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Title: Rhema  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dabar, Logos, Rhema (doctrine), Rheme, Rhema (New Zealand)
Collection: Christian Philosophy, Christology, Language, Language and Mysticism, Names of God in Christianity, Singular God
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


This article examines the Greek word. For the Christian radio station, see Rhema FM. For the technical usage in linguistics, see topic–comment.
The Holy Spirit by Corrado Giaquinto, c. 1750.

Rhema (ῥῆμα in Greek) literally means an "utterance" or "thing said" in Greek.[1] It is a word that signifies the action of utterance.[2]

In philosophy, it was used by both Plato and Aristotle to refer to propositions or sentences.[3]

In Christianity, it is used in reference to the concept of Rhematos Christou; Jesus Christ's sayings.


  • Etymology 1
  • Greek philosophers 2
  • Rhema and Logos in Christianity 3
    • Septuagint usage 3.1
    • Modern usage 3.2
  • Use in the New Testament 4
    • In reference to Rhematos Christou 4.1
    • In other contexts 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6


The Greek noun ῥῆμα "saying, utterance, word, verb" is analyzed as consisting of the root ἐρ-/ῥε- (er-/rhe-) "say" (cf. εἴρω "I say"; ἐρῶ "I will say") and the suffix -μα (-ma), a suffix used to form nouns from verbs. In the New Testament, this noun is used in such instances as 1 Peter 1:25: “τὸ δὲ ῥῆμα Κυρίου μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα” i.e. “the Lord's utterance/saying remains forever”, or more commonly, "the word of the Lord endureth for ever".

Greek philosophers

subject onoma noun
predicate rhema verb
proposition logos sentence

Both Plato (c. 428–347 BC) and Aristotle (384–322 BC) used the terms logos, rhema and onoma. In Plato's usage, a logos (often translatable as a sentence) is a sequence in which verbs are mingled with nouns and every logos must have an onoma and rhema. For Plato, every logos was either true or false and in a logos, names included rhema which denotes actions and onoma a mark set on those who do the actions.[3] Aristotle identified three components as central to the proposition: onoma, rhema and logos. These terms are translated differently depending on the context of the discussion - grammar or logic, as in the table on the right. But it was only in the 12th century that grammarians began to think in terms of units we understand as subject and predicate.[4]

Rhema and Logos in Christianity

In Christianity, rhema is used in Bible study to signify Jesus Christ's utterance. The Greek word rhema is useful to distinguish between two meanings of word. While both rhema and logos are translated into the English word, in the original Greek there was a substantial distinction.

Septuagint usage

The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek uses the terms Rhema and Logos as equivalents and uses both for the Hebrew word Dabar, as the Word of God.[5][6][7]

Modern usage

Some modern usage distinguishes Rhema from Logos in Christian Theology, with Rhema at times called "spoken word,"[8] referring to the revelation received by disciples when the Holy Spirit "speaks" to them.[8][9] In this usage, "Logos" refers to Christ.[10]

In this modern usage, Logos is the "Word of God" Jesus Christ, the subject from Genesis to Revelation. Rhema is the revealed word of God, as an utterance from God to the heart of the receiver via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26

"... the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

In this usage Rhema refers to "a word that is spoken", when the Holy Spirit delivers a message to the heart as in Romans 10:17:[12]

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (rhematos Christou)"

and in the Matthew 4:4:

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God".[12]

Use in the New Testament

In reference to Rhematos Christou

From Strong's Concordance of the Bible (Greek word #4487) Rhema can be found in the following (non exhaustive) New Testament passages to refer to the concept of Rhematos Christou:

