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Old & New Testament Greek

Entry for Strong's #1849 - ἐξουσία

Word Origin:
from (1832) (in the sense of ability)
Parts of Speech:
Noun Feminine
Word Definition  [ Thayer's | Strong's ]
Thayer's Definition
  1. power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases
    1. leave or permission
  2. physical and mental power
    1. the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises
  3. the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)
  4. the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)
    1. universally
      1. authority over mankind
    2. specifically
      1. the power of judicial decisions
      2. of authority to manage domestic affairs
    3. metonymically
      1. a thing subject to authority or rule 4c
    4. jurisdiction
      1. one who possesses authority 4c
    5. a ruler, a human magistrate 4c
    6. the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates
    7. a sign of the husband's authority over his wife
      1. the veil with which propriety required a women to cover herself
    8. the sign of regal authority, a crown
Hebrew Equivalent Words:
Strong #: 1884 ‑ דְּתָבַר (deth‑aw‑bawr');   4475 ‑ מֶמְשָׁלָה (mem‑shaw‑law');   7982 ‑ שֶׁלֶט (sheh'‑let);   7985 ‑ שָׁלְטָן (shol‑tawn');   7989 ‑ שַׁלִּיט (shal‑leet');   8614 ‑ תִּפְתָּי (tif‑tah'ee);  
Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

ἐξουσ-ία, ἡ,



1. power, authority to do a thing, c. inf., χαίρειν καὶ νοσεῖν ἐ. πάρεστι S. Fr. 88.11 codd.; αὐτῷ ἐ. ἦν σαφῶς εἰδέναι Antipho 1.6, cf. Th. 7.12; ἐξουσίαν ὁ νόμος δέδωκε permission to do.., Pl. Smp. 182e; ἐ. ποιεῖν Id. Cri. 51d, etc.; ἐ. λαβεῖν And. 2.28, X. Mem. 2.6.24, etc.; λαβὼν ἐ. ὥστε.. Isoc. 3.45; ἐπὶ τῇ τῆς εἰρήνης ἐ. with the freedom permitted by peace, D. 18.44: c. gen. objecti, ἐ. ἔχειν θανάτου power of life and death, Poll. 8.86; πρᾶγμα οὗ τὴν ἐ. ἔχουσιν ἄλλοι control over.., Diog.Oen. 57; ἐ. τινός power over, licence in a thing, τοῦ λέγειν Pl. Grg. 461e; ἐν μεγάλῃ ἐ. τοῦ ἀδικεῖν ib. 526a, cf. R. 554c; κατὰ τὴν οὐκ ἐ. τῆς ἀγωνίσεως from want of qualification for.., Th. 5.50: abs., power, authority, E. Fr. 784.

2. abuse of authority, licence, arrogance, ὕβρις καὶ ἐ. Th. 1.38, cf. 3.45, D. 19.200; ἡ ἄγαν ἐ. ib.272; ἄμετρος ἐ. OGI 669.51 (i A.D.).

3. Lit. Crit., ἐ. ποιητική poetic licence, Str. 1.2.17, Jul. Or. 1.10b.


1. office, magistracy, ἀρχαὶ καὶ ἐ. Pl. Alc. 1.135b; οἱ ἐν ταῖς ἐ. Arist. EN 1095b21; οἱ ἐν ἐ. ὄντες Id. Rh. 1384a1; οἱ ἐπ' ἐξουσιῶν LXX Daniel 3:2; ἡ ὑπατικὴ ἐ. the consulate, D.S. 14.113, etc.; also ἡ ὕπατος ἐ. D.H. 7.1; ἡ ταμιευτικὴ ἐ. the quaestorship, Id. 8.77; δημαρχικὴ ἐ., v. δημαρχικός; ἡ τοῦ θαλάμου ἐ., in the Roman empire, lordship of the bedchamber, Hdn. 1.12.3.

2. concrete, body of magistrates, D.H. 11.32; αἱ ἐ. (as we say) the authorities, Luke 12:11,al., Plu. Phil. 17. ἡ ἐ. as an honorary title, POxy. 1103 (iv A.D.), etc.

