Where God came from: The magnificent verb τιθημι (tithemi)

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/t/t-i-th-et-m-i.html

Where God came from

— The magnificent verb τιθημι (tithemi) —

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The magnificent verb τιθημι (tithemi) means to set or put (or place or establish) and comes with a rich bouquet of nuances and derivatives (many of which survive as important words in modern English — for instance "theme", "thesis" and "thesaurus"). It comes from a much wider attested Proto-Indo-European root (dhe- or dheigh-, meaning to build or form; hence the word "dough"), which left its clear marks in languages from Sanskrit and Persian to Hittite, Greek and Latin (and hence all modern Germanic, Latin and Slavic languages), and, via much verbal churning, also gave us words like "fact", "fair" and "fiction" (namely via the Latin verb fingere, meaning to knead either clay or dough, hence "finger", in turn from fingo, to touch or handle, hence "figure").

Our verb is so colossal in scope and profundity that scholars suspect that the very word θεος (theos), meaning God, derives from it. Concepts like bread from heaven (John 6:51), God as the clay-handling potter (Isaiah 64:8) and even remnant-theology (see our article on שאר, se'or, meaning leaven), and clearly many more, may all stem from these ancient and global verbal connections. Most crucial: these verbal clusters strongly suggest that ancient humans began to contemplate God not as "the Boss" but as "the Maker". Theology, therefore, has nothing to do with either government or formal religion and everything with science and the study of natural reality.

An important Greek synonym of our verb τιθημι (tithemi) is the verb ιστημι (histemi), from which derives the noun σταυρος (stauros), or "stander", which denotes the instrument by which Jesus was executed. Hence where God is The Setter, the Son is The Set, the latter being both the reflection of the full sum of all created things (Matthew 11:27, Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 15:27) and the reflection of the divine (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3), as perfect intermediary between the two worlds of Creator and creation (1 Timothy 2:5). More obvious similarities exist between the ideas of Logos, or reason (John 1:1), and the god-like word θεωρια (theoria), a sight (used in the Bible only in Luke 23:48 to describe the crucified Christ).

Our verb is used 96 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.

The divine verb of coming home

Our verb τιθημι (tithemi) generally describes a setting or putting of things, which implies both a downward or inward motion and a transition between (A) being either not existing or misplaced and (B) existing and being properly applied. It's a homecoming verb and celebrates a deliberate and designed transition from an original state of flux to a stationary permanence. The basic action of this verb is the micro-edition of the most fundamental action of all the great Bible stories, from Adam who was first created and then placed in the garden, to Israel who gestated in Egypt and was then, after a stint in the wilderness, placed in Canaan, to reformed Judah's return from Babylon, to the Body of Christ that now lives in the world but will in time people the New Jerusalem.

When Jesus was baptized and God made his famous statement about depositing his spirit (Matthew 12:18), he used our verb and traditionally this has been explained as the Spirit residing in outer space, and then traveling down to earth looking like a dove, to finally land on Jesus' head in Canaan. Nowadays we understand that spatial parameters don't apply to the deity, and God said that he would establish the bodily presence of his spirit on earth starting with Jesus. The Holy Spirit had been "hovering" over the earth since the very beginning (Genesis 1:2) but couldn't find a foothold until he found one in Jesus — now no longer like the criss-crossing 'oreb; the raven, the heaven-fed bird proverbially without a "storage barn" (Luke 12:24; same verb, see below), but like the harvesting and collecting dove (Genesis 8:6-12) — and the Holy Spirit's earthly form, namely the Body Of Christ, could commence. These things again precisely reflect this typical homecoming quality of our verb (but see our article on the noun περιστερα, peristera, meaning dove).

Note that the first letter of the Bible is the letter "beth". As particle it means "in" but its name, בית (beth), means house, and it has been argued that the reason for God to create was to build himself a home, complete with wife. Creation is God's temple; the place where he comes home.

