Greek word - (oikodomeo G3618)
Quiz - Choose the answer that is closest to what you think EDIFY is.
A - to enlighten
B - to exalt
C - to improve
D - to build
Problem - Outdated, Misleading
KJV Example - "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
In the middle of the fourteenth century this word meant to build or construct. The English word comes from an Old French word and a Latin word which both mean to build.
The Greek word for edify, oikodomeo, also means to construct or to build. It is a compound of two words, oikos (house), and domeo (to build). It is translated by the King James Version as build or builders 31 times, as edify 7 times, and as embolden once. It is the common Greek word for build.
Remember the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand? The Greek word for built in that story is oikodomeo (the Greek word for edify).
Edify is misleading because in the Bible it does not mean what readers think it means. Even English dictionaries do not show that it means to build. Instead they have definitions like, to instruct or benefit, to uplift, and to improve the morality of. They only mention building in the etymology or history of the word.
This shows the fallacy of using an English dictionary to find out what the Bible's words mean. English dictionaries tell what the words mean today.
But today's Bibles get their words from the early Bible versions that were written four to six hundred years ago when people spoke much differently than they do today and many words did not mean what they mean today.
A student of the Bible should look the word up in a Greek dictionary (like Strong, Thayer, or Kittel) or do a Greek word study on the word if he wants to know the real meaning. Unfortunately, few do this.
In the Bible, edify means to build.
Modern Synonym - build
Bible Version Tally (how other versions translate this word) - edify (11 of 52), build up (31 of 52), make strong (2 of 52), give strength (5 of 52), help (3 of 52)
Breakthrough Version - "For this reason, encourage and build each other, one-on-one, just as you also are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
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