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Home > Weekly Columns > Greek Thoughts

Greek Thoughts
Week of October 19 - 25, 2014

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Author Bio

Bill Klein has been a pastor, counselor, and educator for the past 36 years. He has had extensive training and education in biblical languages, and has authored a Biblical Greek course.

He is currently serving as Professor of Biblical Greek at Master's Graduate School of Divinity, and president of BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America, a non-profit organization located in California that provides Bible study tapes and Greek study materials through their website BTEMinistries.org.

SUNEIDESIS - Conscience
   exhgeomai (Strong's #1834)

Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.

This week our focus is on a very important word from the Greek New Testament,  συνείδησις (Strong's #4893, pronounced “sön ā dā sēs”) which means conscience or to be consciously aware.   This is a word compounded from  σύν (Strong's #4862, pronounced “sön”) which is a preposition meaning “with” and  οἶδα (Strong's #1492), pronounced “oi dä”) meaning “to know” or “to comprehend.”   Basically, συνέδριον means " to know with something else " but a translation more readily understood in English would be " to know something about one's self" or " to be conscious of something."  

Συνείδησις expresses a shared knowledge with one’s self.   This shared knowledge comes from individualized experience.   Experience contains knowledge and that knowledge is fed through the perceptive faculties and abilities of the mind. The device within the mind that acquires and stores this knowledge is what we call the conscience and this is where each person’s understanding of right and wrong is formed.

Contrary to what some might expect, a person’s conscience does not automatically function correctly.   Because the perception of right and wrong is based on acquired information, each person’s consciousness of right and wrong is different. Therefore, it is a false assumption to think every human being is born with a conscience that correctly perceives right and wrong from God's perspective. Because the conscience acquires information and then forms standards of right and wrong based upon that information, if it is programmed with a worldly philosophy, the standard of right and wrong will be worldly in nature if it is exposed to God’s Word, it will be formed by that Word.  

Therefore, the information one receives becomes the most important element in a believer’s developmental process.   The more a person exposes himself to the Word of God, the more the conscience will be programmed from God's perspective of right and wrong. This is the truth expressed in 2 Peter 3:18:

" But you continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Not only is it important for every Christian to acquire God’s perspective of right and wrong, it is also important that we train our children in the same way.   They must hear and even memorize the Word of God, so that each of them will have a conscience formed by God's standard.   Only then will they have a moral foundation through which His Spirit can minister to them from within as they venture out into Satan's territory of the world.

Next week we will look at some New Testament scriptures that reveal some of the different conditions of the conscience.

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SUNEIDESIS is the English font spelling of the Greek word συνείδησις.

English pronunciation of vowel sounds & accented syllables: āle, ăm, fäther ēve, ĕnd īce, ǐll ōld, ǒdd, whö oi as in oil ow as in cow ūse, ŭp, rüde. 

Bold type indicates an accented syllable.


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