4747. stoicheion
Lexical Summary
stoicheion: one of a row, a letter (of the alphabet), the elements (of knowledge)
Original Word: στοιχεῖον
Transliteration: stoicheion
Phonetic Spelling: (stoy-khi'-on)
Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter
Short Definition: one of a row, a letter (of the alphabet), the elements (of knowledge)
Meaning: one of a row, a letter (of the alphabet), the elements (of knowledge)
Strong's Concordance
element, principle, rudiment.

Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of stoicheo; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively) -- element, principle, rudiment.

see GREEK stoicheo

Thayer's Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 4747: στοιχεῖον

στοιχεῖον, στοιχειου, τό (from στοῖχος a row, rank, series; hence, properly, that which belongs to any στοῖχος, that of which a στοῖχος is composed; hence), "any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise; an element, first principle". The word denotes specifically:

1. the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters (which are called γράμματα), but the spoken sounds: στοιχεῖον φωνῆς φωνή ἀσύνθετος, Plato definition, p. 414 e.; τό ῥω τό στοιχεῖον, id. Crat., p. 426 d.; στοιχεῖον ἐστι φωνή ἀδιαιρετος, οὐ πᾶσα δέ, ἀλλ' ἐξ ἧς πεφυκε συνετή γίγνεσθαι φωνή, Aristotle, poet. 20, p. 1456{b}, 22.

2. the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe (ἐστι δέ στοιχεῖον, ἐξ οὗ πρώτου γίνεται τά γινόμενα καί εἰς ἔσχατον ἀναλύεται ... τό πῦρ, τό ὕδωρ, ἀήρ, γῆ, (Diogenes Laërtius Zeno 137); so very often from Plato down, as in Tim., p. 48 b.; in the Scriptures: Wis. 7:17 Wis. 19:17; 2 Peter 3:10, 12.

3. the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens, or (as others think) because in them the elements of man's life and destiny were supposed to reside; so in the earlier ecclesiastical writings: Ep. ad Diogn. 7, 2 [ET]; Justin Martyr, dialog contra Trypho, 23; τά Οὐρανία στοιχεῖα, id. Apology 2, 5; στοιχεῖα Θεοῦ, created by God, Theophilus Ant. ad Autol. 1, 4; cf. Hilgenfeld, Galaterbrief, pp. 66-77. Hence, some interpreters infelicitously understand Paul's phrase τά στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:8, 20, of the heavenly bodies, because times and seasons, and so sacred seasons, were regulated by the course of the sun and moon; yet in unfolding the meaning of the passage on the basis of this sense they differ widely.

4. the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles (cf. our 'alphabet' or 'a b c') of any art, science, or discipline; e. g. of mathematics, as in the title of Euclid's well-known work; στοιχεῖα πρῶτα καί μέγιστα χρήστης πολιτείας, Isocrates, p. 18 a.; τῆς ἀρετῆς, Plutarch, de puer. educ. 16, 2; many examples are given in Passow, under the word, 4, ii., p. 1550b; (cf. Liddell and Scott, under the word, II. 3 and 4). In the N. T. we have τά στοιχεῖα τῆς ἀρχῆς τῶν λογίων τοῦ Θεοῦ (see ἀρχή, 1 b., p. 76{b} bottom), Hebrews 5:12, such as are taught to νήπιοι, Hebrews 5:13; τά στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, the rudiments with which mankind like νήπιοι were indoctrinated before the time of Christ, i. e. the elements of religions training, or the ceremonial precepts common alike to the worship of Jews and of Gentiles, Galatians 4:3, 9, (and since these requirements on account of the difficulty of observing them are to be regarded as a yoke — cf. Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1 — those who rely upon them are said to be δεδουλωμένοι ὑπό τά στοιχεῖα); specifically, the ceremonial requirements especially of Jewish tradition, minutely set forth by theosophists and false teachers, and fortified by specious argument, Colossians 2:8, 20. The phrase τά στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου is fully discussed by Schneckenburger in the Theolog. Jahrbücher for 1848, Part iv., p. 445ff; Neander in the Deutsche Zeitschrift f. Christl. Wissensehaft for 1850, p. 205ff; Kienlen in Reuss u. Cunitz's Beiträge zu d. theolog. Wissenschaften, vol. ii., p. 133ff; E. Schaubach, Comment. qua exponitur quid στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου in N. T. sibi velint. (Meining. 1862).


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