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Greek Word Study - Transform

The view from Mt. Herman’s 9,000 foot summit was spectacular, but it did not compare with the sight immediately before Peter’s eyes. There stood Jesus, transfigured. His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light (Matt 17:2). For this brief moment in time Jesus radiated His true glory.

The word for “transfigured” in the original Greek New Testament was metamorphoo (meh tah mor PHAW oh). It is from this same word that we get the word “metamorphosis,” a complete change of form such as from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Surprisingly, the two other times metamorphoo is used in the New Testament, it does not refer to Jesus but to us! By Jesus' power we too can be transformed—spiritually. Thus Paul charges us, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewal of your minds” (Rom 12:2).

This transformation, however, does not take place all at once. 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 uses a reverse parallel to show that it is a gradual process. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai the glory radiating from his face was a fading glory. A veil hid the gradual decline. But we, with unveiled face, behold the unfading glory of our Lord and are “being changed (metamorphoo) degree by degree into the same image of His glory. Finally, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Our transformation—our metamorphosis—will be complete!