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I.

κή ρυγμα, ατος , τό kērygma proclamation

→ κηρύ σσω.
κῆ ρυξ, υκος , ὁ kēryx herald, proclaimer

→ κηρύ σσω.
κηρύ σσω kēryssō proclaim*

κή ρυγμα, ατος , τό kērygma proclamation*


κῆ ρυξ, υκος , ὁ kēryx herald, proclaimer*
1. Occurrences in the NT — 2. Paul — 3. The Synoptics and Acts — 4. Later NT literature — 5.
Summary
Lit.: W. BAIRD, “What Is the Kerygma? A Study of 1 Cor 15, 3–8 and Gal 1:11–17, ” JBL 76 (1957)
181–91. — BULTMANN, Theology I, 87–91. — P. BORMANN, Die Heilswirksamkeit der Verkündigung nach
dem Apostel Paulus (KKTS 14, 1965). — C. BURCHARD, “Formen der Vermittlung christlichen Glaubens
im NT. Beobachtungen anhand von κή ρυγμα, μαρτυρία und verwandten Wörtern,” EvT 38 (1978) 313–
40. — L. COENEN, DNTT III, 48–57. — G. DELLING, Wort Gottes und Verkündigung im NT (SBS 53,
1971), esp. 106–20. — W. EGGER, Frohbotschaft und Lehre. Die Sammelberichte des Wirkens Jesu im
Markusevangelium (FTS 19, 1976). — E. J. EPP, The Theological Tendency of Codex Bezae
Cantabrigiensis in Acts (SNTSMS 3, 1966). — H. FLENDER, “Lehren und Verkündigung in den
synoptischen Evangelien,” EvT 25 (1965) 701–14. — G. FRIEDRICH, TDNT III, 683–718. — K.
GOLDAMMER, “Der KERYGMA-Begriff in der ältesten christlichen Literatur,” ZNW 48 (1957) 77–101. —
F. W. GROSHEIDE, “The Pauline Epistles as Kerygma,” FS de Zwaan 139–45. — M. H. GRUMM,
“Translating kērussō and Related Verbs,” BT 21 (1970) 176–79. — F. HAHN, Mission in the NT (1965). —
idem, “Der Sendungsauftrag des Auferstandenen. Mt 28, 16–20, ” Fides pro mundi vita (FS H.-W.
Gensichen, 1980) 28–43. — I. HERMANN, “Kerygma und Kirche,” FS Schmid (1963) 110–14. — K.
KERTELGE, “Verkündigung und Amt im NT,” BibLeb 10 (1969) 189–98. — X. LÉON-DUFOUR, Dictionary
of the NT (1980) 258f., 331f. — E. LERLE, Die Predigt im NT (1956). — H. VON LIPS, Glaube–Gemeinde–
Amt. Zum Verständnis der Ordination in den Pastoralbriefen (FRLANT 122, 1979). — W. MARXSEN,

*
All New Testament occurrences of this word are mentioned in the body of this article.
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
KKTS Konfessionskundliche und Kontroverstheologische Studien
EvT Evangelische Theologie
DNTT New International Dictionary of NT Theology I-III (ed. C. Brown; 1975-78)
SBS Stuttgarter Bibelstudien
esp. especially
FTS Frankfurter theologische Studien
SNTSMS Society for NT Studies Monograph Series
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)
ZNW Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
FS de Studia Paulinum in honorem Johannis de Zwaan (1953)
BT The Bible Translator
FS Festschrift
FS Schmid Neutestamentliche Aufsätze (FS J. Schmid; 1963)
BibLeb Bibel und Leben
FRLANT Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments
Mark the Evangelist (1969), esp. 121ff. — J. I. MCDONALD, Kerygma and Didache. The Articulation and
Structure of the Earliest Christian Message (SNTSMS 37, 1980). — E. NELLESSEN, Zeugnis für Jesus und
das Wort. Exegetische Untersuchungen zum lukanischen Zeugnisbegriff (BBB 43, 1976). — F.-J.
ORTKEMPER, Das Kreuz in der Verkündigung des Apostels Paulus. Dargestellt an den Texten seiner
Hauptbriefe (SBS 24, 1968). — J. M. ROBINSON, “Kerygma and History in the NT,” J. M. Robinson and
H. Koester, Trajectories through Early Christianity (1971) 20–70. — J. ROLOFF, Apostolat–Verkündigung–
Kirche. Ursprung, Inhalt und Funktion des kirchlichen Apostelamtes nach Paulus, Lukas und den
Pastoralbriefen (1965). — H. SCHLIER, “Kerygma und Sophia. Zur neutestamentlichen Grundlegung des
Dogmas,” Schlier I, 206–32. — idem, “Die Ordnung der Kirche nach den Pastoralbriefen,” ibid. 129–47.
— H. SCHÜRMANN, Aufbau und Struktur der neutestamentlichen Verkündigung (1949). — F. STAUDINGER,
“.‘Verkündigen’ im lukanischen Geschichtswerk,” TPQ 120 (1972) 211–18. — P. STUHLMACHER, Das
paulinische Evangelium I: Vorgeschichte (1968). — H. G. WOOD, “Didache, Kerygma und Evangelium,”
NT Essays: Studies in Memory of T. W. Manson (1959) 306–14. — For further bibliography see DNTT III,
67f.; TWNT X, 1138f.
1. The occurrences are unequally distributed in the NT and do not correspond to the extent of
words translatable “proclaim / proclamation.” Κηρύ σσω appears 61 times: 9 times in Matthew,
14 in Mark, 9 in Luke, 8 in Acts (+ the textual variants in 1:2; 16:4; 17:15; 19:15; see Epp 65f.,
113, 116, 119), 17 in the Pauline epistles including Colossians, twice in the Pastorals, in 1 Pet 3:19;
Rev 5:2, and not at all in the Johannine literature). Κή ρυγμα appears in Matt 12:41 par. Luke
11:32; Mark 16:8 v.l. (the shorter Markan ending); 4 times in Paul (including Rom 16:25), twice
in the Pastorals. Κῆ ρυξ appears in 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11; 2 Pet 2:5.
The word group is conceptually rooted in Greek-Hellenistic thought and is not grammatically aligned
with biblical Greek (BDF §206.4; 392.1d; 405.2). It does have equivalents among OT and post-OT terms
(Friedrich 683ff., 694ff.; Coenen 50ff.; McDonald passim). The formation of the early Christian language
of proclamation occurred in connection with these related terms, but added new content to them. Κηρύ σσ
ω and κή ρυγμα are relevant in the beginnings of the Christian mission in connection with corresponding
expressions (e.g., εὐ αγγελίζω, εὐ αγγέλιον; Bultmann 88f.; Egger 47ff.). They belong to the pre-Pauline
tradition and are taken up by Paul; in the NT they are first comprehensible in his letters. The language was
then developed in the wider early Christian tradition and associated with Jesus’ own message (Mark,
Matthew, esp. Luke). Κῆ ρυξ stands in Greek at the origin of the linguistic development of the word group
(Friedrich 683ff.) and came to be filled with conceptual significance only at the late period of early
Christianity.
2. For Paul the theological significance lies reciprocally in the relatively infrequent use of the
special terminology: Proclaiming the gospel (1 Thess 2:9; Gal 2:2) is equivalent to proclaiming
Christ (1 Cor 1:23; 2 Cor 1:19; 4:5; 11:4 bis; Phil 1:15); there the resurrected one is identical with

BBB Bonner biblische Beiträge


Schlier H. Schlier, Exegetische Aufsätze und Vorträge I-III (1956-71)
TPQ Theologisch-Praktische Quartalschrift
TWNT Theologisches Wörterbuch zum NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1933-79)
par. parallel
v.l. variant reading
BDF F. Blass, A. Debrunner, and R. W. Funk, A Greek Grammar of the NT and Other Early Christian
Literature (1961)
the crucified one through God’s act. Thus the proclamation is “the word of faith, which we
proclaim” (Rom 10:8), which is nothing other than the fundamental proclamation of the Easter
message (1 Cor 15:11, 12, 14), which is manifest in proclaiming the crucified one (1 Cor 1:21, 23;
2:2, 4). This proclamation does not take place without a commission and authorization (Rom 10:15;
Gal 2:2). The authorization draws the life of the proclaimer into the proclamation (1 Cor 9:27; cf.
1 Thess 2:1–10; Phil 4:8) because the proclamation from God aims toward the hearer and his
salvation (Rom 10:14; 1 Cor 1:21) and thus toward the explication of the faith that has been made
possible through the proclamation (Rom 10:8ff.; 1 Cor 1:21).
Thus the basic determination is made: Proclaiming cannot be exhausted in the enumeration of
commandments (Rom 2:21); this important fact can be seen in “the discrepancy between claim
and performance,” which can now be seen by “the Jew” in the judgment that has fallen on all (Rom
1:18–3:20; see E. Käsemann, Rom [Eng. tr., 1980] 69 [bibliography]). To proclaim circumcision
as well (Gal 5:11) is therefore the de facto rejection of freedom (Gal 5:1; cf. 2:2) that is based on
the Christ-event, explicit in justification (Gal 2:16ff.; 3:1–5:12), and proclaimed in the gospel. This
freedom is at stake in the debate with “the Judaizers” in the Galatian churches.
Although 2 Cor 11:4 alone does not demonstrate the point, Paul’s critical-polemical debate against
Corinthian opponents who also claimed to proclaim Jesus demonstrates that the term κηρύ σσω was of
major importance in the struggles in early Christianity (see J. Zmijewski, Der Stil der paulinischen
“Narrenrede” [1978] 92–100, 105f., 112f.). Gal 5:11; 2 Cor 11:4 appear to give at least a hypothetical basis
for the view that Paul uses κηρύ σσω in the debate with opponents of Jewish background.
According to Paul, “proclaiming” is an activity actively involving both proclaimer and hearer,
and this activity is spoken of, as is the case widely in early Christianity, with the vb. κηρύ σσω.
Proclamation thus corresponds to the faith that excludes achievement (Bultmann 314ff.), in which
the believer, who has been affected by the word that addresses him, becomes enlisted in the
liberating service on the basis of the proclamation. In the coordination of “kerygma” and “didache”
(Stuhlmacher; McDonald passim) the total aspect of Christian existence becomes visible in the
unity of obedient faith, confession, and the concrete conduct of life. The associated word group
thus becomes appropriately embedded in the wide current of the terminology of proclamation,
which — apparently with the predominant use of κηρύ σσω — then takes a special place in the
terminology of missions.
Col 1:23, with its reference to the worldwide proclamation of the gospel, points to this
missionary association of the terminology. Here, perhaps in the context of existing formulations
and in transition to the post-Pauline view of missions, the horizon of the understanding of missions
inaugurated by Paul is staked out (on the discussion see Hahn, Mission 144ff.; E. Lohse, Col
[Hermeneia] ad loc.; E. Schweizer, Col [Eng. tr., 1982] 95f.; Kümmel, Introduction 335ff.
[bibliography]).

act. active (voice)


Eng. English
tr. translated, translation
vb. verb
Hermeneia Hermeneia.—.A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible
Kümmel, W. G. Kümmel, Introduction to the NT (21975)
In the post-Pauline doxology in Rom 16:25–27 κή ρυγμα Ἱ ησοῦ Χριστοῦ designates the
proclamation of (obj. gen.) Jesus Christ, according to which “the specific Pauline gospel” is seen
joined to “every genuine message of Christ” and thus to the early Christian expansion of the
witness to Christ (Käsemann, Rom 424f. [bibliography]; H. Schlier, Rom [HTKNT] 453, contra
Goldammer 81; on the discussion see Friedrich 716n.16; E. Kamlah, Traditionsgeschichtliche
Untersuchungen zur Schlußdoxologie des Römerbriefs [Diss. Tübingen, 1955] esp. 61ff.; Roloff
93n.173).
3. a) Except for the occurrences in Q (τὸ κή ρυγμα Ἱ ωνᾶ , Matt 12:41 par. Luke 11:32, the
only occurrences of the noun in the Synoptics]; Matt 10:27 par. Luke 12:3) all other Synoptic
parallels depend on Mark (→ c.1).
b) The Q pericope containing the noun is preserved in its earliest form in Luke 11:29–32
(par. Matt 12:38–42). An apparently authentic saying of Jesus (v. 29; cf. also Mark 8:11f.) is
interpreted by Q (v. 30): In “the sign of Jonah” is the reflection of Jesus’ own work in the midst of
an evil generation that demands signs. Jesus appears in a situation like that of Jonah, and everything
depends on response to his message. In the early Christian reference to the Son of Man (here)
emphasis is given to the parallel between the situation of the post-Easter Church and that in v. 29.
This comparable situation is to be seen in two (apparently) early Christian sayings in
the Q composition in vv. 31f.: The Gentiles themselves and the wisdom of Solomon will judge
Israel in the final judgment. Unlike the people of Nineveh, who drew the consequences of Jonah’s
proclamation, the Jews have not drawn the consequences of the work of Jesus. Thus the time of
decision offered to them at the time of the earthly Jesus, like the present situation of proclamation
and mission, was to no avail (as it is said in evident dependence on LXX formulations: cf. Jonah
3:5 [οἱ ἄ νδρες Νινευη]; 1:2; 3:2, 4 [κηρύ σσω]; 3:2 [κή ρυγμα]). Also to be considered is the
saying: “Behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Luke 11:31), “Behold, something
greater than Jonah is here” (v. 32).
On the discussion see cf. A. Vögtle in Das Evangelium und die Evangelien (ed. Vögtle; 1971) 103–36;
D. Lührmann, Die Redaktion der Logienquelle (1969) 36–43; R. A. Edwards, The Sign of Jonah in the
Theology of the Evangelists and Q (1971); P. Hoffmann, Studien zur Theologie der Logienquelle (1972)
64, 113, 158, 181, etc.; idem, BZ 19 (1975) 111; Schulz, Q 250–57. A. Polag has shown that Q does not
know “an explicit demand for repentance” and that there “Jesus is not seen as a preacher of repentance”; in
such references there is rather “the demand for total orientation toward God” (see A. Polag, Die Christologie
der Logienquelle (1977) 74 and n. 236; cf. 174.
That κή ρυγμα takes on significance in connection with early Christian interpretation is
confirmed by the more original saying transmitted in Luke 12:3 (par. Matt 10:27). In connection
with a Q composition (Luke 12:2–9 par. Matt 10:26–33) in the context of the confession of the

