A Greek Word You Need to Know: θεός

The New Testament writers put to use a wonderful language, Koine Greek, for the purpose of conveying the redemptive plan and will of God in Christ. The New Testament, therefore, centers around the activities of God himself (and so does the Old Testament, obviously). So, I thought for this installment of “A Greek Word You Need to Know,” we would check out the word θεός.

1. θεός – theosYou pronounce it “theh-os.” The “o” in theos is pronounced like the “o” in “ox” (not like the “o” in the English word “over”). The word simply means “God” or “a god.”

2. The word θεός is found all over Scripture. In fact, the word (in its various forms) occurs over 1,000 times in the New Testament. Some places of note include: Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-2; Rom 3:21; 10:2-3.

3. Why should you know this word? Because it’s the word for God, who, as we said above, remains the central figure of the entire Bible. That said, it should be carefully observed that the word itself, θεός, is a generic word to describe any sort of deity (or deities if in the plural form, θεοὶ). In fact, the Bible itself does not restrict the word θεός to refer only to the God of the Bible but also to pagan gods (for example, see Acts 14:11 and Gal 4:8).

However, the θεός of the Bible, described as the One True θεός, has been revealed to us in the person of Jesus the Messiah. In other words, if you want to know the true God himself, then get to know Jesus, who is God enfleshed (John 1:1-4, 14). This is a central tenet of Christian theology, a belief which sets us Christians apart from our Jewish and Muslim friends.

Speaking of “theology,” I’m sure you were quick to notice that this English word comes from the Greek θεός, theos. Cool, eh? I guess by learning a little Greek, the English speaker gets to know their own native language a bit better!

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