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Revelation 4:8 refers to God as κύριος, ὁ θεός, ὁ παντοκράτωρ, generally rendered as 'Lord God Almighty.' I'm interested in the last word: ὁ παντοκράτωρ. Would this have connoted omnipotence as the English rendering "Almighty" does?

If it's a compound word, I'm reasonably certain the first half of the word, παντο, means "all." But what does κράτωρ mean? Is παντοκράτωρ a word used outside of the New Testament at all? I'm curious too, for instance, how the LXX translates El-Shaddai, since that is typically rendered in modern English translations as "The Almighty" as well. Are these related?

Can anyone shed light on the meaning of this word in Revelation?

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    Interesting note on this: there was a sport in the ancient Greek Olympics called pankration, which is basically the same word. This sport was a no-holds-barred fight often resulting in the death of one of the participants. Kind of like Mixed Martial Arts, only much more brutal. Nice to have that guy on your side, don't you think? – Fraser Orr Nov 12 '12 at 15:46
  • You had asked about references in the LXX. katabiblon.com is a helpful resource that shows usage in LXX as well as GNT. – Bob Blocher Aug 13 '15 at 0:54
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As another member mentioned, the Greek word κράτος (kratos) means "power" or "might" (LSJ, p. 992). However, that is not one of the words in the word παντοκράτωρ (pantokratōr). Rather, παντοκράτωρ consists of two compounds:

  1. παντο-
  2. -κράτωρ

As @fdb noted, the first compound παντο consists of the athematic stem παντ- plus the thematic vowel -o- (suffixed to the first compound), meaning "all." The second compound is the noun κράτωρ (kratōr), meaning "master, potentate" (ruler) (LSJ, p. 992). Using the Perseus search function, one can find a list of other compound words containing the word κράτωρ in it. For example,

Thus, παντοκράτωρ would simply mean "ruler of all." In other words, it refers to one who has dominion over everything (i.e., the entire universe). "Almighty" could be a suitable English equivalent, but a better one would probably be "sovereign." Thus, ὁ παντοκράτωρ is indeed "the Almighty" or "the Sovereign."


References

Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; Jones, Henry Stuart; McKenzie, Roderick. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

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    παντο is not "elided", nor is it "shorthand for παντός"; that is not how Greek forms a compound. It is the athematic stem παντ- plus thematic vowel -o- as first member of a compound. – fdb Feb 24 '15 at 23:05
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    Yes, "all-ruler" or "ruler of all" or "almighty" or "omnipotent" are all correct. By the way, it was a title given also to the god Hermes. – fdb Feb 24 '15 at 23:49
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    There are more recent books in copyright, but this might be useful: archive.org/stream/BuckComparativeGrammer/CGL#page/n369/mode/… – fdb Feb 25 '15 at 0:36
  • I think the usage and existence of the word παντοδύναμον (all-powerful) (Wis 7:23—confirmed to be the meaing of the word because of its proximity and usage right next to πανεπίσκοπον—"all-seeing") pretty much confirms that it is at least not exactly synonymous with All-powerful and that, obviously, παντοδύναμον and παντοκράτωρ are slightly different in meaning, being, well, different words. 'Almighty' is slightly less explicit and closer in meaning to παντοκράτωρ, think. – Sola Gratia Jun 21 '17 at 13:37
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The Greek (root) word kratos means "power". So yes, "all powerful" or "almighty" would be a reasonable translation.

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Kratos does mean power, but krator means ruler. I'd say pantokrator does not mean quite the same as almighty. In fact, there could be a considerable difference since almighty or omnipotent seems to imply the ability to do anything, but "ruler of all" only seems to refer to all things that actually exist.

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In our Bibles, אֵל שָׁדַּי “El Shadai” is most often (mistakenly) translated as “God Almighty”. The main reason for this stems from an opinion that Hebrew word שָׂדַּי ShaDai is connected with the verb לְשְׁדוד liShDoD, which means “to destroy” or “overpower”. For example, Hebrew word for “bandit” has the same root –שׁודֵד ShoDeD.

El Shadai אֵל שָׁדַּי does have another meaning though. The word שָׁד ShaD has a much closer grammatical connection to ShaDai and it means – “breast.” Moreover, when a word ends with an “i”or “ai” it is almost always means “my”. So, literally, “El Shadai” could very well mean “God (is) my Breast/s”.

If we consider this intriguing imagery as interpretive possibility we may see that the breast is one of the key symbols of sustenance and parental love passed on from God, the parent, to humanity, God’s child. So instead of “God Almighty”, El Shadai should probably be translated as “God All-sufficient” instead. El ShaDai (אֵל שָׁדַּי)is just one of the many names of God in Hebrew. El means “God.” The rest, however, is slightly more complicated.

In our Bibles, אֵל שָׁדַּי “El Shadai” is most often (mistakenly) translated as “God Almighty”. The main reason for this stems from an opinion that Hebrew word שָׂדַּי ShaDai is connected with the verb לְשְׁדוד liShDoD, which means “to destroy” or “overpower”. For example, Hebrew word for “bandit” has the same root –שׁודֵד ShoDeD.

El Shadai אֵל שָׁדַּי does have another meaning though. The word שָׁד ShaD has a much closer grammatical connection to ShaDai and it means – “breast.” Moreover, when a word ends with an “i”or “ai” it is almost always means “my”. So, literally, “El Shadai” could very well mean “God (is) my Breast/s”.

If we consider this intriguing imagery as interpretive possibility we may see that the breast is one of the key symbols of sustenance and parental love passed on from God, the parent, to humanity, God’s child. So instead of “God Almighty”, El Shadai should probably be translated as “God All-sufficient” instead.

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    Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. The original question asks about the word pantokrator while your answer expounds on El Shadai. It is helpful that answers stay on-topic and not stray too far off. Also, when you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. – agarza Jun 15 at 3:19

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