obj. object, objective


gen. genitive
HTKNT Herders theologischer Kommentar zum NT
Q Hypothetical source of material common to Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark
v. verse
vv. verses
LXX Septuagint
ed. edition, edited, editor(s)
Schulz, S. Schulz, Q. Die Spruchquelle der Evangelisten (1972)
Son of Man and in connection with a saying shaped by the wisdom tradition (Luke 12:2 par. Matt
10:26–33), emphasis is given to the “public” nature (and the necessity) of proclamation by the
disciples (in the transmission of the word of Jesus) as a post-Easter “eschatological event”
(Hoffmann 275 and n. 125, cf. 132, 156; Lührmann 49f.; Schulz, Q 461ff.).
c) In Mark three lines of tradition, miraculous secret, messianic secret, and missionary
proclamation, are brought together in redactional sayings, with the result that the author uses κηρ
ύ σσω of proclamation by John the Baptist (1:4, 7), Jesus (1:14, 38, 39), and the disciples (3:14;
6:12) as well as the worldwide missionary work of the Church (13:10; 14:9). In addition, the works
of Jesus liberate individuals who have been healed for proclamation, including missionary activity
(1:45; 5:20; 7:36). Not until the post-Easter period was the proclamation joined with the activity
and message of Jesus in this comprehensive sense. It includes “the time of salvation prophesied in
the OT” (E. Schweizer, Neotestamentica [1963] 94) in the form of the Baptist. In it the orientation
toward worldwide proclamation corresponds to the Markan understanding of the “gospel.”
Against the background of this “referring of the proclamation of the Church” (G. Strecker,
Eschaton und Historie [1979] 217) to the earthly Jesus, which was done in light of the death and
resurrection of Jesus, the foundation is given for the shaping of the Jesus tradition in the Gospel
narratives. In addition, the theological perspective is demonstrated — under missionary
considerations — in the relationship of proclamation and teaching in Mark (E. Schweizer, Beiträge
zur Theologie des NT [1970] 24ff.; Egger; Hahn, Mission 111ff.; J. Gnilka, Mark [EKKNT] I, 64ff.,
206f.; II, 190f., etc.; contra R. Pesch passim, who traces the passages cited to pre-Markan tradition
[Mark (HTKNT) I, 100ff., etc.]).
c) 2) Of the two secondary endings of Mark (see G. W. Trompf, Australian Biblical Review 21 [1973]
15–26; J. Hug, La finale de l’évangile de Marc [Mc 16, 9–20] [ÉBib, 1978]), the shorter (noncanonical)
Markan ending employs the language of the 2nd cent. (cf. Ign. Magn. 6:2), τὸ ἱερὸ ν καὶ ἄ φθαρτον κή
ρυγμα τῆ ς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας , to describe the central meaning of the kerygma “from the east to the
west,” thus expressing its missionary-universal nature (on individual features see Pesch, Mark II, 557ff.).
In the canonical Markan ending (Mark 16:9–20), κ η ρ ύ σ σ ω is used in 16:15 to describe the
proclamation as a worldwide mission within the horizon of the creation (cf. Col 1:23) under the mandate
of the resurrected and exalted one. It is characterized as “gospel” with no more precise indication of its
content. Thus a tradition independent of the Markan understanding of the gospel is seen here, which can
serve in the 2nd cent. with no further Christian language of proclamation and, when united with concepts
from Judaism (cf. Jdt 9:12; 3 Macc 2:2, 7; 6:2), can continue on in the Apostolic Fathers (e.g., 1 Clem. 19:3;
53:3): “Gospel” is the proclamation of the “sovereign authority” of the resurrected one “over creation”
(evidence in Gnilka, Mark II, 352ff. [quote from 356]). Bearers of the proclamation may be “charismatics
and missionaries,” for in 16:20 “missionary commission and charisma” are united in a remarkable way (G.
Kretschmar, Kirchengeschichte als Missionsgeschichte I: Die Alte Kirche [ed. H. Frohnes and U. W. Knorr;
1974] 94ff., esp. 96f. [quoted]).
d) Matthew uses κηρύ σσω in a manner parallel to Markan usage (cf. 3:1 par. Mark 1:4;
4:17 par. Mark 1:14; 4:23 par. Mark 1:39; 24:14 par. Mark 13:10; 26:13 par. Mark 14:9), but omits
the proclamation by the healed man (Mark 1:45; 5:20; 7:36), probably in consideration of the
stronger christological concentration of Matthean miracle stories in comparison to Mark and the
lack of regard for the Markan idea of the “messianic secret.” In 9:35 par. Mark 6:6b Matthew

EKKNT Evangelisch-katholischer Kommentar zum NT


Ign. Ignatius
brings into play the proclamation by Jesus, while in 10:7 the discourse associated with the limited
commission, formed from Mark and Q, accents the mandate for proclamation by the disciples. In
each instance κηρύ σσω is used. But just as the juxtaposition of “teach” and proclaim in 11:1
points to Matthew’s essential concern (cf. 28:19; teaching in chs. 5–7 [cf. 5:1; 7:28f.], deeds
in chs. 8–9, both in 4:23; 9:35; see also G. Strecker, Der Weg der Gerechtigkeit [1971] 126ff.),
with the reception of Q (→ b), Matthew also recognizes the post-Easter situation as it relates to
proclamation, and in the redactional shaping of 10:7 (Luke 10:9b) the κηρύ σσειν of the disciples
is assimilated to that of John the Baptist and Jesus (3:1; 4:17; cf. 9:35; see Hoffmann
275; Schulz, Q 406n.22). The apparent orientation of κηρύ σσω toward John the Baptist, Jesus,
and the disciples (who are not just “the Twelve”) indicates the author’s conception of this vb. in
relation to the Church (which does not, however, lose the horizon of the world; see Burchard 333ff.;
Hahn, “Sendungsauftrag,” 28ff., 35, 37ff.).
e) Luke takes up κηρύ σσω with his own theological conception more sharply focused. Along
with the simple adoption of the vb. (Luke 3:3 par. Mark 1:14; 4:44 par. Mark 1:39; 8:39 par. Mark
5:20; 9:2 par. Mark 6:12) there is also: 1) the equation of κηρύ σσω with εὐ αγγελίζομαι (4:43
differs from Mark 1:38; cf. Stuhlmacher 230n.5.a), which was obvious for him; 2) the emphasis
on κηρύ σσειν in Jesus’ inaugural sermon (4:16–30), which refers to the OT, while 4:15, unlike
Mark 1:14, does not mention “proclaiming”; 3) the fact that the expression βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ,
which is connected with an expression of proclaiming in Luke alone, includes κηρύ σσω, as the
juxtaposition of διώ δευεν … κηρύ σσων with καὶ εὐ αγγελιζό μενος τὴ ν βασιλείαν τοῦ θ
εοῦ in 8:1 and 9:2; Acts 20:25; 28:31 demonstrates.
In the “today” of salvation in the time of Jesus (Luke 4:16–20; cf. v. 21) prophetic
announcement (v. 18) is placed in the context of salvation history and interpreted christologically.
It is brought within the horizon of the proclamation (cf. U. Busse, Das Nazareth-Manifest Jesu
[SBS 91, 1977]). John the Baptist is characterized as the proclaimer in the turning of the ages (cf.
16:16). Κηρυσσειν (in part traditional usage) is considered as a mandate (Luke 3:3; Acts 10:37).
The summary of Luke-Acts in Acts 10:36–43 (cf. U. Wilckens, Die Missionsreden der
Apostelgeschichte [WMANT 5, 1974] 63–70), beginning with the proclamation of John the Baptist
(v. 37), aims — God himself commanded that they preach (v. 42) to the people (the Jews) — at
the present proclamation and is itself a sermon. The Jerusalem kergyma becomes the word that is
attested: The κύ ριος (v. 36) is the Jesus attested in the gospel, the one designated by God judge
of the living and the dead (v. 43; cf. Nellessen 183ff., etc.).
The proclamation event is, for Luke, with the numerous terms with which it is characterized,
of great significance: Thus κηρύ σσειν is anchored in God’s plan of salvation, initiated by the
resurrected one himself (Luke 24:47), and yet anticipated in Jesus’ inaugural sermon (4:18). It
proceeds “from Jerusalem” as a missionary mandate (24:48). The spread of the message beyond

chs. chapters
WMANT Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament
Jerusalem is characterized by κηρύ σσειν. The vb. appears in Acts for the first time in the
missionary activity of the “Hellenist” Philip (Acts 8:5, perhaps an old tradition that knows the
connection between mission and κηρύ σσειν). For Luke κηρύ σσειν is also connected with Paul,
the authoritative and decisive witness (Acts 9:20; 19:13; 20:25 [beyond the death of Paul]; 28:31).
It is the proclamation of Christ (Acts 8:5; 9:20; the sermon in 10:36–43; 19:13; 20:25; 28:31) and
thus attains a part in the hermeneutically noteworthy process, to bear witness in proclamation to
the abiding presence of Jesus for the “time of the Church” (cf. O. Merk, FS Kümmel 201–20).
It is doubtful whether Acts 15:21 can be cited in this connection. V. 21 is equally doubtful as a basis
for the apostolic decree since it is a difficult basis for the preceding citation from Amos 9:11f. LXX. If the
latter were intended, it would provide a daring basis in salvation history for signifying a reference to the
preaching of Christ (G. Stählin, Acts [NTD] 206), and the association with Christ’s preaching in the
synagogue — even outside Palestine — would be expounded. More likely the reference is to 15:20, to the
proclamation of the law in every city. “Therefore the Gentile Christians must observe the four prohibitions,
which are also required of Gentiles in general” (Haenchen, Acts [Eng. tr., 1971] 450, with discussion). Acts
15:21; Gal 5:11; 2 Cor 11:4 demonstrate that topics from Judaism or of probable Jewish origin are
associated with κηρύ σσω.
4. a) Among the later NT writings the word group is seen most clearly in the Pastorals. In the
Christ hymn (1 Tim 3:16) “presentation in heaven” and “proclamation on earth” are connected,
thus making the “worldwide” proclamation of “the universal sovereignty of Jesus Christ” the
decisive task of mission (R. Deichgräber, Gotteshymnus und Christushymnus in der frühen
Christenheit [1967] 133ff., 135 [quoted]; Schweizer, Neotestamentica 94), which has as its
function the task of inculcating faith (N. Brox, Pastoralbriefe [RNT] 160f.).
2 Tim 4:17 and Titus 1:3 bring together the activity of proclaiming and the content of
proclamation in the use of κή ρυγμα (cf. von Lips 41ff.); proclaiming the word (also on the
characterization of Timothy [2 Tim 4:2; cf. von Lips 41, 275]) is bound up with the total
understanding of faith and gospel in the Pastorals, and the κῆ ρυξ (not commonly used until the
late period of early Christianity, but for the first time in Christian usage) “Paul” (1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim
1:11) remains ἀ πό στολος in an exclusive “relationship to the gospel” (Roloff 239). The abiding
presence of the gospel as a task of proclamation yet to be accomplished in a Church that is still
being consolidated at the end of the 1st cent., and that has not yet surrendered the missionary accent
while preserving tradition, can be seen in the numerous other terms for proclamation and teaching
(Schlier, Ordnung; cf. Roloff 239–44; Brox 129, 233f., 263, etc.; O. Merk, ZNW 66 [1975] 91–
102; von Lips 40–45, 132, 273, 275).
b) The interpretation of the statement about proclamation in 1 Pet 3:19 is encumbered by the
context (vv. 19–22) and the uncertainty in determining the mythological assumptions in the history
of religions behind the passage. It must be congruent with 4:6 (N. Brox, 1 Pet [EKKNT] 196; L.
Goppelt, 1 Pet [KEK] 250). Despite the view of, e.g., H.-J. Vogels (Christi Abstieg ins Totenreich
und das Läuterungsgericht an den Toten [FTS 102, 1976]) and L. Goppelt (249 etc., but cf.
250n.54), who regard the verse as following early Christian ideas of the cause of the Genesis flood,

FS Jesus und Paulus (FS W. G. Kümmel; 1975)


NTD Das Neue Testament Deutsch
RNT Regensburger Neues Testament
KEK Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das NT
the indirect reference to the book of Enoch (or its traditions; comprehensive summary in Brox 172)
can be concentrated in such a way as to result in traditional “associations of themes … , a typical
construct of Jewish Christian theology.” When these themes are found in Christian writings, they
produce, on the one hand, christological overtones and, on the other hand, clear lines of separation
from Christian usage. “Christ is not and will not be Enoch” (Brox 173). Christ cannot be interpreted
as “proclaimer of destruction” (like Enoch), not even among the πνεύ ματα. “Either the clause in
the Christian context … says that the ‘angels’ in prison were preached to, in which case it remains
open whether it was for the purpose of repentance or judgment; or Christ proclaimed his victory
to the most distant places of the cosmic scene, even (καί) to the ‘Spirits’.” (Brox 175; cf. 182ff.;
on the state of the discussion, 163–89; Goppelt 242ff.; Vogels 88–141).
c) In the context of examples of divine punishment, 2 Pet 2:5 refers to Noah as κῆ ρυξ of
righteousness. The reference has associations with the image of Noah at the end of the 1st cent. (1
Clem. 7:6; 9:4). The statement itself has its roots in characterizations of Noah that go beyond the
Genesis account, primarily in Hellenistic Judaism (Josephus Ant. i.72ff.; esp. developed in Jub.
7:20–39; Sib. Or. i.128f., 150-98) and alluded to in rabbinic thought (Gen. Rab. 30 [18b]: “A
herald came forth for God in the flood. It was Noah”; cf. W. Grundmann, Jud, 2 Pet [THKNT]
39).
d) In Rev 5:2 “The decisive key word of the entire vision” (5:1–14; E. Lohse, Rev [NTD] 38;
cf. W. Bousset, Rev [KEK] 254ff.) is connected with the proclaiming by the “strong angel.”
5. From the beginning of the Christian Church the word group is employed in the post-Easter
situation and is thoroughly developed with its own theological understanding, as the message of
Christ is transformed into a (missionary) preaching concerning existence. However, the meaning
of the concept is disclosed as a whole only in the context of the variety of the language of
proclamation in the 1st cent. On the post-NT impact, cf. the texts in Goldammer 85ff.
O. Merk1

II. μαρτυρέω martyreō bear witness, attest*

διαμαρτύ ρομαι diamartyromai swear, attest, testify*


μαρτύ ρομαι martyromai swear, attest, testify*

Josephus Josephus Antiquitates Judaicae


Rab. Rabbah
THKNT Theologischer Handkommentar zum NT
1
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:288-292). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
*
All New Testament occurrences of this word are mentioned in the body of this article.
1. Occurrences of μαρτυρέ ω in the NT — 2. Meanings — 3. Usage outside the Johannine
literature — 4. “Witnessing” in the Johannine literature — 5. Μαρτύ ρομαι and διαμαρτύ ρομ
αι
Lit.: BAGD s.v. — J. BLANK, Krisis (1964). — J. M. BOICE, Witness and Revelation in the Gospel of
John (1970). — J. C. HINDLEY, “Witness in the Fourth Gospel,” SJT 18 (1965) 319–37. — J. NOLLAND,
“Impressed Unbelievers as Witnesses to Christ (Luke 4:22a),” JBL 98 (1979) 219–29. — H.
STRATHMANN, TDNT IV, 474–514. — M. C. TENNEY, “The Meaning of ‘Witness’ in John,” BSac 132
(1975) 229–41. — For further bibliography see L. Coenen and A. A. Trites, DNTT III, 1038–51; → μά ρτ
υς .