III abundance of means, resources, ἐξουσίας ἐπίδειξις Th. 6.31; πλοῦτος καὶ ἐ. Id. 1.123, cf. D. 21.138; ἐνδεεστέρως ἢ πρὸς τὴν ἐ. Th. 4.39; τῶν ἀναγκαίων ἐ. Pl. Lg. 828d; excessive wealth, opp. οὐσία, Com.Adesp. 25a.5D. pomp, Plu. Aem. 34.

Thayer's Expanded Definition
 ἐξουσία, ἐξουσίας, (from ἔξεστι, ἐξόν, which see), from Euripides, Xenophon, Plato down; the Sept. for מֶמְשָׁלָה and Chaldean שָׁלְטָן; power.

1. power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; leave or permission: 1 Corinthians 9:12,18; ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν, 2 Thessalonians 3:9; with an infinitive added indicating the thing to be done, John 10:18; 1 Corinthians 9:4; Hebrews 13:10 ( WH brackets ἐξουσία); followed by an infinitive with τοῦ, 1 Corinthians 9:6 ( L T Tr WH omit τοῦ); with a genitive of the thing or the person with regard to which one has the power to decide: Romans 9:21 (where an explanatory infinitive is added ( Buttmann, 260 (224))); 1 Corinthians 9:12; ἐπί τό ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς, permission to use the tree of life, Revelation 22:14 (see ἐπί, C. I:2e.); ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν περί τοῦ ἰδίου θελήματος (opposed to ἀνάγκην ἔχειν (cf. Winer's Grammar, § 30,3 N. 5)), 1 Corinthians 7:37; ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσία (appointed, see τίθημι, 1a. sub at the end) according to his own choice, Acts 1:7; ἐν τῇ σῇ ἐξουσία ὑπῆρχεν, i. e. at thy free disposal, Acts 5:4; used of liberty under the gospel, as opposed to the yoke of the Mosaic law, 1 Corinthians 8:9.

2. "physical and mental power; the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises": Matthew 9:8; Acts 8:19; Revelation 9:3,19; Revelation 13:2,4; Revelation 18:1; followed by an infinitive of the thing to be done, Mark 3:15; Luke 12:5; John 1:12; Revelation 9:10; Revelation 11:6; Revelation 13:5; followed by τοῦ with the infinitive Luke 10:19; αὕτη ἐστιν ἐξουσία τοῦ σκότους, this is the power that darkness exerts, Luke 22:53; ποιεῖν ἐξουσίαν to exert power, give exhibitions of power, Revelation 13:12; ἐν ἐξουσία εἶναι, to be possessed of power and influence, Luke 4:32; also ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν (both expressions refer to the ability and weight which Jesus exhibited in his teaching) Matthew 7:29; ( Mark 1:22); κατ' ἐξουσίαν powerfully, Mark 1:27; also ἐν ἐξουσία, Luke 4:36.

3. the power of authority (influence) and of right: Matthew 21:23; Mark 11:28; Luke 20:2; spoken of the authority of an apostle, 2 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Corinthians 13:10; of the divine authority granted to Jesus as Messiah, with the infinitive of the thing to be done, Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24; John 5:27; ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσία; clothed in what authority (i. e. thine own or God's?), Matthew 21:23,24, 27; Mark 11:28,29, 33; Luke 20:2,8; delegated authority (German Vollmacht, authorization): παρά τίνος, with the genitive of the person by whom the authority is given, or received, Acts 9:14; Acts 26:10,12 ( R G).

4. the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed (generally translated authority));

a. universally: Matthew 28:18; Jude 1:25; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 17:13; λαμβάνειν, ἐξουσίαν ὡς βασιλεύς, Revelation 17:12; εἰμί ὑπό ἐξουσίαν, I am under authority, Matthew 8:9; with τασσόμενος added, ( Matthew 8:9 L WH brackets); Luke 7:8; ἐξουσία τίνος, the genitive of the object, authority (to be exercised) over, as τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων, Mark 6:7; with ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν αὐτά added, Matthew 10:1; ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκός, authority over all mankind, John 17:2 (πάσης σαρκός κυρειαν, Bel and the Dragon , verse 5); (the genitive of the subject, τοῦ Σατανᾶ, Acts 26:18); ἐπί τινα, power over one, so as to be able to subdue, drive out, destroy, Revelation 6:8; ἐπί τά δαιμόνια, Luke 9:1; or to hold submissive to one's will, Revelation 13:7; ἐπί τάς πληγάς, the power to inflict plagues and to put an end to them, Revelation 16:9; ἐπί τῶν ἐθνῶν, over the heathen nations, Revelation 2:26; ἐπί τίνος, to destroy one, Revelation 20:6; ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐπί τοῦ πυρός, to preside, have control, over fire, to hold it subject to his will, Revelation 14:18; ἐπί τῶν ὑδάτων, Revelation 11:6; ἐπάνω τίνος ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν, to be ruler over a thing, Luke 19:17.

