Matthew 10:11 NASB
11 And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay [m]at his house until you leave that city.
What does this word refer to in the above text?
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My 1,700 page supplemented American edition of Liddell & Scott has the word 'deserving' for axios.
Thayer suggests the idea of 'weighty' - having weight.
It is the same word which Paul uses, when writing to Timothy :
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. I Timothy 1:15 KJV.
It is also the same word used by John the Baptist, recorded by Matthew :
he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: Matthew 3:11 KJV.
And, again, in Hebrews 3:3 :
For this [one]('man' is not there in the Greek) was counted worthy of more glory than Moses,
The word occurs about forty-five times in the bible (TR) but there is also a word kataxios 'to be counted worthy' (about six times) which is an interesting expression of the prefix kata, such as :
rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name Acts 5:41 KJV.
I would suggest in this context - Matthew 10:11 - that it is a matter of character. Someone trustworthy. Someone substantial. Not a lightweight.
The word "worthy" is translating the Greek word ἄξιός (axios).
According to BDAG, this word has two basic meanings:
(1) pertaining to having a relatively high degree of comparable worth or value, corresponding, comparable, worthy, eg, (a) of price Rom 8:8, (b) generally of any other relation Luke 3:8, Matt 3:8, Acts 26:20, 1 Thess 1:15, 4:9, Luke 23:15, Acts 25:11, 25, 23:29, 26:31, Luke 23:41, (c) impersonal worthwhile, fitting, proper 1 Cor 16:4, 2 Thess 1:3
(2) pertaining to being correspondingly fitting or appropriate, worthy, fit, deserving (a) in a good sense Matt 10:10, 11, 37, Acts 13:46, Luke 10:7, 1 Tim 5:18, 6:1, etc, (b) in a context in which the evaluation is qualified by unpleasant consequences to the one evaluated, eg, Luke 12:48, Rom 1:32.
In Matt 10:11, the meaning is obviously (2a) as listed above from BDAG. This means ἄξιός might be better translated "appropriate" in a good sense for evangelists to stay - one who understands the importance of the work, who is sympathetic to the cause. and a person of upright and good repute. Ellicott observes for this verse:
Enquire who in it is worthy.--The command was a plain practical rule. The habits of Eastern hospitality would throw many houses open to the preachers which would give no openings for their work, or even bring on them an evil report. From these they were to turn away and to seek out some one who, though poor, was yet of good repute, and willing to receive them as messengers of glad tidings.
Such a selection is not trivial and would generally require inspired decisions, but Jesus promised to go with the disciples (Matt 28:20) so such requirements would be no obstacle.