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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words


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1: ὄφις

(Strong's #3789 — Noun Masculine — ophis — of'-is )

the characteristics of the "serpent" as alluded to in Scripture are mostly evil (though Matthew 10:16 refers to its caution in avoiding danger); its treachery, Genesis 49:17; 2 Corinthians 11:3; its venom, Psalm 58:4; 1 Corinthians 10:9; Revelation 9:19; its skulking, Job 26:13; its murderous proclivities, e.g., Psalm 58:4; Proverbs 23:32; Ecclesiastes 10:8,11; Amos 5:19; Mark 16:18; Luke 10:19; the Lord used the word metaphorically of the scribes and Pharisees, Matthew 23:33 (cp. echidna, "viper," in Matthew 3:7; 12:34 ). The general aspects of its evil character are intimated in the Lord's rhetorical question in Matthew 7:10; Luke 11:11 . Its characteristics are concentrated in the archadversary of God and man, the Devil, metaphorically described as the serpent, 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9,14,15; 20:2 . The brazen "serpent" lifted up by Moses was symbolical of the means of salvation provided by God, in Christ and His vicarious death under the Divine judgment upon sin, John 3:14 . While the living "serpent" symbolizes sin in its origin, hatefulness, and deadly effect, the brazen "serpent" symbolized the bearing away of the curse and the judgement of sin; the metal was itself figurative of the righteousness of God's judgment.

2: ἑρπετόν

(Strong's #2062 — Noun Neuter — herpeton — her-pet-on' )

"a creeping thing" (from herpo, "to creep"), "a reptile," is rendered "serpents" in James 3:7 , AV (RV, "creeping things," as elsewhere). See CREEP , B.

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Serpent'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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