Ability, Able - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Ability, Able

[ A-1,Noun,G1411, dunamis ]
(a) power, ability," physical or moral, as residing in a person or thing;
(b) "power in action," as, e.g., when put forth in performing miracles. It occurs 118 times in the NT. It is sometimes used of the miracle or sign itself, the effect being put for the cause, e.g., Mark 6:5, frequently in the Gospels and Acts. In 1 Corinthians 14:11 it is rendered "meaning;" "force" would be more accurate. Cp., the corresponding verbs, B.1,2,3 and the adjective C.1, below. See ABUNDANCE, DEED, MIGHT, POWER, STRENGTH, VIOLENCE, VIRTUE, WORK.

[ A-2,Noun,G2479, ischus ]
connected with ischo and echo, "to have, to hold" (from the root ech, signifying "holding"), denotes "ability, force, strength;" "ability" in 1 Peter 4:11, AV (RV, "strength"). In Ephesians 1:19 and Ephesians 6:10, it is said of the strength of God bestowed upon believers, the phrase "the power of His might" indicating strength afforded by power. In 2 Thessalonians 1:9, "the glory of His might" signifies the visible expression of the inherent personal power of the Lord Jesus. It is said of angels in 2 Peter 2:11 (cp., Revelation 18:2, AV, "mightily"). It is ascribed to God in Revelation 5:12; Revelation 7:12. In Mark 12:30, Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27 it describes the full extent of the power wherewith we are to love God. See MIGHT, POWER, STRENGTH.

[ B-1,Verb,G1410, dunamai ]
"to be able, to have power," whether by virtue of one's own ability and resources, e.g., Romans 15:14; or through a state of mind, or through favorable circumstances, e.g., 1 Thessalonians 2:6; or by permission of law or custom, e.g., Acts 24:8, Acts 24:11; or simply "to be able, powerful," Matthew 3:9; 2 Timothy 3:15, etc. See CAN, MAY, POSSIBLE, POWER.

[ B-2,Verb,G1412, dunamoo ]
"to make strong, confirm," occurs in Colossians 1:11 (some authorities have the 1st aorist or momentary tense, in Hebrews 11:34 also). Cp. endunamoo, "to enable, strengthen."

[ B-3,Verb,G1414, dunateo ]
signifies "to be mighty, to show oneself powerful," Romans 4:14; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 13:3. See A, No. 1.

[ B-4,Verb,G2480, ischuo ]
akin to A, No. 2, "to be strong, to prevail," indicates a more forceful strength or ability than dunamai, e.g., James 5:16, where it is rendered "availeth much" (i.e., "prevails greatly"). See AVAIL, CAN, DO, MAY, PREVAIL, STRENGTH, WORK.

Note: Still stronger forms are exischuo, "to be thoroughly strong," Ephesians 3:18, "may be strong" (not simply "may be able," AV); katischuo, Matthew 16:18; Luke 23:23, in the former, of the powerlessness of the gates of Hades to prevail against the Church; in the latter, of the power of a fierce mob to prevail over a weak ruler (See Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 251); also Luke 21:36. The prefixed prepositions are intensive in each case.

[ B-5,Verb,G2192, echo ]
"to have," is translated "your ability" in 2 Corinthians 8:11, and "ye may be able" in 2 Peter 1:15, and is equivalent to the phrase "to have the means of." See CAN, HAVE.

[ B-6,Verb,G2141, euporeo ]
lit, "to journey well" (eu, "well," poreo, "to journey"), hence, "to prosper," is translated "according to (his) ability," in Acts 11:29.

Note: Hikanoo, corresponding to the adjective hikanos (See below) signifies "to make competent, qualify, make sufficient;" in 2 Corinthians 3:6, AV, "hath made (us) able;" RV, "hath made us sufficient;" in Colossians 1:12, "hath made (us) meet." See ENOUGH, SUFFICIENT.

[ C-1,Adjective,G1415, dunatos ]
corresponding to A, No. 1, signifies "powerful." See, e.g., Romans 4:21; Romans 9:22; Romans 11:23; Romans 12:18; Romans 15:1; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 2 Corinthians 9:8. See MIGHTY, POSSIBLE, POWER, STRONG.

[ C-2,Adjective,G2425, hikanos ]
translated "able," is to be distinguished from dunatos. While dunatos means "possessing power," hikanos, primarily, "reaching to," has accordingly the meaning "sufficient." When said of things it signifies "enough," e.g., Luke 22:38; when said of persons, it means "competent," "worthy," e.g. 2 Corinthians 2:6, 2 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Timothy 2:2. See CONTENT, ENOUGH, GOOD, GREAT, LARGE, LONG, MANY, MEET, MUCH, SECURITY, SUFFICIENT, WORTHY.

Note: Ischuros denotes "strong, mighty;" in an active sense, "might," in having inherent and moral power, e.g., Matthew 12:29; 1 Corinthians 4:10; Hebrews 6:18.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words