Some clarity on DIA

From: Alan M Feuerbacher (
Date: Wed Mar 19 1997 - 20:28:53 EST


I'd like to get some input on the meaning of the Greek DIA. Most
of the time it means "through" or "by" or something similar, but
it sometimes has other meanings. How does one distinguish among
the various meanings to understand a particular passage when the
context provides an apparently uncertain guide?

For example, in Romans 1:1, 2, God is said to give his gospel
THROUGH his prophets; in 1: 4, 5, grace and apostleship are
received THROUGH Christ; in 2:16, God judges THROUGH Christ.

Similarly, in Hebrews 1:2, God makes the world THROUGH his Son;
in Colossians 1:16, all things were created THROUGH the Son;
in John 1:3, all things were made THROUGH the Word; etc., so
that Christ is presented as the mediator of creation.

However, in Romans 11:36 and Hebrews 2:10, the same word is used
of God, who can in no sense be called a mediator of creation, but
rather, the originator:

   For from him and through him and to him are all things.
   (Rom. 11:36; NIV)

   It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything
   exists. (Heb. 2:10; NIV)

In the latter, DIA is even used in two different senses -- "for"
and "through". In both passages I think "through" could just as
well be rendered "by", which has more of a flavor of origination
than does "through".

Since DIA seems to be used in two rather different senses, both
in the sense of origination and in the sense of mediation, how do
I make sense of this?

Alan Feuerbacher

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