1. The vb. μαρτυρέ ω appears 76 times in the NT, 63 times in the act. and 13 times in
the pass. It occurs most often in John (33 times) and 1-3 John (10 times). Acts has 11 occurrences,
Hebrews 8, Paul 5, Revelation 4, the Pastorals 2, Matthew, Luke, and Colossians 1 each. In
the pass. the most occurrences are in Hebrews (6) and Acts (4).
2. In the absolute sense μαρτυρέω means bear witness (1 John 5:6) or swear (to) (John 12:17;
13:21). With the acc. of the thing it means attest, testify, likewise with ὅ τι (John 4:44, etc.). With
the dat. of the person and ὅ τι, μαρτυρέω means “testify something to someone” (John 3:28, etc.).
The dat. can also be a dat. of disadvantage, “against someone” (→ 3, on Matt 23:31). Where
the vb. stands with the true dat. of the person (Luke 4:22), it means applaud a person; where it
stands with the dat. of the thing, it means “bear witness for something” (only in John, 3 John, Acts
14:3). The pass. can be used in a neutral sense, to say that something is “witnessed, testified,”
always in reference to Scripture (Rom 3:21; Heb 7:8, 17; 11:4f., in the last two instances with
the nom. and inf.), or it can be used in an evaluative sense, to say that someone “has received a
good witness” (in the remaining passages).
3. In Matthew μαρτυρέω has a legal significance: The scribes witness against themselves
that they are the sons of those who murdered the prophets (Matt 23:31; cf. par. Luke; → μά ρτυς

BAGD W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and Other
Early Christian Literature (21979)
SJT Scottish Journal of Theology
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)
BSac Bibliotheca Sacra
DNTT New International Dictionary of NT Theology I-III (ed. C. Brown; 1975-78)
vb. verb
act. active (voice)
pass. passive
acc. accusative
dat. dative
nom. nominative
inf. infinitive
par. parallel
2). Luke prefers a fig. meaning of the word (on Luke 4:22 → 2). The frequent pass. in Acts means
that someone “has received a good witness” or “has a good reputation” (Acts 6:3, the seven; 10:22,
Cornelius; 16:2, Timothy; 22:12, Ananias). The saying is also fig. that God “spoke to David
testifying” (13:22), that “all the prophets bore witness” of Jesus (10:43), and that God “bore
witness for the word of his grace with signs and wonders” (14:3, with uncertain ἐπί; cf. Heb 11:4).
On the subject cf. here Heb 2:4 and John 5:36; 10:25 (→ 4). Acts 15:8 speaks of a witness of God
for the Gentiles.
A stronger forensic use is found in Paul’s defense speeches: All Jews know his conduct and
can bear witness to it (Acts 26:5); he persecuted the Christian “way,” as the high priest and the
high council can attest (22:5): here the acc. of the thing is to be restored. A forensic sense is also
possible in 23:11: “As you have testified of me (διεμαρτύ ρω), at Jerusalem, so you must also
testify in Rome” (again, perhaps with an acc. of the thing to be supplied; cf. διεμαρτύ ρω τὰ πε
ρὶ ἐμοῦ ; → 5). Here is an allusion to Paul’s task and role according to Acts (→ μά ρτυς 4).
Paul can use the absolute μαρτυρέω simply for an assertion (2 Cor 8:3) or with the dat. in the
sense of “witness something to someone” (Rom 10:2; Gal 4:15; cf. Col 4:13). He also knows a
scriptural “witness” for the eschatological way of salvation: the righteousness of God is “witnessed
by the law and the prophets” (Rom 3:21). Paul comes closest to Lukan usage in 1 Cor 15:15, where
he (and his fellow apostles) are described as “false witnesses of God,” who “testify against God
that he raised Christ,” if the dead are not raised (→ ψευδό μαρτυς ).
According to 1 Tim 6:13 the “good confession” that Jesus “testified before Pontius Pilate” (on
ἐπί cf. BAGD s.v.) serves as an example and stimulus for the apostolic pupil. Cf. the similar
expression in v. 12 (→ μά ρτυς 3). The reference to the widows of 5:10 who “are highly regarded
because of their good works” is reminiscent of the pass. usage of Luke in Acts (see above).
Hebrews speaks in various ways of a divine “attestation” or “confirmation.” It normally
involves words of Scripture, in which μαρτυρέω is constructed in the pass. either in a personal
(e.g., 7:8) or impersonal way (e.g., 7:17). In 10:15 the author refers to himself in the dat. and
attributes the witness of Scripture to the Spirit. In ch. 11 the “witness” that the forefathers and the
faithful people of Israel received (v. 2; cf. v. 39 with concessive partc.) is explicitly described as a
witness of God (v. 4): The acceptable sacrifice of Abel (cf. Gen 4:4) was a “witness” that he was
just (Heb 11:4, nom. with inf.). Enoch “received the witness [from Scripture] that he was pleasing
to God” (v. 5, same construction).
4. Of the 33 instances of μαρτυρέω in John, the construction μαρτυρέω περί τινος (19
occurrences, used elsewhere in the NT only in 1 John) is found in most instances, and most
commonly in reference to Jesus. The dispute with the “Jews” or “Judeans” who resist his message
has the features of a judicial proceeding, as the other judicial expressions indicate (→ ἐλέγχω, κ

fig. figurative(ly)
v. verse
partc. participle
ρίνω, κρίσις , παρά κλητος , etc.). This has been known since W. Wrede (1903) and the
commentary on John by W. Heitmüller (31918; see Beutler 26).
Jesus appears before the bar of judgment and calls for “witnesses” who will vindicate his claim
as revealer before the forum of the “world” and of the “Jews.” According to the prologue John the
Baptist is the one who testified (John 1:7f.) “of the light,” i.e., of Jesus as the incarnate Logos, and
who continues to testify of him (1:15, Johannine addition of a hymnic fragment). In 1:19–34 the
content of the witness of the Baptist is expanded (cf. the inclusio with μαρτυρία in v. 19 and
the vb. in vv. 32 and 34): The content is not the baptism of Jesus itself but his abiding gift of the
Spirit and what is said by the heavenly voice (pf. in v. 34) that has permanent significance. After
a brief reference in 3:26 (here with dat. of advantage: “to whom”) the Baptist appears once more
in 5:31–40: here as “witness for the truth” (5:33), i.e., the divine reality of revelation in Christ (see
below on 18:37). However, it is not the Baptist but the Father who is the ἄ λλος μαρτυρῶ ν
of v. 32, with regard to whom Jesus rejects the charge of v. 31 of “witnessing to himself” (→ μα
ρτυρία 4). He bears witness to Jesus through the “works” (not simply “signs,” but rather the
“works” of giving life and judging, vv. 19–23) granted for Jesus to accomplish. Cf. 10:25. If the
Father who has sent Jesus is himself directly called a witness for Jesus in 5:37, what is meant is
not so much an inner witness of the Spirit of God (Trites, Concept 102, with Hindley, et al.) as the
word of God about his Son in the old covenant (Beutler 260f.), which is once again to be
distinguished from what is said in the Scriptures of the old covenant (v. 39).
In 8:12–20 the “Pharisees” also proceed from the charge against Jesus that he witnesses to
himself, and thus they conclude that his testimony is not “credible” (v. 13; → μαρτυρία 4). Jesus
rejects the charge (contrast 5:31), however, and applies to himself the OT-Jewish principle of Deut
19:15, according to which any matter may be established on the basis of the statement of two or
three witnesses (vv. 14–18; cf. μά ρτυς 3 and Van Vliet on the free citation in v. 17).
In what may be a post-Johannine saying in John 15:26f. the divine witness for Jesus continues
in the witness of the Paraclete. The closest parallels for God and signs of confirmation as witnesses,
besides Acts (14:3) and Hebrews (2:4; 11:4), are found in Hellenistic Jewish texts, esp. of the
Exodus tradition (cf. Philo Vit. Mos. ii[iii].263f., 281; Philo All. ii.55; Josephus Ap. ii.53; Beutler
152).
A stronger apocalyptic tone is found in the idea of Jesus as the witness of heavenly things,
which occurs in John 3:11 (where perhaps only a literary pl. in allusion to v. 2 is present) and 3:32
(cf. below on Revelation and the reference to Jubilees, the Qumran texts, and 2 Enoch, Proem; see
Beutler 328f.). Related to it is the witness of Jesus (and of the Baptist) for the “truth” in John 18:37
(cf. 5:33). The divine revelation of reality is the subject (see I. de la Potterie in E. Castelli, ed., Le

vv. verses
pf. perfect
esp. especially
Philo Philo De Vita Mosis
Philo Philo Legum Allegoriae
Josephus Josephus Contra Apionem
pl. plural
ed. edition, edited, editor(s)
Témoignage [1972] 317–29). That eyewitness testimony is relied upon is indicated in the account
of the piercing of Jesus’ side (19:35); the acc. of the thing is to be supplied in this statement, which
is probably post-Johannine; such a witness is also referred to with περί and the gen. of the thing
in the identification of the beloved disciple with the Evangelist (21:24; cf. the same construction
in 18:28; in reference to persons also in 2:25; 7:7; 4:39: Jesus).
This actual witness is also referred to in 1 John, where the reference is to Jesus as the “Logos
of life” who has entered history (1:2). In 4:14 the witness more clearly involves a reality of faith,
Jesus as “savior of the world.” The threefold witness of spirit, water, and blood (5:6–10) is
commonly understood in antidocetic terms, and is interpreted as a reference to baptism and the
death of Jesus as salvific events, which witness to his coming. Perhaps the witness of God to his
Son in v. 9 is also to be understood historically (cf. above on John 5:37); according to v. 10 it is
appropriated only in faith (see the pf.; cf. Beutler 278–80). 3 John takes up the formulation of John
5:33; 18:37 (see above), but employs it differently — for the testimony of personal Christian
conduct (vv. 3 and 6). In v. 12 the roles are exchanged: Truth has given its testimony concerning
Demetrius.
Revelation refers to an apocalyptic “witnessing” (as in John 3:11, 32; see above): The seer
bears witness to “what he has seen,” namely, “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” i.e.,
that which comes from Jesus (1:2; → μαρτυρία 5). The angels bear witness to the content of the
book (22:16), i.e., so that it finally bears witness to Jesus (v. 20). Only in these three passages, in
addition to John 3:11, 32; 1 Tim 6:13, is μαρτυρέω found with the acc. of the thing. In a “formula
of canonization” (Bousset / Gressmann 148), it is “witnessed” to everyone who adds or takes away
from Scripture that they will receive God’s punishment (22:18).
5. The related vb. μαρτύ ρομαι (mid., only pres.) appears in the NT only 5 times. The meaning
testify, attest is present in three passages where the vb. is constructed with the dat. of the person:
Paul testifies to everyone who is circumcised that he is bound to keep the whole law (Gal 5:3).
Luke uses the same construction in relation to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:26. In Acts 26:22
the expression may be colored by v. 16: Paul, called to be a “witness,” must bear witness before
great and small. Μαρτύ ρομαι with the acc. and inf. in Eph 4:17 and 1 Thess 2:12 (εἰς τό ) means
swear.
Διαμαρτύ ρομαι (aor. mid. διεμαρτυρά μην) is found 15 times in the NT, 9 of which are in
Acts (26 times in LXX). The meaning corresponds to that of μαρτύ ρομαι: swear, testify. Against
E. Günther (ΜΑΡΤΥΣ [1941]), one may not assume a special “apocalyptic usage.” Paul uses
the vb. in 1 Thess 4:6 with the dat. of the person, in reference to the content of earlier proclamation:
the judgment. In Heb 2:6 διαμαρτύ ρομαι appears at the author’s introduction of the Scripture
citation, without the reference actually serving as a “proof from Scripture.” In the Pastorals one
may see a transition to a more formulaic Christian usage: Reference is made to a “swearing before

gen. genitive
mid. middle
pres. present
aor. aorist
LXX Septuagint
(ἐνώ πιον)” God, Jesus Christ, the angels (1 Tim 5:21, with ἵνα; 2 Tim 2:14; 4:1, here associated
additionally with an acc. of the thing: “at his coming …”).
Luke uses the vb. with the dat. of the person in the sense of urgent persuasion in Luke 16:28.
In Acts (except for 2:40, where it parallels παρακαλέω and is related to its meaning in Luke
16:28), it becomes a t.t. for the proclamation of the apostles and of Paul. The contents include
(with various addressees): the word of the Lord (8:25), repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ (20:21), the gospel of God’s grace (20:24), the kingdom of God (28:23), that Jesus is the
Christ (with acc. and inf., 18:15), “the message about me” (Jesus, 23:11, parallel to μαρτυρῆ σα
ι, here of Paul as → μά ρτυς 4). In 10:42 the content stands within a ὅ τι clause (Jesus as judge)
and the vb. is parallel to κηρύ ξαι, which confirms the interpretation that is given. Only in 20:23
is the Holy Spirit the subj. of the “witness”: he promises to Paul his imminent suffering.
J. Beutler

μαρτυρία, ας , ἡ martyria testimony, evidence*


1. Frequency — 2. Meaning — 3. Usage — 4. The testimony of Jesus and testimony about Jesus
in John and 1 John — 5. The witness of Jesus in Revelation — 6. Μαρτύ ριον
Lit.: → μά ρτυς .

1. Μαρτυρία appears 37 times in the NT, the majority of which are in the Johannine literature
(14 in John, 9 in Revelation, 6 in 1 John, and once in 3 John). The remainder of the occurrences
are distributed among Mark with 3, Luke and Acts with one each, and the Pastorals with 2.
2. With BAGD s.v. one can distinguish between an act. and a pass. usage. The act. usage is
found in John 1:7; Rev 11:7, where the word refers to “bearing witness”: “he came in order to bear
witness” (John 1:7); “and when they have completed their testimony” (Rev 11:7). In the remaining
passages the word refers to “testimony” given before a court or a general “testimony” in
the fig. sense. The “testimony” before a court is meant in Mark 14:55f., 59; Luke 22:71
(cf. par. Mark 14:63: μαρτύ ρων. Because Luke has not mentioned the two false witnesses before,
he has the high priest say only now: “What need do we have of testimony?”). The fig. sense is used
in Titus 1:13, when what is said by a pagan “prophet” (i.e., poet) is called a testimony about the
Cretans. According to 1 Tim 3:7 the bishop must have a “good testimony,” i.e., “a good reputation”
among outsiders. The religious usage is found in Acts 22:18: The people of Jerusalem will not
accept the testimony of Paul about Jesus (on the use of περί, in reference to Jesus, → μαρτυρέω
4). On the meaning and usage of the word in the other passages in Johannine literature → 4 and 5.
3. Μαρτυρία is sg. in the NT, except in Mark 14:56. Preceding it may be διά with the acc. as
a prep. indicating cause, “because of the testimony” (to Jesus; → 5), Rev 1:9; 6:9; 20:4; εἰς

