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Problem - Outdated, Misleading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. Back then they would have said, "We are edifying a new house for you." The English word comes from an Old French word, edefiier, and a Latin word, aedificare, which both mean to build.
The Greek word, 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 KJV 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 this story is oikodomeo (the Greek word for edify).
Edify is misleading because English dictionaries do not show that it means to build. Instead they have definitions like, to instruct or benefit, to uplift, to improve the morality of. They only mention building in the etymology or history of the word. This shows that the word has changed in meaning. Today it does not mean what it meant when the KJV translators used it.
This also shows the fallacy of using an English dictionary to find out what the words in English Bibles mean. English dictionaries tell what the words mean today. Today's Bibles use KJV and WYC words that come from hundreds of years ago. Most dictionaries do not tell what words meant back then.
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 pastors and teachers do this.
I also consider this word to be outdated because it is seldom used outside of the church.
In the Bible, edify means to build, to construct.
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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