The divine verb of laying down one's life

In the narrative, our verb may describe the mere putting (down/in) of objects somewhere: a lit lamp under a basket (Matthew 5:15), the titulus crucis on the cross (John 19:19), someone in jail (Acts 4:3, 12:4), wine in front of guests (John 2:10), garments aside (John 13:4), a veil over one's shiny face (2 Corinthians 3:13), corpses in tombs (Mark 15:47), blessing hands on people (Mark 10:16), or enemies beneath feet (Matthew 22:44).

It may denote the reaching of a majority decision (Acts 27:12). In Luke and Acts it occurs a few times together with the plural of γονυ (gonu), meaning knee, to describe a praying position (Mark 15:19, Luke 22:41, Acts 9:40). A few times our verb occurs juxtaposed with αιρω (airo; hence our word "air"), meaning to take up: "you collect (airo) where you didn't deposit (tithemi); you reap where you didn't sow" (Luke 19:21). The same juxtaposition interestingly occurs in John 20:15 where Mary says, "tell me where you deposited him (tithemi) and I will collect him (airo)".

Another important counter-verb of our verb τιθημι (tithemi) is λαμβανω (lambano), meaning to take or rather to take control over. It's used opposite to our verb in the famous statement of Jesus: "I lay down (tithemi) my life that I may take it again (lambano); no one takes it from me (airo) but I lay it down from myself (tithemi). I have the authority to lay it down (tithemi) and authority to take it again (lambano)" (John 10:17-18) All this also explains why Jesus died so soon (Mark 15:44, John 19:33), and why he died with a shout instead of properly from asphyxiation (Matthew 27:50): he didn't die from the crucifixion but from his own determination.

The idiom "laying down one's life" (using our verb tithemi) occurs a few times in the Bible (John 10:11, 13:37, 15:13, 1 John 3:16), but does not necessarily mean "to voluntarily die". The word for "life" is ψυχη (psuche), which literally means to breathe but rather denotes one's private mind. The Bible doesn't support the idea of a detachable "soul" as much as many modern convictions do — Adam became a living soul; he didn't get one (Genesis 2:7), and where in many modern conceptions, souls go to their heavenly afterlife upon earthly death, in the Bible souls simply cease as breathing stops and are resurrected on the big day and hopefully go to the New Jerusalem, which is on earth; Daniel 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:16-19 — and "to lay down one's life" really only speaks of submitting one's life in living servitude, the investment of one's living rather than one's dying.

If, for argument's sake, a Greek author would have wanted to state "I will invest my psyche in you", he would use the exact same wording as what commonly is translated with "I will lay down my life for you".

The divine verb of creation

Often our verb describes the very establishing of things, including the setting of them in their right place (right according to their own constitution, not some despot's sense of application): of Abraham as the father of many nations (Romans 4:17), of the Son as heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), of the salvation-bringing Servant(s) as light of the nations (Acts 13:47), of the chosen friends of the Son as bringers of everlasting fruit (John 15:16).

It may describe the infusing of the Servant of YHWH with the Spirit of YHWH (Matthew 12:18), the sinking of sayings into ears (Luke 9:44), the cardiac attaining of the freedom from preoccupation (Luke 21:14), the cardiac retention of information (Luke 1:66), or a plan (Acts 5:4), which may also emerge in the spirit (Acts 19:21).

Our verb may describe the perfect arranging of the members of a body relative to each other (1 Corinthians 12:18), the foundation of a proverbial house (Luke 6:48), the placing of a proverbial stumbling block (Romans 9:33), the designating of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as portent example (2 Peter 2:6), and the assignment of the destination of the perditious (Matthew 24:51, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 1 Peter 2:8).

Our verb may denote the design and installation of the very structures of time and evolution (Acts 1:7), the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:18), missions, ecclesiastical functions and personal gifts (Acts 20:28, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Timothy 1:12, 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11), and in some versions of the Greek New Testament even the very Law of God (Galatians 3:19).