b. specifically, α. of the power of judicial decision; ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν with an infinitive of the thing decided: σταυρῶσαι and ἀπολῦσαι τινα, John 19:10; followed by κατά τίνος, the power of deciding against one, John 19:11; παραδοῦναι τινα ... τῇ ἐξουσία τοῦ ἡγεμόνος, Luke 20:20. β. of authority to manage domestic affairs: Mark 13:34.

c. metonymically, α. a thing subject to authority or rule: Luke 4:6; jurisdiction: ἐκ τῆς ἐξουσίας ἡδωρου ἐστιν, Luke 23:7 ( 1 Maccabees 6:11 (cf. Psalm 113:2 (Psalm 114:2>); Isaiah 39:2)). β. one who possesses authority; (cf. the Latin use of honestates, dignitates, auctoritates (so the English authorities, dignities, etc.) in reference to persons); αα. a ruler, human magistrate ( Dionysius Halicarnassus 8,44; 11,32): Romans 13:1-3; plural: Luke 12:11; Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1. ββ. the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to Prayer of Manasseh , spiritual potentates; used in the plural of a certain class of angels (see ἀρχή, δύναμις, θρόνος, κυριότης): Colossians 1:16; 1 Peter 3:22 (cf. Fritzsche on Romans , vol. ii., p. 226f; ( Lightfoot on Colossians , the passage cited)); with ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις added, Ephesians 3:10; πᾶσα ἐξουσία, 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 2:10; used also of demons: in the plural, Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15; collectively (cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 469), ἐξουσία τοῦ ἀέρος (see ἀήρ), Ephesians 2:2; τοῦ σκότους, Colossians 1:13 (others refer this to 4a. (or c. α.) above (cf. Luke 22:53 in 2), and regard σκότος as personified; see σκότος, b.).

d. a sign of the husband's authority over his wife, i. e. the veil with which propriety required a woman to cover herself, 1 Corinthians 11:10 (as βασιλεία is used by Diodorus 1,47 for the sign of regal power, i. e. a crown). (Synonym: see δύναμις, at the end. On the infinitive after ἐξουσία, and ἐξουσία ἔχειν cf. Buttmann, 260 (223 f).)

Thayer's Expanded Greek Definition, Electronic Database.
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Vocabulary of the Greek NT

