Attain - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G2658, katantao ]
a strengthened form of antao, to come opposite to," signifies "to reach, to arrive at." It is used in its local significance several times in the Acts, e.g., Acts 27:12, RV, "could reach." In its metaphorical sense of "attaining" to something it is used in three places: Acts 26:7, of the fulfillment of the promise of God made to the ancestors of Israel, to which promise the twelve tribes "hope to attain" (RV); in Ephesians 4:13, of "attaining" to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God; in Philippians 3:11, of the paramount aims of the Apostle's life, "if by any means," he says, "I might attain unto the resurrection from the dead," not the physical resurrection, which is assured to all believers hereafter, but to the present life of identification with Christ in His resurrection. For the metaphorical sense in 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 14:36, See ARRIVE, A, No. 1. See also COME, No. 28.

[ 2,,G2638, katalambano ]
"to seize, to apprehend," whether physically or mentally, is rendered "attain" in the sense of making something one's own, appropriating a thing, Romans 9:30, said of the Gentiles, who through the Gospel have "attained" to, or laid hold of, the righteousness which is of faith, in contrast to the present condition of Israel; in 1 Corinthians 9:24, of securing a prize, RV, "attain," for AV, "obtain." See APPREHEND.

[ 3,,G5348, phthano ]
"to anticipate," also means "to reach, attain to a thing;" negatively of Israel (See ARRIVE, No. 5). The only other passage where it has this significance is Philippians 3:16, "we have attained." See COME, PREVENT.

[ 4,,G5177, tunchano ]
"to reach, meet with," signifies "to attain to," in Luke 20:35, RV (for AV, "obtain"). See CHANCE, ENJOY, OBTAIN.


(1) Parakoloutheo, rendered "attained" in 1 Timothy 4:6, AV (RV, "hast followed"), does not signify attainment, but "following fully." It is an intensive form of akoloutheo, "to follow." So in 2 Timothy 3:10, RV, "didst follow" (AV, "fully known"); "follow fully" would be suitable. In Mark 16:17 it is translated "follow;" in Luke 1:3, "having traced" (RV). See FOLLOW, KNOW, Notes


(2) Lambano, incorrectly translated "attained" in the AV of Philippians 3:12, means "obtained" (RV).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words