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Greek Word Study - Corrupt

The modern issues of euthanasia (“mercy killing”) and abortion are not new. Centuries before Christ, Greek physicians were taking the Hippocratic Oath, which included these lines: “I will not give a death-¬producing medicine to anyone when I am asked to do so . . . similarly I will not give to a woman the means of producing an abortion.”

Of interest to us in New Testament study is the Greek word for “abortion.” It comes from a common verb phtheiro (FTHAY row), which meant to introduce a corrupting element which would result in destruction. Note this idea of corruption and ultimate destruction in the following New Testament passages. “Evil companions will corrupt/destroy good morals” (1 Cor 15:33). Just as Eve was deceived, a sincere and devout mind can be corrupted/led astray by a false teacher (2 Cor 11:3). Because our old nature is “being corrupted/destroyed by deceitful lusts” (Eph 4:22), God has provided us a way to “escape from the corruption/destruction that is in the world . . . and become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet l:4). Carnal men who defile the flesh and revile what is spiritual “corrupt/destroy themselves” in their error. The great harlot of John’s vision “corrupted/ defiled the earth with her fornication” (Rev 19:2). In all these passages the pattern is the same: corruption is introduced, and destruction ultimately follows.

But -- praise God! – some things cannot be corrupted, defiled, or destroyed! Above all else, God Himself is incorruptible and undying (Rom 1:23). We Christians are born anew by the imperishable seed of his word (1 Pet 1:4) and have immortality through the gospel (2 Tim 1:10). We who love Jesus with an undying love (Eph 6:24) can look forward to an immortal resurrection body (1 Cor 15:42), an incorruptible crown (1 Cor 9:25), and an imperishable inheritance (1 Pet 1 :4). Therefore, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim 1:17).

(The traditional “Hippocratic Oath” is printed in another file in this directory.)