What are the differences and similarities in the meanings of light ( φωτισμός, οῦ, ὁ ) in

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

and brightness ( ἀπαύγασμα, ατος, τό ) in

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:


Note: Both in 2 Corinthians 4:6 ( interlinear, various ) & Hebrews 1:3 the words are translated as radiance in different translations.

2 Answers 2


Semantically, glory (doxa) is equivalent to φωτισμός. ἀπαύγασμα in Greek means "shining from a source" (e.g. as light beam from the sun or light from a candle).

"Kabod was translated as doxa in Greek Old Testament, and then as “glory” in the English Bible. Doxa, as the beam of God's light on the tabernacle, was more than just a show --- it was a tangible expression of God's presence. (WJ de Kock, 2014).

"Literally "to shine forth or give light from an original source or instrument." It is explained by the Greek authorities as meaning either "a beaming forth or radiance, i.e. as a ray which flows forth from the light..."(ἀπαύγασμα, Strongs #541)

In Hebrews 1:3, it says that the Son of God is the light from the Glory i.e. light, who is the Father. Hence the Nicaean Creed's Jesus being "Light from Light" (ca. 325 CE). Note that the next phrase "exact imprint of his nature" (ESV), literally in Greek, "exact impression of the Glory's nature" refers to Jesus being "con substantial" (i.e. of the same nature) with the Father.

Hebrews 1:3 didn't have αὐτοῦ for the first clause. αὐτοῦ is absent in all Greek MSS I have seen online.

According to the Greek, αὐτοῦ in φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ refers back to ὃς (Jesus not God the Father).

ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ,

  1. The effulgence of the Glory

  2. The exact Imprint of Glory's nature [most natural reading since the antedecent refers to τῆς δόξης.


τῆς δόξης] of His (the divine) glory or majesty. For the following αὐτοῦ belongs equally to Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς as to Τῆς ὙΠΟΣΤΆΣΕΩς. (Meyer, 1880)


In comparison to φωτισμός, ἀπαύγασμα, (from Logeion), is an effulgence (perhaps in the sense bursting of light), taken to an extreme (radiance), ("apa+gasm", "further than" + "efflux", a sense of outflooding, radiating, or bursting).

In the case of Hebrews, the author is clearly exercising word-choice, (diction), using a metaphor that indicates an extreme degree of glory, a sense of an intense bursting/explosion of glory (radiance). The sense of "different degree" is arguably indicated by the prefix, "ἀπα-" (away from, further than).

On the other hand, φωτισμός is a very common metaphor that indicates the value and role of knowledge, (but does not carry a noticeable emphatic sense).

Logieon Lexical Entries, for: ἀπαύγασμα -ματος, τό — resplandor φωτὸς ἀϊδίου LXX Sap.7.26, δόξης Ep.Hebr.1.3, Gr.Nyss.Fid.63.26, οἷον ἁγίων ἀ. Ph.1.337, φωτὸς ἀ. Hld.5.27.4, τῆς γὰρ ὕλης καὶ πονηρίας εἰσὶν ἀ. Tat.Orat.15.

In my opinion, this term does not necessarily have to indicate "light", there could be "beyond (ἀπα) an efflux of chocolate", (a chocolate explosion?).

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