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Bible Lexicons

Old & New Testament Greek Lexical DictionaryGreek Lexicon

Strong's #1121 - γράμμα

from (G1125)
Parts of Speech
Noun Neuter
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  1. a letter
  2. any writing, a document or record
    1. a note of hand, bill, bond, account, written acknowledgement of a debt
    2. a letter, an epistle
    3. the sacred writings (of the OT)
  3. letters, i.e. learning
    1. of sacred learning
Hebrew Equivalent Words:
Strong #: 1697 ‑ דָּבָר (daw‑bawr');  3789 ‑ כָּתַב (kaw‑thab');  5612 ‑ סִפְרָה (say'‑fer, sif‑raw');  
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Luke 3
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Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

γράμμα, ατος, τό,

Dor. γράθμα, prob. in IG 4.506 (Heraeum, vi/v B. C.), cf. An.Ox. 1.102, but γράσσμα, IG 4.554 (Argos, v B. C.): late Aeol. pl. γρόππατα, Epigr.Gr. 990.11 (Balbilla): (γράφω):

I that which is drawn: pl., lines of a drawing, picture, etc., E. Ion 1146 (of tapestry), Theoc. 15.81; picture, Ἀπέλλεω γ. Herod. 4.73, cf. AP 6.352 (Erinna): sg., drawing, picture, Pl. R. 472d, Cra. 430e, cf. 431c: pl., figures in a picture, Procop.Gaz. Ecphr. p.157B.

II written character, letter, Hdt. 1.139, 148, etc.: in pl., letters, characters, γραμμάτων τε συνθέσεις A. Pr. 460; πηλίκοις γ. Galatians 6:11; the letters, the alphabet, Hdt. 5.58; τὰ γ. καὶ τὰς συλλαβάς Pl. Cra. 390e; γ. Φοινίκια S. Fr. 514; Ἀσσύρια, Ἑλληνικά, Hdt. 4.87; γράμματα ἐπίστασθαι Pl. Lg. 689d; μαθεῖν to have learnt to read, Id. Prt. 325e; γ. μὴ εἰδέναι SIG 2844.6; ἐδίδασκες γράμματα, ἐγὼ δ' ἐφοίτων you kept school I went there, D. 18.265; ἤτοι τέθνηκεν ἢ διδάσκει γ. Com.Adesp. 20; παιδεύειν γράμματα Arist. Pol. 1337b24; τέχνη ἡμῶν γ. our profession is that of the scribe, PTeb. 316.16 (i A. D.). articulate sound, letter, Pl. Phlb. 18c; τὰ γ. πάθη ἐστὶ τῆς φωνῆς Arist. Pr. 895a12; γράμματα φθέγγεσθαι ib. 8, cf. PA 660a5. παρὰ γράμμα λέγοντα.. σκοπεῖν etymologically, Id. MM 1185b39; τὰ παρὰ γ. σκώμματα puns, Id. Rh. 1412a28; but ἀρετὴν παρὰ γ. διώκοντες, with ref. to Νικαρέτη, the mistress of Stilpo, Crates Theb.

1. inscription, τὸ Δελφικὸν γ. Pl. Phdr. 229e, cf. Chrm. 164d, X. Mem. 4.2.24, etc., IG 2.2876, al.: prov., εἰς πέλαγος.. γράμματα γράψαι Epigr.Gr. 1038.8 (Attalia).

2. in pl., notes in music, AP 11.78 (Lucill.).

3. mathematical diagram, Epigr. ap. D.L. 8.12.

4. letter inscribed on the lots which the δικασταί drew, Ar. Pl. 277, al., Arist. Ath. 64.4; practically, = division of dicasts, ἐν ὁποίῳ γ. δειπνεῖ Ar. Ec. 683; ἁ κατὰ γράμμα φυλακά the roster of guards, SIG 569.21 (Cos, iii B. C.). quarters of a town, PRein. 49.2; accent, EM 240.42, Zonar.

5. a small weight, 1 / 24 ounce, scruple, Androm. ap. Gal. 13.114, Gp. 7.13.2, PLips. 62 ii 27 (iv A. D.).

