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NAVE: Barbarian
EBD: Barbarian
SMITH: BARBARIAN
ISBE: BARBARIAN; BARBAROUS
Barachiah | Barachias | Barachias, Berechiah | Barak | Barakel | Barbarian | Barber | Barchus | Barefoot | Barhumite | Barhumite, The

Barbarian

Barbarian [EBD]

a Greek word used in the New Testament (Rom. 1:14) to denote one of another nation. In Col. 3:11, the word more definitely designates those nations of the Roman empire that did not speak Greek. In 1 Cor. 14:11, it simply refers to one speaking a different language. The inhabitants of Malta are so called (Acts 28:1,2, 4). They were originally a Carthaginian colony. This word nowhere in Scripture bears the meaning it does in modern times.

Barbarian [NAVE]

BARBARIAN, a foreigner, Acts 28:2-4; Rom. 1:14; 1 Cor. 14:11; Col. 3:11.
See: Stranger.

BARBARIAN [SMITH]

"every one not a Greek is a barbarian" is the common Greek definition, and in this strict sense the word is sued in (Romans 1:14) It often retains this primitive meaning, as in (1 Corinthians 14:11; Acts 28:24)

BARBARIAN; BARBAROUS [ISBE]

BARBARIAN; BARBAROUS - bar-ba'-ri-an, bar'-ba-rus (barbaros): A word probably formed by imitation of the unintelligible sounds of foreign speech, and hence, in the mouth of a Greek it meant anything that was not Greek, language, people or customs. With the spread of Greek language and culture, it came to be used generally for all that was non-Greek. Philo and Josephus sometimes called their own nation "barbarians," and so did Roman writers up to the Augustan age, when they adopted Greek culture, and reckoned themselves with the Greeks as the only cultured people in the world. Therefore Greek and barbarian meant the whole human race (Rom 1:14).

In Col 3:11, "barbarian, Scythian" is not a classification or antithesis but a "climax" (Abbott) = "barbarians, even Scythians, the lowest type of barbarians." In Christ, all racial distinctions, even the most pronounced, disappear.

In 1 Cor 14:11 Paul uses the term in its more primitive sense of one speaking a foreign, and therefore, an unintelligible language: "If then I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh will be a barbarian unto me." The speaking with tongues would not be a means of communication. The excited inarticulate ejaculations of the Corinthian revivalists were worse than useless unless someone had the gift of articulating in intelligible language the force of feeling that produced them (dunamis tes phones, literally, "the power of the sound").

In Acts 28:2,4 (in the King James Version of Acts 28:2 "barbarous people" = barbarians) the writer, perhaps from the Greek-Roman standpoint, calls the inhabitants of Melita barbarians, as being descendants of the old Phoenician settlers, or possibly in the more general sense of "strangers." For the later sense of "brutal," "cruel," "savage," see 2 Macc 2:21; 4:25; 15:2.

T. Rees


Also see definition of "Barbarian" in Word Study


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