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Old & New Testament Greek Lexical DictionaryGreek Lexicon

Strong's #4747 - στοιχεῖον

from a presumed derivative of the base of (G4748)
Parts of Speech
Noun Neuter
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  1. any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal
    1. the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds
    2. the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe
    3. the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside
    4. the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline
      1. i.e. of mathematics, Euclid's geometry
Frequency Lists
Verse Results
KJV (7)
Galatians 2
Colossians 2
Hebrews 1
2 Peter 2
NAS (11)
Galatians 4
Colossians 4
Hebrews 1
2 Peter 2
HCS (7)
Galatians 2
Colossians 2
Hebrews 1
2 Peter 2
BSB (7)
Galatians 2
Colossians 2
Hebrews 1
2 Peter 2
ESV (7)
Galatians 2
Colossians 2
Hebrews 1
2 Peter 2
WEB (7)
Galatians 2
Colossians 2
Hebrews 1
2 Peter 2
Liddell-Scott-Jones Definitions

στοιχεῖον, τό:

I in a form of sun-dial, the shadow of the gnomon, the length of which in feet indicated the time of day, ὅταν ᾖ δεκάπουν τὸ ς . when the shadow is ten feet long, Ar. Ec. 652, v. Sch.; ὁπηνίκ' ἂν εἴκοσι ποδῶν . . τὸ ς. ᾖ Eub. 119.7, cf. Philem. 83 .

II element,

1 a simple sound of speech, as the first component of the syllable, Pl. Cra. 424d; τὸ ῥῶ τὸ ς . ib. 426d; γραμμάτων ς. καὶ συλλαβάς Id. Tht. 202e; ς. ἐστι φωνὴ ἀδιαίρετος Arist. Po. 1456b22; φωνῆς ς. καὶ ἀρχαὶ δοκοῦσιν εἶναι ταῦτ' ἐξ ὧν σύγκεινται αἱ φωναὶ πρώτων Id. Metaph. 998a23, cf. Gal. 15.6: — στοιχεῖα therefore, strictly, were different from letters ( γράμματα ), Diog.Bab.Stoic. 3.213, Sch.D.T. p.32, al., but are freq. not clearly distd. from them, as by Pl. Tht. l.c., Cra. 426d; τὰ ς. τῶν γραμμάτων τὰ τέτταρα καὶ εἴκοσι Aen.Tact. 31.21; ς. ε letter ε (in a filing-system), BGU 959.2 (ii A.D.); ἀκουόμενα ς . letters which are pronounced, A.D. Adv. 165.17; γράμματα and ς . are expressly identified by D.T. 630.32; the ς . and its name are confused by A.D. Synt. 29.1, but distd. by Hdn.Gr. ap. Choerob. in Theod. 1.340, Sch. D.T. l.c.: — κατὰ στοιχεῖον in the order of the letters, alphabetically, Revelation 11:15 ( Ammian. ); dub.sens.in Plu. 2.422e.

2. in Physics, στοιχεῖα were the components into which matter is ultimately divisible, elements, reduced to four by Empedocles, who called them ῥιζὤματα, the word στοιχεῖα being first used (acc. to Eudem. ap. Simp. in Ph. 7.13 ) by Pl., τὰ πρῶτα οἱονπερεὶ ς, e)c w(=n h(mei=s te sugkei/meqa kaita)/lla Tht. 201e; τὰ τῶν πάντων ς . Plt. 278d; αὐτὰ τιθέμενοι ς. τοῦ παντός Ti. 48b, cf. Arist. GC 314a29, Metaph. 998a28, Thphr. Sens. 3, al., D.L. 3.24; ς. σωματικά Arist. Mete. 338a22, Thphr. Fr. 46; ἄτομα ς . Epicur. Ephesians 2 p.36U.; equivalent to ἀρχαί, Thales ap. Plu. 2.875c, Anaximand. ap. D.L. 2.1, Anon. ap. Arist. Ph. 188b28, Metaph. 1059b23, al.; but Arist. also distinguishes ς . from ἀρχή as less comprehensive, ib.1070b23; τὰ ς. ὕλη τῆς οὐσίας ib.1088b27; τρία τὰ ς . Id. Ph. 189b16; distd. from ἀρχή on other grounds by Stoic. 2.111; ς . used in three senses by Chrysipp., ib.136, cf. Zeno ib.1.24, al.; in Medicine, Gal. 6.3, 420, al., 15.7, al.; Αἰθέρ, κόσμου ς. ἄριστον Orph. H. 5.4; ἀνηλεὲς ς ., of the sea, Babr. 71.4; τὸ ς ., of the sea, Polem. Cyn. 44; ἄμφω τὰ ς ., i.e. land and sea, ib. 11, cf. Hdn. 3.1.5, Him. Ecclesiastes 2:18 .

