Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb τεινω (teino) means to stretch tight (of reins, of a sheet, of a bow, of tendons), or in general, to exert a force to something so as to stretch it to its limit. It derives from the same Proto-Indo-European root "ten-" that also yielded the Latin verb teneo, to reach for, to hold, to grasp, from which English gets words like tenet, tenor and tenure.
In the classics our verb τεινω (teino) is likewise used in the sense of to strain or exert oneself (in order to reach something), to strain an issue or dispute, to run off at full speed, and so on. It may be used in the sense of to aim at (to stretch a bow and thus aim an arrows toward some target), to lay out in one's full length, to stretch or hold out, to stretch or reach for, to lengthen (of time). Our verb does not occur independently in the New Testament, only as part of the following compounds:
- Together with the intensifying prefix α- (a-), meaning very much: the verb ατενιζω (atenizo) , meaning to look intently, to stare (comparable to our English word attention, from the Latin equivalents). In the classics as well as in the New Testament, this word is applied mostly to staring eyes, and on occasion to an otherwise probing (or obstinate) mind. This verb is used 14 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the verb εκτεινω (ekteino), meaning to stretch out. In the New Testament this verb is nearly exclusively used to describe the stretching out of one's hand(s), but certain usages suggest that more is implied. In Acts 26:1, for instance, the stretching out of Paul's hand is equated with him speaking for himself. Note that the word χειρ (cheir), hand, also denotes one's personal power, and whatever is in one's hand(s) is in one's power. In Acts 27:30, this same verb is used to describe the casting off of a ship's anchors. This verb is used 16 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
- The noun εκτενεια (ektenia), which literally describes the act (or instance) of reaching or stretching out, but which is used to describe zeal or enthusiasm (Acts 26:7 only).
- The adjective εκτενης (ektenes), literally meaning stretched out, but used to describe the warm bond between friends who reach out to each other, with zeal and eagerness (Acts 12:5 and 1 Peter 4:8 only). From this adjective in turn come:
- Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επεκτεινω (epekteino), meaning to reach onto or toward (Philippians 3:13 only).
- Together with the preposition υπερ (huper), meaning over or beyond: the verb υπερεκτεινω (uperekteino), meaning to overstretch, to overdo (2 Corinthians 10:14 only).
- Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the verb παρατεινω (parateino), meaning to stretch beside, along or nearly onto (Acts 20:7 only). In the classics this verb may mean to prolong or protract, which is how it appears to be used in the New Testament.
- Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before, in front of: the verb προτεινω (proteino), meaning to stretch out before (Acts 22:25 only). In this case, the "stretching" relates to the tight thongs, and the "before" relates to the beating that was to follow and for which Paul was bound.