III in pl.,

1. set of written characters, piece of writing, Hdt. 1.124: hence, letter, Id. 5.14, IG 22.103.8, etc.; γραμμάτων πτυχαί S. Fr. 144, cf. E. IT 594, al., Pl. 347c; inscription, epitaph, etc., ἐκόλαψε ἐς τὸν τάφον γράμματα λέγοντα τάδε Hdt. 1.187, cf. 4.91, And. 3.12, Theoc. 18.47, IG 3.751.

2. papers, documents, Antipho 1.30, D. 36.21, etc. (sg., D.Chr. 65.14); τούτων τὰ γ. the documents to prove this, Lys. 32.14; τὰ γ. τῆς δίκης Ar. Nu. 772; τὰ δημόσια γ. the public records, Decr. ap. D. 18.55; title-deeds, D.C. 65.14; account of loans, D. 49.59; ἐπικαρπίαν ἐν γράμμασιν ἀποφέρειν Pl. Lg. 955d; contract or estimate, BCH 46.323 (Teos); catalogue, X. Cyr. 7.4.12: in sg., bond, Luke 16:7; note of hand, J. AJ 18.6.3.

3. a man's writings, i.e. book, treatise, τὰ τοῦ Ζήνωνος γ. Pl. Prm. 127c (but sg., ib. 128a): pl., books, X. Mem. 4.2.1; Πλάτωνος τὸ περὶ ψυχῆς γ. Call. Epigr. 25, cf. AP 9.63 (Ascl), Gal. 18(2).928; τὰ ἱερὰ γ. the Holy Scriptures, OGI 56.36 (iii B. C.), Ph. 2.574, 2 Timothy 3:15, J. Revelation 1:10; ἱερὰ γ., = Imperial rescripts, IG 12(5).132 (Paros, iii A. D.); = hieroglyphics, OGI 90.54 (Rosetta, ii B. C.): in sg., the Law of Moses, Romans 2:27, al.; opp. πνεῦμα, ib.29: sg., article of a treaty, Th. 5.29.

4. laws or rules, Pl. R. 425b, Plt. 292a, al., Ar. Ec. 1050; κατὰ γράμματα ἄρχειν, opp. ἄνευ γραμμάτων, Pl. Plt. 293a; ἡ κατὰ γ. καὶ νόμους πολιτεία Arist. Pol. 1286a15, cf. 1272a38: οἱ κατὰ γ. νόμοι, opp. οἱ κατὰ τὰ ἔθη, ib. 1287b5, cf. Pl. Plt. 299d; κατὰ γράμματα ἰατρεύεσθαι Arist. Pol. 1287a34; ἡ ἐκ τῶν γ. θεραπεία ib. 40. in pl., also, letters, learning, ἀπείρους γραμμάτων Pl. Ap. 26d, etc.

Thayer's Expanded Definition

γράμμα, γράμματος, τό (γράφω), that which has been written;

1. a letter i. e. the character: Luke 23:38 (R G L brackets Tr marginal reading brackets); Galatians 6:11.

2. any writing, a document or record;

a. a note of hand, bill, bond, account, written acknowledgment of debt (asscriptio in Varro sat. Men. 8, 1 (cf. Edersheim ii., 268ff)): Luke 16:6f. ((Josephus, Antiquities 18, 6, 3), in L text T Tr WH plural τά γράμματα; so of one document also in Antiph., p. 114 (30); Demosthenes, p. 1034, 16; Vulg. cautio).

b. a letter, an epistle: Acts 28:21; (Herodotus 5, 14; Thucydides 8, 50; Xenophon, Cyril 4, 5, 26, etc.).

c. τά ἱερά γράμματα the sacred writings (of the O. T.; (so Josephus, Antiquities prooem. § 3; 10, 10, 4 at the end; contra Apion 1, 10; Philo, de vit. Moys. 3, 39; de praem. et poen. § 14; leg. ad Gai. § 29, etc. — but always τά ἱερά γράμματα)): 2 Timothy 3:15 (here T WH omit; L Tr brackets τά); γράμμα equivalent to the written law of Moses, Romans 2:27; Μωϋσέως γράμματα, John 5:47. Since the Jews so clave to the letter of the law that it not only became to them a mere letter but also a hindrance to true religion, Paul calls it γράμμα in a disparaging sense, and contrasts it with τό πνεῦμα i. e. the divine Spirit, whether operative in the Mosaic law, Romans 2:29, or in the gospel, by which Christians are governed, Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6f (but in 2 Corinthians 3:7 R G T WH read the plural written in letters, so L marginal reading Tr marginal reading).

