EDIT : I appreciate that there may be some overlap with another question but I am seeking a definitive answer regarding the word ανωθεν and I cannot accept that it means 'again' in one place and 'from above' in another nor do I think that the plurality expressed in one place can be ignored.
The word conveys a concept and I am seeking to grasp that concept. Once the concept is grasped, it is relevant in every one of the thirteen places in which the word is used in scripture.
So I ask for latitude on this occasion that one might arrive at a satisfactory conclusion which will hold good for all usages of the word.
A previous question brought up the subject of ανωθεν, anwthen, which is an interesting and yet perplexing little word.
Except a man be born again ... John 3:3 [KJV] (Also in John 3:7)
'Again' translates the word ανωθεν.
(There is a previous question about being born again, referencing John 3:3 but the question does not cover this one nor do the answers answer it.)
Galatians 4:9 makes it doubtful that ανωθεν can possibly mean simply 'again' since Paul writes παλιν ανωθεν, which both words the KJV translators render as one word 'again'. They do not venture to translate both words, it should be noted, since παλιν means 'again' (thusly over 140 times in the New Testament) and they have already translated ανωθεν as 'again' (in John 3:3 and 3:7) so they avoid giving us 'again again', by just giving us 'again' for the two words.
If ανωθεν meant simply 'again' would Paul write παλιν ανωθεν ? it has to be asked.
In John 19:23, John writes εκ των ανωθεν (translated 'from the top' by KJV) in relation to Jesus' garment for which soldiers gambled.
των is genitive, since that is what the preposition εκ requires. But, remarkably, των is plural.
Therefore, in this place, ανωθεν must be plural !
(Note : this place is dealing with material, presumably the warp and the weft are in view and 'woven throughout' refers to the weft, so does the plurality refer in some way to the multiple strands of the warp ? ?)
- 'απο ανωθεν'
απο ανωθεν, apo anwthen, is used twice (Matthew 27:51 and Mark 15:38) both times in relation to the rent veil, and it would seem that this collocation might well mean 'from above' or 'from the top'.
- From the First
Acts 26:5 and Luke 1:3 both contain the word and it has been translated, in these places 'from the first' in relation to Jews knowing Paul and in relation to Luke's original acquaintance with certain facts.
- From Above
Five other texts contain the word and these instances might well be translated by 'from above' :
John 3:31, John 19:11, James 1:17, James 3:15, James 3:17.
I have here listed all thirteen places in which ανωθεν occurs in the New Testament scriptures and I am interested to discover how this word should be rendered coherently such that we can properly understand Jesus' words in John 3:3 -
'Except a man be born _______'