions of organic and inorganic compounds. Likewise, spiritual life or intellectual life is mostly a matter of the network effect of many informed, better informed and lesser informed participants. Life is all about the ability of placing participants in their best-performing order, and any anger or other act of violence demonstrates a failure or absence of that ability. That means that as much as life leads to life, so death leads to death. This noun 10 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- Together with the noun ανηρ (aner), man: the noun ανδροφονος (androphonos), meaning manslayer, or rather male-slayer (1 Timothy 1:9 only)
- The verb φονευω (phoneuo), meaning to commit an act of murder, or simply to murder. The difference between this verb and φενω (pheno) is rather technical and the distinction is more legal than practical. Our present verb tends to describe an illegal killing, that is a deliberate termination of a life that's not one's property, and which occurs outside of a military or otherwise state-sanctioned context. This verb is used 12 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
- The noun φονευς (phoneus), meaning a murderer, someone who has committed an act of murder. This noun is used 7 times; see full concordance.