What does μὴ ἐγκακεῖν mean in Luke 18:1?

What does μὴ ἐγκακεῖν mean in Luke 18:1?

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What does μὴ ἐγκακεῖν mean in Luke 18:1? (Greek text from NA27)

Note ἐγκακέω is the preposition ἔν combined with the verb κακέω. In BDAG “ἐγκακέω is defined as 1. become weary, tired w. ptc. foll. … 2. lose heart, despair …; be afraid, of women in child-birth …” (1979 ed., p 215). The verb κακέω doesn’t occur in the New Testament, but the adjective κακός, ή, όν (bad, worthless, inferior BDAG) does. This adjective is the opposite of καλός, ή, όν

καλός, ή, όν: pertaining to having acceptable characteristics or functioning in an agreeable manner, often with the focus on outward form or appearance—‘good, fine.’

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 622). New York: United Bible Societies.

κακός, ή, όν; κακῶς: pertaining to having experienced harm—‘harmed, harm, injured.’(Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 229)

An example of how these words are used, if food tastes good, it is καλός, while if food tastes bad it is κακός.

I wondering, since κακ is the root of ἐγκακέω, if this word has a fuller meaning than the translations of “to not be weary” or “to not despair” and means “to not be weary of bad, distasteful, and hurtful circumstances.” This fuller meaning does seem to match the parable. However, the fuller meaning could also mean becoming weary of praying and viewing prayer as drudgery (e.g. Gal. 6:9; 2 Thes. 3:13). Maybe someone with a classical Greek background knows more usage of this word.

Supplemental information: The other five New Testament passages with ἐγκακέω. In all six New Testament occurrences it has a negative adverb μὴ or οὐκ.

Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but commending ourselves to every person’s conscience in God’s sight by an open display of the truth. (2 Cor. 4:1–2, ESV, translated give up)

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor. 4:16, ESV, translated give up)

So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. (Gal. 6:9, ESV, translated get tired)

This verse seems to not match because the object is “doing good” (καλὸν ποιοῦντες). However, how the verb matches κακός here is the idea of letting doing good become unpleasant or distasteful, a drudgery; the opposite of the idea in cheerful giver.

So then I ask you not to be discouraged over my afflictions on your behalf, for they are your glory. (Eph. 3:13, ESV, translated be discouraged)

Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thes. 3:13, ESV, translated grow weary)

This has the same sense as Gal. 6:9.


  • Reply May 22, 2023


    Not faint or not be weary.

  • Reply May 30, 2023


    13 Bible Verses about Guarding Yourself..
    1 Peter 5:8
    Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
    1 John 5:21
    Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
    Proverbs 4:23
    Watch over your heart with all diligence,
    For from it flow the springs of life.
    1 Timothy 4:16
    Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
    Psalm 39:1
    For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
    I said, “I will guard my ways
    That I may not sin with my tongue;
    I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
    While the wicked are in my presence.”
    2 John 1:8
    Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
    Ephesians 6:11
    Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
    1 Corinthians 16:13
    Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
    2 Timothy 4:15
    Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.
    Deuteronomy 4:9
    “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
    Ecclesiastes 5:1
    Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.
    1 Timothy 6:20
    O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—
    James 4:7
    Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

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