Superscription - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G1923, epigraphe ]
lit., an over-writing" (epi, "over," grapho, "to write") (the meaning of the anglicized Latin word "superscription"), denotes "an inscription, a title." On Roman coins the emperor's name was inscribed, Matthew 22:20; Mark 12:16; Luke 20:24. In the Roman Empire, in the case of a criminal on his way to execution, a board on which was inscribed the cause of his condemnation, was carried before him or hung round his neck; the inscription was termed a "title" (titlos). The four Evangelists state that at the crucifixion of Christ the title was affixed to the cross, Mark (Mark 15:26) and Luke (Luke 23:38) call it a "superscription;" Marks says it was "written over" (epigrapho, the corresponding verb). Matthew calls it "His accusation;" John calls it "a title" (a technical term). The wording varies: the essential words are the same, and the variation serves to authenticate the narratives, showing that there was no consultation leading to an agreement as to the details. See further under TITLE.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words