To will, to wish - Berry's New Testament Synonyms

To will, to wish

βούλομαι, θέλω.

In many cases these two words are used without appreciable distinction, meaning conscious willing, purpose. But frequently it is evident that a difference is intended, although there is much difference of opinion as to the exact distinction. Thayer says that βούλομαι "seems to designate the will which follows deliberation," θέλω, "the will which proceeds from inclination." Grimm, on the other hand, says that θέλω gives prominence to the emotive element, βούλομαι to the rational and volitive; θέλω signifies the choice, while βούλομαι marks the choice as deliberate and intelligent. The view of Cremer on the whole seems preferable to any other. According to this view, βούλομαι has the wider range of meaning, but θέλω is the stronger word, θέλω denotes the active resolution, the will urging on to action, see Ro. vii. 15, while βούλομαι is rather to have in thought, to intend, to be determined. βούλομαι sometimes means no more than to have an inclination, see Ac. xxiii. 15. Instructive examples of the use of the two words in close proximity are found in Mar. xv. 9, 15, and especially Mat. i. 19.