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"This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come." - Matthew 24:14 (HCSB)

καὶ κηρυχθήσεται τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος. - Matthew 24:14 (Westcott & Hort)

In quoting Jesus, Matthew uses the qualifier that the 'end' will come once the 'good news of the kingdom' has been 'proclaimed in all the world' - ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ - or if I understand it literally, 'in the whole of the inhabited earth'.


"[the gospel] that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God's grace in the truth." - Colossians 1:6 (HCSB)

τοῦ παρόντος εἰς ὑμᾶς, καθὼς καὶ ἐν παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ ἐστὶν καρποφορούμενον καὶ αὐξανόμενον καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, ἀφ' ἧς ἡμέρας ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐπέγνωτε τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ· - Colossians 1:6 (Westcott & Hort)

Paul then says that the good news is bearing fruit and growing 'all over the world' - ἐν παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ - or if I understand it literally, 'in all of the world/ordered system'.


The phrases 'in the whole of the inhabited world' and 'in all of the world' seem to have significant overlap, therefore:

  • Is there any difference in the scope of the two phrases (is one 'bigger' than the other, or is it entirely qualitative, or is it just two ways of expressing the same thing?)
  • Is there any reason Matthew should have used οἰκουμένῃ rather than κόσμῳ for this particular instance? This appears to be the only case where he chose the former rather than the latter.
  • Is there any reason we should not understand Paul's statement to be equivalent to a fulfilment of Jesus' words as told by Matthew?
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οἰκουμένη

The word οἰκουμένη generally refers to the world of Hellenic culture - more or less the Roman Empire in the 1st century - and not all of mankind. It is sometimes translated as "inhabited earth", but is maybe better translated as "empire" (i.e. the Roman Empire). One verse that makes this sense of the word clear is Acts 19:27 -

... that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world [οἰκουμένη] worshippeth (KJV)

Perhaps what is relevant is that in ancient times people were not as cognizant of distant lands as they are today, so that the extent of the Empire was essentially the same for them as the extent of the whole world.

Other examples of οἰκουμένη in this sense from the New Testament:


Luke 2:1

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world [οἰκουμένη] should be taxed.


Acts 24:5

For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world [οἰκουμένη], and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:


κόσμος

The scope of the word κόσμος is wider, which refers to all of the created world, not just one specific political region. In Matthew 4:8, for example, Satan offers Jesus not just the οἰκουμένη, but all the kingdoms of the κόσμος:

Matthew 4:8

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world [κόσμος], and the glory of them

Other examples:


Matthew 13:35

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world [κόσμος].


Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world [κόσμος] are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

Ambiguity

I used the word generally above when describing οἰκουμένη, because it really seems that in some cases it is used interchangeably with κόσμος. I think your example of Matthew 24:14 is one of these. The word οἰκουμένη occurs in the New Testament 16 times, and it seems to me that it takes the broader meaning in several of these verses. As an example, Luke uses the word οἰκουμένη instead of κόσμος in his temptation account.

I don't think the same holds true in the reverse for κόσμος, though; i.e. it is not sometimes used to denote a narrower scope. κόσμος occurs in the New Testament 187 times and, as far as I can tell reviewing the usages, it never takes on the meaning of a more limited political "empire".

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  • 1
    Thanks for this answer - after a few months I'd begun to wonder if my question wasn't just clutching at pedantic straws! The more closely delineated definition of οἰκουμένη is definitely the key here, though for what it's worth it might be good to see this demonstrated through the word's use in any other historic texts, so it's obvious that it's more than just an assumption which works in the few biblical passages we have available. Either way, this is a great answer - thanks. – Steve Taylor Sep 9 '16 at 13:11
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The context of the scriptures must be considered in order to correctly apply the meaning of the English word "world." Different words from the Greek have been translated in the English as "world." Some translations do recognize a difference. Others translations treat them the same, and it can be confusing to those of our day and time.

An excerpt from my post, "Frequent Mistakes - Part IV: Where Was "All The World"?" (Source below.)