3. the elements of proof, e.g. in general reasoning the πρῶτοι συλλογισμοί, Arist. Metaph. 1014b1; in Geometry, the propositions whose proof is involved in the proof of other propositions, ib. 998a26, 1014a36; title of geometrical works by Hippocrates of Chios, Leon, Theudios, and Euclid, Procl. in Euc. pp.66,67, 68F.: hence applied to whatever is one, small, and capable of many uses, Arist. Metaph. 1014b3; to whatever is most universal, e.g. the unit and the point, ib. 6; the line and the circle, Id. Top. 158b35; the τόπος (argument applicable to a variety of subjects), ib. 120b13, al., Rh. 1358a35, al.; στοιχεῖα τὰ γένη λέγουσί τινες Id. Metaph. 1014b10; τὸ νόμισμα ς. καὶ πέρας τῆς ἀλλαγῆς coin is the unit . . of exchange, Id. Pol. 1257b23; in Grammar, ς. τῆς λέξεως parts of speech, D.H. Comp. 2; but also, the letters composing a word, A.D. Synt. 313.7; letters of the alphabet, Diog. Bab. Stoic. 3.213; ς. τοῦ λόγου the elements of speech, viz. words, or the kinds of words, parts of speech, Thphr. ap. Simp. in Cat. 10.24, Chrysipp.Stoic. 2.45, A.D. Synt. 7.1, 313.6 .

4. generally, elementary or fundamental principle, ἀρξάμενοι ἀπὸ τῶν ς . X. Mem. 2.1.1; ς. χρηστῆς πολιτείας Isoc. 2.16; τὸ πολλάκις εἰρημένον μέγιστον ς . Arist. Pol. 1309b16; ς. τῆς ὅλης τέχνης Nicol.Com. 1.30, cf. Epicur. Ephesians 1 p.10U., Ephesians 3 p.59U., Phld. Rh. 1.127S., Gal. 6.306.

5. ἄστρων στοιχεῖα the stars, Man. 4.624; ς. καυσούμενα λυθήσεται 2Pet. 3.10, cf. 12; esp. planets, στοιχείῳ Διός PLond. 1.130.60 (i/ii A.D.); so perh. in Ep.Galatians 4:3, Ep.Colossians 2:8; esp. a sign of the Zodiac, D.L. 6.102; of the Great Bear, PMag.Par. 1.1303.

6. ς. = ἀριθμός, as etym. of Στοιχαδεύς, Sch.D.T.p.192 H.

Thayer's Expanded Definition

στοιχεῖον, στοιχειου, τό (from στοῖχος a row, rank, series; hence, properly, that which belongs to any στοῖχος, that of which a στοῖχος is composed; hence), "any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise; an element, first principle". The word denotes specifically:

1. the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters (which are called γράμματα), but the spoken sounds: στοιχεῖον φωνῆς φωνή ἀσύνθετος, Plato definition, p. 414 e.; τό ῥω τό στοιχεῖον, id. Crat., p. 426 d.; στοιχεῖον ἐστι φωνή ἀδιαιρετος, οὐ πᾶσα δέ, ἀλλ' ἐξ ἧς πεφυκε συνετή γίγνεσθαι φωνή, Aristotle, poet. 20, p. 1456{b}, 22.

2. the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe (ἐστι δέ στοιχεῖον, ἐξ οὗ πρώτου γίνεται τά γινόμενα καί εἰς ἔσχατον ἀναλύεται ... τό πῦρ, τό ὕδωρ, ἀήρ, γῆ, (Diogenes Laërtius Zeno 137); so very often from Plato down, as in Tim., p. 48 b.; in the Scriptures: Wis. 7:17 Wis. 19:17; 2 Peter 3:10, 12.

