Gentiles - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ A-1,Noun,G1484, ethnos ]
whence Eng., heathen," denotes, firstly, "a multitude or company;" then, "a multitude of people of the same nature or genus, a nation, people;" it is used in the singular, of the Jews, e.g., Luke 7:5; Luke 23:2; John 11:48, John 11:50-John 11:52; in the plural, of nations (Heb., goiim) other than Israel, e.g., Matthew 4:15; Romans 3:29; Romans 11:11; Romans 15:10; Galatians 2:8; occasionally it is used of gentile converts in distinction from Jews, e.g., Romans 11:13; Romans 16:4; Galatians 2:12, Galatians 2:14; Ephesians 3:1.

[ A-2,Noun,G1672, hellen ]
originally denoted the early descendants of Thessalian Hellas; then, Greeks as opposed to barbarians, Romans 1:14. It became applied to such Gentiles as spoke the Greek language, e.g., Galatians 2:3; Galatians 3:28. Since that was the common medium of intercourse in the Roman Empire, Greek and Gentile became more or less interchangeable terms. For this term the RV always adheres to the word "Greeks," e.g., John 7:35; Romans 2:9-Romans 2:10; Romans 3:9; 1 Corinthians 10:32, where the local church is distinguished from Jews and Gentiles; 1 Corinthians 12:13.

[ B-1,Adjective,G1482, ethnikos ]
is used as noun, and translated "Gentiles" in the RV of Matthew 5:47; Matthew 6:7; "the Gentile" in Matthew 18:17 (AV, "an heathen man"); "the Gentiles" in 3 John 1:7, AV and RV.

[ C-1,Adverb,G1483, ethnikos ]
"in Gentile fashion, in the manner of Gentiles," is used in Galatians 2:14, "as do the Gentiles," RV.


(1) For the synonymous word laos, "a people," See PEOPLE.

(2) When, under the new order of things introduced by the Gospel the mystery of the Church was made known, the word ethnos was often used in contrast to the local church, 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Corinthians 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:5; 1 Peter 2:12.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words