Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb τρεπω (trepo) means to turn, and together with the suspiciously similar verb στρεφω (strepho), to turn (and see our article on the noun σειρα, seira, meaning cord or rope, for more of these strange with-and-without leading -s duos), the equivalent of the Hebrew verb פנה (pana), to turn, from which stems the word פנים (panim), "turnings", which is the common word for face, and figuratively scope or field of vision.
Our verb τρεπω (trepo) may describe a turning into a certain direction, to turn around, about, back or away, or to rout or put to flight. It may mean to change one's mind, to alter or shift one's ideas or even deceive someone.
Our verb is not used independently in the New Testament, but it does appear as part of the following compounds and derivations:
- Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb ανατρεπω (anatrepo), meaning to turn upon: to turn upside down, to upset, to overthrow (2 Timothy 2:18 and Titus 1:11 only).
- Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb απωτρεπω (apotrepo), meaning to turn from, to turn away from (2 Timothy 3:5 only).
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εκτρεπω (ektrepo), meaning to turn out of, to divert off some course, road, path or way of thinking. This verb is used 5 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the preposition εν (en), meaning in, at, on: the verb εντρεπω (entrepo), meaning to turn into, to withdraw or invert toward something, to pay heart-felt attention, to feel intimate shame or reverence for something. This verb is used 9 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:
- The noun εντροπη (entrope), meaning a turning inward, a withdrawal into humility or the paying of intimate attention (1 Corinthians 6:5 and 15:34 only). This noun is an action-noun, meaning literally an in-turning, and its abstract-noun equivalent, namely εντροπια (entropia), meaning something like "in-turnage", became the source of the difficult concept of entropy, or the measurement of chaos (disorder or randomness) in a system. This novel (19th century) term was coined to reflect how a system's specific conditions may "turn into" general ones. In the 8th century BC, when most of the rest of the world believed in the eternity of certain massive terrestrial features, the prophet Isaiah had summarized this principle of the inevitable increase of entropy in his famous statement that: "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain" (Isaiah 40:4).
- Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επιτρεπω (epitrepo), meaning to turn upon in the sense of to turn over to, to transfer, commission or entrust. In the New Testament this verb is used in several scenes that seem to describe the wish of people (or spirits) to be let off the hook and to be allowed to do what they want beside a binding commission, but that's not what the use of this verb implies. Instead, these people (and spirits) ask of Jesus to be assigned the duty and authority of burying their father, or going into the herd of pigs, in Jesus' name. It's used 19 times, see full concordance, and from it come:
- The noun επιτροπη (epitrope), meaning a commission or assignment (Acts 26:12 only). This word was a formal legal term that described the referral of some dispute to a legal arbiter, for him to judge over. Generally, this term described the legal power of some officer (a "guardian") to decide things by his own authority, and specifically became the name of the office of a Roman procurator.
- The noun επιτροπος (epitropos), meaning a commissioner or someone who is entrusted the authority to decide, particularly to make decisions in the name of some greater ruler or higher officer. This word was an formal legal term that described a Roman procurator or governor (Matthew 20:8, Luke 8:3 and Galatians 4:2 only).
- Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περιτρεπω (peritrepo), meaning to turn and bring around, to achieve the opposite, to turn upside down, inside out, folded over, and so on (Acts 26:24 only).
- The noun τροπη (trope), literally meaning a turning, an instance of the action of our parent verb, which is in essence an event (James 1:17 only). See the next noun.
- The noun τροπος (tropos), also literally meaning a turning, but as an abstract noun of action: a [new] direction, way, mode, manner or course. This word is the source of our English word trope (which is a figure of speech, or a statement whose context alters its natural meaning; for instance a metaphor). This noun is used 13 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn come:
- Together with the adjective πολυς (polus), meaning much or many: the adverb πολυτροπως (polutropos), meaning in many ways or polymodal (Hebrews 1:1 only).
- Together with the verb φορεω (phoreo), meaning to bear (from the verb φερω, phero, to bring, carry): the verb τροποφορεω (tropophoreo), meaning to endure the particular ways of peculiar people (Acts 13:18 only).
- Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning first or in front of: the verb προτρεπω (protrepo), meaning to turn in front of, or rather to urge forwards or simply to urge (Acts 18:27 only).