  • Mat 4:4 "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhemati) that proceeds from the mouth of God." (also Luke 4:4)
  • Mat 26:75 "And Peter remembered the saying (rhematos) of Jesus, having said to him that, before a rooster calls out, three times you shall totally reject me." (also Mark 14:72)
  • Mat 27:14 "And he did not answer to him not even one word (rhema) so that the governor marveled exceedingly."
  • Luke 1:38 "And Mary said, behold the maidservant of the Lord; may it be to me according to your word (rhema), and the angel went forth from her.
  • Luke 3:2 "with chief priests Annas and Caiphas, came the word (rhema) of God unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness."
  • John 3.34 "For the one whom God has sent speaks the sayings (rhemata) of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit."
  • John 8:20 "These words (rhemata) Jesus spoke in the treasury teaching in the temple; and no one laid hold of him for his hour had not yet come."
  • John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words (rhemata) abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you."
  • Acts 2:14 "And Peter standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and declared to them, Men, Jews, and all the ones dwelling in Jerusalem let this be made known to you and give ear to my words (rhemata)!"
  • Acts 10:37 "You know the thing (rhema) taking place in all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the immersion which John proclaimed."
  • Acts 11:14 "Who shall speak words (rhemata) to you by which you shall be delivered, you and all your house."
  • Acts 11:16 "And I remembered the saying (rhematos) of the Lord, how he said John indeed immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in Holy Spirit."
  • Acts 13:42 "And exiting from out of the synagogue of the Jews, the nations appealed to them in the time between the Sabbath to speak to them these things (rhemata)."
  • Acts 26:25 "But he said I am not mad most noble Festus but speak forth the words (rhemata) of truth and soberness".
  • Romans 10:8 "What does it say, then? The word (rhema) is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word (rhema) of faith, the faith which we proclaim."
  • Romans 10:17-18 "But it is in that way faith comes, from hearing, and that means hearing the word (rhematos) of Christ. Well then, I say, is it possible that they have not heard? Indeed they have: in the entire earth their voice stands out, their message (rhemata) reaches the whole world."
  • 2 Corinthians 12:4 "That he was caught up into Paradise and heard words (rhemata) said that cannot and may not be spoken by any human being."
  • 2 Corinthians 13:1 "This third time I come to you. By the mouth of two witnesses and three every saying (rhema) is established."
  • Ephesians 6.17 "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rhema) of God."
  • Hebrews 6:5 "And tasted the goodness of God's message (rhema) and the powers of the world to come."
  • Hebrews 11:3 "It is by faith that we understand that the ages were created by a word (rhemati) from God, so that from the invisible the visible world came to be."
  • Hebrews 12:19 "And to the trumpet's sound, and to the voice of utterances (rhematon), of which the ones hearing asked pardon for the word to not proceed to them."
  • 1 Peter 1:25 "But the word (rhema) of the Lord remains for ever. And this word (rhema) is the good news that has been brought to you."
  • 2 Peter 3:2 "Remember what was said (rhematon) in the past by the holy prophets and the command of the Lord and Saviour given by your apostles."
  • Jude 1:17 "But you beloved, remember the sayings! (rhematon) the ones being described beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ."

In other contexts

From Strong's Concordance of the Bible (Greek word #4487) Rhema can be found in the following (non exhaustive) New Testament passages to refer to the concept of something being uttered:

  • Acts 6:11 "Then they suborned men, saying that, we have heard him speaking blasphemous words (rhemata) against Moses and God."

See also


  1. ^ The handbook of linguistics by Mark Aronoff, Janie Rees-Miller 2003 ISBN 1-4051-0252-7 page 83 [11]
  2. ^ The Sophists (A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. 3, Part 1) by W. K. C. Guthrie 1977 ISBN 0-521-09666-9 page 220 [12]
  3. ^ a b General linguistics by Francis P. Dinneen 1995 ISBN 0-87840-278-0 page 118 [13]
  4. ^ The history of linguistics in Europe from Plato to 1600 by Vivien Law 2003 ISBN 0-521-56532-4 page 29 [14]
  5. ^ Theological dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 1 by Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey William Bromiley 1985 ISBN 0-8028-2404-8 page 508 [15]
  6. ^ The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Q-Z by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1995 ISBN 0-8028-3784-0 page 1102 [16]
  7. ^ Old Testament Theology by Horst Dietrich Preuss, Leo G. Perdue 1996 ISBN 0-664-21843-1 page 81 [17]
  8. ^ a b What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers 2005 ISBN 0-8054-2692-2 page 162 [18]
  9. ^ The Identified Life of Christ by Joe Norvell 2006 ISBN 1-59781-294-3 page [19]
  10. ^ The Trinitarian controversy by William G. Rusch 1980 ISBN 0-8006-1410-0 page 4 [20]
  11. ^ by Brenda Boggs 2008 ISBN 1-60477-425-8 page 80Holy Spirit, Teach Me
  12. ^ a b by Terry Law ISBN 1-57794-580-8 page 45The Fight of Every Believer
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