Is there a Greek word for 'things', as in Romans 8:28?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

2 Answers 2


There are several Greek words occasionally translated "things", but in Romans 8:28, Greek is using the adjective πᾶς (all) substantivally, that is, as a noun. In English, adjectives require an explicit noun to accompany them. In Greek, the adjective itself can represent both the attributive and the substantive component of an idea. When a Greek adjective is doing "double duty" in this way, an English noun must be added in translation based on the context.

Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεὸν πάντα [panta] συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose.

Here panta is neuter plural adjective from pas. Particularly in this neuter plural form, it is one of the more common adjectives to be used as a substantive. There's not much confusion about what the referent is since it's obviously meant to be all-encompassing; most translations use "things".

Note: There is a translation difficulty in this verse around determining whether "God" or "all things" is the subjects of "work(s)". Another Q&A here outlines the major issues there.


There are at least three words that can designate "thing(s)"

All word links below are to Liddell and Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon found online at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu.

  • πᾶς (pas)

    Regarding Romans 8:28 specifically, this answer did well in noting how the neuter plural πάντα (panta) can have that idea "all things" reflected in translation. The neuter form of the word is the most flexible, Liddell and Scott noting that the singular can mean "anything" and the plural contain ideas of "all kinds of things" or "all things" or "everything." When there is not something specifically noted that "all" is referring to, there is implicitly the idea of "something" that is being referenced in a collective sense of "all," and so "things" is implied.

  • χρῆμα (chréma)

    Second grouping from Liddell and Scott: "generally, thing, matter, affair." The plural, χρήματα (chrémata), could reflect the idea of "things." In the Bible it is primarily used of money or possessions (but possessions are "things").

  • πρᾶγμα (pragma)

    Second grouping, second definition from Liddell and Scott: "thing, concrete reality." In the plural πράγματα (pragmata), the word can therefore identify "things." This is probably the closest word to the English idea of "thing," though in the Bible it likely only has that idea in a couple of passages in Hebrews (10:1, 11:1).

  • A "fourth"word

    In some contexts, the neuter demonstrative pronouns (τοῦτο [touto], plural ταῦτα [tauta]) can reflect an idea of "thing" as well, along the line of "this thing" or "these things," but then the context usually also indicates some idea of what "things" are being referred to.

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