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Asleep, Sleep

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

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A — 1: καθεύδω

(Strong's #2518 — Verb — katheudo — kath-yoo'-do )

"to go to sleep," is chiefly used of natural "sleep," and is found most frequently in the Gospels, especially Matthew and Luke. With reference to death it is found in the Lord's remark concerning Jairus' daughter, Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52 . In the epistles of Paul it is used as follows: (a) of natural "sleep," e.g., 1 Thessalonians 5:7; (b) of carnal indifference to spiritual things on the part of believers, Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6,10 (as in Mark 13:36 ), a condition of insensibility to Divine things involving conformity to the world (cp. hupnos below).

A — 2: κοιμάω

(Strong's #2837 — Verb — koimaomai — koy-mah'-o )

is used of natural "sleep," Matthew 28:13; Luke 22:45; John 11:12; Acts 12:6; of the death of the body, but only of such as are Christ's; yet never of Christ Himself, though He is "the firstfruits of them that have fallen asleep," 1 Corinthians 15:20; of saints who departed before Christ came, Matthew 27:52; Acts 13:36; of Lazarus, while Christ was yet upon the earth, John 11:11; of believers since the Ascension, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 11:30; 15:6,18,51; 2 Peter 3:4 .

Note: "This metaphorical use of the word sleep is appropriate, because of the similarity in appearance between a sleeping body and a dead body; restfulness and peace normally characterize both. The object of the metaphor is to suggest that, as the sleeper does not cease to exist while his body sleeps, so the dead person continues to exist despite his absence from the region in which those who remain can communicate with him, and that, as sleep is known to be temporary, so the death of the body will be found to be. ...

"That the body alone is in view in this metaphor is evident, (a) from the derivation of the word koimaomai, from keimai, to lie down (cp. anastasis, resurrection, from ana, 'up,' and histemi, to cause to stand); cp. Isaiah 14:8 , where for 'laid down,' the Sept. has 'fallen asleep;' (b) from the fact that in the NT the word resurrection is used of the body alone; (c) from Daniel 12:2 , where the physically dead are described as 'them that sleep (Sept. katheudo, as at 1 Thessalonians 5:6 ) in the dust of the earth,' language inapplicable to the spiritual part of man; moreover, when the body returns whence it came, Genesis 3:19 , the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7 .

"When the physical frame of the Christian (the earthly house of our tabernacle, 2 Corinthians 5:1 ) is dissolved and returns to the dust, the spiritual part of his highly complex being, the seat of personality, departs to be with Christ, Philippians 1:23 . And since that state in which the believer, absent from the body, is at home with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 , is described as 'very far better' than the present state of joy in communion with God and of happy activity in His service, everywhere reflected in Paul's writings, it is evident the word 'sleep,' where applied to the departed Christians, is not intended to convey the idea that the spirit is unconscious. ...

"The early Christians adopted the word koimeterion (which was used by the Greeks of a rest-house for strangers) for the place of interment of the bodies of their departed; thence the English word 'cemetery,' 'the sleeping place,' is derived." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine. p. 172.]

A — 3: ἐξυπνίζω

(Strong's #1852 — Verb — exupnizo — ex-oop-nid'-zo )

"to awake" (ek, "out," hupnos, "sleep"), "to awake out of sleep," is used in John 11:11 . In the Sept., Judges 16:14,20; 1 Kings 3:15; Job 14:12 .

A — 4: ἀφυπνόω

(Strong's #879 — Verb — aphupnoo — af-oop-no'-o )

"to fall asleep" (apo, "away"), is used of natural "sleep," Luke 8:23 , of the Lord's falling "asleep" in the boat on the lake of Galilee.

(Strong's # — — — )

Acts 16:27 , signifies "out of sleep."

C — 1: ὑπομένω

(Strong's #5278 — Verb — hupnos — hoop-om-en'-o )

is never used of death. In five places in the NT it is used of physical "sleep;" in Romans 13:11 , metaphorically, of a slumbering state of soul, i.e., of spiritual conformity to the world, out of which believers are warned to awake.

Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Asleep, Sleep'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words.​dictionaries/​eng/​ved/​a/asleep-sleep.html. 1940.