Beast - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G2226, zoon ]
primarily denotes a living being" (zoe, "life"). The Eng., "animal," is the equivalent, stressing the fact of life as the characteristic feature. In Hebrews 13:11 the AV and the RV translate it "beasts" ("animals" would be quite suitable). In 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10, the AV has "beasts," the RV "creatures." In the Apocalypse, where the word is found some 20 times, and always of those beings which stand before the throne of God, who give glory and honor and thanks to Him, Revelation 4:6, and act in perfect harmony with His counsels, Revelation 5:14; Revelation 6:1-Revelation 6:7, e.g., the word "beasts" is most unsuitable; the RV, "living creatures," should always be used; it gives to zoon its appropriate significance. See CREATURE.

[ 2,,G2342, therion ]
to be distinguished from zoon, almost invariably denotes "a wild beast." In Acts 28:4, "venomous beast" is used of the viper which fastened on Paul's hand. Zoon stresses the vital element, therion the bestial. The idea of a "beast" of prey is not always present. Once, in Hebrews 12:20, it is used of the animals in the camp of Israel, such, e.g., as were appointed for sacrifice: But in the Sept. therion is never used of sacrificial animals; the word ktenos (See below) is reserved for these.

Therion, in the sense of "wild beast", is used in the Apocalypse for the two antichristian potentates who are destined to control the affairs of the nations with Satanic power in the closing period of the present era, Revelation 11:7; Rev. 13:1-18; Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2, Revelation 16:10, Revelation 16:13; Revelation 17:3-Revelation 17:17; Revelation 19:19-Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:10.

[ 3,,G2934, ktenos ]
primarily denotes "property" (the connected verb ktaomai means "to possess"); then, "property in flocks and herds." In Scripture it signifies,
(a) a "beast" of burden, Luke 10:34; Acts 23:24,
(b) "beasts" of any sort, apart from those signified by thereion (See above), 1 Corinthians 15:39; Revelation 18:13,
(c) animals for slaughter; this meaning is not found in the NT, but is very frequent in the Sept.

[ 4,,G5074, tetrapous ]
"a four-footed beast" (tetra, "four," and pous, "a foot") is found in Acts 10:12; Acts 11:6; Romans 1:23.

[ 5,,G4968, sphagion ]
from sphazo, "to slay," denotes "a victim slaughtered for sacrifice, a slain beast," Acts 7:42, in a quotation from Amos 5:25.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words