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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Barbarian, Barbarous

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1: βάρβαρος
(Strong's #915 — Adjective — barbaros — bar'-bar-os )

properly meant "one whose speech is rude, or harsh;" the word is onomatopoeic, indicating in the sound the uncouth character represented by the repeated syllable "bar-bar." Hence it signified one who speaks a strange or foreign language. See 1 Corinthians 14:11 . It then came to denote any foreigner ignorant of the Greek language and culture. After the Persian war it acquired the sense of rudeness and brutality. In Acts 28:2,4 , it is used unreproachfully of the inhabitants of Malta, who were of Phoenician origin. So in Romans 1:14 , where it stands in distinction from Greeks, and in implied contrast to both Greeks and Jews. Cp. the contrasts in Colossians 3:11 , where all such distinctions are shown to be null and void in Christ. "Berber" stood similarly in the language of the Egyptians for all non-Egyptian peoples.


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Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Barbarian, Barbarous'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ved/b/barbarian-barbarous.html. 1940.

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