Thursday, April 5, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: AN-oh-then
Strong’s Number: 509
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 540
Key Verse: “… unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” -- John 3:3

Anothen is an adverb. The primary meaning is “from above.” In the New Testament, the word appears 13 times, with the primary meaning obvious in most of them.

In Matthew 27:51 (Mark 15:38), “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” This was an object lesson to the Aaronic priesthood that a new priest had arisen. In Luke 1:3, he began by telling his readers that he had “investigated everything carefully from the beginning.” In John 3:31, “He who comes from above is above all.” Christ had a “being” before His conception, a heavenly being. In John 19:11, Jesus told Pilate, “you have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.” Jesus makes God the source of all real authority. In John 19:23, after His crucifixion, when the soldiers divided His garments, “the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece” [literally, “woven from the top through the whole”]. In Acts 26:5, Paul told Agrippa, that the Jews “have known about me for a long time” [literally, from the beginning] of his public education in Jerusalem. In James 1:17, 3:15, and 3:17, there are three references to good things and wisdom coming “from above.”

There are two instances where the word anothen is translated as “again.” [Note: In Galatians 4:9, anothen is to be compared with the Greek word palin, which is the usual word for “again,” in the sense of “repeated action.”] In this instance, Paul is referring to the elemental things of the world, “... you desire to be enslaved all over (palin) again (anothen). The Greek text reads literally as: “... again you want to serve as slaves anew…”

The second instance is in JOHN 3:3 and 7, where Jesus is teaching Nicodemus that “unless one is born again (anothen), he cannot see the kingdom of God.” To be born again is to be born from above, of the Spirit, verses 5-8. We are born naturally into the kingdom of nature, to live the natural life; if we enter the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of grace, it must be by a new birth.


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