For the primary meaning of this important word ";power of choice,"; ";liberty of action,"; cf. BGU IV. 1158.13 (B.C. 9), where it is joined with ἐγλογήμένε (ιν) περὶ ε ̣̈̀ατ (ὴν) Κορν (ηλίαν) τὴν ἐξουσία (ν) καὶ ἐγλογὴ (ν) ἑαυτὸν πράσσειν τὸ κεφά [λ ]αιο (ν). Hence the common usage in wills, contracts, and other legal documents, to denote the ";claim,"; or ";right,"; or ";control,"; one has over anything, e. g. P Oxy II. 272.13 (A.D. 66) ὁμολογ [ο ]ῦμεν ἔχειν σε ἐξουσί [αν σε ]αυτῆι τὴν ἀπ [αί ]τη [σ ]ιν ποιεῖσθαι παρὰ τοῦ Ἡρακλήου τῶν προκειμένων ἀργ (υρίου) (δραχμῶν), BGU I. 183.25 (A.D. 85) ἔχειν αὐτὴν τὴν ἐξουσίαν τῶν ἰδίων πάντων, P Tebt II. 319.21 (A.D. 248) ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν τῶν ἑαυτοῦ ὑπαρχόντων : see also Milligan ad 2 Thessalonians 3:9. For the definite idea of right given by law, see P Oxy II. 237vi. 17 (A.D. 186) ἀξιῶ τοῦ νόμου διδόντος μοι ἐξουσίαν κτλ. and ib. vii. 27, viii. 4 : cf. also ib. 259.18 (A.D. 23) where a man undertakes to produce a prisoner within a month—μὴ ἔχοντός μου ἐκξουσίαν (l. ἐξ —) χρόνον ἕτερον [κ ]τ ̣η ̣[σ ]εσθαι, ";as I have no power to obtain a further period of time."; In Syll 328.6 (B.C. 84) π ]ρὸς ἐμὲ ἦλθ [εν ἐ ]ν Ἀπαμηᾳ ἠρώτησέν τε [ὅπως ἂν ] ἐξουσίαν αὐ [τ ] [π ]οιήσω ἐπὶ τοῦ συν [βο ]υλίο [υ, where we seem at first to have the same construction as in Revelation 14:18, the editor understands the last words as = ";coram consilio."; The meaning ";power of rule,"; ";authority,"; appears in BGU IV. 1200.20 (B.C. 2) Ἡρακλείδης καὶ Διονύ [σιος. . .. . .] ἐξουσίαν ἔχοντες τῶν Ἀσκληπιάδου ἀνόμως ἀποδέδωκαν κτλ., P Ryl II. 81.8 (c. A.D. 104) τὴν γ ̣ὰρ ὅλου τοῦ πράγματος ἐξουσίαν τοῖς κατασ [π ]ορεῦσι ἐπεθέμην, P Giss I. 11.18 (A.D. 118) (= Chrest. I. p. 524) οὐκ ἀγνοεῖς ὅτι ἄλλας ὀκτὸ μυριάδες ἔχω πλο ̣ίων ὧν ἐξουσίαν ἔχω, and Wünsch AF 4.21 (iii/A.D.) ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεὸν τὸν ἔχοντα τὴν ἐξουσίαν τῆς ὥρας ταύτης. For the general sense of exhibiting weight and authority, as in Mark 1:22, cf. P Fay 125.6 (ii/A.D.) ἀντιλαβὼν ἣν ἐξουσίαν ἔχεις, ";using all the influence you have"; (Edd.), and on the bearing of this meaning in the difficult 1 Corinthians 11:10, see Ramsay Cities, p. 202 ff., where it is shown that, in accordance with the Oriental view, ";a woman’s authority and dignity vanish along with the all-covering veil that she discards."; In P Par 63.176 (B.C. 164) (= P Petr III. p. 34) we have ἕτερός τις ἐμ βαρυ [τέ ]ραι κείμενος ἐξουσίαι, ";any other persons in high office"; (Mahaffy), and for the reference of the word to civil magistracy or rule, as in Romans 13:1, see P Lond 1178.9 (A.D. 194) (= III. p. 215, Selections, p. 98) δημαρχικῆς ἐξουσίας, the tribunicia potestas of Claudius, and cf. P Oxy VI. 904.7 ff. (petition to a preses—v/A.D.) ὅθεν τὰς ἱκεσίας προσφέρω τῇ ὑμετέρᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ. . . ἵνα κἀγὼ τούτου τυχὼν εὐχαριστήσω ταῖς ἀκλεινεῖς (l. ἀκλινέσι) ἀκοαῖς τῆς ὑμετέρας ἐξουσίας, ";accordingly I make my entreaties to your highness . . in order that having gained my request I may bless the impartial ears of your highness"; (Edd.).

In an interesting note in his Poimandres, p. 48 n..3, Reitzenstein claims that in the NT, as in the Hermes dialogue, the idea of ";knowledge"; is mingled with that of ";power.";


The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament.
Copyright © 1914, 1929, 1930 by James Hope Moulton and George Milligan. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Derivative Copyright © 2015 by Allan Loder.
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List of Word Forms
εξουσια εξουσιά εξουσία ἐξουσία ἐξουσίᾳ εξουσιαι εξουσίαι ἐξουσίαι εξουσιαις εξουσίαις ἐξουσίαις εξουσιαν εξουσίαν ἐξουσίαν εξουσιας εξουσίας ἐξουσίας εξουσιων εξουσιών ἐξουσιῶν exousia exousía exousiai exousíai exousíāi exousiais exousíais exousian exousían exousias exousías exousion exousiôn exousiōn exousiō̂n
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