Pure derivations

Our verb comes with a few pure derivations:

  • The noun θηκη (theke), meaning a place in which something(s) can be or is to be placed or set. In the classics it's used for chests and tombs and on occasion for a bow case and the sheath of a sword but rather a storage sheath than a ready-for-action one. In the New Testament this word occurs only in John 18:11, where Jesus tells Peter to put his sword away, in storage. In our modern world this seemingly unassuming word even lost its independence but then arose as the ubiquitous suffix "-theque" (words like discotheque and bibliotheque are two of many very common words in most languages that sport this "place of" suffix).
  • The noun θησαυρος (thesauros), which denotes things stored: a storage or, by implication, wealth or a treasure (Luke 12:34, Hebrews 11:26). In the New Testament this word is most often used to denote mental treasures of knowledge (Matthew 6:19-21, Mark 10:21, 2 Corinthians 4:7), although, obviously, mental treasures lead to property and thus to material surplus, and material wealth allows for study which leads to mental treasures.
    Our English word "school" comes from the Greek word σχολη (schole), meaning rest or vacation (freedom to do whatever), and temples originated as central banks where tribes stored their wealth first and their libraries later; hence the many references to "enjoying rest" Bible (Genesis 2:2, 5:29, Exodus 20:8-11, Matthew 11:28).
    Most spectacularly, Paul explains that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), and although the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge (Ephesians 3:19), the essence of Christ, or Logos, certainly encompasses everything that can be known. In our modern world our noun survives as "thesaurus", which denotes "a collection of words arranged in lists or groups according to sense" (says the Oxford dictionary). This noun occurs 18 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from this word in turn derives:
    • The verb θησαυριζω (thesaurizo), meaning to store up, amass or accrue, whether it's treasure (Matthew 6:19-20), household savings (1 Corinthians 16:2), general financial security (2 Corinthians 12:14), or reasons for God to get angry (Romans 2:5). It's not immediately clear what has been accrued in James 5:3. Most translators think it's treasure but here at Abarim Publications we're pretty sure that James 5:3 is on a par with Romans 2:5 and speaks of accumulating reasons to be condemned at the final judgment. In 2 Peter 3:5 this verb is used to describe not the simple storage but the very amassing and assembling of the whole of creation, in order to in turn become a storage facility for creatures that have their judgment coming. This verb is employed 8 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
      • Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αποθησαυριζω (apothesaurizo), meaning to "extract and store". This word occurs only in 1 Timothy 6:19 where it again denotes a treasure of virtue and knowledge.
  • The noun θεσις (thesis), does not occur independently in the New Testament, but it does so profusely in the classics (and in compounds, see below). It denotes a setting or establishing and can be used for anything that can be set or established. In our modern world this word denotes the proposition of a to-be-explained idea.
  • Another curious absentee from the New Testament (in its unbound state, that is) is the familiar noun θεμα (thema), from whence comes our English word "theme". In Greek it denotes something that is placed or laid down: mostly monetary deposits but also proposed ideas or promises. From this word derives:
Derived compounds

Not surprisingly, our verb comes with a huge library of derived compound words:

  • The adjective θετος (thetos), meaning placed or set. In the classics this adjective was also used to mean adopted (of a child as one's own). This word is not used in the New Testament, but from it comes:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning not or without: the verb αθετεω (atheteo), meaning to deny a set place: to displace (of a thing), to abolish or annul (of a law or tradition, and so on), or to reject, break faith with or deal treacherously with. This verb is used 16 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
      • The noun αθετησις (athetesis), meaning abolition, cancellation, rejection, annulment, and so on (Hebrews 7:18 and 9:26 only).
  • Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on or upon: the verb ανατιθημι (anatithemi), literally meaning to put up, either for all to see or in addition to something else. In the Septuagint this verb is used most notably in Leviticus 27:28, where items are put up or designated for "destruction" (but read our article on this Levitical "law of חרם, haram I", for more on this difficult concept). The only other instances of this verb in the Greek Old Testament is in 1 Samuel 31:10, where the weapons of Saul are put on derogatory display (on a par with the Hebrew verb תלה, tala), and Micah 7:5 where it describes somebody's careless bantering.
    In the New Testament, this verb is used twice, and only in the sense of jestfully bringing up something in conversation (Acts 25:14), or to recite something by way of ostentatious demonstration (Galatians 2:2). This verb has its most sinister expression in the barbaric penalty of crucifixion, which was designed to have more of an effect on the onlookers than on the dying (see the paragraph entitled supplicium servile of our article on the name Pilate for a brief discussion). From this verb in turn derives:
    • The noun αναθεμα (anathema), which denotes something put on public display, and that mostly to be an object of public derision. Many commentators declare that in New Testament times this word had become a technical term, synonymous with something "accursed", but that's incorrect. Although the New Testament authors may have tapped into the Jewish tradition of putting on public display typically those things that are cursed (after Leviticus 27:28), our word is a relatively common Greek word that denotes anything publicly dedicated, whether for shame or for glory. In Acts 23:14, some religious fanatics made their grim intentions "publicly known under threat of public derision", and with that they obviously attempted to attain a blessing for themselves and to remove someone accursed. Our word most commonly denotes recipients of (hypothetical) public ridicule rather than some kind of divine vengeance. It occurs 6 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from this noun in turn comes:
      • The verb αναθεματιζω (anathematizo), meaning to do the thing that creates an αναθεμα (anathema): to make a public spectacle or publish loudly, either with serious intent (Acts 23:12 and 23:14) or in order to deride against better knowledge but because of fear for retribution (Peter of Jesus: Mark 14:71). This verb is used 4 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
        • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the contracted verb καταθεματιζω (katathematizo), meaning to descend into public derision or to mock someone down into the mud (Matthew 26:74 only, in parallel with Mark 14:71). The associated noun καταναθεμα (katanathema) occurs only once too, in Revelation 22:3, where we are promised that public humiliation won't occur in the New Jerusalem. Contrary to common perception this says nothing about folks casting curses and everything about the absence of tyrants who can make people so scared that they betray their own very heart of hearts. Remember that crucifixion was designed specifically for the generation of debilitating fear in the hearts of the observers of the public humiliation of the victim.
    • The nearly identical noun αναθημα (anathema), also denoting something put on public display. This word is fairly common in the classics, as it describes objects put up in any temple for cosmetic or votive reasons. In the New Testament it occurs only once, in Luke 21:5, meaning precisely that.
    • Together with the preposition προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the verb προσανατιθημι (prosanatithemi), meaning something like to hurl something out onto public exhibit. Only Paul uses the word, twice, both times obviously in a spirit of lampoonery (Galatians 1:16, "I didn't rush off to flap it all out" and Galatians 2:6, "nothing became clearly displayed").
  • Together with the preposition απο (apo), mostly meaning from: the verb αποτιθημι (apotithemi), meaning to manifest something from something else. This may cover something as complicated as to create a subset from a main one, or something as simple as to take one's robe off and lay it aside (Acts 7:58). In the latter sense, the New Testament speaks of taking off and laying aside the deeds of darkness and donning (ενδυω, enduo) the weapons of the light (Romans 13:12). This verb ενδυω, enduo is ordinarily used for the putting on of clothes, but it literally means to sink in or submerge into. Our verb αποτιθημι (apotithemi) denotes the separating and keeping safely separate of a set of things from a bigger set of things. Our verb is applied to one's old self (Ephesians 4:22), falsehood (Ephesians 4:25), every encumbrance (Hebrews 12:1), all filthiness (James 1:21) and a whole sweaty heap of vices (Colossians 3:8, 1 Peter 2:1). Our verb is used 8 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • The noun αποθεσις (apothesis), denoting either the act or the result of the verb: a laying aside, or that which was laid aside: dirt from the body (1 Peter 3:21), or the earthly body itself (2 Peter 1:14). This noun occurs only these two times in the New Testament.
