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Bible Lexicons

Old & New Testament Greek Lexical DictionaryGreek Lexicon

Strong's #139 - αἵρεσις

Root Word (Etymology)
from (G138)
Parts of Speech
feminine noun
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  1. act of taking, capture: e.g. storming a city
  2. choosing, choice
  3. that which is chosen
  4. a body of men following their own tenets (sect or party)
    1. of the Sadducees
    2. of the Pharisees
    3. of the Christians
  5. dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims
Hebrew Equivalent Words:
Strong #: 5071 ‑ נְדָבָה (ned‑aw‑baw');  
Frequency Lists
Verse Results
KJV (9)
Acts 6
1 Corinthians 1
Galatians 1
2 Peter 1
NAS (9)
Acts 6
1 Corinthians 1
Galatians 1
2 Peter 1
CSB (9)
Acts 6
1 Corinthians 1
Galatians 1
2 Peter 1
BSB (9)
Acts 6
1 Corinthians 1
Galatians 1
2 Peter 1
ESV (9)
Acts 6
1 Corinthians 1
Galatians 1
2 Peter 1
WEB (9)
Acts 6
1 Corinthians 1
Galatians 1
2 Peter 1
Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

αἵρεσις, εως, ἡ,


1. taking, esp. of a town, Hdt. 4.1, etc.; ἡ βασιλέος αἵ. the taking by the king, Id. 9.3; ἐλπίζων ταχίστην -σιν ἔσεσθαι Th. 2.75; αἵ. δυνάμεως acquisition of power, Pl. Grg. 513a: generally, taking, receiving, ἐπιγενημάτων PTeb. 27.66 (ii B. C.). (αἱρέομαι) choice, αἵρεσίν τ' ἐμοὶ δίδου A. Pr. 779; τῶνδε.. αἵρεσιν παρδίδωμι Pi. N. 10.82; foll. by relat., αἵ. διδόναι ὁκοτέρην.., εἰ.., etc., Hdt. 1.11, cf. D. 22.19; αἵ. προτιθέναι, προβάλλειν, Pl. Tht. 196c, Sph. 245b; εἰ νέμοι τις αἵρεσιν S. Aj. 265; αἵρεσιν λαβεῖν D. 36.11; ποιεῖσθαι Isoc. 7.19; αἵ. γίγνεταί τινι Th. 2.61; οὐκ ἔχει αἵρεσιν it admits no choice, Plu. 2.708b.

2. choice, election of magistrates, Th. 8.89, cf. Arist. Pol. 1266a26, al.; αἱρέσει, opp. κλήρῳ, 1300a19, etc.

3. inclination, choice, πρός τινα Philipp. ap. D. 18.166, Plb. 2.61.9, etc., cf. IG 2.591b; opp. φυγή, Epicur. Ephesians 3 p.62U.; περὶ αἱρέσεων καὶ φυγῶν, title of treatise by Epicurus.


1. purpose, course of action or thought, like προαίρεσις, Pl. Phdr. 256c; ἡ αἵ. τῆς πρεσβείας Aeschin. 2.11; αἵ. Ἐλληνική the study of Greek literature, Plb. 39.1.3: conduct, PTeb. 28.10 (ii B. C.).

2. system of philosophic principles, or those who profess such principles, sect, school, Plb. 5.93.8, D.S. 2.29, Polystr. p.20 W., D.H. Amm. 1.7, Comp. 2,al., cf. Cic. Fam. 15.16.3; κατὰ τῶν αἱ., title of treatise by Antipater of Tarsus; περὶ αἱρέσεων, title of Menippean satire by Varro, cf. Fr. 164; αἵρεσις πρὸς Γοργιππίδην, title of work by Chrysippus, D.L. 7.191; esp. religious party or sect, of the Essenes, J. BJ 2.8.1; the Sadducees and Pharisees, Acts 5:17, Acts 15:5, Acts 26:5; the Christians, ib. 24.5, 14, 28.22, generally, faction, party, App. BC 5.2.

3. corps of epheboi, OGI 176 (Egypt).

4. Astrol., 'condition', Ptol. Tetr. 21; ἡ ἡμερινὴ αἵ. Vett. Val. 1.13.


1. proposed condition, proposal, D.H. 3.10.

2. commission, ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς νέους αἵ. Pl. Ax. 367a; embassy, mission, IG 4.937 (Epid.).

3. freewill offering, opp. vow, LXX Leviticus 22:18,al.

4. bid at auction, τὴν ἀμείνονα αἵ. διδόντι παραδοθῆναι POxy. 716.22 (ii A. D.), cf. 1630.8 (iii A. D.).

Thayer's Expanded Definition

αἵρεσις, (εως, ;

1. (from αἱρέω), act of taking, capture: τῆς πόλεως, the storming of a city; in secular authors.

2. (from ἁιρέομαι), choosing, choice, very often in secular writings: the Sept. Leviticus 22:18; 1 Macc. 8:30.

3. that which is chosen, a chosen course of thought and action; hence one's chosen opinion, tenet; according to the context, an opinion varying from the true exposition of the Christian faith (heresy): 2 Peter 2:1 (cf. DeWette at the passage), and in ecclesiastical writings (cf. Sophocles' Lexicon, under the word).

4. a body of men separating themselves from others and following their own tenets (a sect or party): as the Sadducees, Acts 5:17; the Pharisees, Acts 15:5; Acts 26:5; the Christians, Acts 24:5, 14 (in both instances with a suggestion of reproach); (in Diogenes Laërtius 1 (13) 18f, others, used of the schools of philosophy).

5. dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims: Galatians 5:20; 1 Corinthians 11:19. (Cf. Meyer, at the passages cited; B. D. American edition under the word ; Burton, Bampt. Lect. for 1829; Campbell, Diss. on the Gospels, diss. iv., part iv.)

Thayer's Expanded Greek Definition, Electronic Database.
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc.
All rights rserved. Used by permission. BibleSoft.com
Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament

αἵρεσις , -εως ,

(<αἱρέω , -ομαι ),

[in LXX for H5071,]

1. capture.

2. choosing, choice (v. MM, VGT, s.v.).

3. that which is chosen, hence, opinion; esp. a peculiar opinion, heresy: 1 Corinthians 11:19, Galatians 5:20, 2 Peter 2:1, R, txt.

4. In late writers (MM, VGT), of a set of persons professing particular principles or opinions, a school, sect, party, faction: Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22, 1Co, Ga, 2Pe, l.c., R, mg. (Cremer, 614).†

Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament.
Copyright © 1922 by G. Abbott-Smith, D.D., D.C.L.. T & T Clarke, London.
Vocabulary of the Greek NT

In Michel 1001vii. 33 (Thera, c. B.C. 200) αἱρείσθω τὸ κοινὸν. . . ἄνδρας κτλ · καὶ ἐγγραφέτω καὶ τὰν τούτων αἵρεσιν ὁ ἐπίσσοφος, the noun is the nomen actionis of αἱρεῖσθαι, ";choose."; The two meanings (1) animus, sententia, and (2) secta, factio, are both illustrated by Dittenberger in OGIS : for (1) he gives fourteen examples from i/B.C. or earlier, for (2) only three of equal antiquity, viz. 176 τῆς Ἀμμωνίου αἱρέσεως, 178 similar (both from reign of Ptolemy XI, ii/i B.C), and 442 (a senatus consultum of i/B.C. apparently) Σύλλ ]ας αὐτοκράτωρ συνεχώρησεν [π ]όλ [εις ὅπως ἰδί ]οις τοῖς νόμοις αἱρέσεσίν τε ὦσιν. (Note the effect of slavish translation from Latin ablative.) 2 Peter 2:1 is the only NT passage assigned by Grimm to the first head, and there the RV has a margin assigning it to (2). Herwerden cites an inscription from Delphi of iii/B.C. (BCH xx. p. 478) where the word equals εὔνοια : ἐνεφάνισε τὰν αἵρεσιν, ἃν ἔχει ποτί τε τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ τὰν πόλιν. Cf. Roberts-Gardner 55.19 (a decree of the Senate and people) καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ Φαῖδρος τὴν αὐτὴν αἵρεσιν ἔχων τοῖς προγογόνοις (l. προγόνοις) διατετέλεκεν ἑαυτὸν ἄξιον παρασκευάζων τῆς πρὸς τὸν δῆμον εὐνοίας. The editors note that this sense of αἵρεσις = ";propensus animus,"; ";kindly feeling towards a person,"; is very common in later inscriptions.

In the papyri the meaning seems generally ";choice"; : in wills it is used = ";voluntas,"; or ";disposition,"; e.g. P Oxy VI. 907.4 (A.D. 276) αἱρέσει τῇ ὑποτεταγμένῃ, ";according to the disposition below written."; P Tebt I. 27.66 (B.C. 113) ἐπὶ τὴν αἵρεσιν τῶν ἐπιγενη [μ ]άτων shows the pure verbal noun ";receiving,"; and in P Oxy IV. 716.22 (A.D. 186) τὴν ἀμείνονα αἵρεσιν διδόντι it is a ";bid"; (at an auction); so also BGU II. 656.8 (ii/A.D.) προσερχέστωσαν (i.e. -θωσαν) τοῖς πρὸς τούτοις ἕρεσειν (i.e. αἵρεσιν) διδόντες. Other examples of the word are P Petr II. 1.6 τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων αἵρεσιν, P Par 63viii. 8 ff. (c. B.C. 164) προαιρούμενος ἵνα μετακληθῇς ἔτι πρὸς τὴν ἐμὴν αἵρεσιν, and BGU IV. 1070.6 (A.D. 218) εὐδοκοῦντα τῇ αἱρέσει τῆς ἐπιτροπῆς. P Tebt I. 28.9 f. (B.C. 114) comes nearest to the meaning (1)—καὶ κατὰ τὸ παρὸν δ [ι ]ὰ τῶν ἀναφ [ορῶν ] τῆι αὐτῆι αἱρέσει κεχρημένων, which the editors render ";since they show the same behaviour in their reports."; This use gives us a foretaste of the development in malam partem, producing ";factiousness"; and then ";heresy"; : cf. Syll 308.28 (ii/B.C.) γίνωνται δὲ καὶ ἄλλοι ζ [ηλ ]ωταὶ τῆς αὐτῆς αἱρέσεως. In Syll 367.11 (i/A.D.) αἱρεσιάρχης means the chief of the profession (medical).


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.
List of Word Forms
αιρεσεις αιρέσεις αἱρέσεις αιρεσεως αιρέσεως αἱρέσεως αιρεσιν αίρεσιν αἵρεσιν αιρεσις αίρεσις αἵρεσις aireseis aireseos aireseōs airesin airesis haireseis hairéseis haireseos haireseōs hairéseos hairéseōs hairesin haíresin hairesis haíresis
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