Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb φευγω (pheugo) is part of a very old root, which also exists in Sanskrit and Latin (as the verb fuga). It means to take flight (often from military aggression), or to escape from or avoid a thing or situation. In classical Greek literature this verb is sometimes also used to denote banishment or exile. See our article on this verb's opposite, namely διωκω (dioko), to hound, for a lengthy look at the single process that comprises both.
In the Bible our verb is used to describe sudden departure out of fear (Matthew 26:56, Mark 5:14, John 10:5), a calculated escape from a dangerous situation (Matthew 2:13, Acts 27:30) or negative repercussions (Hebrews 12:25, Matthew 3:7) or toward safety (Matthew 24:16). It's used to describe how death remains unobtainable to men who seek it (Revelation 9:6) or how the devil flees from those who resist him (James 4:7). Similarly, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14).
Our verb is used 31 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and comes with the following derivations:
- Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αποφευγω (apopheugo), meaning to flee from, to escape (2 Peter 1:4, 2:18 and 2:20 only).
- Together with the preposition δια (dia), meaning through: the verb διαφευγω (diapheugo), meaning to flee through or escape by flight (Acts 27:42 only).
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the verb εκφευγω (ekpheugo), meaning to flee out of; to escape. This verb is used 7 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the prefix κατα (kata), meaning down from or down upon: the verb καταφευγω (katapheugo), meaning to flee toward safety (Acts 14:6 and Hebrews 6:18 only).
- The noun φυγη (phuge), meaning flight (Matthew 24:20 and Mark 13:18 only).