    • The familiar noun αποθηκη (apotheke), denoting the depository of some separated set of items. Whether this depository is a lofty one or not depends of course wholly on the nature of what's kept in it. In the New Testament this word denotes solely a storage barn, sometimes a literal one but often a "storage barn" for wisdom. As said above, the raven was proverbially known to be without one of those (Luke 12:24). In the modern world our word came to denote a storage facility of potent powders and such (and later still the proprietor of such a place); an apothecary. Our noun is used 6 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition δια (dia), meaning through or throughout: the verb διατιθεμαι (diatithemai), literally to set through: to arrange one's wares and affairs (Luke 22:29), particularly by making a contract (Acts 3:25, Hebrews 8:10) or testament (Acts 9:16-17). This verb is used 7 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • Together with the preposition αντι (anti), meaning in place of, or against: the verb αντιδιατιθημι (antidiatithemi), meaning to be or go against an established agreement, which probably includes social norms and even regulatory legislation. It's used only in 2 Timothy 2:25, and, since all progress comes with agreement, may even be translated as "being counter-productive" or "counter-progressive". Our word fundamentally denotes a kind of "counter-covenantal" stance, the opposite of what Paul refers to in Philippians 1:27.
    • The important noun διαθηκη (diatheke), meaning contract or formal agreement (Matthew 26:28, Acts 3:25, Romans 11:27). The difference between a promise and a contract is that a promise is vocal and a contract is written; that's why the Word of God is written. Much has been said about the Bible's covenant theology, but a few things are important: a covenant exists always between compatible business partners, never between parties of different orders. In other words: contractees work with God as colleagues, not for God as slaves. Describing one's theology in terms of contracts and such is incredibly bodacious and demonstrates the unusual theological maturity of the ancients. It additionally demonstrates that the ancients were aware that creation is consistent with a fixed, natural law that can be known and followed. Thirdly, it demonstrates that the coming, mission and gospel of Jesus Christ is consistent with natural law and can be explained by natural law. This noun is used 33 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εκτιθημι (ektithemi), meaning to establish out of, to make clear. It's used in the sense of to expel (Acts 7:21) or to explain (Acts 11:4); it occurs 4 times; see full concordance. From this verb derives:
    • The adjective εκθετος (ekthetos), meaning exposed (with the grim connotation of removal). This word is used only in Acts 7:19 where it describes the fate of Israel's infants in the generation leading up to the Exodus. Note that the words here suggest that the Exodus story also describes events pertaining to learning and the growth of human culture on a complexity scale. Read our article on the name Exodus for more on this.
  • Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επιτιθημι (epitithemi), meaning to put upon, place upon, impose, inflict (Matthew 23:4, Acts 15:28, and positively: Acts 28:10). This verb usually comes with a description of what is put on what, but on rare occasions it may describe a general "leaning on" in the sense of "assailing" (Luke 10:30, Acts 18:10) or the forcible imposition of something foreign, such as nonsensical interpretations upon the Bible and the consequential psychotic fits that emerge in return (Revelation 22:18).
    This is also the verb that forms the familiar idiom the "laying upon" of hands (Matthew 9:18, Acts 9:12, 1 Timothy 5:22). Although this nowadays much initiated activity seems pretty straight forward, it really isn't, and it is by no means certain that in Biblical times this action involved a simple, monogenous thing done with one's physical hands.