t.t. technical term


subj. subject, subjective
sg. singular
with acc. in John 1:7 (→ 2); and εἰς indicating obj. after πιστεύ ω in 1 John 5:10: “believe in the
testimony.”
The noun is connected either with the attributive gen. or with the attributive adj. The gen. of
the person bearing witness appears in Mark 14:59; Acts 22:18; 3 John 12, etc. On the usage in the
Johannine literature → 4 and 5. The only attributive adj. to occur is καλή ν (μαρτυρίαν) in 1 Tim
3:7; → 2. The μείζω (= μείζονα) in John 5:36 is used in a predicative manner: “I have a testimony
greater than that which comes from John.” In nom. clauses one finds the pred. adjs. μείζων (1
John 5:9a), ἀ ληθή ς , ἀ ληθινή , and ἵση./ ἵσαι (Mark 14:59, 56: “agree”). While ἀ ληθή ς with μ
αρτυρία means “true” in Titus 1:13; John 5:32; 21:24; 3 John 12, in John 5:31; 8:13f., 17 it is
understood in a more formal way and means much the same as “credible.” Ἀ ληθινό ς in John
19:35 means the same as ἀ ληθή ς , “true” (cf. the continuation: “and he knows that he speaks the
truth”). On the verbal associations → 4 and 5.
4. As was indicated under → μαρτυρέω 4, the Evangelist John has two characteristic uses of
the idea of witness / testimony: According to John 3:11, 31f. Jesus is the witness of heavenly things,
“but you do not accept our testimony” (v. 11), or “no one accepts his testimony” (v. 32). Here
Jewish apocalyptic language and ideas may stand in the background (→ μαρτυρέω 4).
In 5:31–40 and 8:12–20, the concern is with witnesses who should legitimate Jesus’ claim of
divine revelation in the context of a juridical dispute with the Jews (→ μαρτυρέω 4). In 5:31
Jesus, the speaker, concedes that his testimony is not “credible” if he bears witness to himself, and
thus he points to the Father as the ἄ λλος μαρτυρῶ ν, whose witness is “true” (v. 32; cf. Beutler
257). In principle Jesus does not receive the testimony (confirming him) from people (v. 34), even
if he can claim the testimony of the Baptist as an ad hominem argument for himself (v. 33, verbal;
1:7, 17). Jesus has “a testimony greater than John’s” (5:36), namely, the testimony of the works
that the Father granted for him to accomplish. In 8:12–20 Jesus absolutely rejects the charge that
his testimony is “not credible” (v. 14) because it is testimony on his own behalf (v. 13), and he
appeals to the (unformulated) rule of Deut 19:15 par. in v. 17, according to which “the testimony
of two people is credible” (→ μά ρτυς 3).
In 19:35 and 21:24 the μαρτυρία extends — perhaps post-Johannine — to facts about Jesus,
not only to his person: one refers to his side that is opened, and the other refers to the report of the
beloved disciple.
1 John takes up once more the total testimony about Jesus: in 5:9, as in John 5:34, 36, the
divine testimony is the “greater” one that is contrasted with human testimony. The former could
refer back to John 5:37: it has already taken place in the past (note the pf. vb.). Despite v. 10
(“anyone who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself”), the subject is not an inner
witness of the Holy Spirit (against earlier authors), but rather God’s testimony to himself in

obj. object, objective


adj. adjective, adjectival
pred. predicate
adjs. adjectives, adjectivally
Scripture and in the work of Jesus (John 5:36–39) and in the disclosure of the life of Jesus (1 John
5:11f.), insofar as this μαρτυρία has found acceptance in faith among humankind.
5. In Revelation alone the expression “the testimony of Jesus” occurs 6 times (1:2, 9; 12:17;
19:10 bis; 20:4). Against earlier authors (e.g., H. von Campenhausen, Die Idee des Martyriums in
der alten Kirche [1936]), this is not to be interpreted as a testimony about Jesus, but as one that
comes from Jesus; thus the gen. is to be understood as a subj. gen., not an obj. gen. (with Brox,
Trites, et al.). Thus one may note the parallelism with the “word of God” in 1:2, 9, and 20:4 and
with the “commands of God” in 12:17. God’s word and the testimony of Jesus are taken up by the
seer and brought into play over against the accusing enemy. “Those who are slain … hold it firmly”
(6:9); likewise the prophets of 19:10 and those who were beheaded in 20:4. The two (prophetic)
witnesses of 11:7 “finish” it after they have expressed it in word (λό γον), and then they are killed
(cf. also 12:11).
Here, with the sequence of witness of the word and death, one may not yet speak of a
martyrological use of μαρτυρία (so also Lohse, Brox, Trites; → μά ρτυς 2, 5). This usage is first
found in Mart. Pol. 1:1; 2:1; 18:2; 19:1; cf. BAGD s.v. 3, and Brox 227. An anticipation of this
martyrological use can be found already in 4 Macc 12:16 A (cf. 16:16, διαμαρτυρία).
6. The related substantivized adj. μαρτύ ριον, testimony, proof (cf. Schwyzer, Grammatik I,
470), appears 19 times in the NT. The Synoptics each use it 3 times, Paul also 3 times, Acts and
the Pastorals 2 times, and Hebrews, James, and Revelation once each.
The meaning is almost always testimony, evidence, proof; thus the word can become a t.t. for
the language of proclamation (see below on Paul, Pastorals, and Acts). Ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ μαρτυρί
ο υ (Acts 7:44; Rev 15:5), derived from the LXX, rests on a mistranslation of
the LXX for Heb. ’ōhel mô‘ēḏ; the LXX translator incorrectly derived mô‘ēḏ from the root ‘d,
“witness,” instead of y‘d, “meet.”
In the Synoptic tradition only εἰς μαρτύ ριον, “for the testimony,” occurs. According to Mark
1:44 par. Matt 8:4./ Luke 5:14 the leper who has been cleansed must show himself to the priest
and offer the prescribed sacrifices “for a testimony to them.” The reference is probably to the role
of the priesthood in examining the healing. The clause is largely taken over by Matthew and Luke,
including even the unusual word order. This is not the case in the two other passages in the Markan
tradition. Matthew (10:14) removes the largely unintelligible εἰς μαρτύ ριον αὐ τοῖς of Mark
6:11: “shake the dust from your feet for a testimony to [against?] them”; Luke (9:5) clarifies: εἰς
μαρτύ ριον ἐπʼ αὐ τού ς , i.e., unambiguously “against them.”
According to Mark 13:9 the disciples will be brought before Jewish and Gentile courts “for
testimony before them.” Here one is to think of the confession of Christ by the persecuted ones.
Matthew clarifies this thought and extends it: εἰς μαρτύ ριον αὐ τοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν (10:18);
with the “governors and kings” he is apparently referring to Gentile court officers. Matt 24:14 uses
the formula independently: the gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed in the entire inhabited

Schwyzer, E. Schwyzer, Griechische Grammatik I-IV (1939-71)


Heb. Hebrew
world “as a testimony to all the Gentiles.” According to Luke (21:13) the situation becomes “a
testimony” not to the judges but to the accused themselves.
Εἰς μαρτύ ριον appears twice more in the Epistles. According to Jas 5:3 the rust on the gold
of the rich will become “a testimony against them” at the final judgment (dat., as in Mark 6:11).
According to Heb 3:5, the faithfulness of Moses proves to be “a testimony of the future revelations,”
i.e., of the revelation to come in Christ (v. 6).
In Acts μαρτύ ριον becomes a t.t. for apostolic proclamation as a testimony of the resurrection
of Jesus (→ μά ρτυς 4). “The apostles gave [the] testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”
(4:33). If with Luke μαρτύ ριον is more closely connected with the event of the resurrection in
history, this element recedes in Paul. When 1 Cor 1:6 says, “the testimony of Christ has been
confirmed among you,” the emphasis is on neither the juridical nor the historical components.
Correspondingly, 2 Thess 1:10 says that “you had faith in our testimony.” It must remain an open
question to what extent Paul (or “Paul”) consciously thinks of his role as a witness of the
resurrection, in accordance with 1 Cor 15:8. The role of the apostle as witness to the resurrection,
which was so central to Luke, has at least terminologically not yet disappeared. A v.l. to 1 Cor 2:1
regards μαρτύ ριον τοῦ θεοῦ simply as the subj. of the Pauline proclamation, synonymous with
τὸ μυστή ριον. Outside this usage Paul speaks in a parenthetical phrase of the “testimony of our
conscience” (2 Cor 1:12).
The Pastorals, like Paul and Acts, regard μαρτύ ριον as an expression for the proclamation.
Timothy is encouraged: “Do not be ashamed of the witness of our Lord” (2 Tim 1:8). In 1 Tim 2:6
the difficult τὸ μαρτύ ριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις refers either to the redemptive death of Jesus as the
testimony of God or to the formula of faith and proclamation already mentioned in v. 5 (so Brox
35; against BAGD s.v. 1.a: Beutler 199).
J. Beutler
μαρτύ ριον, ου, τό martyrion testimony, proof

→ μαρτυρία 6.
μαρτύ ρομαι martyromai swear, attest, testify

→ μαρτυρέω (5).2
μαρτυρέω martyreō bear witness, attest*

διαμαρτύ ρομαι diamartyromai swear, attest, testify*


μαρτύ ρομαι martyromai swear, attest, testify*

v.l. variant reading


2
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:389-393). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
*
All New Testament occurrences of this word are mentioned in the body of this article.
1. Occurrences of μαρτυρέ ω in the NT — 2. Meanings — 3. Usage outside the Johannine
literature — 4. “Witnessing” in the Johannine literature — 5. Μαρτύ ρομαι and διαμαρτύ ρομ
αι
Lit.: BAGD s.v. — J. BLANK, Krisis (1964). — J. M. BOICE, Witness and Revelation in the Gospel of
John (1970). — J. C. HINDLEY, “Witness in the Fourth Gospel,” SJT 18 (1965) 319–37. — J. NOLLAND,
“Impressed Unbelievers as Witnesses to Christ (Luke 4:22a),” JBL 98 (1979) 219–29. — H.
STRATHMANN, TDNT IV, 474–514. — M. C. TENNEY, “The Meaning of ‘Witness’ in John,” BSac 132
(1975) 229–41. — For further bibliography see L. Coenen and A. A. Trites, DNTT III, 1038–51; → μά ρτ
υς .

1. The vb. μαρτυρέ ω appears 76 times in the NT, 63 times in the act. and 13 times in
the pass. It occurs most often in John (33 times) and 1-3 John (10 times). Acts has 11 occurrences,
Hebrews 8, Paul 5, Revelation 4, the Pastorals 2, Matthew, Luke, and Colossians 1 each. In
the pass. the most occurrences are in Hebrews (6) and Acts (4).
2. In the absolute sense μαρτυρέω means bear witness (1 John 5:6) or swear (to) (John 12:17;
13:21). With the acc. of the thing it means attest, testify, likewise with ὅ τι (John 4:44, etc.). With
the dat. of the person and ὅ τι, μαρτυρέω means “testify something to someone” (John 3:28, etc.).
The dat. can also be a dat. of disadvantage, “against someone” (→ 3, on Matt 23:31). Where
the vb. stands with the true dat. of the person (Luke 4:22), it means applaud a person; where it
stands with the dat. of the thing, it means “bear witness for something” (only in John, 3 John, Acts
14:3). The pass. can be used in a neutral sense, to say that something is “witnessed, testified,”
always in reference to Scripture (Rom 3:21; Heb 7:8, 17; 11:4f., in the last two instances with
the nom. and inf.), or it can be used in an evaluative sense, to say that someone “has received a
good witness” (in the remaining passages).
3. In Matthew μαρτυρέω has a legal significance: The scribes witness against themselves
that they are the sons of those who murdered the prophets (Matt 23:31; cf. par. Luke; → μά ρτυς

BAGD W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and Other
Early Christian Literature (21979)
SJT Scottish Journal of Theology
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)
BSac Bibliotheca Sacra
DNTT New International Dictionary of NT Theology I-III (ed. C. Brown; 1975-78)
vb. verb
act. active (voice)
pass. passive
acc. accusative
dat. dative
nom. nominative
inf. infinitive
par. parallel
2). Luke prefers a fig. meaning of the word (on Luke 4:22 → 2). The frequent pass. in Acts means
that someone “has received a good witness” or “has a good reputation” (Acts 6:3, the seven; 10:22,
Cornelius; 16:2, Timothy; 22:12, Ananias). The saying is also fig. that God “spoke to David
testifying” (13:22), that “all the prophets bore witness” of Jesus (10:43), and that God “bore
witness for the word of his grace with signs and wonders” (14:3, with uncertain ἐπί; cf. Heb 11:4).
On the subject cf. here Heb 2:4 and John 5:36; 10:25 (→ 4). Acts 15:8 speaks of a witness of God
for the Gentiles.
A stronger forensic use is found in Paul’s defense speeches: All Jews know his conduct and
can bear witness to it (Acts 26:5); he persecuted the Christian “way,” as the high priest and the
high council can attest (22:5): here the acc. of the thing is to be restored. A forensic sense is also
possible in 23:11: “As you have testified of me (διεμαρτύ ρω), at Jerusalem, so you must also
testify in Rome” (again, perhaps with an acc. of the thing to be supplied; cf. διεμαρτύ ρω τὰ πε
ρὶ ἐμοῦ ; → 5). Here is an allusion to Paul’s task and role according to Acts (→ μά ρτυς 4).
Paul can use the absolute μαρτυρέω simply for an assertion (2 Cor 8:3) or with the dat. in the
sense of “witness something to someone” (Rom 10:2; Gal 4:15; cf. Col 4:13). He also knows a
scriptural “witness” for the eschatological way of salvation: the righteousness of God is “witnessed
by the law and the prophets” (Rom 3:21). Paul comes closest to Lukan usage in 1 Cor 15:15, where
he (and his fellow apostles) are described as “false witnesses of God,” who “testify against God
that he raised Christ,” if the dead are not raised (→ ψευδό μαρτυς ).
According to 1 Tim 6:13 the “good confession” that Jesus “testified before Pontius Pilate” (on
ἐπί cf. BAGD s.v.) serves as an example and stimulus for the apostolic pupil. Cf. the similar
expression in v. 12 (→ μά ρτυς 3). The reference to the widows of 5:10 who “are highly regarded
because of their good works” is reminiscent of the pass. usage of Luke in Acts (see above).
Hebrews speaks in various ways of a divine “attestation” or “confirmation.” It normally
involves words of Scripture, in which μαρτυρέω is constructed in the pass. either in a personal
(e.g., 7:8) or impersonal way (e.g., 7:17). In 10:15 the author refers to himself in the dat. and
attributes the witness of Scripture to the Spirit. In ch. 11 the “witness” that the forefathers and the
faithful people of Israel received (v. 2; cf. v. 39 with concessive partc.) is explicitly described as a
witness of God (v. 4): The acceptable sacrifice of Abel (cf. Gen 4:4) was a “witness” that he was
just (Heb 11:4, nom. with inf.). Enoch “received the witness [from Scripture] that he was pleasing
to God” (v. 5, same construction).
4. Of the 33 instances of μαρτυρέω in John, the construction μαρτυρέω περί τινος (19
occurrences, used elsewhere in the NT only in 1 John) is found in most instances, and most
commonly in reference to Jesus. The dispute with the “Jews” or “Judeans” who resist his message
has the features of a judicial proceeding, as the other judicial expressions indicate (→ ἐλέγχω, κ

