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Synonyms of the New Testament :: Richard C. Trench

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lviii. φέρω, φορέω.

On the distinction between these words Lobeck (Phrynichus, p. 585) has the following remarks: ‘Inter φέρω et φορέω hoc interesse constat, quod illud actionem simplicem et transitoriam, hoc autem actionis ejusdem continuationem significat; verbi causâ ἀγγελίην φέρειν, est alicujus rei nuncium afferre, Herod. iii. 53 et 122; v. 14; ἀγγελίην φορέειν, iii. 34, nuncii munere apud aliquem fungi. Hinc et φορεῖν dicimur ea quae nobiscum circumferimus, quibus amicti indutique sumus, ut ἱμάτιον, τριβώνιον, δακτύλιον φορεῖν, tum quae ad habitum corporis pertinent.’ He proceeds, however, to acknowledge that this distinction is by no means constantly observed even by the best Greek authors. It is, therefore, the more noticeable, as an example of that accuracy which so often takes us by surprise in the use of words by the writers of the N. T., that they are always true to this rule. On the six occasions upon which φορεῖν occurs (Matt. 11:8; John 19:5; Rom. 13:4; 1 Cor. 15:49, bis; Jam. 2:3), it invariably expresses, not an accidental and temporary, but an habitual and continuous, bearing. ‘Sic enim differt φορεῖν a φέρειν, ut hoc sit ferre, illud ferre solere’ (Fritzsche, on Matt. 11:8). A sentence in Plutarch (Apoph. Reg.), in which both words occur, illustrates very well their different uses. Of Xerxes he tells us: ὀργισθεὶς δὲ Βαβυλωνίοις ἀποστᾶσι, καὶ κρατήσας, προσέταξεν ὅπλα μὴ φέρειν, ἀλλὰ ψάλλειν καὶ αὐλεῖν καὶ πορνοβοσκεῖν καὶ καπηλεύειν, καὶ φορεῖν κολπωτοὺς χιτῶνας. Arms would only be borne on occasions, therefore φέρειν; but garments are habitually worn, therefore this is in the second clause exchanged for φορεῖν.

[The following Strong's numbers apply to this section:G5342,G5409.]

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