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In Colossians 3:5 it says "therefore put to death your members which are on the earth..." (NKJV).

Various articles online point out that the original Greek for "put to death" is nekrosate which is apparently an imperative; a command to "put to death!".

But when I use the Strongs component of the Blue Letter Bible, I am told the Greek, G3499, is nekroō. The meaning, apparently, is "to deaden".

I don't know if nekrosate and nekroō are supposed to be the same word. However, it doesn't seem like nekroō is an imperative, since its other uses are Romans 4:19, and Hebrews 11:12. In those verses it doesn't seem to be imperative. For instance, Romans 4:19 is, "and not being weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead".

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    In case you don't know, on that site, click "interlinear" and it will show parallel Greek and English wording. ("Forward" and "Fwd Inline" will show them in the original Greek word order, which is often more useful) You'll see the English, Greek, romanized, Strong's, Greek root, romanized, and a code like "V-AAM-2P". Hovering over the code interprets it as "Verb, Active Aorist iMperative, 2nd person, Plural". Clicking on the code will create a sub-window with all the information in an easier to read format. (For Hebrew scripture, be aware the the Fwd Inline will be arranged right-to-left.) Commented Apr 8 at 16:18
  • The exhortations in the New Testament in regard to being, oneself, mortified to sin are based on union with Christ in his death ; being crucified with Christ, dead with Christ, risen with Christ, ascended with Christ and being 'seated in the heavenlies' with Christ.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 9 at 5:04
  • Thank you, your clarifications regarding the Blue Letter Bible site were useful. I'm still confused as to why if I'm on the "Forward" tab, it will show the transliteration of G3499 as nekroō, but if I click on the "Fwd Inline", it gives two readings for G3499, both nekroō and nekrōsate. I'm sure my confusion is related to my lack of understanding regarding the Greek language.
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 10 at 7:23

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Short Answer: The word is indeed Νεκρώσατε (Nekrosate). The Strong's does not explain every form of a word. Instead it shows the root word.

This is because Strong’s dictionary is not specific to any particular word within any particular passage, it is generic based only upon Greek roots, and cannot be used in word studies of any Greek words found in the Greek New Testament.[a]

Colossians 3:5 (Greek NT: Nestle 1904, Westcott and Hort 1881, RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005, Greek Orthodox Church, Scrivener's Textus Receptus 1894, Stephanus Textus Receptus 1550):

  • Greek: Νεκρώσατε (Nekrosate)
  • Definition: To put to death or mortify

Romans 4:19:

  • Greek: νενεκρωμένον (nenekromenon)

  • Definition: Having become dead or as good as dead

Hebrews 11:12:

  • Greek: νενεκρωμένου (nenekromenou)

  • Definition: Having been as good as dead or become dead


Thayer's Greek Lexicon

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You may also notice "nekroó" is the verb form derived from the adjective and sometimes noun "nekros." Nekros is related to death or rendering something as lifeless, whether in a literal or metaphorical sense.

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  • Thank you, I think I am beginning to understand. You're telling me that the Strongs might refer to the root word, rather than the actual word that is used in the text? I now understand that if I click on the "Fwd Inline" tab of Blue Letter Bible, I can now see nekrōsate referred to, as well as nekroō. I'm still confused as to why the Strongs would refer to the root word, rather than the actual form. Does it often do that? I've never come across it before, or have never known to consider it.
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 10 at 7:27
  • Thank you for your reply. Please allow me to seek clarification once more: would the original Greek manuscripts have used nekrōsate or nekroō? If it is nekrōsate, then why would it be difficult for the Strongs to state that word, rather than the root word?
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 10 at 8:01
  • @Luke No problem! If a concordance was assembled, which listed all the variances of all the words to their exact meaning within just the Greek New Testament, it would be hundreds of thousands of pages long because of the diversity of words from their original root meaning to the specific meaning of that word with in a specific passage. Therefore, a manageable concordance could ONLY be based upon the root words, but as James Strong says himself in his preface, his dictionary was never meant for Word study.
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 10 at 8:09
  • This is very enlightening. I think it also proves I need to do some rudimentary study of how the Greek language works! I don't currently understand what is meant by the statement that the Strongs only uses root words. I actually just dug out a physical copy of the Strong's concordance to see how it compares to Blue Letter Bible online. Like online, the physical book tells me if a certain Greek word is a primary word, or it tells me what primary word it derives from. So does this contradict the explanation that the Strongs only deals with root words? Or am I confusing meanings?
    – Luke
    Commented Apr 10 at 8:20
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Jason_
    Commented Apr 10 at 8:55

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