fig. figurative(ly)
v. verse
partc. participle
ρίνω, κρίσις , παρά κλητος , etc.). This has been known since W. Wrede (1903) and the
commentary on John by W. Heitmüller (31918; see Beutler 26).
Jesus appears before the bar of judgment and calls for “witnesses” who will vindicate his claim
as revealer before the forum of the “world” and of the “Jews.” According to the prologue John the
Baptist is the one who testified (John 1:7f.) “of the light,” i.e., of Jesus as the incarnate Logos, and
who continues to testify of him (1:15, Johannine addition of a hymnic fragment). In 1:19–34 the
content of the witness of the Baptist is expanded (cf. the inclusio with μαρτυρία in v. 19 and
the vb. in vv. 32 and 34): The content is not the baptism of Jesus itself but his abiding gift of the
Spirit and what is said by the heavenly voice (pf. in v. 34) that has permanent significance. After
a brief reference in 3:26 (here with dat. of advantage: “to whom”) the Baptist appears once more
in 5:31–40: here as “witness for the truth” (5:33), i.e., the divine reality of revelation in Christ (see
below on 18:37). However, it is not the Baptist but the Father who is the ἄ λλος μαρτυρῶ ν
of v. 32, with regard to whom Jesus rejects the charge of v. 31 of “witnessing to himself” (→ μα
ρτυρία 4). He bears witness to Jesus through the “works” (not simply “signs,” but rather the
“works” of giving life and judging, vv. 19–23) granted for Jesus to accomplish. Cf. 10:25. If the
Father who has sent Jesus is himself directly called a witness for Jesus in 5:37, what is meant is
not so much an inner witness of the Spirit of God (Trites, Concept 102, with Hindley, et al.) as the
word of God about his Son in the old covenant (Beutler 260f.), which is once again to be
distinguished from what is said in the Scriptures of the old covenant (v. 39).
In 8:12–20 the “Pharisees” also proceed from the charge against Jesus that he witnesses to
himself, and thus they conclude that his testimony is not “credible” (v. 13; → μαρτυρία 4). Jesus
rejects the charge (contrast 5:31), however, and applies to himself the OT-Jewish principle of Deut
19:15, according to which any matter may be established on the basis of the statement of two or
three witnesses (vv. 14–18; cf. μά ρτυς 3 and Van Vliet on the free citation in v. 17).
In what may be a post-Johannine saying in John 15:26f. the divine witness for Jesus continues
in the witness of the Paraclete. The closest parallels for God and signs of confirmation as witnesses,
besides Acts (14:3) and Hebrews (2:4; 11:4), are found in Hellenistic Jewish texts, esp. of the
Exodus tradition (cf. Philo Vit. Mos. ii[iii].263f., 281; Philo All. ii.55; Josephus Ap. ii.53; Beutler
152).
A stronger apocalyptic tone is found in the idea of Jesus as the witness of heavenly things,
which occurs in John 3:11 (where perhaps only a literary pl. in allusion to v. 2 is present) and 3:32
(cf. below on Revelation and the reference to Jubilees, the Qumran texts, and 2 Enoch, Proem; see
Beutler 328f.). Related to it is the witness of Jesus (and of the Baptist) for the “truth” in John 18:37
(cf. 5:33). The divine revelation of reality is the subject (see I. de la Potterie in E. Castelli, ed., Le

vv. verses
pf. perfect
esp. especially
Philo Philo De Vita Mosis
Philo Philo Legum Allegoriae
Josephus Josephus Contra Apionem
pl. plural
ed. edition, edited, editor(s)
Témoignage [1972] 317–29). That eyewitness testimony is relied upon is indicated in the account
of the piercing of Jesus’ side (19:35); the acc. of the thing is to be supplied in this statement, which
is probably post-Johannine; such a witness is also referred to with περί and the gen. of the thing
in the identification of the beloved disciple with the Evangelist (21:24; cf. the same construction
in 18:28; in reference to persons also in 2:25; 7:7; 4:39: Jesus).
This actual witness is also referred to in 1 John, where the reference is to Jesus as the “Logos
of life” who has entered history (1:2). In 4:14 the witness more clearly involves a reality of faith,
Jesus as “savior of the world.” The threefold witness of spirit, water, and blood (5:6–10) is
commonly understood in antidocetic terms, and is interpreted as a reference to baptism and the
death of Jesus as salvific events, which witness to his coming. Perhaps the witness of God to his
Son in v. 9 is also to be understood historically (cf. above on John 5:37); according to v. 10 it is
appropriated only in faith (see the pf.; cf. Beutler 278–80). 3 John takes up the formulation of John
5:33; 18:37 (see above), but employs it differently — for the testimony of personal Christian
conduct (vv. 3 and 6). In v. 12 the roles are exchanged: Truth has given its testimony concerning
Demetrius.
Revelation refers to an apocalyptic “witnessing” (as in John 3:11, 32; see above): The seer
bears witness to “what he has seen,” namely, “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” i.e.,
that which comes from Jesus (1:2; → μαρτυρία 5). The angels bear witness to the content of the
book (22:16), i.e., so that it finally bears witness to Jesus (v. 20). Only in these three passages, in
addition to John 3:11, 32; 1 Tim 6:13, is μαρτυρέω found with the acc. of the thing. In a “formula
of canonization” (Bousset / Gressmann 148), it is “witnessed” to everyone who adds or takes away
from Scripture that they will receive God’s punishment (22:18).
5. The related vb. μαρτύ ρομαι (mid., only pres.) appears in the NT only 5 times. The meaning
testify, attest is present in three passages where the vb. is constructed with the dat. of the person:
Paul testifies to everyone who is circumcised that he is bound to keep the whole law (Gal 5:3).
Luke uses the same construction in relation to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:26. In Acts 26:22
the expression may be colored by v. 16: Paul, called to be a “witness,” must bear witness before
great and small. Μαρτύ ρομαι with the acc. and inf. in Eph 4:17 and 1 Thess 2:12 (εἰς τό ) means
swear.
Διαμαρτύ ρομαι (aor. mid. διεμαρτυρά μην) is found 15 times in the NT, 9 of which are in
Acts (26 times in LXX). The meaning corresponds to that of μαρτύ ρομαι: swear, testify. Against
E. Günther (ΜΑΡΤΥΣ [1941]), one may not assume a special “apocalyptic usage.” Paul uses
the vb. in 1 Thess 4:6 with the dat. of the person, in reference to the content of earlier proclamation:
the judgment. In Heb 2:6 διαμαρτύ ρομαι appears at the author’s introduction of the Scripture
citation, without the reference actually serving as a “proof from Scripture.” In the Pastorals one
may see a transition to a more formulaic Christian usage: Reference is made to a “swearing before

gen. genitive
mid. middle
pres. present
aor. aorist
LXX Septuagint
(ἐνώ πιον)” God, Jesus Christ, the angels (1 Tim 5:21, with ἵνα; 2 Tim 2:14; 4:1, here associated
additionally with an acc. of the thing: “at his coming …”).
Luke uses the vb. with the dat. of the person in the sense of urgent persuasion in Luke 16:28.
In Acts (except for 2:40, where it parallels παρακαλέω and is related to its meaning in Luke
16:28), it becomes a t.t. for the proclamation of the apostles and of Paul. The contents include
(with various addressees): the word of the Lord (8:25), repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ (20:21), the gospel of God’s grace (20:24), the kingdom of God (28:23), that Jesus is the
Christ (with acc. and inf., 18:15), “the message about me” (Jesus, 23:11, parallel to μαρτυρῆ σα
ι, here of Paul as → μά ρτυς 4). In 10:42 the content stands within a ὅ τι clause (Jesus as judge)
and the vb. is parallel to κηρύ ξαι, which confirms the interpretation that is given. Only in 20:23
is the Holy Spirit the subj. of the “witness”: he promises to Paul his imminent suffering.
J. Beutler

μαρτυρία, ας , ἡ martyria testimony, evidence*


1. Frequency — 2. Meaning — 3. Usage — 4. The testimony of Jesus and testimony about Jesus
in John and 1 John — 5. The witness of Jesus in Revelation — 6. Μαρτύ ριον
Lit.: → μά ρτυς .

1. Μαρτυρία appears 37 times in the NT, the majority of which are in the Johannine literature
(14 in John, 9 in Revelation, 6 in 1 John, and once in 3 John). The remainder of the occurrences
are distributed among Mark with 3, Luke and Acts with one each, and the Pastorals with 2.
2. With BAGD s.v. one can distinguish between an act. and a pass. usage. The act. usage is
found in John 1:7; Rev 11:7, where the word refers to “bearing witness”: “he came in order to bear
witness” (John 1:7); “and when they have completed their testimony” (Rev 11:7). In the remaining
passages the word refers to “testimony” given before a court or a general “testimony” in
the fig. sense. The “testimony” before a court is meant in Mark 14:55f., 59; Luke 22:71
(cf. par. Mark 14:63: μαρτύ ρων. Because Luke has not mentioned the two false witnesses before,
he has the high priest say only now: “What need do we have of testimony?”). The fig. sense is used
in Titus 1:13, when what is said by a pagan “prophet” (i.e., poet) is called a testimony about the
Cretans. According to 1 Tim 3:7 the bishop must have a “good testimony,” i.e., “a good reputation”
among outsiders. The religious usage is found in Acts 22:18: The people of Jerusalem will not
accept the testimony of Paul about Jesus (on the use of περί, in reference to Jesus, → μαρτυρέω
4). On the meaning and usage of the word in the other passages in Johannine literature → 4 and 5.
3. Μαρτυρία is sg. in the NT, except in Mark 14:56. Preceding it may be διά with the acc. as
a prep. indicating cause, “because of the testimony” (to Jesus; → 5), Rev 1:9; 6:9; 20:4; εἰς

t.t. technical term


subj. subject, subjective
sg. singular
with acc. in John 1:7 (→ 2); and εἰς indicating obj. after πιστεύ ω in 1 John 5:10: “believe in the
testimony.”
The noun is connected either with the attributive gen. or with the attributive adj. The gen. of
the person bearing witness appears in Mark 14:59; Acts 22:18; 3 John 12, etc. On the usage in the
Johannine literature → 4 and 5. The only attributive adj. to occur is καλή ν (μαρτυρίαν) in 1 Tim
3:7; → 2. The μείζω (= μείζονα) in John 5:36 is used in a predicative manner: “I have a testimony
greater than that which comes from John.” In nom. clauses one finds the pred. adjs. μείζων (1
John 5:9a), ἀ ληθή ς , ἀ ληθινή , and ἵση./ ἵσαι (Mark 14:59, 56: “agree”). While ἀ ληθή ς with μ
αρτυρία means “true” in Titus 1:13; John 5:32; 21:24; 3 John 12, in John 5:31; 8:13f., 17 it is
understood in a more formal way and means much the same as “credible.” Ἀ ληθινό ς in John
19:35 means the same as ἀ ληθή ς , “true” (cf. the continuation: “and he knows that he speaks the
truth”). On the verbal associations → 4 and 5.
4. As was indicated under → μαρτυρέω 4, the Evangelist John has two characteristic uses of
the idea of witness / testimony: According to John 3:11, 31f. Jesus is the witness of heavenly things,
“but you do not accept our testimony” (v. 11), or “no one accepts his testimony” (v. 32). Here
Jewish apocalyptic language and ideas may stand in the background (→ μαρτυρέω 4).
In 5:31–40 and 8:12–20, the concern is with witnesses who should legitimate Jesus’ claim of
divine revelation in the context of a juridical dispute with the Jews (→ μαρτυρέω 4). In 5:31
Jesus, the speaker, concedes that his testimony is not “credible” if he bears witness to himself, and
thus he points to the Father as the ἄ λλος μαρτυρῶ ν, whose witness is “true” (v. 32; cf. Beutler
257). In principle Jesus does not receive the testimony (confirming him) from people (v. 34), even
if he can claim the testimony of the Baptist as an ad hominem argument for himself (v. 33, verbal;
1:7, 17). Jesus has “a testimony greater than John’s” (5:36), namely, the testimony of the works
that the Father granted for him to accomplish. In 8:12–20 Jesus absolutely rejects the charge that
his testimony is “not credible” (v. 14) because it is testimony on his own behalf (v. 13), and he
appeals to the (unformulated) rule of Deut 19:15 par. in v. 17, according to which “the testimony
of two people is credible” (→ μά ρτυς 3).
In 19:35 and 21:24 the μαρτυρία extends — perhaps post-Johannine — to facts about Jesus,
not only to his person: one refers to his side that is opened, and the other refers to the report of the
beloved disciple.
1 John takes up once more the total testimony about Jesus: in 5:9, as in John 5:34, 36, the
divine testimony is the “greater” one that is contrasted with human testimony. The former could
refer back to John 5:37: it has already taken place in the past (note the pf. vb.). Despite v. 10
(“anyone who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself”), the subject is not an inner
witness of the Holy Spirit (against earlier authors), but rather God’s testimony to himself in

obj. object, objective


adj. adjective, adjectival
pred. predicate
adjs. adjectives, adjectivally
Scripture and in the work of Jesus (John 5:36–39) and in the disclosure of the life of Jesus (1 John
5:11f.), insofar as this μαρτυρία has found acceptance in faith among humankind.
5. In Revelation alone the expression “the testimony of Jesus” occurs 6 times (1:2, 9; 12:17;
19:10 bis; 20:4). Against earlier authors (e.g., H. von Campenhausen, Die Idee des Martyriums in
der alten Kirche [1936]), this is not to be interpreted as a testimony about Jesus, but as one that
comes from Jesus; thus the gen. is to be understood as a subj. gen., not an obj. gen. (with Brox,
Trites, et al.). Thus one may note the parallelism with the “word of God” in 1:2, 9, and 20:4 and
with the “commands of God” in 12:17. God’s word and the testimony of Jesus are taken up by the
seer and brought into play over against the accusing enemy. “Those who are slain … hold it firmly”
(6:9); likewise the prophets of 19:10 and those who were beheaded in 20:4. The two (prophetic)
witnesses of 11:7 “finish” it after they have expressed it in word (λό γον), and then they are killed
(cf. also 12:11).
Here, with the sequence of witness of the word and death, one may not yet speak of a
martyrological use of μαρτυρία (so also Lohse, Brox, Trites; → μά ρτυς 2, 5). This usage is first
found in Mart. Pol. 1:1; 2:1; 18:2; 19:1; cf. BAGD s.v. 3, and Brox 227. An anticipation of this
martyrological use can be found already in 4 Macc 12:16 A (cf. 16:16, διαμαρτυρία).
6. The related substantivized adj. μαρτύ ριον, testimony, proof (cf. Schwyzer, Grammatik I,
470), appears 19 times in the NT. The Synoptics each use it 3 times, Paul also 3 times, Acts and
the Pastorals 2 times, and Hebrews, James, and Revelation once each.
The meaning is almost always testimony, evidence, proof; thus the word can become a t.t. for
the language of proclamation (see below on Paul, Pastorals, and Acts). Ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ μαρτυρί
ο υ (Acts 7:44; Rev 15:5), derived from the LXX, rests on a mistranslation of
the LXX for Heb. ’ōhel mô‘ēḏ; the LXX translator incorrectly derived mô‘ēḏ from the root ‘d,
“witness,” instead of y‘d, “meet.”
In the Synoptic tradition only εἰς μαρτύ ριον, “for the testimony,” occurs. According to Mark
1:44 par. Matt 8:4./ Luke 5:14 the leper who has been cleansed must show himself to the priest
and offer the prescribed sacrifices “for a testimony to them.” The reference is probably to the role
of the priesthood in examining the healing. The clause is largely taken over by Matthew and Luke,
including even the unusual word order. This is not the case in the two other passages in the Markan
tradition. Matthew (10:14) removes the largely unintelligible εἰς μαρτύ ριον αὐ τοῖς of Mark
6:11: “shake the dust from your feet for a testimony to [against?] them”; Luke (9:5) clarifies: εἰς
μαρτύ ριον ἐπʼ αὐ τού ς , i.e., unambiguously “against them.”
According to Mark 13:9 the disciples will be brought before Jewish and Gentile courts “for
testimony before them.” Here one is to think of the confession of Christ by the persecuted ones.
Matthew clarifies this thought and extends it: εἰς μαρτύ ριον αὐ τοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν (10:18);
with the “governors and kings” he is apparently referring to Gentile court officers. Matt 24:14 uses
the formula independently: the gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed in the entire inhabited

Schwyzer, E. Schwyzer, Griechische Grammatik I-IV (1939-71)


