Here we will perform Analysis Item #1
- How are other Greek words that are translated into the same English word/clause.
- How does the contextual use of these other words in other verses inform our understanding of the use of the same English word in this verse.
In summary, we are identifying whether the word in this verse should be thought of in the same sense that we typically think of the word in English OR are there some refinements and/or boundaries on how we should understand this word in this context.
English Definition of Account
There are multiple senses of account. We will only look at the relevant senses. One of the relevant senses is most easily portrayed by also looking at the definition of a closely related word, accountable.
- an oral or written description of particular events or situations
- an explanatory statement of conduct, as to a superior
- to answer concerning one’s conduct, duties, etc.
- subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.
- an account as in giving a statement about one witnessed
- One nuance of this sense is the idea that a person can give a statement where they bear little or no responsibility
- The other nuance of this sense is the idea that a person can give a report where they bear some or a lot of responsibility
If Hebrews 13:17 uses the first nuanced sense (give a statement without responsibility) then this affects our interpretation of Hebrews 13:17 further away from how the translators have presented it in the English. On the other hand, if Hebrews 13:17 uses the second nuanced sense (give a report where you bear some responsibility) then this keeps us closer to how the translators have chosen to translate this verse.
In Analysis #2 we will look at logos by itself. A brief note needs to be made about one finding there to assist this portion of analysis. It will be shown that the selection of the English word account for logos is rare. The reason logos is translated as account in these contexts rather than the more common ways of translating it is because of the verb that precedes it in each of these cases. In order to properly perform this analysis (Analysis #1) we will need to account for these preceding verbs and one or two clauses that contains logos that are translated to account.
Greek Words Translated to Account
- (76%) 13 0f 17 – logos [noun] (Strong’s 3056) – only looking at the sense of logos which is translated account
- logos preceded by apodidomi or apodidomi ho
- Matthew 12:36; Luke 16:2; Acts 19:40; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 4:5
- logos preceded by sunairo
- Matthew 18:23, 25:19;
- logos preceded by didomi
- Romans 14:12
- logos preceded by protos
- Acts 1:1
- logos in a clause, ego ho logos
- Hebrews 4:13
- (not analyzed) logos preceded by miscellaneous minor words/clauses like the, you and your
- Mark 1:45; Philippians 4:17; 1 Peter 3:15
- logos preceded by apodidomi or apodidomi ho
- #1 – (12%) 2 of 17 – ellogeo [verb] (Strong’s 1677) – charge to one’s account
- Romans 5:13;
- Philemon 18 (compound construction – houtous ego ellogeo)
- #2 – (6%) 1 of 17 – diegesis [noun] (Strong’s 1335) – narrative
- Luke 1:1
- #3 – (6%) 1 of 17 – hupodikos [adjective] (Strong’s 5267) – answerable to
- Romans 3:19
Additional Greek Words Considered
- Verb – 3 occurrences – sunairo (Strong’s 4868) – reckon, settle
- Verb – 48 occurrences – apodidomi (Strong’s 591) – pay, render, give
- Verb – 415 occurrences – didomi (Strong’s 1325) – give
We will not look at protos (Strong’s 1325). It is not needed for this study. You can review it’s meaning in Strong’s Lexicon and see how it used to confirm.
Roadmap for Comparing and Contrasting
There aren’t too many words to consider and the number of verses is also pretty small. We will review all of them. Since we have to understand the Greek word that precedes logos, we are looking at each of the phrases that are translated into account with the exception of apodidomi logos . We will look at apodidomi logos in Analysis #2.
Having already narrowed the set of words by excluding sense of account such as “on account of” (sense: because of), we don’t have to many words/clauses that are opposed to what we find in Hebrews 13:17. Most of this study will be on looking at words/clauses that are relevant for refining. We do have a few clauses (logos preceded by another word) which we haven’t filtered out yet.
- Relevant for Refining – words that are similar or complimentary that help us gain a refined understanding of apodidomi logos
- ellogeo (verb)
- hupodikos (adjective)
- sunairo logos (clause)
- didomi logos (clause)
- ego ho logos (clause)
- Not Very Relevant – words that don’t provide much extra information after looking at the previous words “in opposition” and “for refining”
- diegesis (noun)
- protos logos (clause)
- logos preceded by common words like the, you, your
Before we move to looking at our opposing words/clauses and words that help us to refine, we need to briefly review the word logos and the other verses where the same clause, apodidomi logos, is used.
logos – translated as account
See Keyword – logos and review the definitions of this word.
As mentioned above, we are dealing with a special case for the word logos. We have to consider both logos and the word that precedes it. As a result, we will be looking at several additional Greek words that affect the meaning of logos in particular contexts.
logos preceded by apodidomi/apodidomi ho
See Keyword – apodidomi and review the definitions of this word.
Matthew 12:36 – But I tell you that every worthless word that they speak, people will give an account (apodidomi logos) for it on the day of judgment.
Luke 16:1-2 – And he also said to the disciples, “A certain man was rich, who had a manager. And charges were brought to him that this person was squandering his possessions. And he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give the account (apodidomi ho logos) of your management, because you can no longer manage’
Acts 19:40 – For indeed we are in danger of being accused of rioting concerning today, since there is no cause in relation to which we will be able to give an account (apodidomi logos) concerning this disorderly gathering! And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account (apodidomi logos), so that they can do this with joy and not with groaning, for this would be unprofitable for you.
1 Peter 4:5 – They will give an account (apodidomi logos) to the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
We will study these verses further in Analysis #2, but it should be noted from the contexts above that it is clear that apodidomi logos includes the idea that the person giving the/an account bears some responsibility. This means that in Hebrews 13:17 it doesn’t appear possible that the way translators have translated this portion of text could possibly mean that the ones leading are just giving a statement with no responsibility on their part. This clause, apodidomi logos, denotes that some responsibility is born by the ones leading. This will lead us to another question… What level of responsibility? This will need to be addressed later. <TBD>
Relevant for Refining
None of the following clauses will provide a significant adjustment or refinement to our understanding of apodidomi logos. A simple review of each of the verses should provide enough information to get an idea of the cases where logos is translated to “account”. There appear to be some nuances between the meanings of these clauses, but not enough distinction to deserve commentary.
logos preceded by sunairo
See Keyword – sunairo and review the definitions of this word.
Matthew 18:23 – For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man–a king–who wanted to settle accounts (sunairo logos) with his slaves.
Matthew 25:19 – Now after a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts (sunairo logos) with them.
logos in a clause, ego ho logos
Hebrews 4:13 – And no creature is hidden in the sight of him, but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of him to whom we must give our account (ego ho logos).
ellogeo – to reckon, lay to one’s charge
See Keyword – ellogeo and review the definitions of this word.
Romans 5:13 – for till law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged to one’s account (ellogeo) when there is no law.
Philemon 18 (clause)- But if in anythnig he has caused you loss or owes you anything, charge this to my account (houtos ego ellogeo).
hupodikos – under judgment, debtor to someone
See Keyword – hupodikos and review the definitions of this word.
Romans 3:19 – Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those under the law, in order that every mouth may be closed and the whole world may become accountable (hupodikos) to God.
See Keyword – didomi and review the definitions of this word.
Romans 14:12 – So each one of us will give an account (didomi logos) concerning himself
Not Very Relevant
logos preceded by protos
See Keyword – protos and review the definitions of this word.
Acts 1:1 – I produced the former account (protos logos), O Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
This is clearly a different sense of the word account and it doesn’t add to our study.
diegesis – a narration, narrative
See Keyword – diegesis and review the definitions of this word.
Luke 1:1 – Since many have attempted to compile an account (diegesis) concerning the events that have been fulfilled among us
This is a case of account where Luke is giving an account which doesn’t denote any personal responsibility. He is just giving a narrative of what he witnessed.
- At the beginning of this portion of analysis we considered two possibilities regarding the sense of the word account in Hebrews 13:17:
- the idea that a person can give a statement where they bear little or no responsibility
- is the idea that a person can give a report where they bear some or a lot of responsibility
- Based on studying this verse, the interpretation of (logos) plus it’s immediate context seems pretty clear. Hebrews 13:17 is pointing to the second option where someone gives a report where they bear some or a lot of responsibility. This will leave us with a question that must be resolved by studying the rest of scripture: How much responsibility do the ones leading bear? <TBD>This will be looked at further<TBD>
- Note: Even without any further study, it is already clear that the ones leading do not bear full responsibility. This is evidenced by one of the verses we looked at as part of this analysis. See logos preceded by didomi which shows that “each one of us will give an account concerning himself”. So, we will have to find a balance between Romans 14:12 and Hebrews 13:17 regarding how much responsibility those who are leading have for those who are following them.