3. τά γράμματα, like the Latinlitterae, English letters, equivalent to learning: Acts 26:24; εἰδέναι, μεμαθηκέναι γράμματα (cf. German studirt haben), of sacred learning, John 7:15. (μανθάνειν, ἐπίστασθαί, etc., γράμματα are used by the Greeks of the rudiments of learning; cf. Passow, i. p. 571; (Liddell and Scott, under the word, II. a.).)

Thayer's Expanded Greek Definition, Electronic Database.
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Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament

γράμμα , -τος , το

(< γράφω ),

[in LXX for H5612, etc.;]

1. that which is traced or drawn, a picture.

2. that which is written;

(1) a character, letter: Galatians 6:11;

(2) a writing, a written document;

(a) a bill or account: Luke 16:6-7;

(b) a letter: Acts 28:21;

(c) τὰ ἱερὰ γ ., the sacred writings, i.e. the OT: 2 Timothy 3:15 (so in Philo, Vit. Mos., iii, 39);

(d) τὸ γ ., the letter, the written word as an external authority in contrast with the direct influence of the Spirit as manifested in the new Covenant: Romans 2:27; Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6, 2 Corinthians 3:6-7;

(3) τὰ γ ., letters, i.e. learning: John 7:15, Acts 26:24. (In Papyri an illiterate person is very frequently referred to as γράμματα μὴ εἰδότος , and this "never means anything else than inability to write": MM, Exp., x; but v. also Cremer, 166; DCG, i, 202; ii, 584.) †

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 view of John 7:15 it must be remarked that there are hundreds of papyri where someone states that he writes on behalf of the person concerned, who is illiterate : this is most often γράμματα μὴ εἰδότος (εἰδυίης ), but also frequently ἀγραμμάτου ὄντος (οὔσης ). For examples see s.v. ἀγράμματος , and add the inscription of the Imperial period Syll 844.6 κελεύουσαν ὑπὲρ α [ὑτὰν ] γράψαι , ἐπεὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτὰ γράμματα μὴ εἰδέναι . See Dittenberger’s note : he can only quote one parallel from inscrr. With this goes such a phrase as P Tebt II. 316.16 (A.D. 99) τέχνη δὲ ὑμῶν (l. ἡμ .) γράμματα , ";we are scribes by profession"; (Edd.), and that of P Flor III. 382.79 (A.D. 222–3) μανθ (άνων ) γράμμ (ατα ), of a child. The exceeding commonness of this phraseology, which never means anything than inability to write, forces us to recognize it in John 7:15 and Acts 4:13. With the biting scorn of the superior person, these learned fools affect to regard Jesus and His disciples as ";illiterates.";

Under the same heading, with γράμματα = characters formed in writing, comes P Hib I. 29.9 (c. B.C. 265), where a notice is to be put on a board μ [ε ]γάλο ̣ι ̣ς γράμ ̣μ ̣α ̣σι ̣ν ̣. This may illustrate emphasis as the cause of the πηλίκοις γράμμασιν of Galatians 6:11. It is possible, however, that the words may only call attention to the big sprawling letters of the autograph in contrast to the neat scribe’s hand of the amanuensis. The contrast may be met in the case of many signatures to legal and other documents, e.g. Rainer Pap. 215 in Führer durch die Ausstellung Tafel 9 : see Milligan Documents, p. 24, for a discussion of the bearing of this on Gal l.c., also Deissmann St Paul, p. 51. But it is highly precarious to to draw the inference to which Deissmann inclines : artisans are not the only people who may write a big and clumsy hand!

