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Abide: More Than a Mere Word


It is amazing how when a word is translated from one language to another, it loses a large amount of its original meaning and gains an entirely different meaning. The word "abide" is one of those words. See, people don’t really know what this word means and so assume that it is not an important word. However, this word is very important not only to understanding several life changing principles that are found in the Bible, but also for a person’s own private knowledge.

The regular dictionary contains several definitions for the word "abide." These definitions are: to put up with, tolerate; wait patiently for; to withstand; to dwell; to remain in place; and to conform to. These are all good definitions, but in the original usage (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic), the meaning of the word went much deeper.

There are five different words in the original Greek and Hebrew for the one word (abide) that we have in our language. The first of these words, epimeno, is the strengthened form of another verb, meno, which means "intensive." The word epimeno sometimes indicates perseverance in continuing to do something. The second word, katameno, is a verb that means "constant residence" or "frequent resort." Another word, parameno, means "to continue" and is sometimes used to express confidence in abiding with a person. One really neat word is hupomeno which means "to remain in a place instead of leaving it; to stay behind or persevere." Finally, the word prosmeno is used in several different situations to indicate a persistent loyalty or a continuance in doing something.

In the above paragraph, the root from which all the other verbs come is meno which was defined as meaning "intensive." This is important because it indicates that the verbs that stem from this root have a meaning beyond the face value of the word. A good example of this is when two children in grade school say that they love each other. It doesn’t mean very much to them and they take it at face value. However, if those two children were to grow up and marry, the word love would have much more depth and meaning because the two would more fully comprehend what they were saying.

We use the word abide in our everyday lives, yet don’t fully comprehend what we are saying. When someone says that he will abide by his word, he probably means that he will do what he has said that he would do. This is not the true meaning of the word abide. When we abide in something, we are loyal to it even unto death. When we abide, we remain in a certain place even when the rest of the world has left us behind. To abide means to continue doing whatever is being done even when it is hard and the urge to quit is almost too much. The word abide means to cling to something and have faith in it, even when it seems to have failed. Sometimes "abide" is used with some of the meanings that are in today’s English dictionary, but the above mentioned usages are also a large part of the way this word fits into our language. If the world truly understood the meaning of this awesome word, then I don’t think that people would use is so carelessly.

In conclusion, while it is often misunderstood, the word "abide" has a very rich and deep history and meaning. And understanding this word is essential to understanding many concepts found in the Bible. Also, it is a good word to understand if for no other reason than that it enhances a person’s vocabulary.


Copyright:: Bethany Rea      Date Last Revised: 4/28/05     My E-mail: