Covenant (Noun and Verb) - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Covenant (Noun and Verb)

[ A-1,Noun,G1242, diatheke ]
primarily signifies a disposition of property by will or otherwise." In its use in the Sept., it is the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning a "covenant" or agreement (from a verb signifying "to cut or divide," in allusion to a sacrificial custom in connection with "covenant-making," e.g., Genesis 15:10, "divided" Jeremiah 34:18-Jeremiah 34:19). In contradistinction to the English word "covenant" (lit., "a coming together"), which signifies a mutual undertaking between two parties or more, each binding himself to fulfill obligations, it does not in itself contain the idea of joint obligation, it mostly signifies an obligation undertaken by a single person. For instance, in Galatians 3:17 it is used as an alternative to a "promise" (Galatians 3:16-Galatians 3:18). God enjoined upon Abraham the rite of circumcision, but His promise to Abraham, here called a "covenant," was not conditional upon the observance of circumcision, though a penalty attached to its nonobservance.

"The NT uses of the word may be analyzed as follows:
(a) a promise or undertaking, human or Divine, Galatians 3:15;
(b) a promise or undertaking on the part of God, Luke 1:72; Acts 3:25; Romans 9:4; Romans 11:27; Galatians 3:17; Ephesians 2:12; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 8:8, Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16;
(c) an agreement, a mutual undertaking, between God and Israel, See Deut. 29; 30 (described as a 'commandment,' Hebrews 7:18, cp. Hebrews 7:22); Hebrews 8:9; Hebrews 9:20;
(d) by metonymy, the token of the covenant, or promise, made to Abraham, Acts 7:8;
(e) by metonymy, the record of the covenant, 2 Corinthians 3:14; Hebrews 9:4; cp. Revelation 11:19;
(f) the basis, established by the death of Christ, on which the salvation of men is secured, Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 10:29; Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 13:20.

"This covenant is called the 'new,' Hebrews 9:15, the 'second,' Hebrews 8:7, the 'better,' Hebrews 7:22. In Hebrews 9:16-Hebrews 9:17, the translation is much disputed. There does not seem to be any sufficient reason for departing in these verses from the word used everywhere else. The English word 'Testament' is taken from the titles prefixed to the Latin Versions." * [* From Notes on Galations by Hogg and Vine, p.144.] See TESTAMENT.

[ B-1,Verb,G4934, suntithemi ]
lit., "to put together," is used only in the Middle Voice in the NT, and, means "to determine, agree," John 9:22; Acts 23:20; "to assent," Acts 24:9; "to covenant," Luke 22:5. See AGREE, ASSENT.

Note: In Matthew 26:15 the AV translates histemi, "to place (in the balances)," i.e., to weigh, "they covenanted with;" RV, "they weighed unto."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words