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In Acts 16,15 we find the following two words which are both translated to "Haus" (= house) in German:

  • οἶκος (ESV: household)
  • οἶκόν (ESV: house)¹

What I already found out is that οἶκος accumulates all the people living with Lydia, including her family (if there is one) and also her servants or other employees.

But what's the exact meaning of οἶκόν? Does it also name some group of people or is it just the word for the house, e.g. the building itself?

Full Greek text (NA28):

ὡς δὲ ἐβαπτίσθη καὶ ὁ οἶκος αὐτῆς, παρεκάλεσεν λέγουσα· εἰ κεκρίκατέ με πιστὴν τῷ κυρίῳ εἶναι, εἰσελθόντες εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου μένετε· καὶ παρεβιάσατο ἡμᾶς.

¹ It was just my assumption that οἶκόν could be the word for house.

  • 1
    It might help if you could give us chapter AND VERSE. – fdb Dec 3 '16 at 19:45
  • oh sorry. Acts 16,15 – Ethan Leroy Dec 3 '16 at 22:35
  • οἶκος is the nominative of either house or household. οἶκόν is the accusative of the same. It is the context that informs the reader whether what is being discussed is a house (building) or a household (people). It seem fairly clear that the people were baptized, not the building, while later in the verse the building is in view. – user10231 Dec 3 '16 at 22:47
  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange Ethan, thanks for contributing! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. – Steve Taylor Dec 8 '16 at 14:44
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In οἶκος we recognize the root of the word "economy" (οἰκονομία), which refers to the management of a household. It can be extrapolated to something much grander - e.g. οἰκουμένη, meaning earth or empire - or something more quotidian such as οἰκουργός - a homemaker.

As such, as others have noted, the word can refer to either the physical building, as in

Καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ
And he arose, and departed to his house

Matthew 9:7

or, as in the case you cited, household. It also used in the sense of lineage, as we would also express in English:

καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας
And He shall reight over the house of Jacob

Luke 1:33

The word also appears over 1,000 times in the Greek Septuagint, with the same meanings. It is used in the sense of Acts 16:15, for example, in Genesis:

Καὶ εἶπεν κύριος ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Νωε Εἴσελθε σὺ καὶ πᾶς ὁ οἶκός σου εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν
And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark

Genesis 7:1 (LXX)

3

These are the same word: ὁ οἶκος is nominative and τὸν οἶκoν is accusative. The extra accent on the second syllable of οἶκόν is because of the following enclitic μου. οἶκος means both "house" in the physical sense, and the "household" or "family" who inhabit the house. "House" and "Haus" have the same two meanings.

PS. Overlap with WoundedEgo.

  • 1
    (+1) because great minds think alike! – user10231 Dec 3 '16 at 22:51

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