Nous, although mostly translated
mind, is, more precisely, understanding. The passages, twenty-four
of them, are worth individual consideration.
There is also, once, nounechos
(literally: having nous), which is used very effectively
of the lawyer who “answered discreetly” (Mar 12:34)
concerning the Great Commandment.
The verb noeo is straightforward
enough: to understand. In Mar 8:17 it is reinforced: “Perceive ye
not yet, neither understand?” (The last word there is suniemi
— see below.)
The more emphatic dianoia usually
gets the same translation “mind”. But there is one noteworthy phrase
in Mary’s hymn of praise: “He (the Lord) hath scattered the proud in
the imagination of their hearts” (Luk 1:51). This is the more
impressive when the allusion to Gen 6:5 is recognized: “And God saw...that
the imagination (LXX: dianoia) of man’s heart was
only evil continually.”
The associated noun noema seems to
be used of human thoughts and designs only in a derogatory sense: “We are
not ignorant of his (the Satan’s) devices” (2Co 2:11).
“Their minds were blinded” (3:14). “So your minds
should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (11:3). So
also 4:4; 10:5; Phi 4:7.
Another verb of even greater force is
suniemi, with its emphasis on mental grasp of ideas and
principles; as in “understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph
5:17); “then opened he their understanding (nous) that they
might understand (suniemi) the scriptures” (Luk
The number of times that this verb is used in the
NT (twenty-six, along with the noun sunesis, seven, and its
adjective sunetos, four) is a standing rebuke of the sloppiness of
much modern religion, and is a firm justification of the Christadelphian
tradition that, to the best of his ability, a man should bring his mind
into constant activity in his religion.
Yet at the same time there is implicit warning
against a mere academic attitude: “I (the Lord) will bring to nought the
understanding (sunesis) of the prudent (sunetos)”
(1Co 1:19). “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent
(sunetos)” (Luk 10:21).
“As a fig tree casteth her untimely
figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind” (Rev 6:13).
Olunthos occurs here and in Song of
Sol. 2:13 only. That excellent lexicographer Edward Robinson says these figs
“are such as grow under the leaves, and do not ripen at the proper season,
but hang on the trees during the winter”. But this can hardly be the
meaning in these verses, for “the fig tree putteth forth her green
(olunthos) figs” comes in a description of springtime. And
it was at Passover when Jesus cursed the fruitless fig tree because it had not
even those green figs, and therefore no promise at all of fruit later in the
season (Mat 21:19).
So Rev 6:13 ought to be read with regard to green
figs in the spring. It is noteworthy that in AD 70 the siege of Jerusalem began
at Passover, and also that the Second Coming of the Lord will probably be at
Passover (see “Passover”, HAW, ch. 14). Both interpretations
of the Sixth Seal are possible, but reference to the time of Constantine is a