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Easton's Bible Dictionary


used of children generally (Mat 11:25; 21:16; Luk 10:21; Rom 2:20). It is used also of those who are weak in Christian faith and knowledge (1Cr 3:1; Hbr 5:13; 1Pe 2:2). In Isa 3:4 the word "babes" refers to a succession of weak and wicked princes who reigned over Judah from the death of Josiah downward to the destruction of Jerusalem.

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia



(1) na‘ar; pais of a male infant 3 months old (Ex 2:6) translated elsewhere "boy" or "lad."

(2) ‘olel, ta‘alulim, in the general sense of "child" (Ps 8:2; 17:14; Isa 3:4).

(3) brephos an unborn or newborn child (King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) of Lu 1:41,44; 2:12,16; 1Pe 2:2 and the Revised Version (British and American) of Lu 18:15 [AV "infants"]; Ac 7:19 [King James Version, "young children"] and 2Ti 3:15 [King James Version, "child"]).

(4) nepios =( Latin infans) "a child that cannot speak." (King James and the Revised Version (British and American) of Mt 11:25; 21:16; Lu 10:21; Ro 2:20; 1Co 3:1; Heb 5:13) the same word is translated "child," plural "children" (in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) of 1Co 13:11; Ga 4:1,3; Eph 4:14) the verb nepiazete is translated in the King James Version "be ye children" and in the Revised Version (British and American) "be ye babes" (1Co 14:20). Nepios is used metaphorically of those who are like children, of simple and single minds, as opposed to the "wise and understanding" (Mt 11:25 =Lu 10:21; compare 1Co 14:20). "Babes in Christ" are men of little spiritual growth, carnal as opposed to spiritual (1Co 3:1; compare Heb 5:13; Eph 4:14). Nepios is also used of a child as a minor or infant in the eye of the law (Ga 4:1,3).

Written by T. Rees

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g1025 Greek: brephos



(a) "an unborn child," as in Luk 1:41,44;

(b) "a newborn child, or an infant still older," Luk 2:12, 16; 18:15; Act 7:19; 2Ti 3:15; 1Pe 2:2.

2 Strong's Number: g3516 Greek: nepios


lit., "without the power of speech," denotes "a little child," the literal meaning having been lost in the general use of the word. It is used

(a) of "infants," Mat 21:16;

(b) metaphorically, of the unsophisticated in mind and trustful in disposition, Mat 11:25 and Luk 10:21, where it stands in contrast to the wise; of those who are possessed merely of natural knowledge, Rom 2:20; of those who are carnal, and have not grown, as they should have done, in spiritual understanding and power, the spiritually immature, 1Cr 3:1, those who are so to speak partakers of milk, and "without experience of the word of righteousness," Hbr 5:13; of the Jews, who, while the Law was in force, were in state corresponding to that of childhood, or minority, just as the word "infant" is used of a minor, in English law, Gal 4:3, "children;" of believers in an immature condition, impressionable and liable to be imposed upon instead of being in a state of spiritual maturity, Eph 4:14, "children." "Immaturity" is always associated with this word.
See CHILD, No. 7

Note: The corresponding verb, nepiazo, is found in 1Cr 14:20, where believers are exhorted to be as "babes" (RV) in malice, unable to think or speak maliciously.

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