Luke 2:1 -

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." (KJV)

"And it came to pass in those days, there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world be enrolled --" (YLT)

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered." (ESV)

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world." (NIV)

"And it came about at that time that a dvar malchut (decree) was sent out from Caesar Augustus to register everyone in the entire Roman Empire." (Orthodox Jewish Bible)

It only makes sense, and we subconsciously recognize that Caesar Augustus only had authority and dominion to tax the people living in the lands which he ruled... the Roman empire. So, "all the world" in Luke 2:1 equaled the old Roman empire.

Then, which "world" did Christ speak of in Matt. 24:14?

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (KJV)

Did Christ mean in every land across the entire physical earth? Or, did He mean the Roman empire of that time period?

The word used for "world" in Matt. 24:14 is Strong's Greek 3625: "oikoumené: the inhabited earth" and the definition is:

"(properly: the land that is being inhabited, the land in a state of habitation), the inhabited world, that is, the Roman world, for all outside it was regarded as of no account." (See Biblehub)

"Oikoumené" was used in two other verses:

Luke 21:26,

"Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth [oikoumené]: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (KJV)

Remembering that when God's prophesy speaks of heavens that can be shaken it is a metaphor for the kingdoms of men. (See also my post "Heaven and Earth Have Passed Away" at my blog below.) The heaven where God sits on His throne cannot be shaken or removed.

Therefore, the heaven, or kingdom referred to in Luke 21:26 was that which ruled the earth in the first century A.D. and was the Roman empire, which was also called "all the world".

The second use of "oikoumené" is found in Acts 19:27.

"So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world [oikoumené] worshippeth." (KJV)

The "world" here referred to all the lands that worshiped the pagan goddess Diana, which at that time was Asia and the surrounding pagan nations. Ellicott's Commentary defines it.

"Asia is, of course, the proconsular province, and the “world” is used conventionally, as in Luke 2:1, for the Roman empire. Apuleius uses language almost identical with that of Demetrius, “Diana Ephesia cujus nomen unicum . . . totus veneratur orbis.” Source: here

So, the pagan nation(s) which worshiped the goddess Diana was one of the provinces of the Roman empire. A nation ... a province of Rome. Because, Rome acquired more territories as it conquered a people who occupied a certain land or nation, and then added those nations to their empire as a province of Rome.

The Romans distinguished Republican provinces which were controlled by the Senate, and the Imperial provinces which were ruled by representatives of Caesar who answered only to Caesar. A list of the Roman provinces in 14 AD is available here, and included Sicilia, Germania, Hispania, Africa, Asia, Macedonia, Gallia, Syria, Cyprus, and Judea.

The Romans kept conquering nations throughout the first century AD and by the time Revelation was written in 66-68 AD had added Mauretaina, Britannia, Thracia, the Alps of Italy, Switzerland, and France. (See DatingTheNewTestament for the date of the book of Revelation.)

The world and the nations of the world during the time in which the books of the New Testament were written was the old Roman empire.

Therefore, Christ's prophesy in Matthew 24:14 can be paraphrased for our understanding as follows:

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in [in all of the Roman empire] for a witness unto [all the people who inhabit the Roman provinces]; and then shall the end come."

The Bible was not written in English, and the New Testament was not written in our lifetimes. When reading the Bible we have to put ourselves in their shoes, and their time period, their age, their political world, and their culture. Their world was not our world, and we cannot equate its size or scope to our world today.

Paul stated in Col. 1:23,

"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;" (KJV)

"Every creature which is under heaven" was every person under the rule of the "heaven" of the earthly kingdom of the Roman empire. As the book of Colossians was written about 61-62 AD (see here), then according to Paul, the gospel had been preached in all the "world" by 61 - 62 AD.

The "end" of Matt. 24:14 came approximately 8 years later in 70 AD at the destruction of the old covenant temple in Jerusalem. And "all the world", that is every eye saw it (Rev. 1:7).

