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Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament


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bradys (Strong's #1021) Slow

nothros (Strong's #3576) Sluggish, Dull

argos (Strong's #692) Idle

It may be instructive to repeat Schmidt's carefully expressed conclusions about bradys, nothros, and argos. According to Schmidt, bradys is best translated by the German langsam (slow), and tachys (Strong's #5036), okys, or anchinous are its antonyms. Schmidt translated nothros by the German träge (indolent), and understood its proper antonym as oxys (Strong's #3691). Additionally, Schmidt made a moral identification between argos and the German faul (lazy) or unthätig (inactive) and understood energos (cf. Strong's #1756) as its proper antonym.

Because bradys does not necessarily imply moral fault or blame, it differs from nothros and argos. Indeed, two of the three New Testament uses of bradys are honorable ones. To be "slow" to evil things, rash speaking, or anger ( James 1:19, twice) is a virtue. Elsewhere bradys also is honorably used, as when Isocrates advises us to be "slow" in planning and swift in performing. Thucydides did not discredit the Spartans by describing them as slow to act (bradytes, Strong's #1022) and the Athenians as swift. Instead, Thucydides was drawing attention to the most striking and excellent qualities of each group.

Nothros is used only twice in the New Testament, both times in Hebrews ( Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 6:12). The etymology of nothros is uncertain. Formerly, it was derived from ne (Strong's #3513) and othein, but this derivation no longer is favored. Nothros is used in good Attic Greek, such as that of Plato, where the form nothes was preferred during the language's classical period. Nothros did not come into common use until the time of Koine Greek, and is used only once in the Septuagint ( Proverbs 22:29) and twice in the Apocrypha ( Sirach 4:34; 11:13).

Nothros refers to a deeper and more inborn sluggishness (bound up in a person's very life) than do bradys or argos. The bradys of today might become the okys of tomorrow. The argos might grow to energos (cf. Strong's #1756), but the very constitution of the nothros makes him unfit for activities of the mind or spirit. He is nothros en tais epinoiais (Strong's #1963), "sluggish in his thoughts." Dionysius of Halicarnassus used nothros with anaisthetos, akinetos, and apathes.Hippocrates used nothros with barys (Strong's #926), and Plutarch used it with dyskinetos. Dyskinetos clearly expresses what is only suggested by the other wordsa certain awkwardness and unwieldiness of gait and demeanor, which portrays to the outer world a slowness and inaptitude for mental activities. The second use of nothros ( Hebrews 6:12) is correctly translated in the Vulgate as segnis (sluggish). "Sluggish," rather than the authorized Version's "slothful," would be a better translation for nothros in this verse. Delitzsch defined nothros as "difficult to set in motion, sluggish, indolent, dull, feeble, idle." Pollux understood nothreia as a synonym for amblytes.In its earlier form, nothreia was a common word for the ass.

Argos is used to refer to persons ( Titus 1:12; 2 Peter 1:8) and to things ( Matthew 12:36; Matthew 20:3; Matthew 20:6). In2Peter1:8, argos is used with akarpos (Strong's #175) and translated "barren," which is not a very good translation. "Idle" would be a better translation, since "barren and unfruitful" constitute a tautology that should be eliminated. Plato used argos with ameles and deilos. Plutarch used argos with akarpos (as Peter already had). Demosthenes used the verb argein (Strong's #691) with scholazein (Strong's #4980) and aporein (Strong's #639). Xenophon contrasts argos with energos (cf. Strong's #1756), and Sophocles contrasted it with ergatis (cf. Strong's #2040). "Slow" (or "tardy"), "sluggish," and "idle," respectively, represent bradys, nothros, and argos.

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Bibliography Information
Trench, Richard C. Entry for 'Slow'. Synonyms of the New Testament. 1854.

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Monday, October 26th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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