Ginosko- A Greek Word Study



Ginosko –  which is most often translated as “know” or “known” is a word that means so much more than that. This word implies a certain type of knowing that is perhaps best explained in several English words. In English the best way to translate it would probably be to personally, intimately, and experientially know something. As you can see it doesn’t really just mean to know about something but to have known it through personal experience. In light of this Ginosko could have times where it should not be translated to know at all but rather to experience but most of the time it indicates the knowledge that comes from experiencing something in an intimate or personal way. In this way it does exhibit times where it would ocupy part of what we in English call love. There are places both in the New Testament (like in Mathew 1:25) and the Septuagint where this word is used in ways that implies physical intimacy of which produced children. One can see that this doesn’t mean to have head knowledge or understand something but to know something through intimate experience and there for this word could also inhibit and mean a part of what our English word love would mean. However, at its base this word should be translated to know some through intimate personal experience. It would be important to translate it in this way also because Gnosko should be distinguished from another Greek word Oida.

Oida – Is another word that most translators also translate as to “know” in most English Bibles. However, this word means something altogether different than Ginosko’s personal or experiential knowledge but instead Oida means head knowledge or perhaps better said to “understand” something through observation. With this in mind it could probably be better understood as scientific knowledge, things that are able to be known scientifically through observation and therefore could be translated as “observe” or “understand” to signify the type of knowing represented in the word

Ginosko vs Oidamen

Having said this another way to distinguish ginosko from oida is that ginosko is relational, its knowing something because of an experience that allows you to intimately and personally know it. Meanwhile oida has nothing to do with relationship but a knowledge about something through observation. The amazing and fascinating thing to understand is that it is ginosko knowledge (that relational , personal, intimate, experiential knowledge) that Paul is constantly praying that we grow in throughout his letters. When we are exhorted throughout the New Testament to know God it is not Oida that is used (we aren’t called to understand God) but instead much more we are called to Ginosko Him (to experience Him in an personal and intimate way). Amazingly this means we are not called to observe Him and know things about Him but instead to experience Him personally and intimately. Oh what an amazing God He is! How far beyond our understanding (Oida) and yet he wants us to know and experience Him in a personal and intimate way (Ginosko).




  1. Amazing revelation. Thanks for sharing the difference between the two phrases if knowkedge. May God help us in knowing Him through Ginosko knowledge.

    God bless!


  2. Also, Paul used two different types of knowing In account of Luke in acts 19:13-20, verse 15 explicitly says knowing Jesus and knowing Paul which I know (epistêmê) is of two different types, knowing Jesus(ginōskō) and knowing paul(epistamai).


  3. thank you so much fir a very clear explanation of the difference between ginosko and oida.


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