Greek Pronunciation [eh PIH stah migh]

HCSB Translation: know

Uses in the NT: 14


“He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John”
(Acts 18:25)


The Greek verb epistamai literally means to stand upon and is a compound word from the preposition epi, meaning upon, and the verb histemi, meaning to stand. The term means to know in a different sense than the more common words ginosko and oida, which emphasize intellectual knowledge and/or knowledge gained through experience. Both ginosko and oida are commonly used for knowing persons, including God, with varying degrees of intimacy. The word epistamai, on the other hand, is rarely used for knowing people and never for knowing God. The main idea behind epistamai is a thorough knowledge of facts, and often understanding the significance of such information, is implied.

The difference between ginosko and epistamai is best demonstrated in the only verse where both verbs occur. In Acts 19:13-17, would-be exorcists attempted to cast out an evil spirit but were rebuked, “I know [ginosko] Jesus, and I recognize [epistamai] Paul—but who are you?” (v. 15).


Word Studies courtesy of the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible. Used with permissions from B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources.

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