Rev. 3:10,

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon **all the world [oikoumenēs], to try them that dwell upon the earth [land]."** (KJV)

Rev. 12:9,

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world [oikoumenēn]: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (KJV)

Rev. 16:14,

"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth [oikoumenēs] and of the whole world [oikoumenēs], to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (KJV- literally "kings of the inhabited whole")

In each of these verses above " oikoumenēs" or " oikoumenēn " is the same meaning of the known world of their day. That world was the inhabited lands and provinces of the Roman empire. Their world was the fourth beast kingdom that had been prophesied from Daniel chap. 7 in which Christ was manifested and appeared on earth to become the lamb slain from the foundation of the "kosmou" [world or universe - Rev. 13:8].

It was not used in these scriptures to mean the entire earth. The prophesies of Matt. 24 and of Revelation had an application to the first century AD and to the known world of its day - the old Roman empire... the world in which they lived.

In speaking to those at Colosse, Paul was telling them of the spread of the gospel throughout all the world (kosmo). "Kosmo" is Strong's Greek 2889, and can mean either the universe, or the inhabited earth. (See here.

Within the context of Col. 1:6 it would only have meaning to the Colossians for their inhabited world, their known lands during their lifetime, for those that were hearing the gospel preached when Paul wrote the letter. At that time (about 61 - 62 AD) their world was the Roman empire.

Both Matt. 24:14 and Col. 1:6 have the same meaning and scope of the word "world" and meant their known inhabited earth of the Roman empire.

See the posts at my blog ShreddingTheVeil. All bold emphasis is mine.

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To me, Paul extended the message Jesus began. Jesus message might be said to go throughout the Roman Empire and then the 'time of the end would begin'. Paul's message goes throughout the original foundation, for the gentiles, nations...a bigger scope including Jesus and esp. Paul's message of grace.
As writers saud...'it is the last time', 'many antichrists have gone into the wirkd'..these are signs of the end. So, the beginning 8 the end had begun. We live a mere 80 years, maybe, so 2000 years seems unreasonable for 'the end'.

But is it? This is a big deal, a 'forever' kind of thing. I think someone might discuss the 'testimony to all nations. This may have prepared these ppl to receive Paul's work.

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You all forgot this

emphasized textFirst the Full number of gentiles must believe which means all the people of all the nations i.e ALL the gentile men who are ever to be born in the entire history of time and are to believe in Jesus as the son of God.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not be conceited: A hardening in part has come to Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.emphasized text

We must think Clear headed 2Ti_4:5 But you must be clear-headed about everything. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Devote yourself completely to your ministry

Paul believed that Jesus would return in his lifetime: Not so as Paul was merely putting his readers minds at rest telling them they had not missed the day of The Lords coming because first the man of lawlessness was to be revealed which would take over rule of the ROMANS EMPIRE setting up the kingdom of the beast ( the 8 th king is the beast) THE REVEALING OF THAT MAN OF LAWLESSNESS WAS BEING held back by the ROMAN EMPEROR RESISTING THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY Which seeked userpation of his GOD ORDAINED authority ).

THE EMPEROR OF ROME BY BEING A GOD AUTHORISED TEMPORAL AUTHORITY EVEN IF PAGAN, WAS HE WHO WAS HOLDING BACK THE REVEALING OF THE LAWLESS ONE WHOS COMING IS BY THE WORKING OF SATAN IN ALL POWER ( temporal powers being meant)

THE LAWLESS ONE IS ANTI CHRIST ( it being the papacy who teach another Jesus another christ, one not come in the flesh (FULFILLED BY papal doctrines of demons ; teaching a psuedo Jesus born of a women without sin yet ALL OF THE FLESH HAVE sinned so they teach another Jesus christ not come in FLESH) for Jesus came in the flesh made like his brothers and was tempted in every we are and shared our weakness of the flesh yet being conceived of the holy ghost was without sin and pure yet took on human flesh. That is why because being without sin Paul called christ's flesh the likeness of sinful flesh for all flesh has sinned and shall die but in him was life yet he died in our place for us for sin ; and so God condemned sin in the flesh so we are not condemned even though we live life in the flesh we live by faith in the son of God who loved us giving himself for us even though he had no sin yet he came in the flesh so he could die for us becoming sin for us by being made of a sinner a woman under the law ( the lawwas given so tresspass would increase and gave knowledge of sin ) a woman who like all was a sinner in need of redemption, by Gods grace provided a body of flesh to him and so he could take on the infirmities weaknesses of adams (our flesh ) dying for our ( and so orginal adams) sins , and also to become a faithful high Priest for us forever.

And also the lawless one is revealed to be the Roman papacy who officially declare themselves to be Jesus THE Christ under the veil of flesh - and so fulfilling Jesus warning about the MANY MEN WHO WERE TO DECIEVE MANY see Matthew 24; MANY SHALL come in my (Jesus Christ's) name, saying ' I AM THE CHRIST and they shall decieve MANY )

AND so PAUL EXPLAINED THAT BEFORE CHRISTS SECOND COMING TOOK PLACE FIRST THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS would be revealed..

Paul explained that before The Lord comes ALSO first the dead in christ must be raised imperishable and Meet The Lord in the clouds and so come with him in the clouds and so they will appear with him in the air before anyone who believes in him who is still alive on earth ( but Paul communicating to actual readers personalised it as WE ) shall be caught up together with them and so be with The Lord forever.

1Th_4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep...1Th_4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

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Apparently the Pastorals (1&2 Timothy and Titus) were written to correct some of the limiting teachings of Paul and the gospels.

  • Apparently the Paul of Colossians thought that he had fulfilled the great commission:

Mar_16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Col_1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Rom 10:18 But I ask, "Didn't they hear?" Certainly they did! In fact, "Their voice has gone out into the whole world, and their words to the ends of the earth."

  • Paul believed that Jesus would return in his lifetime:

1Th_4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep...1Th_4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

  • in the gospels and Paul only the disciples cum apostles were given the commission to preach the gospel to every creature:

Act 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Act 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Act 1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Act 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Act 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, Act 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. Act 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Act_10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Act_13:31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the People.

Rom 10:13 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Rom 10:14 How, then, can people call on someone they have not believed? And how can they believe in someone they have not heard about? And how can they hear without someone preaching? Rom 10:15 And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are those who bring the good news!"

  • Paul believed the gospel must be preached by an apostle and not just be written:

2Co 3:3 You are demonstrating that you are the Messiah's letter, produced by our service, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2Co 3:4 Such is the confidence that we have in God through the Messiah. 2Co 3:5 By ourselves we are not qualified to claim that anything comes from us. Rather, our credentials come from God, 2Co 3:6 who has also qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, which is not written but spiritual, because the written text brings death, but the Spirit gives life. ... 2Co 3:11 For if that which fades away came through glory, how much more does that which is permanent have glory? 2Co 3:12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we speak very boldly, 2Co 3:13 not like Moses, who kept covering his face with a veil to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of what was fading away. ... 2Co 3:18 As all of us [apostles] reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are becoming more like him with ever-increasing glory by the Lord's Spirit.

  • the apostles preached daily while the saints gathered in homes for meetings:

Act 2:42 The believers continued to devote themselves to what the apostles were teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to times of prayer. Act 2:43 A sense of fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.

  • meetings are conducted in an egalitarian way:

1Co 14:26 What, then, does this mean, brothers? When you gather, everyone has a psalm, teaching, revelation, other language, or interpretation. Everything must be done for upbuilding. ... 1Co 14:30 If a revelation is made to another person who is seated, the first person should be silent. 1Co 14:31 For everyone can prophesy in turn, so that everyone can be instructed and everyone can be encouraged. 1Co 14:32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, 1Co 14:33 for God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, ... 1Co 14:36 Did God's word originate with you? Are you the only people it has reached? 1Co 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or a spiritual person, he must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 1Co 14:38 But if anyone ignores this, he should be ignored. 1Co 14:39 Therefore, my brothers, desire the ability to prophesy, and do not prevent others from speaking in other languages. 1Co 14:40 But everything must be done in a proper and orderly way.

But in the Pastorals things are different:

  • Paul urges young Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist":

2Ti_4:5 But you must be clear-headed about everything. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Devote yourself completely to your ministry.

