[B-Greek] Idioms in the NT!
mrt at hisurfer.net
Thu Jan 8 09:57:38 EST 2004
Yousaf Sadiq wrote:
>Greetings. Can someone please send me a list of all of the idioms found in
the Greek text of the New Testament. Your help shall be appreciated.
There are different definitions being tossed about here. Yousaf, I assume
that by idiom you mean #3: "idiomatic expressions"
Definition: 1: the language peculiar to a person or group or style of
speaking peculiar to a people. cf. DIALECT : the syntactical, grammatical,
or structural form peculiar to a language 2 : the characteristic form or
structure of a language 3 : an expression that cannot be understood from the
meanings of its separate words (as give way, kick the bucket, hang one's
So Idioms typically consist of words which have little or nothing to do with
the actual meaning of the all its constituent words.
If this is your definition, then the Greek textbooks on on so-called Idioms
will be of little use to you, since they focus in on definition #2, such as:
~Moule, C.F.D., An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek
~Porter, Stanley E., Idioms of the Greek New Testament
Now the difficulty with you question is that just as in English there are a
plethra of idioms (e.g. some are: She has a green thumb. He kicked the
bucket. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. It's raining cats and dogs.
Lay low for a while. Are you pulling my leg? You've hit the nail on the
head. Eat your heart out. That's the way the cookie crumbles) so to in the
But it is a good inquiry because people who are not native speakers or not
well-read in Greek may be mislead in what the following idioms mean.
Several of the idioms in the Greek originate in Hebrew, Aramaic, etc. and
subsiquently were preserved literally in Greek. Often idioms cannot be
literally translated to another language so that their original idiomatic
meaning is understood accurately in the target language. But it can also be
shown that some of these ancient idiomatic expressions are perserved in our
modern languages and so we too have adopted them with equal understanding.
In English we think of water that moves as "running" , whereas in Hebrew
they thought of it as "living." PHGHN ZWHS lit. living water (Jer. 17:13).
And I suppose this was carried over to Greek cf. Jn. 4:10f; 7:38
Mk. 7:22 OFQALMOS PONHPOS lit. an evil eye ?? for envy, malice cf. also
to Prov. 23:6; 28:22
Mt. 5:3 - Poor in spirit. Means something like ~to come to the end of the
line <ha ha, another idiom> This one is more difficult, perhaps ~ humble
person; those lacking in pride, because they do not have a misdirected pride
in their life.
Mark 10:38 - Drink the cup I drink. An expression that means to share
Matt. 16:17 flesh and blood has not revealed this to you. For ~no person
has revealed this to you cf. also cf. 1 Co. 15:50; Gal. 1:16; Eph. 6:12;
Jn 9:24 - Give glory to God. Is a solemn charge, a promise under oath to
tell the truth. cf. also to Joshua 7:19.
Thus Idioms are expressions whose overall meaning is different from the sum
of the meaning of their parts.
Luke 7:35 KAI EDIKAIWQH hH SOFIA APO PANTWN TWN TEKNWN AUTHS lit. yet
wisdom is vindicated by her children. For something like ~nevertheless
wisdom is proved to be right by the lives of those who follow it.
1 Cor 11:30 KAI KOIMWNTAI hIKANOI lit. and many fall asleep.
Luke 1:12 KAI FOBOS EPEPESEN EP' AUTON lit. and fear fell upon him; for
coming upon one.
hOI hOUOI TOU NUMFWNOS lit. sons of the bridal chamber. Thus the bridegroom'
s attendants, not wedding guests
Idioms and its paradoxes can be amusing at times. For we find that quicksand
can work slowly, boxing rings are square, we have noses that run and feet
that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways? On the other hand a
slim chance and a fat chance are the same thing, while a wise man and wise
guy are opposites?? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a
lot and quite a few are alike? One might think "time" is a VIP by our
infatuation with either killing time or redeeming the time. And how come you
can't tell a truth through your teeth, but you can lie through them? Is it
because one can have false teeth, but not true teeth??
You can find more idioms in following books:
Translating the Word of God, by John Beekman and John Callow (see pages
29-30, 188-190; Zondervan, 1974).
E.W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech used in the Bible, Baker book house, ISBN
0-8010-0559-0 look under idioms.
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