Two Greek words, Ginosko and Oida are used for ‘to know’ in the New Testament – γινώσκω/ ginóskó/Strong 1097and οἶδα/eidó (or oida) Strong 1492. The former signifies objective knowledge, what a man has learned or acquired. The English expression ‘being acquainted with’ perhaps conveys the meaning. Oἶδα/Oidaconveys the thought of what is inward, the inward consciousness in the mind, intuitive knowledge not immediately derived from what is external.
The difference between the two words is illustrated in John 8.55, ‘Ye know [γινώσκω/ ginóskó/Strong 1097] Him not, but I know[οἶδα/oida/Strong 1492]Him.’ Again, in John 13.7, ‘What I do thou dost not know [οἶδα/oida/Strong 1492]now, but thou shalt know [γινώσκω/ ginóskó/Strong 1097] hereafter.’ And finally in Heb 8.11, ‘They shall not teach . . . saying, Know [γινώσκω/ ginóskó/Strong 1097]) the Lord; because all shall know [οἶδα/oida/Strong 1492]me.’ The word [οἶδα/oida/Strong 1492]is used of Christ as knowing the Father, and as knowing the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, of Paul’s knowledge of ‘a man in Christ,’ (2 Cor 2:12) and of the Christian’s knowledge that he has eternal life, and the knowledge of God Himself.
The words for ‘know’ are different in 1 Cor 8., though the distinction is very faint in Greek.
Verse 2 ‘If any one think he knows[εἰδέναι/eidenai/Strong 1492– has the inward conscious knowledge of in his mind]anything, he
knows[ἔγνωκε/egnoke/Strong 1097– objectively]nothing yet as he ought to
know[same word] it. But if any one love God, he is
known[ἔγνωσται/egnōstai/Strong 1097]of him.
Verse 3 ‘Concerning eating things offered to idols, we know’[οἴδαμεν/oidamen/Strong 1492 have the conscious knowledge in our minds].
Verse 10, ‘ If any one see thee, which hast knowledge’ [γνῶσιν/gnōsin/Strong 1108objectively, what a man has learned, acquired]. So verse 11 ‘The brother for whose sake Christ died, will perish through thy knowledge’.
Hence from the word meaning ‘ inward conscious knowledge,’ a. derivative ‘means ‘conscience.’ 1 Cor 4:4 – ‘For I know [σύνοιδα/synoida/Strong 4894] nothing against myself’[ii]– am conscious of no fault.
2 Tim 1:12: ‘I know [οἴδα/oida/Strong 1492] whom I have believed.’ I have the inward conscious knowledge of who the person is.It is not just, ‘ I know him.’
In 2 Tim 3:14-15‘continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing[εἰδὼς/eidōs/Strong 1492) of whom thou hast learned them [he was conscious of it]; And that from a child thou hast known [οἶδας/oidas/Strong 1492– he had the knowledge of them in his own mind realised] the holy scriptures’. All these verses refer to inward conscious knowledge. The difference between the significance of the two words is often slight and objective knowledge may pass into conscious knowledge, but not vice versa.
Ginosko and Oida are expressed by savoir and connaître in French, wissen and kennen in German. Though the difference is made in French and German, it must not be supposed that the distinct use of the words corresponds exactly, but it suffices here to have shown the use in Greek. The German seems to me to answer more fully to the Greek, but different nations think differently. Thus, ‘Ye know [οἴδατε/oidate/ Strong 1492] the household of Stephanas (1 Cor 16:7).’ It was their inward acquaintance with their qualities, not objective. Of such a process the French incapable. It must be ‘vous connaissez, or explicitly ‘vous savez ce qui en est de’.
ἐπίγνωσις/epignósis/Strong 1922is used for certain objective knowledge, and consequent recognition of the truth of a thing e.g. ‘the knowledge of the Son of God’(Eph 4:13), or ‘the acknowledging of the truth, (2 Tim 2:25)
A combination of Darby’s footnote to 1 Cor 8.1, taken from both the 1890 and 1961 editions.
Strong’s Explanations and HELPS Word-studies
eidó: be aware, behold, consider, perceive
Original Word: οἶδα
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (i’-do)
Short Definition: I know, remember
Definition: I know, remember, appreciate.
1492 eídō (oida) – properly, to see with physical eyes (cf. Ro 1:11), as it naturally bridges to the metaphorical sense: perceiving (“mentally seeing“). This is akin to the expressions: “I see what You mean”; “I see what you are saying.”
1492 /eídō (“seeing that becomes knowing“) then is a gateway to grasp spiritual truth (reality) from a physical plane. 1492 (eídō) then is physical seeing (sight) which should be the constant bridge to mental and spiritual seeing (comprehension).
gnósis: a knowing, knowledge
Original Word: γνῶσις, εως, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (gno’-sis)
Short Definition: knowledge, doctrine, wisdom
Definition: knowledge, doctrine, wisdom.
Cognate: 1108 gnṓsis (a feminine noun derived from 1097 /ginṓskō, “experientially know”) – functional (“working”) knowledge gleaned from first-hand (personal) experience, connecting theory to application; “application-knowledge,” gained in (by) a direct relationship. See 1097(ginōskō).
1108 /gnṓsis (“applied-knowledge”) is only as accurate (reliable) as the relationship it derives from. For example, the Gnostics boasted of their “applied knowledge” gained by their personal spiritual experiences – and it was (is) disastrous!
[“Gnosticism” is literally, “the cult based on having special, personal knowledge” (1108 /gnṓsis).]
ginóskó: to come to know, recognize, perceive
Original Word: γινώσκω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (ghin-oce’-ko)
Short Definition: I come to know, learn, realize
Definition: I am taking in knowledge, come to know, learn; aor: I ascertained, realized.
1097 ginṓskō – properly, to know, especially through personal experience(first-hand acquaintance). 1097 /ginṓskō (“experientially know”) is used for example in Lk 1:34, “And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, ‘How will this be since I do not know (1097 /ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?'”
Hebrew equivalents of Ginosko and Oida – YADA
I Have a question
Why does our Lord use ‘ginosko’ in John 17:3? – ‘This is the eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent./ αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωή, ἵνα γινώσκωσί σε τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν Θεόν, καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν’. Our Lord’s desires is that we might have an intimate knowledge of God, formed by a persoanl relationship. Why is this not οἶδα/oida?
– Please use the comment form to reply
[i]As a departure from the norm used by JND, I am showing the form of the verb actually used in scripture in this section only. This is so the reader can get additional explanations from the Bible-hub website.
[ii]Interestingly this is not quoted from either the KJV nor Darby translations, but from the English Revised Version, the translation that
Darby refused to participate in.