exousia (noun) – power, authority, right, freedom to choose
From Strong’s Lexicon
- power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases
- leave or permission
- physical and mental power
- the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)
- the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others)
- authority over mankind
- the power of judicial decisions
- of authority to manage domestic affairs
- a thing subject to authority or rule; jurisdiction
- one who possesses authority; a ruler, a human magistrate; the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates
- a sign of the husband’s authority over his wife
- the veil with which propriety required a woman to cover herself
- the sign of regal authority, a crown
Strong, J. (2001). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
From Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary
Entry on Authority
denotes “authority” (from the impersonal verb exesti, “it is lawful”). From the meaning of “leave or permission,” or liberty of doing as one pleases, it passed to that of “the ability or strength with which one is endued,” then to that of the “power of authority,” the right to exercise power, e.g., Matt. 9:6; 21:23; 2 Cor. 10:8; or “the power of rule or government,” the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others, e.g., Matt. 28:18; John 17:2; Jude 25; Rev. 12:10; 17:13; more specifically of apostolic “authority,” 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10; the “power” of judicial decision, John 19:10; of “managing domestic affairs,” Mark 13:34. By metonymy, or name-change (the substitution of a suggestive word for the name of the thing meant), it stands for “that which is subject to authority or rule,” Luke 4:6 (RV, “authority,” for the KJV “power”); or, as with the English “authority,” “one who possesses authority, a ruler, magistrate,” Rom. 13:1-3; Luke 12:11; Titus 3:1; or “a spiritual potentate,” e.g., Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15; 1 Pet. 3:22. The RV usually translates it “authority.”
In 1 Cor. 11:10 it is used of the veil with which a woman is required to cover herself in an assembly or church, as a sign of the Lord’s “authority” over the church.
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (45). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
Entry on Jurisdiction
“power, authority,” is used, by metonymy, to denote “jurisdiction,” in Luke 23:7. For the different meanings of the word and other instances of its use by metonymy
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (338). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
Entry on Liberty
“authority, right,” is rendered “liberty” in 1 Cor. 8:9 (marg., “power”), “this liberty of yours,” or “this right which you assert.”
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (366). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
Entry on Power
denotes “freedom of action, right to act”; used of God, it is absolute, unrestricted, e.g., Luke 12:5 (RV marg., “authority”); in Acts 1:7 “right of disposal” is what is indicated; used of men, authority is delegated. Angelic beings are called “powers” in Eph. 3:10 (cf. 1:21); 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15 (cf. 2:10).
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (479). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
Entry on Right (not wrong), Rightly
“authority, power,” is translated “right” in the RV, for KJV, “power,” in John 1:12; Rom. 9:21; 1 Cor. 9:4, 5, 6, 12 (twice), 18; 2 Thess. 3:9, where the “right” is that of being maintained by those among whom the ministers of the gospel had labored, a “right” possessed in virtue of the “authority” given them by Christ, Heb. 13:10; Rev. 22:14.
Exousia first denotes “freedom to act” and then “authority for the action.” This is first true of God, Acts 1:7. It was exercised by the Son of God, as from, and in conjunction with, the Father when the Lord was upon earth, in the days of His flesh, Matt. 9:6; John 10:18, as well as in resurrection, Matt. 28:18; John 17:2. All others hold their freedom to act from God (though some of them have abused it), whether angels, Eph. 1:21, or human potentates, Rom. 13:1. Satan offered to delegate his authority over earthly kingdoms to Christ, Luke 4:6, who, though conscious of His “right” to it, refused, awaiting the divinely appointed time.
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (534). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.