3. the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens, or (as others think) because in them the elements of man's life and destiny were supposed to reside; so in the earlier ecclesiastical writings: Ep. ad Diogn. 7, 2 [ET]; Justin Martyr, dialog contra Trypho, 23; τά Οὐρανία στοιχεῖα, id. Apology 2, 5; στοιχεῖα Θεοῦ, created by God, Theophilus Ant. ad Autol. 1, 4; cf. Hilgenfeld, Galaterbrief, pp. 66-77. Hence, some interpreters infelicitously understand Paul's phrase τά στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:8, 20, of the heavenly bodies, because times and seasons, and so sacred seasons, were regulated by the course of the sun and moon; yet in unfolding the meaning of the passage on the basis of this sense they differ widely.

4. the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles (cf. our 'alphabet' or 'a b c') of any art, science, or discipline; e. g. of mathematics, as in the title of Euclid's well-known work; στοιχεῖα πρῶτα καί μέγιστα χρήστης πολιτείας, Isocrates, p. 18 a.; τῆς ἀρετῆς, Plutarch, de puer. educ. 16, 2; many examples are given in Passow, under the word, 4, ii., p. 1550b; (cf. Liddell and Scott, under the word, II. 3 and 4). In the N. T. we have τά στοιχεῖα τῆς ἀρχῆς τῶν λογίων τοῦ Θεοῦ (see ἀρχή, 1 b., p. 76{b} bottom), Hebrews 5:12, such as are taught to νήπιοι, Hebrews 5:13; τά στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, the rudiments with which mankind like νήπιοι were indoctrinated before the time of Christ, i. e. the elements of religions training, or the ceremonial precepts common alike to the worship of Jews and of Gentiles, Galatians 4:3, 9, (and since these requirements on account of the difficulty of observing them are to be regarded as a yoke — cf. Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1 — those who rely upon them are said to be δεδουλωμένοι ὑπό τά στοιχεῖα); specifically, the ceremonial requirements especially of Jewish tradition, minutely set forth by theosophists and false teachers, and fortified by specious argument, Colossians 2:8, 20. The phrase τά στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου is fully discussed by Schneckenburger in the Theolog. Jahrbücher for 1848, Part iv., p. 445ff; Neander in the Deutsche Zeitschrift f. Christl. Wissensehaft for 1850, p. 205ff; Kienlen in Reuss u. Cunitz's Beiträge zu d. theolog. Wissenschaften, vol. ii., p. 133ff; E. Schaubach, Comment. qua exponitur quid στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου in N. T. sibi velint. (Meining. 1862).

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

** στοιχεῖον , -ου , τό ,

[in LXX: Wisdom of Solomon 7:17; Wisdom of Solomon 19:18, 4 Maccabees 12:13 *;]


one of a row (στοῖχος ) or series, hence,

1. the shadow-line of a dial (Aristoph.).

2. an elementary sound or letter of the alphabet (Anth., Plut., Papyri).

3. the elements or rudiments of knowledge (Arist., al.) Hebrews 5:12; πτωχὰ σ ., Galatians 4:9; σ . τοῦ κόσμου , Galatians 4:3, Colossians 2:8; Colossians 2:20 (but v. infr.).

4. The material elements of the universe (Plat.; LXX, ll. c.): 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:12.

5. The heavenly bodies (Ding. Laert.).

6. The demons or tutelary spirits of nature (Enoch., Test., Sol., al.; for this sense in Ga, Col, ll. c., v. ICC on Colossians 2:8; Enc. Bibl., s.v. " Elements ").†

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

";fellow-citizen,"; a compd. condemned by the Atticists (Rutherford NP p. 255 f.), but found in Ephesians 2:19 : cf. BGU II. 632.9 (ii/A.D.) παρὰ Ἀντωνε [ ]νου τοῦ συνπολ [ε ]ίτου ἡμῶν, Preisigke 4317.26 (c. A.D. 200) ὕβρισμαι. . παρὰ πάντων τῶν συμπολιτῶν, and P Oxy VIII. 1119.19 (A.D. 254) συμ ]πολεῖται ἡμέτεροι προσῆλθον ἡμεῖν διὰ βιβλειδίων, ";our fellow-citizens have approached us in a petition"; (Ed.).

The verb occurs in what appears to be a school exercise written on the verso of P Oxy I. 79 (A.D. 181–192), where, after a reference to the death of someone, the writer continues σὺν τοῖς σ [τρ ]ατιώταις. . . συμπολιτευόμεθα. See also OGIS 143.6 (B.C. 146–116), with note.


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
στοιχεια στοιχεία στοιχεῖα στοιχειων στοιχείων stoicheia stoicheîa stoicheion stoicheiōn stoicheíon stoicheíōn
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