Better (be) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Better (be)

[ 1,,G1308, diaphero ]
(a) transitively, means to carry through" or "about" (dia, "through," phero, "to carry"), Mark 11:16 ("carry ... through"); Acts 13:49; Acts 27:27 ("driven to and fro");
(b) intransitively,

(1) "to differ," Romans 2:18; Galatians 2:6; Philippians 1:10;

(2) "to excel, be better," e.g., Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:31 ("of more value"); Matthew 12:12; Luke 12:7, Luke 12:24; 1 Corinthians 15:41; Galatians 4:1; some would put Romans 2:18 and Philippians 1:10 here (See marg.). See CARRY, DIFFER, DRIVE, EXCELLENT, MATTER (make), PUBLISH.

[ 2,,G4052, perisseuo ]
"to be over or above (a number), to be more than enough, to be pre-eminent, superior," Matthew 5:20, is translated "are we the better," in 1 Corinthians 8:8 (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:58; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:10). See ABOUND.

[ 3,,G3081, lusiteleo ]
signifies "to indemnify, pay expenses, pay taxes" (from luo, "to loose," telos, "toll, custom"); hence, "to be useful, advantageous, to be better," Luke 17:2.

[ 4,,G5242, huperecho ]
lit. means "to hold or have above" (huper, "above," echo, "to hold"); hence, metaphorically, to be superior to, to be better than, Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 2:13, "supreme," in reference to kings; in Romans 13:1, "higher;" Philippians 3:8, "excellency," more strictly "the surpassing thing, (namely, the knowledge of Christ);" in Philippians 4:7 "passeth." See EXCELLENCY, HIGHER, PASS, SUPREME.


(1) In Romans 3:9 the RV rightly translates proecho (which there is used in the Passive Voice, not the Middle) "are we in worse case than ...?," i.e., "are we surpassed?" "are we at a disadvantage?" The question is, are the Jews, so far from being better off than the Gentiles, in such a position that their very privileges bring them into a greater disadvantage or condemnation than the Gentiles? The AV "are we better" does not convey the meaning.

(2) Sumphero, in Matthew 18:6, AV, is translated "it were better for him," RV, "profitable." See Matthew 5:29-Matthew 5:30 etc. See BRING, EXPEDIENT, GOOD, D, Note

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words