An Excursion With Ginomai -- By: Claude A. Ries
BETS 5:3 (Summer 1962) p. 67
An Excursion With Ginomai
To understand the true significance of the great words of the Scriptures should be the passion of every lover of the Word. Such words are dynamic, for “they are spirit and they are life.” One of the most outstanding words and one apparently overlooked by the usual Bible expositor is the Greek word γινομαι. Its root γεν occurs nearly one thousand times in the New Testament. A word so frequently used and so significant in meaning might well employ one’s thought and energy. It is our purpose to discover its intrinsic meaning, compare that with the usual translations, and seek to catch the real meaning as intended by the mind of the writer in the various New Testament passages.
We lay no claim to originality. We have endeavored to live long enough with the Greek until, we believe, its inner secrets have been discerned.
“Originality in man,” notes Dr. William G. T. Shedd,1 “is always relative and never absolute… Man did not absolutely originate the first truths of ethics, the necessary forms of logic, the fixed principles of physics. They were inlaid in his rational structure by a higher author and his originality consists solely in their exegesis and interpretation. Originality then within the sphere of a creature and in reference to a finite intelligence consists in the power of interpretation. In its last analysis it is exegesis,—the pure, genial and accurate exposition of an idea or a truth already existing, already communicated, already possessed.”
A root, in language study, is the simplest form attainable by the analysis of a word into its component parts. Such a form contains the main idea of the word in a very general sense and is common also to other words either in the same language or in kindred languages. For example, the root STA is found in the Sanskrit TISHTHAMI, Greek ιστημι, Latin SISTERE and STARE, German STEHEN, and English STAND.2
The number of Greek roots is comparatively few,—not more than four hundred, probably less.3
We shall now proceed to the source of our word γινομαι. Its root is γεν. “In Ionic prose writing and in common Greek from Aristotle on, it is spelled ytvoyxai instead of the Attic spelling γινομαι.4
Acting on the suggestion of Liddell and Scott to compare t...
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