    In the New Testament this action accompanies the impartation of the Holy Spirit or a spiritual gift, and nothing else in the New Testament even remotely suggests that these transactions should occur via one's hands or via some physical ritual or magic gesturing. Our contemporary interpretation probably comes from pagan hocus pocus (conveniently void of further responsibility), but whatever the people in New Testament times did was probably derived from the Jewish comprehension of the hand, or rather the word יד (yad), which also (or rather so) means power or ability. Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the expression "the laying on of hands" is like the expression "to fall into one's hands", and ultimately has nothing to do with actual hands and everything with "handling" folks in some intelligent, constructive and solution-driven way; a way that requires intimate knowledge and involves a complex reactive response to the matter at hand. Here at Abarim Publications we're not opposed to the physical laying on of hands in modern churches: in the modern world people are so often starving for physical contact that any such touch must certainly be beneficial. The Holy Spirit, however, is not some "energy" that has to wait for physical contact to jump from your elbow to their shoulder, but an intelligent living being who moves via human acts of concern, peacemaking and the impartation and application of knowledge of creation.
    This verb is used 42 times, see full concordance, and from it comes:
    • The noun επιθεσις (epithesis), meaning a laying on, an imparting. This noun is used only for the "laying on" of hands, and occurs 4 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the prefix ευ (eu), meaning good: the adjective ευθετος (euthetos), meaning good thing; something beneficial or useful (Luke 9:62, 14:35 and Hebrews 6:7 only). From this word comes:
    • Again together with the particle of negation α (a), meaning without, plus the auxiliary 'n': the adjective ανευθετος (aneuthetos), meaning inconvenient or not useful (Acts 27:12 only).
  • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb κατατιθημι (katatithemi), meaning to put down or deposit. It occurs only three times in the New Testament; once to describe the interring of a deceased in a tomb (Mark 15:46) and twice in the sense of being remembered (Acts 24:27 and 25:9). Note that the noun μνημα (mnema) is the common New Testament word for tomb but comes from the verb μναομαι (mnaomai), meaning to remember. From our verb derives:
    • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συγκατατιθεμαι (sugkatatithemai), meaning to deposit or be remembered together (with). It only occurs in Luke 23:51, where it may reflect the voting process of the Council (as some commentators suggest) but, judging from its derivative, it simply means being of similar (dis)position or leaning. From this verb in turn comes:
      • The noun συγκαταθεσις (sugkatathesis), meaning assent or agreement. This word occurs only in 2 Corinthians 6:16, where Paul asks what "we, the temple" have to do with idols.
  • Together with the preposition μετα (meta), meaning with or among and implying motion toward the inside: the verb μετατιθημι (metatithemi), which describes a change of one's essence the way the verb "to metamorphose" describes a change in one's form. It describes the translocation of the bones (that is: the legacy, see the verb κατατιθημι, katatithemi, above) of Jacob from Egypt to Shechem (Acts 7:16), the transferal of the attention of the Galatians from the true Christ to something else (Galatians 1:6; and some similar use in Jude 1:14), the transference of priesthood preceding a transformation (see below) of law (Hebrews 7:12), and most spectacularly, the transposition of Enoch (Hebrews 11:5). The Hebrew verb used in Genesis 5:24 is לקח, laqah, meaning to take or grasp, from which derives the noun לקח, leqah, which means a learning or comprehension. Our verb μετατιθημι (metatithemi) occurs 6 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • Together with the particle of negation α (a): the adjective αμεταθετος (ametathetos), meaning unchangeable in the senses listed above (Hebrews 6:17 and 6:18 only).
    • The noun μεταθετις (metathesis), meaning change in the senses listed above (Hebrews 7:12, 11:5 and 12:27 only). This word lives on in English, where it mostly describes interchanges and transpositions.
  • Together with the amazing noun νομος (nomos), meaning law: the noun νομοθετης (nomothetes), meaning law-establisher. This very common Greek word describes some who creates law. In the Bible it occurs only once, in James 4:12, where it refers to God, the only one who creates the natural law upon which everything that actually exists runs. All other law is nonsense. From this noun comes:
    • The verb νομοθετεω (nomotheteo), meaning to give or impose laws; to legislate or to legally establish (Hebrews 7:11 and 8:6 only). From this word in turn comes:
      • The noun νομοθεσια (nomothesia), which describes the act of law-giving or legislation (Romans 9:4 only). This word may reek for nuisance in our own tired, over-regulated world but in New Testament times, law and legislation still constituted an observable difference between barbaric oppression by bullies and a general social freedom to fearlessly pursue happiness that comes from legislated justice. Human law ought to be a manifestation of natural law which in turn reflects divine law, so law-giving isn't so much making up rules but deriving these from nature: the formal codification of the invisible rules by which everything that exists exists.
  • Together with the noun νους (nous), meaning (reasonable or intellectual) mind: the verb νουθετεω (noutheteo), meaning to put to mind: to make aware of or to be mindful. Translations often color this verb with an aggressive and belittling tone (to warn, to exhort), but that is not implied by the word itself, and only perhaps by its context. It is used 8 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the noun ορος (horos), meaning boundary (hence our word "horizon"): the noun οροθεσια (horothesia), meaning the setting of a boundary (Acts 17:26 only).
