|Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia|
gre'-shanz, greks: In the Old Testament the word "Grecians" occurs but once (Joel 3 (4):6). For references to Greece in the Old Testament see JAVAN. In the King James Version of the Old Testament Apocrypha "Grecians" and "Greeks" are used without distinction, e.g. 1 Maccabees 1:10; 6:02; 8:09; 2 Maccabees 4:15, 36. Thus, in 1 Maccabees 1:1, Alexander the Great is spoken of as king of Greece, and in 1 Maccabees 1:10 the Macedonian empire is called "the kingdom of the Greeks" (basileia Hellenon). In 2 Maccabees 13:2 the army of Antiochus, king of Syria, is called "Grecian" (dunamis Hellenike), and in 2 Maccabees 6:8 the "Greek cities" (poleis Hellenides) are Macedonian colonies. Reference is made in 2 Maccabees 6:1 to an aged Athenian who was sent by Antiochus the king charged with the duty of Hellenizing the Jews; in 2 Maccabees 9:15 Antiochus vows that he will make the Jews equal to the Athenians; in 1 Maccabees 12-14, reference is made to negotiations of Jonathan, the high priest, with the Spartans, whom he calls brethren, seeking the renewal of a treaty of alliance and amity against the Syrians. With the spread of Greek power and influence, everything not specifically Jewish was called Greek; thus in 2 Maccabees 4:36; 11:02; 3 Maccabees 3:3, 1 the "Greeks" contrasted with the Jews are simply non-Jews, so called because of the prevalence of Greek institutions and culture, and "Greek" even came to be used in the sense of "anti-Jewish" (2 Maccabees 4:10, 15; 6:09; 11:24).
In Isaiah 9:12 the Septuagint reads tous Hellenas, for Pelishtim, "Philistines"; but we are not therefore justified in assuming a racial connection between the Philistines and the Greeks. Further light on the ethnography of the Mediterranean
basin may in time show that there was actually such a connection; but the rendering in question proves nothing, since "the oppressing sword" of Jeremiah 46:16 and 50:16 is likewise rendered in the Septuagint with "the sword of the Greeks" (machaira Hellenike). In all these cases the translators were influenced by the conditions existing in their own day, and were certainly not disclosing obscure relations long forgotten and newly discovered.
In the New Testament, English Versions of the Bible attempts to distinguish between (Hellenes), which is rendered "Greeks," and (Hellenistai), which is rendered "Grecians" or "Grecian Jews," or in the Revised Version, margin "Hellenists," e.g. Acts 6:1; Acts 9:29. These latter were Jews of the Dispersion, who spoke Greek (see HELLENISM; HELLENIST), as distinguished from Palestinian Jews; but since many of the latter also spoke Greek by preference, the distinction could in no sense be absolute. Indeed in John 7:35, "the Dispersion among (the Revised Version, margin, Greek "of") the Greeks," can hardly refer to any but "Grecian Jews" (Hellenistai), although Hellenes is used, and in John 12:20 the "Greeks" (Hellenes) who went up to worship at the feast of the Passover were almost certainly "Grecian Jews" (Hellenistai). Thus, while English Versions of the Bible consistently renders Hellenes with "Greeks," we are not by that rendering apprised of the real character of the people so designated. This difficulty is aggravated by the fact, already noted in connection with the Old Testament Apocrypha, that, in consequence of the spread of Hellenism, the term Hellenes was applied not only to such as were of Hellenic descent, but also to all those who had appropriated the language of Greece, as the universal means of communication, and the ideals and customs collectively known as Hellenism. The latter were thus in the strict sense Hellenists, differing from the "Grecians" of English Versions of the Bible only in that they were not of Jewish descent. In other words, Hellenes (except perhaps in John 7:35 and 12:20, as noted above) is, in general, equivalent to ta ethne, "Gentiles" (see GENTILES). The various readings of the manuscripts (and hence the difference between the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) in 1 Corinthians 1:23 well illustrate this. There is consequently much confusion, which it is quite impossible, with our limited knowledge of the facts in particular cases, to clear up. In general, it would seem probable that where "Greeks" are comprehensively contrasted with "Jews," the reference is to "Gentiles," as in Acts 14:1; Acts 17:4; Acts 18:4; 19:10, 17; 20:21 Romans 1:16; Romans 10:12 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (the Revised Version (British and American) "Gentiles," representing ethnesin; Galatians 3:28 Colossians 3:11. In Mark 7:26 the woman of Tyre, called "a Greek (the Revised Version, margin "Gentile") a Syrophoenician," was clearly not of Hellenic descent. Whether Titus (Galatians 2:3) and the father of Timothy; (Acts 16:1, 3) were in the strict sense "Greeks," we have no means of knowing. In Romans 1:14, "I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians," there is an undoubted reference to Greeks strictly so called; possibly, though by no means certainly, the "Greeks" of Acts 21:28, alluding to Trophimus the Ephesian (Acts 21:29), are to be taken in the same sense. References to the Greek language occur in John 19:20 (Luke 23:38 is properly omitted in the Revised Version (British and American)); Acts 21:37 Revelation 9:11.
In Acts 11:20 the manuscripts vary between Hellenistas, and Hellenas (the King James Version "Grecians," the Revised Version (British and American) "Greeks"), with the preponderance of authority in favor of the former; but even if one adopts the latter, it is not clear whether true Greeks or Gentiles are intended.
William Arthur Heidel
Greeks (22 Occurrences)
John 7:35 The Jews therefore said among themselves, "Where will this man go that we won't find him? Will he go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? (WEB ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 12:20 Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 11:20 But some of them were Cyprians and Cyrenaeans, who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Greeks also and told them the Good News concerning the Lord Jesus. (WEY ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 14:1 It happened in Iconium that they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of Jews and of Greeks believed. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Acts 17:4 Some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (KJV WEY WBS)
Acts 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who met him. (See NIV)
Acts 18:4 He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 18:17 Then all the Greeks laid hold on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. Gallio didn't care about any of these things. (WEB KJV WBS YLT)
Acts 19:10 This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 19:17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 20:21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 21:28 crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple, and has defiled this holy place!" (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish. (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way. For we previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin. (WEB ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV)
1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, (WEB KJV WBS YLT)
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 10:32 Give no occasions for stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the assembly of God; (WEB ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. (WEB ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 27:19 Vedan and Javan traded with yarn for your wares: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were among your merchandise. (See NIV)
Joel 3:6 and have sold the children of Judah and the children of Jerusalem to the sons of the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their border. (WEB BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)