Heb. Hebrew
world “as a testimony to all the Gentiles.” According to Luke (21:13) the situation becomes “a
testimony” not to the judges but to the accused themselves.
Εἰς μαρτύ ριον appears twice more in the Epistles. According to Jas 5:3 the rust on the gold
of the rich will become “a testimony against them” at the final judgment (dat., as in Mark 6:11).
According to Heb 3:5, the faithfulness of Moses proves to be “a testimony of the future revelations,”
i.e., of the revelation to come in Christ (v. 6).
In Acts μαρτύ ριον becomes a t.t. for apostolic proclamation as a testimony of the resurrection
of Jesus (→ μά ρτυς 4). “The apostles gave [the] testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”
(4:33). If with Luke μαρτύ ριον is more closely connected with the event of the resurrection in
history, this element recedes in Paul. When 1 Cor 1:6 says, “the testimony of Christ has been
confirmed among you,” the emphasis is on neither the juridical nor the historical components.
Correspondingly, 2 Thess 1:10 says that “you had faith in our testimony.” It must remain an open
question to what extent Paul (or “Paul”) consciously thinks of his role as a witness of the
resurrection, in accordance with 1 Cor 15:8. The role of the apostle as witness to the resurrection,
which was so central to Luke, has at least terminologically not yet disappeared. A v.l. to 1 Cor 2:1
regards μαρτύ ριον τοῦ θεοῦ simply as the subj. of the Pauline proclamation, synonymous with
τὸ μυστή ριον. Outside this usage Paul speaks in a parenthetical phrase of the “testimony of our
conscience” (2 Cor 1:12).
The Pastorals, like Paul and Acts, regard μαρτύ ριον as an expression for the proclamation.
Timothy is encouraged: “Do not be ashamed of the witness of our Lord” (2 Tim 1:8). In 1 Tim 2:6
the difficult τὸ μαρτύ ριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις refers either to the redemptive death of Jesus as the
testimony of God or to the formula of faith and proclamation already mentioned in v. 5 (so Brox
35; against BAGD s.v. 1.a: Beutler 199).
J. Beutler
μαρτύ ριον, ου, τό martyrion testimony, proof

→ μαρτυρία 6.
μαρτύ ρομαι martyromai swear, attest, testify

→ μαρτυρέω (5).3
III. διδαχή , ῆ ς , ἡ didachē instruction, teaching*

v.l. variant reading


3
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:389-393). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
*
All New Testament occurrences of this word are mentioned in the body of this article.
Lit.: K. H. RENGSTORF, TDNT II, 163–65. — M. TRIMAILLE, “Encore le ‘typos Didaches’ de
Romains 6,17,” La vie de la parole (FS P. Grelot; 1987) 269-80.
1. Of the 30 occurrences in the NT, διδαχή occurs in the pl. only in Heb 13:9. It has the
active sense of instruction or of speech and exhortation in the form of teaching (Mark 4:2; 12:38;
1 Cor 14:6, 26; 2 Tim 4:2). The passive meaning of teaching passed on through instruction is
also present. The comparison in Mark 1:22 par. Matt 7:28 indicates, of course, that one cannot
always distinguish sharply between act. and pass. use. Tendencies toward the technical usage of
διδαχή in the sense of Christian teaching in general are present in the NT Epistles.
2. a) In the Gospels διδαχή designates “the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt
16:12) as well as the teaching of Jesus (Mark 1:22 par.; 1:27; 4:2; 11:18; 12:38; Matt 22:33). The
latter is mentioned in contrast to Judaism as a “new teaching with authority” (Mark 1:27; cf. 1:22
and the reference to the “amazement” of the people at the teaching of Jesus in Mark
1:22 par. Matt 7:28/Luke 4:32; Mark 11:18; Matt 22:33). In the answer of Jesus to the objection
of the Jews (v. 15) in John 7:16f., Jesus’ revelatory discourse is described as teaching, which is
identical (cf. 8:28 and 8:26) to God’s own teaching. In connection with the trial of Jesus, the high
priest asks about Jesus’ teaching (18:19; i.e., Jesus’ teaching in synagogue and temple
[cf. v. 20]).
b) The use of διδαχή outside of the Gospels is not uniform: on the one hand, the preaching
of the apostles or of Paul is called teaching by the high priest (Acts 5:28) and by those who hear
Paul in Athens (17:19). In 17:19 it is called a “new teaching” (“new” in the sense of ξένος ;
17:18, 20f.). On the other hand, διδαχή is used in Acts 2:42 (“teaching of the apostles”) and in
the Pastorals of the firmly established tradition of instruction in the Church; this is the
case esp. in Titus 1:9 in the context of the exhortation to the bishop to concern himself with the
correct preaching “in accordance with the teaching” (cf. 2 Tim 4:2: διδαχή with the meaning of
instruction in sound teaching in contrast to false teaching). Such usage was already prepared for
by Paul in Rom 6:17 where there is an encouragement to obedience to the “form of teaching” (τ
ύ πος διδαχῆ ς ) which was once (in baptism) transmitted to the addressees. Διδαχή is used

TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)

FS Festschrift

pl. plural

par. parallel

act. active (voice)

pass. passive

v. verse

esp. especially
here, as in 16:17, for definite traditions of faith that one is to learn. Similarly, διδαχῆ τοῦ Χρισ
τοῦ in 2 John 9f. denotes the (correct) “teaching of Christ” in contrast to false christological
teaching (v. 7). In Rev 2:14f., 24, διδαχή can designate, in references to OT traditions
concerning Balaam and Jezebel, the false teaching of the Nicolaitans. In Heb 13:9 it refers to
“diverse and strange teachings” in contrast to the Church’s own (correct) teaching
(cf. Herm. Sim. viii.6.5).
c) In Acts 13:12 and Heb 6:2 διδαχή appears with a special meaning, as it does also in the
reference to the miracle of punishment by Paul on Bar-Jesus/Elymas, as a διδαχή τοῦ κυριοῦ ,
i.e., as “a teaching done by the Lord” (subj. gen.); in Heb 6:2, in the context of an enumeration
of the catechetical tradition, the “teachings of baptisms [pl.! see the commentaries] and of the
laying on of hands” is mentioned.
H.-F. Weiss4

IV. κοινωνέω koinōneō have a share; give a share; take a share; have fellowship
→ κοινωνία.
κοινωνία, ας , ἡ koinōnia community; fellowship; participation*

κοινωνέω koinoneō have a share; give a share; take a share; have fellowship*
κοινωνό ς , οῦ , ὁ koinōnos companion, partner*
1. Occurrences in the NT — 2. General meanings and constructions — 3. Special use, esp. in Paul
— 4. Individual references
Lit.: P. C. BORI, Κ Ο Ι ΝΩ Ν Ι Α . L’idea della comunione nell’ ecclesiologia recente e nel Nuovo
Testamento (1972). — T. Y. CAMPBELL, “Κοινωνία and its Cognates in the NT,” JBL 51 (1932) 352–80.
— P. J. T. ENDENBURG, Koinonia, En Gemeenschap van zaken bij de Grieken in den klassieken tijd (1937).
— J. HAINZ, “Gemeinschaft (κοινωνία) zwischen Paulus und Jerusalem (Gal 2, 9f),” FS Mussner 30–42.
— idem, Koinonia. “Kirche” als Gemeinschaft bei Paulus (1982). — F. HAUCK, TDNT III, 789–810. —

Herm. Shepherd of Hermas

subj. subject, subjective

gen. genitive
4
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:319-320). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
*
All New Testament occurrences of this word are mentioned in the body of this article.
esp. especially
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
FS Kontinuität und Einheit (FS F. Mussner; 1981)
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)
G. JOURDAN, “ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ in 1 Corinthians 10, 16, ” JBL 67 (1948) 111–24. — M. MANZANERA,
“Koinonía en Hch 2, 42, ” EE 52 (1977) 307–29. — J. M. MCDERMOTT, “The Biblical Doctrine of ΚΟΙΝ
ΩΝΙΑ,” BZ 19 (1975) 64–77, 219–33. — G. PANIKULAM, Koinonia in the NT (1979). — P. PERKINS,
“Koinonia in 1 John 1, 3–7, ” CBQ 45 (1983) 631–41. — R. SCHNACKENBURG, “Die Einheit der Kirche
unter dem Koinonia-Gedanken,” F. Hahn, K. Kertelge, and R. Schnackenburg, Einheit der Kirche (1979)
52–93. — H. SEESEMANN, Der Begriff ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ im NT (1933). — A. WEISER, “Basis und Führung in
kirchlicher communio,” BK 45 (1990) 66–71.
1. The word group represented by κοινωνία appears in the NT predominantly in Paul, in the
epistolary literature influenced by Paul (Ephesians, 1 Timothy, and 1-2 Peter), Hebrews, and 1-2
John. Κοινωνό ς is found once each in Matthew (23:30), Luke (5:10), and Acts (2:42). Only the
usage in Paul and writings influenced by Paul has a specific character (→ 3), while the rest of NT
usage corresponds to general Greek usage (→ 2).
2. Adj. use of κοινωνό ς can be rendered common or participating in; subst. use can be
rendered partner, associate. In the NT adj. use appears in 2 Pet 1:4: “partakers of the divine nature.”
Subst. use is most often pl. It is absolute in 2 Cor 8:23 and Phlm 17 (partner). The person with
whom one is a partner or associate (Luke 5:10: “who were partners with Simon”) is given in
the dat. The obj. gen. indicates that in which one shares or how or whose partner one is (1 Cor
10:18, 20; 2 Cor 1:7; 1 Pet 5:1; Heb 10:33: “partners of those who so conducted themselves”). Of
the prep. phrase modifiers appearing in nonbiblical Greek (ἐν εἰς , περί, ἐπί) only ἐν appears in
the NT (Matt 23:30: “partners, i.e., those who shared the guilt for the blood of the prophets”).
Κοινωνέω, the vb. derived from κοινωνό ς , means have./ take a share in something where
it appears with a gen. or dat. obj. (Rom 12:13; 15:27; 1 Tim 5:22; 1 Pet 4:13; Heb 2:14: “as now
the children share flesh and blood …”; 2 John 11: “One who greets [a false teacher], takes part in
his evil works”). It means give a share, communicate, have fellowship with someone, with
the dat. of the person (Gal 6:6; Phil 4:15). That in which one gives a portion or the manner in
which one holds fellowship is indicated with ἐν (Gal 6:6) or εἰς (Phil 4:15).
Κοινωνί α, the related abstract form, is translated fellowship, partnership and also with
participation, sharing. Absolute use suggests esp. the idea of fellowship (Gal 2:9; Acts 2:42: “They
continued in the teaching of the apostles and in fellowship”; Heb 13:16: “Do not forget charity and
fellowship”; 1 John 1:3: “so that you have fellowship with us; but our fellowship is also with the

EE Estudios Ecclesiasticos
BZ Biblische Zeitschrift
CBQ Catholic Biblical Quarterly
BK Bibel und Kirche
subst. substantive, substantivally
adj. adjective, adjectival
pl. plural
dat. dative
obj. object, objective
gen. genitive
vb. verb
Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ”; similarly vv. 6, 7: κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν). Along with the
normal gen. of the object in which one participates (1 Cor 10:16; 2 Cor 8:4; 13:13; Phil 2:1; 3:10;
Phlm 6) Paul in one instance (1 Cor 1:9) also employs the gen. of the person, which is unusual
elsewhere in Greek. Also unusual is the construction with the dat. of the object in 2 Cor 6:14
(“what fellowship has light with darkness?”). More frequently, however, one finds in the
NT prep. designations of κοινωνία with εἰς (2 Cor 9:13; Phil 1:5), ἐν (Phlm 6), πρό ς (2 Cor
6:14), and μετά (1 John 1:3, 6, 7). Paul also uses κοινωνία specifically for the collection for the
church in Jerusalem (Rom 15:26); this is to be explained against the background of the specific
Pauline use of the word group (→ 3).
3. The special character of Pauline usage is always emphasized in the exegetical literature and
its religious character is always emphasized. However, the neutral rendering, “participant,”
“participate,” “participation,” is overwhelmingly preferred. This takes place esp. out of aversion
to the term “fellowship.” In English the ideas of association, alliance, and unity, as well as similar
ideas, easily enter in — conceptions that are misleading in regard to Pauline use of κοινωνία.
Moreover, the lexicons indicate that the word group represented by κοινωνία is distinguished
from synonyms by the idea of fellowship, of inner relationship. “Κοινωνία expresses a mutual
relationship.… As with κοινωνέω either the giving or the receiving side of the relationship can
stand in the foreground” (Hauck 798; cf. Moulton / Milligan 351). Indeed, in actual usage either
one motif or the other is expressed. But the total Pauline usage has a unified structure for the word
group as such, which can be seen in the interpretation of individual texts; fellowship / partnership
(with someone) through (common) participation (in something).
Κοινωνία is in Paul a designation for various community relationships that come into being
through (common) participation and are seen in reciprocal giving and taking of a portion. Where
the community relationship (common participation in something) is mediated through someone
(e.g., Jerusalem, apostles, teachers) an obligation comes into being that obligates the receiver to a
response of giving a portion. Κοινωνοί are persons who stand in a relationship of community
because they have a common share in something. In κοινωνέω the act of giving and receiving a
portion itself is expressed, the experience of having fellowship with someone in something. The
meaning have fellowship, give a portion, impart has occasionally been disputed for Paul; it
emerges unambiguously, however, from Gal 6:6 and Phil 4:15 and is attested both in Greek
(Endenburg) and early Christian literature (Barn. 19:8; Did. 4:8; Justin Apol. i.15.10). Because the
word group represented by κοινωνία includes these various implications in content, a precise
summary of these aspects is possible only by referring to particular contexts (→ 4).
4. The reciprocity of community relationships designated with the word group represented by
κοινωνία is emphasized by Paul esp. in his description of the relationships of his churches to the
mother church in Jerusalem and to him, the founding apostle. Rom 15:27 makes clear that these

