The "History" of hISTOREW

There are, in the Greek New Testament, some words which are unique to the Bible. One such word is found in Galatians 1:18. It is the Greek word hISTOREW. One can almost see the English word “history” in this word and it is the word from which our English word is obviously derived. In Greek, however, the word doesn’t quite mean the same as how we would consider it.
The English translation of this word in the King James Version (and the NKJV) is “to see.” The American Standard Version and the English Standard Version translates this word “to visit.” The NIV translates the word “to get acquainted with.”
The word is used in Classical literature in three different senses. In one sense the word can mean to inquire, examine, or observe with the intention of learning. Another sense involves questioning an individual. Yet another sense involves relating a story or writing down a tale. In Koine Greek, the word had come to mean to visit for the purpose of inquiring or gaining information. This appears to be the sense in which Paul uses the word. He came to visit with Peter having some particular questions on his mind (wouldn’t you have enjoyed listening to THAT conversation!?). We might use the word “interview” to translate this word, though, that seems a bit formal.
The root of hISTOREW, “IST” is found in the primitive verb hISTHMI, which means to stand, place, or establish. One can see how that concept is involved in hISTOREW as the purpose of one’s visit would be to inquire so that something can be established.
The word that is more often translated “visit” in the Greek New Testament is EPISKEPTOMAI. The word literally means to “look over.” The idea is to make an appearance to visually inspect, thus, to visit. You can see how this word is used in the following passages: Matthew 25:36,43; Luke 1:68,78; 7:16; Acts 6:3; 7:23; 15:14,36; Hebrews 2:6; James 1:27. Perhaps the most significant passage is James 1:27 which implies that not only must we go see orphans and widows, but take an oversight in their well being.


Revisiting the words for visit.

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