When γράμμα becomes collective, its primary meaning is ";a letter,"; just as Lat. littera produced litterae. Thus P Grenf I. 30.5 (B.C. 103) (= Witkowski .2 p. 107) διὰ γραμμάτων ἐκρίναμεν σημῆναι , and P Amh II. 143.10 (iv/A.D.) καὶ τούτω (l. τούτων ) χάριν ἀπέστιλα Σαᾶν πρὸς σὲ ὅπως μὴ ἐνετρευθῇ τὰ γράμματα , ";I therefore send Saas to you, in order that my letter may not be waylaid"; (Edd.). But it may be a paper or document of any kind. Thus it is a ";bond"; in Luke 16:6, with which cf. P Tebt II. 397.17 (A.D. 198) ἀπὸ μηδενὸς ὁρμωμένη δικαίου ἢ γράμματος ἢ ἑτέρου τινὸς συμβολαίου ἐγγράπτου μηδ᾽ ἀγράφου , ";on the basis of any claim, bond or other agreement, written or unwritten"; (Edd.), P Flor II. 141.8 (A.D. 264) λαμβάνων παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ γράμματα τῆς παραλήμψεως , ib. 226.6 (mid. iii/A.D.) καλῶς ποιήσις πέμψας μοι αὐτῶν γράμματα .

With ἱερὰ γράμματα as the name for the OT Scriptures in Greek-speaking Judaism, cf. OGIS 56.36 (B.C. 239) τῆι ἡμέραι ἐν ἧι ἐπιτέλλει τὸ ἄστρον τὸ τῆς Ἴσιος , ἣ νομίζεται διὰ τῶν ἱερῶν γραμμάτων νέον ἔτος εἶναι . Deissmann (LAE, p. 380) has drawn attention to the technical use of the phrase in the East for Imperial letters and decrees, e.g. Syll 415 (A.D. 204), which is headed ἱερὰ γράμματα , and ib. 418.95 (A.D. 238), where certain Imperial ordinances are described as τὰ θεῖά σου γράμματα . The combination is used in a different sense in OGIS 56.74 ἱεροῖς γράμμασιν καὶ Αἰγυπτίοις , where ";hieroglyphs"; are intended, as in ib. 90.54 (B.C. 196—the Rosetta Stone). This is comparable rather with P Lond 43.3 (ii/B.C.) (= I. p. 48), where a mother congratulates her son on having learned Αἰγύπτια γράμματα , so as to be qualified to teach Egyptian children. Reference may be added here to the part which the letters of the alphabet played in divination, as in the magical formula P Oxy VI. 886.6 (iii/A.D.) (= Selections, p. 111) : ὁ δὲ τρόπος ἐστὶν τὰ περ [ ] τὰ γράμματα κθ δι᾽ ὧν ὁ Ἑρμῆς κὲ ἡ Ἶσις ζητοῦσα ἑαυτῆς τὸν ἀδελφὸν κὲ ἄνδρα Ὄσιρειν , ";the method is concerned with the 29 letters, which were used by Hermes and by Isis, when she was seeking for her brother and husband Osiris."; See further Reitzenstein Poimandres, pp. 260, 288 ff.

There only remains to notice the use of γράμμα as = a ";district"; or ";quarter"; of a town, as when in P Rein 49.2 (A.D. 215–6) certain liturgies are assigned πρ [ὸς ] τῇ κατ᾽ οἰκίαν ἀπογραφῇ [τοῦ β ]ῆτα γράμματος of Antinoe. Cf. Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 685 εἰδὼς ὁ λαχὼν ἀπίῃ χαίρων ἐν ὁποίῳ γράμματι δειπνεῖ —the courts are distinguished by letters A–K.



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
γραμμα γράμμα γραμμασιν γράμμασιν γραμματα γράμματα γραμματείας γραμματι γράμματι γραμματος γράμματος γραμμάτων gramma grámma grammasin grámmasin grammata grámmata grammati grámmati grammatos grámmatos
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