vv. verses
prep. prepositions, prepositional
Justin Justin Apologia
relationships are fundamentally relationships of obligation: “for if the Gentiles receive a share (ἐ
κοινώ νησαν) in their [the Jerusalem Christians’] spiritual blessings [gospel, faith, salvation],
they are obliged to provide them a ministry in bodily [material] matters.” Thus benefits that are
very different in nature are exchanged. But in the exchange κοινωνία, the recognition of the
relationship in community in which having a share obligates one to give a share, comes into
existence (cf. Gal 6:6: “Let him who is taught share in all good things with him who teaches”).
On this Paul bases his right — in principle — to receive material and personal support from
the churches that came to faith through him; support, even if he de facto — out of fear of
misinterpretation — made only sparing use of this right. Thus he reminds the Philippians that no
church except them (Phil 4:15) “entered into partnership in giving and receiving.” The gifts of the
Philippians were an expression of gratitude, which they owed their founding apostle, and of
partnership, which they wished to have with him and could have only in this form. In a general
way this demand for reciprocal partnership and care is found also in Rom 12:13: “Share in the
needs of the saints.” Thus the relationship in community, which has come into existence between
the believers, obliges them to give reciprocal assistance. Less Pauline is 1 Tim 5:22: “Do not take
part in another person’s sins.” On 1 Pet 4:13 see below.
As with κοινωνέω Paul uses κοινωνία also for various common relationships of Christians
with each other. Thus he thanks the Philippians for their “partnership in the gospel” (Phil 1:5).
This partnership is based on the mediation of the gospel by the apostle and in the common
participation in the gospel and is expressed in common service for the gospel (or for Paul as its
mediator).
Such partnership exists between the apostle and all who came to faith through his proclamation,
as with Philemon. Thus Paul hopes that the relationship that came into existence through “the
partnership in faith (Phlm 6) will be effective in the fulfillment of his request. In connection with
Phlm 17 (“If you thus consider me your partner,” i.e., if you stand with me in this relationship of
partnership), the word group represented by κοινωνί α can be seen as the key to the total
understanding of the letter to Philemon; i.e., the letter is a concrete demonstration of what Paul
understands by κοινωνία.
A similar relationship in partnership exists between those who share together in the
proclamation of the gospel. Thus Titus in 2 Cor 8:23 is described by Paul as “[with respect to the
proclamation of the gospel] my partner and with respect to you [the foundation and strengthening
of the Church] [God’s and] my ‘co-worker.’.”
The Pauline understanding of κοινωνία takes on its greatest significance in connection with
statements about Christ and the Spirit. 1 Cor 1:9 speaks of the call through God “to fellowship with
Jesus Christ [an unusual gen. of the person],” indicating neither how this fellowship comes into
existence nor in what it consists. The relationships become clear, however, in 10:16ff., especially
in contrast to μετέχω, which in Greek can be synonymous with κοινωνέω, but which in Paul
expresses only the concrete receiving of a share, but not the most decisive aspect, which is the
“partnership” in the body of Christ effected at the Lord’s Supper through “participation in” the
body of the exalted Christ, the Church, i.e., the partnership with the other partakers in the meal.
The explication of 10:16 in 10:17 and the larger context, in which the concern is the various
relationships between those who partake at the table of the Lord and those who partake at the altar,
i.e., at the table of demons (10:18: “Do not those who eat the sacrifices stand in partnership through
the common participation at the altar?”) does not allude directly to the relationship of the one who
eats at the altar to God (the OT nowhere ventures this idea, which is found first in Philo [Philo Vit.
Mos. i.158; Philo Spec. Leg.. i.221]), but to the partnership that they enter by eating. Thus also in
reference to those who worship demons (cf. 10:20f., which one can translate: “I do not want you
to to enter into partnership with those who are partners in sacrificing to idols and thus stand in
relationship to demons”). One enters into partnership with the powers to which the sacrifices are
dedicated and with those who share in the offerings. According to Paul, what takes place at the
Lord’s Supper is not fundamentally different from what takes place in Jewish and Gentile
sacrifices.
Christ establishes partnership by offering not only participation in his body (and blood), but
also “partnership in his sufferings” (Phil 3:10), i.e., partnership with him by partnership in his
sufferings (cf. 1 Pet 4:13: “rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ”). Thus the hope for
future partnership with Christ through participation in his glory (cf. 1 Pet 5:1: “as well as partakers
of his glory”) corresponds to participation in his sufferings. Thus the apostle is certain that the
sufferings of Christ, which have come over him in abundance, but which are also the
encouragement that he has richly experienced through Christ (on 2 Cor 1:5–7; cf. 1 Cor 15:31; 2
Cor 4:10f.; Col 1:24), are also shared by the Church (2 Cor 1:7: “partakers in the sufferings as
well as the encouragement”).
What binds all Christians, finally, is “the partnership [through common participation] of the
Spirit” (2 Cor 13:13; Phil 2:1). This permits the apostle to postulate sympathy and mercy as
demonstrations of this partnership (Phil 2:1).
The Pauline understanding of κοινωνία has special meaning in connection with the collection
for Jerusalem. According to Gal 2:9 Paul and those who were considered authorities in the
Jerusalem church extended “the hand of fellowship.” The handshake was meant to confirm the
partnership by a sign and express the willingness for partnership. The partnership thus sealed had
its basis in the shared proclamation of the one gospel — at least in principle. And it was meant to
have its visible expression in the collection (cf. Gal 2:10).
According to 2 Corinthians 8–9 the collection was a contribution to the solidarity of the
churches with each other (cf. καὶ εἰς πά ντας , 9:13), particularly with Jerusalem. It was a ministry
to the mother church, in which the Macedonians requested that they might participate (8:4), for
which (as a demonstration of the will for fellowship) the Christians of Jerusalem will praise God
(9:13: because of the generosity of this “demonstration of partnership” with them). The collection
is thus a concrete demonstration of the existing relationship of partnership and obligation in which
the Gentile Christian churches stand in relationship to the mother church in Jerusalem. That this
understanding demands fundamentally unlimited κοινωνία is indicated in Rom 15:25–31 (cf. also
Gal 6:6); yet a partial manifestation suffices (Rom 15:26: the churches of Macedonia and Achaia
decided to make κοινωνίαν τινὰ ποιή σασθαι, i.e., “some demonstration of partnership”).
J. Hainz
κοινωνικό ς , 3 koinōnikos sharing, beneficial to the community*
1 Tim 6:18, in an admonition to the rich to be generous. F. Hauck, TDNT III, 809.

Philo Philo De Vita Mosis


Philo Philo De Specialibus Legibus
κοινωνό ς , οῦ , ὁ koinōnos companion, partner

→ κοινωνία.5

V. διακονέω diakoneō serve

διακονία, ας , ἡ diakonia service, ministry; office


διά κονος , ου, ὁ (ἡ ) diakonos servant
1. Occurrences in the NT — 2. Meanings — 3. Development of the concepts — a) Jesus — b)
Paul and the Pauline churches — c) The Gospels and Acts — d) The deutero-Pauline letters and
other late writings
Lit.: H. W. BEYER, TDNT II, 81–93. — W. BRANDT, Dienst und Dienen im NT (1931). — K.
HESS, DNTT III, 544–49. — K. RAHNER and H. VORGRIMLER, Diaconia in Christo (1962). — B. REICKE,
Diakonia, Festfreude und Zelos in Verbindung mit der altchristlichen Agapenfeier (UUÅ 5, 1951). — J.
ROLOFF, Apostolat–Verkündigung–Kirche (1965). — idem, “Anfänge der soteriologischen Deutung des
Todes Jesu,” NTS 19 (1972/73) 38–64. — J. SCHÜTZ, “Der Diakonat im NT” (Diss. Mainz, 1952). — W.
THÜSING, “Dienstfunktion und Vollmacht kirchlicher ämter nach dem NT,” BibLeb 14 (1973) 77–88. —
A. WEISER, Die Knechtsgleichnisse der synoptischen Evangelien (SANT 29, 1971). — For further
bibliography see TWNT X, 1039–41. — S. AALEN, “Versuch einer Analyse des Diakonia-Begriffes im NT,”
The NT Age (FS B. Reicke; 1984) I, 1-13. — G. LOHFINK, “Weibliche Diakonie im NT,” Diakonia 11
(1980) 385-400. — K. ROMANIUK, “Was Phoebe in Romans 16,1 a Deaconess?” ZNW 81 (1990) 132-34.
1. Διακονέω appears 36 times in the NT: 21 times in the Synoptics and Acts, 3 times in John,
8 times in the Pauline collection of letters, once in Hebrews, and 3 times in 1 Peter. Among the
relatively frequent occurrences in the Synoptics, the greatest number of passages belong to the
words and parables of Jesus. The activities designated by the vb. are expressed abstractly with the
noun διακονία, service, office, which appears 33 times in the NT: only once in the Gospels (Luke
10:40), 8 times in Acts, 22 times in the Pauline letters, and once each in Hebrews and Revelation.
Finally, διά κονος , servant, is the one who executes the activities designated by διακονέω, -ία.
It appears 29 times in the NT: 8 times in the Gospels and 21 times in the Pauline letters.
2. The original frame of reference for the use of the entire word group of the διακ- stem in
secular Greek was that of table service. The basic meaning of the vb., correspondingly, was wait

5
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:303-305). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)
DNTT New International Dictionary of NT Theology I-III (ed. C. Brown; 1975-78)
NTS New Testament Studies
BibLeb Bibel und Leben
SANT Studien zum Alten und Neuen Testament
TWNT Theologisches Wörterbuch zum NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1933-79)
FS Festschrift
ZNW Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
vb. verb
on tables. From this meaning the wider sense has been derived: care for one’s livelihood, and
finally serve in general.
The word group is distinct from other terms that are related in meaning in that it “has the special quality
of indicating very personally the service rendered to another” (Beyer 81). Especially noteworthy is the
difference in meaning between → δουλεύ ω and διακονέω with the word groups belonging to each. The
δουλ- words express a relationship of dependence and the subordination of the δοῦ λος to the κύ ριος . Δ
ιακονέω and its cognates, on the other hand, express much more strongly the idea of service on behalf of
someone. This distinction suggests why διακονέω does not appear at all in the LXX and why διακονία
and διά κονος play only a very insignificant role there, while words of the δουλ- stem are common.

Διακονέ ω and its cognates become in certain strata of the NT a central expression for Christian
conduct oriented to Jesus’ word and behavior and for specifically Christian functions in the Church:
charitable activity, proclamation of the word, and the task of leadership.
The word group is used in the NT with the basic meaning serve at table: Matt 22:13; Mark
1:31 par. Matthew/Luke; Luke 10:40; 12:37; 17:8; 22:26f.; John 2:5, 9; 12:2; Acts 6:2. The
expanded meaning help by providing care is present in Matt 25:44; Mark 1:13 par. Matthew; Mark
15:41 par. Matthew; Luke 8:3; Phlm 13. Jesus’ entire work and his death are described as a service:
Mark 10:45 par. Matthew; Luke 22:26f. There are also references to the service of the disciples in
a comprehensive sense: Matt 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:43 par. Matthew; Luke 22:26f.; John 12:26.
The cognates are used to designate the apostolic service of proclamation: of the twelve, Acts 1:17,
25; 6:4; of Paul, Acts 20:24; 21:19; Rom 11:13; 1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 3:3, 6, 9; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3f.; 11:8
(15, 23: false apostles); Eph 3:7; Col 1:23, 25; 1 Tim 1:12; other proclaimers and coworkers, Acts
19:22; 1 Cor 3:5; Eph 6:21; Col 1:7; 4:7; 1 Thess 3:2; 2 Tim 4:11; 1 Pet 1:12.
The word group also designates charitable service in the congregation: Acts 6:1; Rom 12:7; 1
Pet 4:11. This also extends beyond one’s own congregation, as in the case of the collection for
Jerusalem: Acts 11:29; 12:25; Rom 15:25, 31; 2 Cor 8:4, 19f.; 9:1, 12f. All of the ministries of the
Church are mentioned comprehensively in 1 Cor 12:5. Next, 1 Cor 16:15; 2 Tim 1:18; Heb 6:10;
1 Pet 4:10; Rev 2:19 speak of the ministry of the Church as a whole. The charitable service referred
to in Rom 16:1 has the character of an office, as does the ministry of the apostles, prophets,
evangelists, pastors, and teachers in Eph 4:12. The word group serves to designate the official tasks
of leadership in the Church in Eph 4:17; Col 4:17; 1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 4:5, and esp. in the references
to the office of deacon in Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:8, 10, 12f. The following meanings occur separately:
the power of the state as servant of God in Rom 13:4; Christ, servant of his people, Rom 15:8, not
of sin, Gal 2:17; the ministry of angels for the salvation of individuals in Heb 1:14.
3. a) The root of the NT content of διακονέω, -ία, -ος lies in the speech and conduct of Jesus
himself. Likewise the central meaning that the complex of words receives in the life of the early
Church is derived from Jesus himself and from the earliest interpretation of his total work and
death as servanthood. The saying about the greatness of servanthood in Mark 10:43f. par. Matthew;
Mark 9:35; Matt 23:11 is derived from Jesus in its basic form. This can be ascertained from the
age and breadth of the tradition. The interpretation of his total work and his self-sacrifice in death
as service originated probably in the eucharistic celebrations of the Palestinian churches. This can

LXX Septuagint
par. parallel
esp. especially
be concluded from Mark 10:45 par. Matthew and the variant in Luke 22:27. Although Mark 10:45
is formulated in dependence on Isa 53:10–12, it is noteworthy that the vb. διακονέω is used
instead of δουλεύ ω. This fact suggests that table service is the original context of the saying, as
the variant in Luke 22:27 clearly demonstrates.
b) Paul’s own apostolic understanding and the variety of “ministries” of the Pauline churches
have received their essential shape and terminology from the speech and conduct of Jesus and from
the early Christian understanding of his work and death as service. The image that Paul’s self-
understanding “makes most central is that of the servant of Jesus Christ” (Roloff, Apostolat 121).
Thus Paul sees himself in a double relation of service with respect both to Christ and to the Church
(2 Cor 3–6, 11f.). In the exercise of his apostolic service Paul regards the proclamation of the
gospel as the fundamental and central activity (e.g., Rom 11:13; 2 Cor 3:3; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; 11:8).
In the life of Paul’s churches, what is considered διακονία is esp. charitable care for the needy,
either in the respective churches themselves (Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 16:15) or for the Jerusalem Church
in the form of a collection (Rom 15:25, 31; 2 Cor 8:4, 19f.; 9:1, 12). The word can, however, be
used comprehensively for all of the ministries in the Church (1 Cor 12:5).
These relationships in the Church, with their terminology and their tendency to elevate the
offices of service, led to the origin of the office of deacon, which is mentioned for the first time in
the NT in Phil 1:1. Its primary tasks were probably both proclamation and charity (cf. 1 Tim 3:8–
13). In addition, the servant office of the feminine διά κονος , deaconess, is found at an initial
stage in the Pauline churches (Rom 16:1).
c) In Mark the idea of service takes on an extraordinary place through the series of parenetic
sayings in 10:42–45. In contrast to normal relationships involving authority in the world, among
the disciples of Jesus true greatness is demonstrated only in service. The service of the Son of Man
in death is the basis for this motif, one that forms an essential part of the meaning of discipleship.
This view is to be seen from the redactional arrangement of the series of sayings in connection
with the third Passion prediction (vv. 33f.) and the episode where the places of honor are requested
(vv. 35–40). This arrangement corresponds exactly to the manner in which Mark proceeded earlier
at the second Passion prediction (9:31, 35). Both here and in the former passage the Markan
community and its leaders deal with the same problem of a striving for honor and power. In both
instances the Evangelist seeks to solve the problem in the same manner: by focusing on Jesus’
word and work of serving and by pointing to the discipleship of the cross (cf. K. G. Reploh, Markus
— Lehrer der Gemeinde [1969] 156–72).
Matthew takes over from Mark all of the διακονέω, -ος passages with the exception of the
episode of the disciples’ dispute about rank (Mark 9:33–37). However, Matthew has adapted the
question about greatness that is included. He revises it and includes Jesus’ answer about “becoming
like children” (18:1–4). In three passages Matthew proceeds beyond the Markan material. In the
portrayal of world judgment derived from the special material and then thoroughly revised by
Matthew, help for the needy and the imprisoned is understood as service to Jesus and as a criterion
for participating in final salvation (25:44). In the speech in Matthew 23, which is composed
from Q and the special material, the Evangelist in vv. 8–12 directs his instruction to the leaders in
the Christian community. They should not ambitiously demand the titles “teacher,” “father,” and

