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Word study - law - New Testament usage

A total of 12 different Greek words are used here, from 3 basic word-families. One word - nomos - comprises the overwhelming majority of uses. Excluding this word and others related to it, only 3 words, with a total of 4 uses are encountered. About half of the NT books do not use any word translated "law", and use of nomos itself is quite concentrated - over half of the occurrences are in just 2 letters, to the Romans and Galatians.The different sections below look at:
  1. The word families with some basic comments
  2. Word frequencies in different NT books
  3. More detailed definitions from a linguistic perspective

A brief overall summary of the following is in preparation.

Word families with some basic comments

Family baseBase meaningIndividual wordWord meaningComments
nemo To parcel out or apportion   Not ever translated as "law"
   nomos [3551]That which is assigned, hence usage, custom, law The most commonly used word translated as "law" in the NT, comprising just over 90% of all occurrences
   anomos [459]Without the law (adjective) Mostly translated "lawless" or similar
   nomodidaskalos [3547]Doctors or teachers of the law See also nomikos
   anomos [460]Without the law (adverb) Only used in Romans
   nomothesia [3548]Legislation or law-giving Only used in Romans
   ennomos [1772]Legal, subject to the law Only used in Acts and 1 Corinthians
   nomikos [3544]Relating to or learned in the law Mostly used in the Gospels, see also nomodidaskalos
   nomotheteo [3549]To make law or ordain by law Only used in Hebrews
   anomia [458]Lawlessness See also anomos [459]
krino [2919]To judge or decide    Used throughout, predominantly translated as to "judge"
   krima [2917]A judgement Used throughout, predominantly translated "judgement" or "condemnation"
agoraios [60]Pertaining to the public marketplace    Only used in Acts

Word frequencies in different NT books

The following table indicates how many times each word appears in the different book-blocks of the New Testament. As nomos is considerably the most abundant, and has a variety of important shades of meaning, several sub-cases have been listed here. Hopefully this shows something of the varying usage of the concept through the different authors. Additionally, the number of other uses (ie translated as different English words than "law") of the same words has been shown [in square brackets]. There will be minor differences between different modern translations, but the general picture will remain the same.

The book-blocks into which the Old Testament has been divided are:

  1. The Gospels (Matthew - John)
  2. Acts
  3. The letters of Paul
  4. Other letters
  5. Revelation
Strong's numberWord in question (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)Total
3551nomos32 [0] 19 [0]118 [4]23 [1]0 [0]192 [5]
459anomos0 [2] 0 [1]4 [2]0 [1]0 [0]4 [6]
3547nomodidaskalos1 [0] 1 [0]1 [0]0 [0]0 [0]3 [0]
460anomos0 [0] 0 [0]2 [0]0 [0]0 [0]2 [0]
3548nomothesia0 [0] 0 [0]1 [0]0 [0]0 [0]1 [0]
1772ennomos0 [0] 0 [1]1 [0]0 [0]0 [0]1 [1]
3544nomikos0 [7] 0 [0]1 [1]0 [0]0 [0]1 [8]
3549nomotheteo0 [0] 0 [0]0 [0]1 [1]0 [0]1 [1]
458anomia0 [4] 0 [0]0 [6]1 [5]0 [0]1 [15]
2919krino1 [36] 0 [23]1 [49]0 [11]0 [10]2 [129]
2917krima0 [7] 0 [1]1 [11]0 [5]0 [3]1 [27]
60agoraios0 [0] 1 [1]0 [0]0 [0]0 [0]1 [1]

More detailed definitions from a linguistic perspective

Under construction
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