Re: MONOGENHS Etymology Question

Luke McNab (
Fri, 03 Jan 1997 13:22:19 -0800

With reference to the etymology of this word and with all respect to
the opinions of many learned experts, IMHO, I would say that etymology
is very important and an excellent key to the meaning and usage of
words. It is evidently realized that the NT Greek, commonly called
'koine' is at times quite distinct in the usage and meaning of words to
that of classical literature, especially as it pertains to theological
It must be remembered that most of the NT writers were also Greek
speakers and normally used the Septuagint quotations, though at times
Paul refers back to the Hebrew rather than the LXX. A more exact
rendering of the above word should bear in mind the usage in the LXX and
also the Hebrew. The primary meaning of the Hebrew word YACHIYD
[translated MONOGENHS in LXX] is "only, especially only begotten, only
child, Gen.22:2, 12, l6; Jer. 6:26; Zec. 12:10; Pro. 4:3; .." [Gesenius'
Hebrew- Chaldee Lexicon, p. 345].
G. Abbott-Smith in _Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament_, Third
Edition, University Press, Aberdeen, 1937, p.296, gives the etymology as
coming from MONOS and GENOS. A copy of my Liddel & Scott gives the same
rendering and derivation and the meaning of "only-begotten: born from
one and the same mother."