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The Hebrew Word for "Good"

Word RTF

Question #1:  What does the word "good" mean in the first chapter in the Book of Genesis.

Response #1: The Hebrew word is tobh (טוב, translated in the ancient Greek "Septuagint" translation of the Old Testament as kalon, καλόν). Both Hebrew and Greek words are generic words for "good", very much equivalent to the English word, and so much so that it is hard to draw any meaningful distinction between the three (the Greek kalon < kalos it is true does originally lean toward the aesthetic, while the word agathos (ἀγαθός) is more of a "good" in the practical sense: "good at something", but even that is not necessarily true, especially in Koine Greek). In Harris, Archer and Waltke's Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Yamauchi outlines five areas of tobh: practical, abstract, quality, moral, and technical. But to my mind, the English word covers the exact same semantic ground. Furthermore, tobh really is the ONLY basic word for the concept "good" in Hebrew.

As to the theological significance vis-a-vis creation and etc., I invite your attention to the following studies available at ICHTHYS:

On Genesis chapter three: The Satanic Rebellion Part 3:   "The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man

On Genesis chapter one: The Satanic Rebellion: Part 2:   "The Genesis Gap"

Yours in Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:

I'm looking for the meaning of the word sunesis in Hebrew. Can you help?

Response #2:

Actually "synesis" (or "sunesis") is a Greek word (σύνεσις). It refers to intellectual ability overall, or a grasp of a particular subject. It can be translated "intelligence", "insight", "understanding", "comprehension", etc. In the New Testament, it occurs seven times (Mk.12:33; Lk. 2:47; 1Cor.1:19; Eph.3:4; Col.1:9; Col.2:2; 2Tim.2:7). In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament (known as the Septuagint) , "synesis" most often translates the Hebrew "biynah" (בינה) and its cognates ("knowledge", "understanding").

You might also consult the following links:

Epignosis, Christian Epistemology, and Spiritual Growth

Pursuing a Deeper Relationship with Jesus and Christian Epistemology

Hope this helps.  Yours in Christ,

Bob L.


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