Nekros in Ephesians 2:1?

Discussion in 'Exegetical Forum' started by convicted1, Apr 16, 2017.

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  1. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    I know the Greek word 'nekros' means a literal corpse. But is it properly used as a corpse as I us it in that fashion?
  2. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    νεκρός does not mean "literally" a corpse. It has a range of meanings depending upon the context in which it is used.

  3. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks. I have to use Strong's, seeing I am no Greek scholar.

    nekros: dead
    Original Word: νεκρός, ά, όν
    Part of Speech: Adjective
    Transliteration: nekros
    Phonetic Spelling: (nek-ros')
    Short Definition: dead, a corpse
    Definition: (a) adj: dead, lifeless, subject to death, mortal, (b) noun: a dead body, a corpse.
    HELPS Word-studies
    3498 nekrós (an adjective, derived from nekys, "a corpse, a dead body") – dead; literally, "what lacks life"; dead; (figuratively) not able to respond to impulses, or perform functions ("unable, ineffective, dead, powerless," L & N, 1, 74.28); unresponsive to life-giving influences (opportunities); inoperative to the things of God.

    3498 /nekrós ("corpse-like") is used as a noun in certain contexts ("the dead"), especially when accompanied by the Greek definite article. The phrase, ek nekron ("from the dead"),lacks the Greek article to give the sense "from what is of death."
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    You don't have to be a scholar of Greek. The point is that we don't go to a dictionary to find any definition (or even the root of a word) to determine its meaning in a given context.

    If I say to someone: "You're a dead man!", the context I am using it makes all the difference.

    Be careful about relying on Strongs as a way to piece together short word definitions and then drawing conclusions about the theology of a text.
  5. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Rich is correct. A figure of speech can effect even the root meaning of the word. In Ephesians 2:1, Paul writes, "You were therefore dead [nekros] in your trespasses and sins". In this passage, Paul is using nekros to compare the spiritual state of the believers at Ephesus to their state prior to their conversion. He cannot use nekros literally because the individuals he is writing to are alive. However, in their former, sinful state they were very much dead. In that sense the correlation between a corpse and being dead in sin can be made.
  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It surprises me that more attention is not given to the idea of a person being "reckoned" dead or as dwelling in the realm of of the dead, as when we speak of a dead man walking who has been condemned to death. The prodigal's father considered his son to be dead though he was still physically alive. I suppose it falls under the figurative use of the word, but it is a specific use which receives little attention.
  7. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, when I debate ppl on other boards, they say the lost are dead, meaning they are not literally a corpse, but just separated from God. That stance opens a huge can of worms.

    I posted this on another site.

    "Now, if 'dead' does not mean dead, as in a corpse, then by using that same logic, 'life' does not really mean life, seeing that the opposite of being spiritually dead is to be spiritually alive.
    Now, if we were not dead, as in a corpse, but merely separated from God, as many claim it to be; then they have opened a huge can of worms. Here's what I mean. If the only thing God did was move us from point A(separated from Him by our sins), and then move us to point B(being placed in Christ), then He has not improved our spiritual state whatsoever. He just moved us from a state of condemnation to justification without any improvement of our spirit.
    Then if we are not really dead, then we are not really alive. I see the other side of the debate attempt to redefine words. Hate does not really hate, He just loves less. By that same logic, love does not mean love, He just tolerates those He saves more than those who die in their sins. Dead does not mean corpse, but merely separation from Him. Then life does not really mean life, just in accord with Him.
    I am not willing to accept any of these notions.

    And this...

    They're not following their thought about this to its logical conclusion. If they are not a corpse, not really spiritually dead, then they are spiritually alive(as there is no intermediate state betwixt life and death) outside of Christ. :eek:o_O
  8. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey there Brother Herald. How have you been? I haven't 'heard' from you in a while.
  9. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    As Matthew pointed out, there is a relationship to the words selected to describe a person and the way we use the term in other contexts. The problem with woodenly translating νεκρός as corpse is that it may lead to confusion as to what we or the Scriptures are trying to communicate. There's a funny line in Guardians of the Galaxy where one of the characters comes from a planet where they do not use figures of speech. The man says: "Don't use metaphors with Dax, they go over his head."
    Dax replies: "Nothing goes over my head for my reflexes are too fast."

    One of the things I labor with my congregation is to demonstrate to them a multi-faceted way that the Scriptures intend to communicate the idea of spiritual death.

    death vs life
    blindness vs sight
    deafness vs hearing
    slave vs free
    flesh vs Spirit
    Adam vs Christ
    law of the flesh vs law of the Spirit

    They're all getting at the same reality. The fundamental issue with many Christians is that they have not reckoned properly the Fall and its effects of plunging all in Adam into an estate of sin and misery - that they have the guilt of his sin imputed to him and inherit his corruption.

    It is that latter idea of corruption that we speak of when we talk about death, blindness, deafness, flesh, Adam, etc.

    Too many speak in very surface-level terms and say a person is dead and the surface-level response is to say: "Obviously not. He's making decisions and dead people don't do that."

    It's therefor necessary to make sure we're unpacking what the theology of the NT is really trying to communicate to us. If we just make broad claims that "words mean things" and don't show the underlying idea being unpacked then we're not communicating the Scriptures clearly and leaving people confused.

    I'm preparing to preach in John 6 and it's remarkable how, even in a passage where Christ is explaining the carnality of those coming to him, that they are dead in sin and only come to him to get bread, many still read that passage and come away not seeing the utter need for spiritual life in order to apprehend what Christ gives. It's ironic because the very explanations that many give to the passage are ways to assuage them from the reality that they'd be among the thousands that would turn from Christ if they weren't trying so hard not to be offended by Him.
  10. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks again, You have to take in the account I am about 4 years removed from semi-Pelagianism with no seminary. I have a harder time grasping things.
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    They would be separated from God, due to their spiritual condition of being in a sin natured state, unable to have a relationship with God in and by themselves, and also would be unable and unwilling to even get one in that state!

    They will hear about Jesus, maybe even read the Bible, but it is just historical facts to them, as they have no capacity to spiritually understand...
  12. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with not being too wooden with the application of 'nekros', its just that I am trying to grasp what exactly Paul is expressing by using that word in Ephesians 2:1.
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    My last post was an explanation of what Paul means.

    Dead as...
    -in Adam
    -enslaved to sin
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Believe that you were stating that we need to view being "dead in sin: as people are still physicall alive and can everything all things that relates to being alive that way, its just that we no longer have the means to know God in a saving way and have relationship with Him?
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