vv. verses
Q Hypothetical source of material common to Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark
“master.” In v. 11 Matthew bases the prohibition on Jesus’ statement about the greatness of service.
In its form it connects elements of the Markan tradition of this word (10:43) with elements of the
Lukan variant (22:26f.). In the entire section the Evangelist emphasizes fraternal relationships
within the Christian community. Finally, one should not assume that the διά κονοι in the
redactionally formed allegory of the guest without a wedding garment in 22:1–13 have any
theological significance.
In Luke and Acts, the word group with its theological connotations plays a significant role. Of
the 7 occurrences in Mark, Luke has taken over only one reference (Luke 4:39); however, it is
decisive that he brings in the ideas that are expressed in the omitted Markan passages in other
connections, which he at times reshapes, while at times he uses a special tradition. The saying
about the greatness of service and the servanthood of Jesus (Mark 9:35; 10:43) is offered as a
redactionally revised variant in the tradition in 22:26f.; the mention of the women who serve Jesus
in the Passion report in Mark 15:41 is redactionally reshaped by Luke in the context of the work
of Jesus in Galilee in 8:3; perhaps Luke 22:43 takes into consideration the service of the angels to
Jesus, omitted from Luke’s account of Mark 1:13. A special tradition belongs to 10:40 (cf. John
12:2). Indeed, the parable in 17:7–10 is also derived from a special tradition, although v. 8 with δ
ιακονέω is redactionally shaped. The parable in 12:35–38 is taken over from Q , but the promise
has been redactionally formed first by Luke (cf. Weiser 109f., 168–71).
The 10 occurrences of διακονέω, -ία in Acts are distributed in two areas of meaning: the
apostolic ministry, with emphasis on the proclamation of the word (1:17, 25; 6:4; 19:22; 20:24;
21:19), and care for the poor (6:1f.), to which the collection for Jerusalem belongs (11:29; 12:25).
Luke adopts the content and manner of expression of the churches that Paul started among the
Gentiles (cf., e.g., Rom 15:25; 2 Cor 3–6). Throughout Luke avoids the word διά κονος .
Luke emphasizes certain themes in his revision of the tradition. (1) The apostolic office, like
all leading offices in the church, has the character of service. This emphasis is derived from Jesus’
word and service, which Luke indicates clearly by designating the apostolate explicitly as a service
(Acts 1:17, 25; 6:4, etc.), placing the service of Jesus before the eyes of Christians who hold
leading positions (Luke 22:26f.), and transforming parables of Jesus into exhortations to the
leaders (12:35–38, 42–46, 47f.; 17:7–10). The motif of service plays the decisive role in this
transformation. (2) For Luke, apostolic service consists in the proclamation of the word (Acts 6:4,
etc.) and is a witness (cf. 1:22; 20:24, etc.). (3) Finally, service to the poor and the needy (6:1f.; cf.
2:42) belongs to the basic functions of the life of the Christian community.
In Acts 6:1–6, Luke introduces a new office of service because of a conflict concerning care for the
poor. If he consciously avoids the official title διά κονος , he does so because this title was probably
associated with functions of the service of proclamation (Phil 1; 1 Tim 3). However, Luke wanted to
subordinate an already existing group of leaders to the apostles. He did this by having them installed by the
apostles, by limiting their service to the care of the poor (but cf. Acts 6:8), and by avoiding the title “deacon.”
In John the only relevant passage is the saying of Jesus in 12:26 (incidental references to the
word group occur in 2:5, 9; 12:2). From the perspective of tradition history, it stands close to Mark
8:34 but is expanded by the term serve and by two typical Johannine promises. The disciple will
reach the place where Jesus himself is, and the Father will honor him. What is meant is the

v. verse
disciple’s following to the point of death. If διακονέω, -ία, ος does not appear elsewhere in John
with this meaning, 12:26 is to be seen in close connection with the serving of Jesus in 13:1–11 and
the service of the disciples in 13:12–20; 15:20 (cf. R. Schnackenburg, The Gospel according to St.
John II [1979], 385).
d) In Ephesians and Colossians διακονία appears twice, and διά κονος 6 times. The words
designate the service of proclamation by “Paul” (Eph 3:7; Col 1:23, 25) and his coworkers (Eph
6:21 = Col 4:7; Col 1:7) and the ministerial office of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors,
and teachers (Eph 4:12). It is used also for the official service of leadership in the Church (Col
4:17). If the meaning of διά κονος as “minister of the gospel” comes to the foreground in the
letters of Paul, it is fully developed in Ephesians and Colossians, where the word is found only in
connection with proclamation. The concept has thus attained its most specific meaning (cf. H.
Merklein, Das kirchliche Amt nach dem Epheserbrief [1973] 223, 337).
The 9 occurrences in the Pastoral Epistles also belong to specifically Christian usage: 2 Tim
1:18 speaks in general terms of the ministry of Onesiphorus in the church at Ephesus; 1 Tim 1:12
speaks of the apostolic ministry of “Paul”; 1 Tim 4:6 and 2 Tim 4:5 call Timothy’s activity of
proclamation a ministry; in 2 Tim 4:11, Mark’s (missionary) service is requested; and 1 Tim 3:8,
10, 12f. (→ 2) speak of the office of deacon. Pauline language is reflected in all of these passages.
In the remaining late writings of the NT the word group appears only sporadically. Heb 6:10
and Rev 2:19 speak very generally of ministries in the Church; 1 Pet 1:12 speaks of the ministry
of proclamation; 4:11 speaks of charitable ministry. The two are mentioned together in 4:10 with
the term διακονέω.
A. Weiser
διακονία, ας , ἡ diakonia service, ministry; office

→ διακονέω.
διά κονος , ου, ὁ (ἡ ) diakonos servant

→ διακονέω.6

VI. λειτουργέω leitourgeō serve, administer an office, provide a service

→ λειτουργία.
λειτουργία, ας , ἡ leitourgia service, worship (noun)*

λειτουργέω leitourgeō serve, administer an office, provide a service*


λειτουργικό ς , 3 leitourgikos serving, concerning the service, subservient*
λειτουργό ς , οῦ , ὁ leitourgos servant, one commissioned for service*

6
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:302-304). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
*
All New Testament occurrences of this word are mentioned in the body of this article.
1. Occurrences in the NT — 2. Greek usage and the LXX — 3. Luke and Hebrews — 4. Paul —
5. Acts 13:2
Lit.: R. M. COOPER, “Leitourgos Christou Iesou; Toward a Theology of Christian Prayer,” ATR 47
(1965) 263–75. — A.-M. DENIS, “La fonction apostolique et la liturgie nouvelle en esprit,” RSPT 42 (1958)
401–36, 617–56. — P. FERNÁNDEZ RODRÍGUEZ, “El término liturgia. Su etimologia y su uso,” Ciencia
tomista 97 (1970) 43–163. — G. FRIEDRICH, “Geist und Amt,” WuD 3 (1952) 81–85, esp. 71f. — F. HAHN,
Worship of the Early Church (1973) 37. — K. HESS, DNTT III, 551–53. — H.-J. KRAUS, “Gottesdienst im
alten und im neuen Bund,” EvT 25 (1965) 171–206, esp. 179. — E. J. LENGELING, HTG II, 75–97, esp. 75f.,
78f. — N. LEWIS, “Leitourgia and Related Terms,” Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 3 (1960) 175–84;
6 (1965) 229f. — J. M. NIELEN, Gebet und Gottesdienst im NT (21963) 114f., 121f. — E. PETERSON, “La
λειτουργία des prophètes et des didascales à Antioche,” RSR 36 (1949) 577–79. — A. ROMEO, “Il termine
ΛΕΙΤΟΥΡΓΙΑ nella grecità biblica,” Miscellanea Liturgica II (FS L. C. Mohlberg, 1949) 467–519. — K. H.
SCHELKLE, Discipleship and Priesthood (1965) 108–37. — H. SCHLIER, “Die ‘Liturgie’ des apostolischen
Evangeliums (Röm 15, 14–21),” idem III, 169–83. — SPICQ, Notes I, 475–81. — H. STRATHMANN and R.
MEYER, TDNT IV, 215–31. — K. WEISS, “Paulus — Priester der christlichen Kultgemeinde,” TLZ 79 (1954)
355–64. — For further bibliography see TWNT X, 1162.
1. Λειτουργία appears 6 times in the NT, λειτουργέω 3 times, λειτουργό ς 5 times, and λ
ειτουργικό ς only in Heb 1:14. The word group appears with special frequency in Hebrews (6
occurrences), in the Gospels only in Luke 1:23, and not at all in the deutero-Pauline letters, the
Catholic Epistles, or Revelation.
2. The word group is most commonly used in Greek literature of service rendered for the people
as a political entity (corresponding to the etymological formation from Ionic λή ϊτος , “concerning
the people,” and ἔργον, “work, service”). Along with its usage in a predominantly public sense
in reference to taxes and general obligations of service, it is used frequently in the Hellenistic
period, esp. in inscriptions, also in a cultic connection (examples in Strathmann 218f.).
In the LXX the word group is used in a fixed cultic sense, particularly to distinguish it from → λατρε
ύ ω (2) as a t.t. for the temple service of priests and Levites. Most often it renders Heb. šērēṯ or ‘aḇōḏâ
where these terms are used in a priestly and cultic sense (e.g., Exod 28:35; Num 8:22; in a later period

LXX Septuagint
ATR Anglican Theological Review
RSPT Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques
WuD Wort und Dienst. Jahrbuch der Kirchlichen Schule Bethel
esp. especially
DNTT New International Dictionary of NT Theology I-III (ed. C. Brown; 1975-78)
EvT Evangelische Theologie
HTG Handbuch theologischer Grundbegriffe I-II (ed. H. Fries; 1962, 1963)
RSR Recherches de science religieuse
FS Festschrift
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1964-76)
TLZ Theologische Literaturzeitung
TWNT Theologisches Wörterbuch zum NT I-X (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1933-79)
t.t. technical term
Heb. Hebrew
also fig. for prayer: Wis 18:21; in some instances for pagan cults: Ezek 44:12; 2 Chr 15:16). It may include
the original meaning of an orderly and public service in the interest of the entire people (Strathmann 224).
3. In the NT the word group refers in three instances to the priestly ministry in the temple:
Luke 1:23: αἱ ἡ μέραι τῆ ς λειτουργίας , of the conclusion of the priestly service of Zechariah;
Heb 9:21: πά ντα τὰ σκεύ η τῆ ς λειτουργίας , of the cultic vessels in the “tent”; 10:11: καθʼ
ἡ μέραν λειτουργῶ ν (with προσφέρων θυσίας ), of the daily temple ministry.
In Heb 8:2, 6 this terminology is used of the true temple ministry in “the [heavenly] sanctuary
and true tent” (τῶ ν ῦ γίων λειτουργὸ ς καὶ τῆ ς σκηνῆ ς τῆ ς ἀ ληθινῆ ς , v. 2). Consistent
with the “new covenant,” it represents “superior worship (διαφορωτέρα λειτουργία)” (v. 6).
With the use of cultic and priestly terminology the author of Hebrews is able to interpret the saving
event in Christ esp. as the overcoming of the previously futile worship. The previously ineffective
service rendered by humans now stands in contrast to the once-for-all effective deed of God in
Christ.
Noncultic use appears in Hebrews only in the introductory statement concerning the
subordination of angels to the Son as heavenly ministers (λειτουργοί, 1:7, citing Ps 103:4 LXX)
and “ministering spirits” (λειτουργικὰ πνεύ ματα, 1:14).
4. Paul makes use of the cultic sense of the word group when in Rom 15:16 he portrays his
ministry in the gospel with the image of priestly service (ἱερουργῶ ν) and thus understands
himself as λειτουργὸ ς Χριστοῦ Ἱ ησοῦ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη (cf. also the sacrificial terminology that
follows: προσφορὰ … εὐ πρό σδεκτος , ἡ γιασμένη). One can note from the context that Paul’s
concern is not with a new cultic dimension of the gospel or even with a sacral function of the
apostle as priest. Instead, the image of the final προσφορά , which consists of the Gentile world,
refers to the eschatological fulfillment, which had previously been associated with the cult, in the
world mission of Paul (Schlier; Cooper; on the discussion, see E. Käsemann, Rom [Eng. tr., 1980]
ad loc.). A ritual understanding of worship is denied. At the same time Paul knows the authority,
given by grace, that is associated with his commission, which enables him to conduct the true
“priestly ministry.”
Similarly the formulation ἐπὶ τῇ θυσίᾳ καὶ λειτουργίᾳ τῆ ς πίστεως ὑ μῶ ν (Phil 2:17)
is to be understood in a fig. sense (cf. Rom 12:1). Paul wants to accept his approaching martyrdom
joyfully as a “drink offering” (σπένδομαι), which “is poured out over” “the sacrificial ministry
for the faith” (obj. gen.) of the Philippians, which he has already offered. (In view of v. 16 and
Rom 15:16 the idea of the Church’s “sacrificial ministry” [understanding τῆ ς πίστεως as

fig. figurative(ly)
v. verse
Eng. English
tr. translated, translation
obj. object, objective
gen. genitive
epexegetical gen.], to which Paul is added as a drink offering, though also grammatically possible,
is less probable; cf. esp. E. Lohmeyer, Phil [KEK] ad loc.).
The word group appears also in a fig. sense in the wider context of Philippians where reference
is made to the financial contribution and support for the apostle while he was in need. This support
can be called “a pleasing sacrifice” to God as well as a λειτουργία (2:30). Epaphroditus, the
deliverer of the contribution, is described as an ἀ πό στολος of the church and λειτουργὸ ς τῆ ς
χρείας μου (2:25). Inasmuch as Paul can emphasize the character of the support as both the
church’s gift and its obligation in relation to its founder (4:10ff.), and inasmuch as this gift is seen
in an eschatological light in 4:18f., one is to recognize here not so much the general Greek
background of “service rendered” as the fulfillment of the true Christian “worship” and the
church’s offering of “sacrifices” pleasing to God. This is the case also for the “fruit” that the apostle
rightfully seeks from his church in God’s name (4:17).
The use of λειτουργέω in Rom 15:27 and the use of διακονία τῆ ς λειτουργίας in 2 Cor
9:12 in reference to the collection of the Greek churches for the Jerusalem church is to be
understood in a similar way, for according to Rom 15:25f., 28 this is a “fruit” of the Greek churches
(according to 2 Cor 9:11–15 also a sign of the obedience of faith and of the grace of God, of
thanksgiving and a desire for fellowship) and a sign of reciprocal service and of common
participation in the gift of God (cf. D. Georgi, Die Geschichte der Kollekte des Paulus für
Jerusalem [1965] 86; on the discussion, Käsemann, Rom ad loc.). Any correspondence to the idea
of “the eschatological sacrificial ministry of the peoples” or to the Jewish temple tax is remote.
In Rom 13:6 Paul describes the Roman tax officials as λειτουργοὶ … θεοῦ (similarly θεο
ῦ … διά κονος , v. 4), i.e., as representatives or instruments commissioned by God for service. In
accordance with the administrative and legal language of the context, the reference is not to a
sacral function of the officeholders (cf. A. Strobel, ZNW 47 [1956] 86f.). Rather, the gen. θεοῦ
qualifies their work as a contribution to the function that the imperium and its administrators have
of providing order and authority, which is granted to them by God.
5. In Acts 13:2 the vb. λειτουργέω is used in a way unique in the NT (also for the LXX),
when it is used in a special sense in reference to worship. The five prophets and teachers of the
Antiochian church mentioned in v. 1 perform this activity in the midst of fasting (cf. also 13:3;
14:23; Luke 2:37). Luke takes up the ceremonious priestly terminology of the LXX (cf. 2 Chr
13:10; Ezek 40:46; Dan 7:10 Θ) in λειτουργού ντων δὲ αὐ τῶ ν τῷ κυρίῳ and refers —
anticipating later Christian terminology (cf. Did. 15:1f.; Strathmann 235f.; Lengeling 76) — to the
“worship” activity of individual officebearers in the church, who are deemed worthy of receiving
the instruction of the Spirit.
H. Balz
λειτουργικό ς , 3 leitourgikos serving, concerning the service, subservient

→ λειτουργία.

KEK Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das NT


ZNW Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
vb. verb
λειτουργό ς , οῦ , ὁ leitourgos servant, one commissioned for service

→ λειτουργία.7

7
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of:
Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:347-349). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.