Elements - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G4747, stoicheion ]
used in the plural, primarily signifies any first things from which others in a series, or a composite whole, take their rise; the word denotes an element, first principle" (from stoichos, "a row, rank, series;" cp. the verb stoicheo, "to walk or march in rank;" See WALK); it was used of the letters of the alphabet, as elements of speech. In the NT it is used of
(a) the substance of the material world, 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12;
(b) the delusive speculations of gentile cults and of Jewish theories, treated as elementary principles, "the rudiments of the world," Colossians 2:8, spoken of as "philosophy and vain deceit;" these were presented as superior to faith in Christ; at Colosse the worship of angels, mentioned in Colossians 2:18, is explicable by the supposition, held by both Jews and Gentiles in that district, that the constellations were either themselves animated heavenly beings, or were governed by them;
(c) the rudimentary principles of religion, Jewish or Gentile, also described as "the rudiments of the world," Colossians 2:20, and as "weak and beggarly rudiments," Galatians 4:3, Galatians 4:9, RV, constituting a yoke of bondage;
(d) the "elementary" principles (the A.B.C.) of the OT, as a revelation from God, Hebrews 5:12, RV, "rudiments," lit., "the rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of God," such as are taught to spiritual babes. See PRINCIPLES, RUDIMENTS.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words