Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun σκευος (skeuos) describes a portable utensil or implement of any kind, and in plural it's often used collectively to denote a household's pots and pans, utensils, outfit, gear, baggage, even farming or military equipment (as opposed to live stock, realty and fixtures). It's unclear where it came from but possibly from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning to carry out or perform, that may have left a faint mark in Germanic and Slavic languages.
The emphasis of our noun lies on the utility and usefulness of the gear it describes, and although translations of the New Testament tend to speak of the body as a static "vessel" for the soul to float in (2 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Timothy 2:21), the body is much rather the "gear" that the soul uses to accomplish work with.
This noun is used 23 times, see full concordance, and from it derives:
- The verb σκευαζω (skeuazo), meaning to prepare or make ready. In the classics this verb is used in an as broad and general sense as the parent noun: from dressing up food to arranging weapons or defenses, furnishing buildings and equipping people with items they need. In the New Testament this verb occurs only as part of the following compounds:
- Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb ανασκευαζω (anaskeuazo), meaning pack up (of baggage), divert (of marching soldiers), dismantle (a house or city), demolish (an argument), reverse (a judgement). It occurs in Acts 15:24 only.
- Together with the preposition επι (epi) meaning on or upon: the verb επισκευαζω (episkeuazo), meaning to add to one's equipment, perhaps to restock depleted reserves or in preparation for a more challenging leg of one's journey. This verb occurs in Acts 21:15 only — that is to say, in the Byzantine Majority Text that we here at Abarim Publications use. Some other texts use the verb αποσκευαζω (aposkeuazo), which combines our parent verb with απο (apo), meaning from, and thus means the precise opposite, namely to reduce one's equipment for, let's say, matters of efficiency. This verb occurs in the verse in which Paul sets out for Jerusalem from Caesarea, having come from Macedonia, so it's hard to imagine what special supplies he would have taken on for his last bit of travel. Still, even a day's journey requires proper stocking, so it remains unclear what verb author Luke had originally used.
- Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb κατασκευαζω (kataskeuazo), meaning to ready, cook up, furnish or prepare fully and wholly for some particular objective or specified task. This verb is used 11 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the preposition παρα (para) meaning near or nearby: the verb παρασκευαζω (paraskeuazo), meaning to prepare something so that it completes an already fixed other thing (or group of people, or endeavor, and so on). It's often used to describe a getting up and at 'em, or a getting something (mostly food) ready for oneself, or an adapting of a thing for some novel purpose. Often this verb is used in the sense of preparing oneself for some task. It's used 4 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
- Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the adjective απαρασκευαστος (aparaskeuastos), meaning un-readied or unprepared (2 Corinthians 9:4 only).
- The noun παρασκευη (paraskeue), meaning preparation or a getting ready. This word is used in the New Testament as generic term indicated the day of preparation for the Sabbath, or for the Passover feast. It's used 6 times; see full concordance.
- The noun σκευη (skeue), meaning outfit, bells and whistles and all. In the classics this word mostly describes the attires and apparel associated to various professions (singers, actors, soldiers, priests), and on occasion the outfit of a ship. In that same way our word is used in the New Testament (Acts 27:19 only).