  • Together with the preposition παρα (para), meaning near or nearby: the verb παρατιθημι (paratithemi), meaning to set near, to put in front of in the sense of offering or presenting something to someone; often of food (Mark 6:41, Acts 16:34), teachings (Matthew 13:24, Acts 17:3, 2 Timothy 2:2), wares (Luke 12:48), a command (1 Timothy 1:18). Our verb may denote a putting near in the sense of mentioning something to someone, rather than actually transporting it (Acts 14:23, 20:32). In either that or the previous senses, one who suffers according to the will of the Creator may "offer" his life to the Creator by doing what is right (1 Peter 4:19). Perhaps in this same sense, Jesus famously "offered" his spirit to God's hands (Luke 23:46). This verb is used 19 times, see full concordance, and from it derives:
    • The noun παραθηκη (paratheke), meaning a deposit or something offered (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 1:12 and 1:14 only). Early manuscripts use in 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 1:14 the closely similar word παρακαταθηκη (parakatatheke); see the word κατατιθημι (katatithemi) above.
  • Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περιτιθημι (peritithemi), meaning to put around — like a wall around a vineyard (Matthew 21:33), or a robe around a torture victim (Matthew 27:28). In similar fashion, Paul uses this word to describe how honor is "bestowed" on certain body parts (1 Corinthians 12:23), and it also describes how the pseudo-generous mocker fastened the sponge with wine to a reed for Jesus to drink from (Matthew 27:48; by puncturing the sponge so that it was enwrapping the stick). This verb is used 8 times, see full concordance, and its obvious derivative is:
    • The noun περιθεσις (perithesis), meaning a wearing around: for instance of fancy gold ornaments (1 Peter 3:3 only).
  • Together with the preposition προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the verb προστθημι (prostithemi), meaning to put toward; to add unto. This may relate the curious Hebrew expression of being added to the fathers upon death (Acts 13:36), or the adding of new believers onto the existing body (Acts 2:47, 5:14), or any other adding of something onto an existing cluster of similar things (Matthew 6:33, Luke 17:5, Hebrews 12:19). In the course of a sentence or statement this word may also mean to proceed or continue (Luke 20:11-12, Acts 12:3). This verb is also the source of our English words "prosthesis" and "prosthetic". It's used 18 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning first or in front of: the verb προτιθημι (protithemi), literally meaning to pre-establish; to plan in one's mind, to plan prior, to predetermine (Romans 1:13, 3:25 and Ephesians 1:9 only). From this verb derives:
    • The noun προθεσις (prothesis), meaning a public display or a previously hatched plan (or both for the visionary hatcher who is to his own plan also the onlooker). This word describes predetermined designs, plans or determinations of God (Romans 8:28, Ephesians 3:11) or man (Acts 11:23, 2 Timothy 3:10). It's also the modifying word for the item erroneously known as "shew bread" or "bread of the presence", which was instead the "bread of predetermined design" (see the Hebrew verb פנה, pana). This word προθεσις (prothesis) also survives in English, although not very predominantly. In many other languages prothesis is the (incorrect) equivalent of the English "prosthesis". The New Testament uses this noun 12 times; see full concordance.
  • Again together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συντιθημι (suntithemi), meaning to put with, to establish together, and thus by implication, to agree with. This verb is used 4 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn comes:
    • The adjective ασυνθετος (asunthetos), meaning in violation of some previously established agreement: untrustworthy or unreliable, or even impossible to agree with (Romans 1:31 only).
  • Together with the laden noun υιος (huios), meaning son: the noun υιοθεσια (huiothesia), literally son-setting or son-establishing. It's Greek's fairly common word for adoption, although this idea of son-establishing is often described without the son-part (or it's added after) but still means the same. And that means that to the Greek mind, the deity could be explained not just simply as The Setter but also as The Adopter, which is of course an idea that particularly Paul liked to play with. He uses this noun 5 times; see full concordance.
  • Together with the preposition υπο (hupo), meaning under: the verb υποτιθημι (hupotithemi), meaning to place under. In Romans 16:4 Paul appears to employ a colloquial, "to place one's neck under", which may not precisely mean the same thing as our modern "to stick one's neck out", since the latter is based on beheading folks, and beheading was not a normal custom in the first century. It more probably has to do with placing yokes on oxen, and thus means to take up a burden or being coerced to drag something along. Our word occurs once more, in 1 Timothy 4:6, where Paul does not mention the neck-part but obviously implies it.