  • Paul says that the scriptures aren't lifeless but "God-breathed" and able to impart wisdom and salvation through faith:

2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  • Paul anticipates dying and passes the baton to a non-apostle:

2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2Ti 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2Ti 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 2Ti 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

  • his dynamic, egalitarian assembles are to have overseers:

Tit 1:7 Because an overseer is God's servant manager, he must be blameless. He must not be arrogant or irritable. He must not drink too much, be a violent person, or make money in shameful ways.

Also note that while the commission was given to the twelve disciples cum apostles, none of the twelve ventured out of Jerusalem. Only Paul continued in Jesus' itinerant lifestyle and ventured from city to city proclaiming the gospel.

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  • Thanks for this! I have two questions arising from your exegesis that I think would help to clarify your argument: 1) Are you saying there was a significant time gap between Colossians and 1 Timothy? If you gave some approximate dates it would be clearer how you see Paul's thoughts progressing with time. 2) You extend Paul's "we" to exclusively talk about apostles throughout 2 Cor 3, which is a new theory to me. How far exactly do you extend that hermeneutic - does it extend all the way to 7:1 "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves..."? – Steve Taylor Apr 4 '16 at 12:17
  • @SteveTaylor While that particular verse seems to hark back to 2 Cor 6:17-6:18 and thus is an admonition to the Corinthians you can certainly see that he speaks in terms of "we/us" vs "you". Is that how you read it? – user10231 Apr 4 '16 at 13:43
  • Unfortunately the inclusivity of the first person plural is about as vague in Greek as it is in English - it all falls to context! To me, except where stated explicitly otherwise, I'd always assumed the we as Paul tends to use it in 2 Corinthians and otherwise, is an inclusive we and not an exclusive we. 3:1 is clearly exclusive by its context, but 7:1 is clearly inclusive by its context. Paul uses both throughout his letters, and both through 2 Corinthians. But it's vague enough that you can fairly enough use these verses in the context of your answer. – Steve Taylor Apr 4 '16 at 14:05
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I've heard of first century Christian tombstones being found in China. Good news cannot be kept quiet. It is by nature something that spreads, even more so when initiated and spread by God Himself through messengers willing and unwilling or ignorant of His directing them...

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  • Welcome to BHSE! Please make sure you take our tour. Re: Questions and answers, we'd like to see Biblical text to analyze. Thanks. – John Martin Dec 10 '19 at 21:28
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Years ago I posted an answer to this question under a different user name (user10231) but have learned a few things since then that change my view so I'm creating this new answer.

As I see it now, κόσμος and οἰκουμένη have different referents:

  • οἰκουμένη refers to the geographic region of the world which in this case is the Roman empire:

"This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come." - Matthew 24:14 (HCSB)

καὶ κηρυχθήσεται τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος. - Matthew 24:14 (Westcott & Hort)

ESV Romans 10:18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

Morphological GNT 10:18 ἀλλὰ λέγω μὴ οὐκ ἤκουσαν μενοῦνγε εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἐξῆλθεν ὁ φθόγγος αὐτῶν καὶ εἰς τὰ πέρατα τῆς οἰκουμένης τὰ ῥήματα αὐτῶν

  • κόσμος refers to the then contemporary Jewish theocracy (see usage 4 in the Logeion lexicon)

This explains why in addressing the Colossians he says that it is bearing fruit in the κόσμος "and also among you". IE: "to Jews everywhere in the empire". It was crucial that the message go to the Jew first.

Most of the commentators on BibleHub seem to see "every creature" as hyperbole. There is also an apparent reference to "the Great Commission" of Matthew 28:19-20. I'm not 100% convinced that "every creature" is the best translation but I'll have to work through that later.

Bottom line: οἰκουμένη refers to the Roman empire while κόσμος refers to the Jewish world, including the diaspora scattered throughout the empire and to whom Jesus was sent:

ESV Matthew 10:

5These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Notice that the context of Romans 10 he is arguing that Israel has "heard". I believe the bracketed information I supply below makes that clearer:

ESV Romans 10:18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth [land = Jerusalem], and their words to the ends of the world [kosmos = Judaism, including the Jews of the diaspora].”

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  • You can ask to have your post disassociated with your account, but you cannot remove content like this. – user2672 Jul 11 '19 at 6:13

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