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Gentiles or Greeks? Some Extra Word Studies


Gentiles or Greeks? Greek Word Detail

As I am studying for this week’s passage, I see some words I used in last week’s sermon. I mentioned in one of the services that Gentiles is the word for Hellenist. I had not looked at the distinctions in Greek recently and was simply going by memory. Therefore, I was right about a general point, but wrong about a detail. The word for “Greek” can signify a Gentile, but not always. Here is the full story.


“Greek/s” in Scripture is the Greek Word Ἑλλην, which is pronounced “Hel-laine.” You can almost hear “Hellenist” in this word. This is usually also the name for a Gentile, but there is a specific word for a less specific Gentile.


Gentile/s in Scripture is the Greek Word ἔθνος, which is pronounced “Eth-nos.” You can almost hear the word “Ethnicity” in this word. This is often referring to different nationalities and races.

When the Scriptures speak of the word Gentiles, it is inclusive of the Greeks. Gentiles is any non-Jewish ethnicity. This includes Greeks. Sometimes a writer could refer to the Greeks (“Hel-laine”) and be meaning Gentiles in general. Why? Because they were referring to the Gentiles (Specifically Greeks) in their region. Other times, one could be more general and just consider any and every Gentile (Eth-nos).


Hope this helps your Scripture studies!

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