Thursday, March 29, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: STRAY-fo
Strong's Number: 4762
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 5138
Key Verse: “... unless you are converted and become like little children …” -- Matthew 18:3

The verb strepho means “to turn around, to turn one thing into another.”

In the New Testament, this verb is found 21 times. Twelve of those scriptures refer to Jesus turning to speak to someone. In His sermon on the mount, in Matthew 5:39, He instructs the followers to turn the other cheek. In Acts 7:42, regarding Israelite idol worship, God turned away from them, abandoned them to their own desires. Revelation 11:6, the two witnesses have power over the waters to turn them into blood.

Metaphorically, this verb means to turn one’s self from a course of conduct. [Note: A synonym would be “repent.” The Greek verb is metanoia, meaning literally “to change one's mind.”] This is found in the remaining two verses, John 12:40 and Matthew 18:3, which translate this word as convert in the NASB. In John 12:40, Isaiah’s prophecy is that the Lord would harden the hearts of the Jews so that they would not be converted. [The NKJV and NIV translate this word as turn.]

In the key verse, MATTHEW 18:3, the disciples had questioned Jesus about who would be the greatest in heaven. [The NIV translates the word as change.] His response was that they were headed in the wrong direction with their selfish ambition. The idea of converting is that of turning round in a road and facing the other way. It is in the active voice and means that the disciples were to do this “turning” themselves, it was not something that was to be done for them. They were to turn from that gross notion of a temporal kingdom, and of enjoying great grandeur, and outward felicity in this world; and from all their vain views of honour, wealth, and riches. Matthew Henry states: “You must be converted, you must be of another mind, and in another frame and temper, must have other thoughts, both of yourselves and of the kingdom of heaven, before you be fit for a place in it. The pride, ambition, and affectation of honour and dominion, which appear in you, must be repented of, mortified, and reformed, and you must come to yourselves.”

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