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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [1]

A — 1: Ἀναστροφή (Strong'S #391 — Noun Feminine — anastrophe — an-as-trof-ay' )

see Behavior , B, No. 1.

A — 2: Τρόπος (Strong'S #5158 — Noun Masculine — tropos — trop'-os )

"a turning, a manner," is translated simply "be ye," RV in  Hebrews 13:5 , instead of "let your conversation be." See Manner , Means , Way.

A — 3: Πολίτευμα (Strong'S #4175 — Noun Neuter — politeuma — pol-it'-yoo-mah )

see Citizenship , No. 4.

B — 1: Ἀναστρέφω (Strong'S #390 — Verb — anastrepho — an-as-tref'-o )

see Behave , A, No. 1.

B — 2: Πολιτεύομαι (Strong'S #4176 — Verb — politeuo — pol-it-yoo'-om-ahee )

see Citizenship , No. 4, Note.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Conversation . In EV [Note: English Version.] the word is always used in the archaic sense of ‘behaviour,’ ‘conduct.’ In the OT, AV [Note: Authorized Version.] gives it twice (  Psalms 37:14;   Psalms 50:23 ), representing Heb. derek = ‘way’ (cf. RV [Note: Revised Version.] and RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ). In the NT it is used in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] to render three sets of words. (1) The noun anastrophç = ‘behaviour’ (  Galatians 1:13 , Eph 4:22 ,   1 Timothy 4:12 ,   Hebrews 13:7 , Jam 3:13 ,   1 Peter 1:15;   1 Peter 1:18; 1Pe 2:12;   1 Peter 3:1-2;   1 Peter 3:16 ,   2 Peter 2:7;   2 Peter 3:11 ), RV [Note: Revised Version.] substituting in each case ‘manner of life,’ ‘manner of living,’ ‘life,’ ‘living,’ or ‘behaviour’; the vb. anastrephesthai = ‘to behave oneself’ (  2 Corinthians 1:12 ,   Ephesians 2:3 ). (2) The noun politeuma = ‘citizenship’ or ‘commonwealth’ (  Philippians 3:20 ); the vb. politeuesthai = ‘to act as a citizen’ (  Philippians 1:27 ). (3) tropos = ‘manner,’ ‘character,’ lit. ‘turning’ (  Hebrews 13:5 ). Cf. RV [Note: Revised Version.] and RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] throughout. The main point to notice is that in every case ‘conversation’ in the Bible refers not to speech merely, but to conduct .

J. C. Lambert.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [3]

Or discourse, signifies an interlocution between two or more persons, with this distinction, that conversation is used for any general intercourse of sentiments whatever, whereas a discourse means a conversation limited to some particular subject. To render conversation at all times agreeable, the following rules have been laid down,

1. The parties should meet together with a determined resolution to please and to be pleased.

2. No one should be eager to interrupt others, or be uneasy at being interrupted.

3. All should have leave to speak in turn.

4. Inattention should be carefully avoided.

5. Private concerns should never be mentioned, unless particularly enquired into, and even then as briefly as possible.

6. Each person should, as far as propriety will admit, be afforded an opportunity of discoursing on the subject with which he is best acquainted.

7. Stories should be avoided, unless short, pointed, and quite a propos.

8. Each person should speak often, but not long. Haranguing in private company is insupportable.

9. If the majority of the company be naturally silent or reserved, the conversation will flag, unless it be often renewed by one who can start new subjects.

10. It is improper to laugh at one's own wit and humour; this should be left to the company.

11. When the conversation is flowing in a serious and useful channel, never interrupt it by an ill-timed jest.

12. It is at all times extremely indelicate to whisper to one's next neighbour: this is in some degree a fraud, conversation being a kind of common property.

13. In speaking of absent people, the infallible rule is, to say no more than we should say if they were present. "I resolve, " said bishop Beveridge, "never to speak of a man's virtues to his face, nor of his faults behind his back." A golden rule! the observation of which would at once banish flattery and defamation from the world.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

This word is not used in scripture in the sense of familiar discourse. It occurs in the O.T. in  Psalm 37:14;  Psalm 50:23 , and refers to the walk; it reads in the margin 'the upright of way,' 'that disposeth his way.' In the N.T. the word ἀνασττοφή has a similar sense of 'walk, conduct, behaviour,'  Galatians 1:13;  Ephesians 4:22;  1 Timothy 4:12; and in all other passages except  Philippians 1:27; and  Philippians 3:20 (where it is πολίτευμα, 'citizenship' which for the Christian is in heaven, separating him from citizenship on earth and its politics); and Heb.13:5, τρόπος,'general manner of life.'

King James Dictionary [5]


1. General course of manners behavior deportment especially as it respects morals.

Let your conversation be as becometh the gospel.  Philippians 1 .

Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.  1 Peter 1 .

2. A keeping company familiar intercourse intimate fellowship or association commerce in social life. Knowledge of men and manners is best acquired by conversation with the best company. 3. Intimate and familiar acquaintance as a conversation with books, or other object. 4. Familiar discourse general intercourse of sentiments chat unrestrained talk opposed to a formal conference.

What I mentioned in conversation was not a new thought.

This is now the most general use of the word.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

In the Bible, usually means the whole tenor of one's life, intercourse with his fellow men,  Galatians 1:13   Ephesians 4:22   1 Peter 1:15 . Another word is employed in  Philippians 3:20 , which means, "our citizenship is in heaven." For conversation in modern sense of discourse, the English version generally has communication,  2 Kings 9:11   Matthew 5:37   Ephesians 4:29 .

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): (n.) Familiar intercourse; intimate fellowship or association; close acquaintance.

(2): (n.) General course of conduct; behavior.

(3): (n.) Commerce; intercourse; traffic.

(4): (n.) Colloquial discourse; oral interchange of sentiments and observations; informal dialogue.

(5): (n.) Sexual intercourse; as, criminal conversation.

Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection [8]

In Andrew Fuller's diary is the following entry:–'Jan. 3, 1782. This afternoon being on a visit, as I stepped aside from the company, I overheard one of them saying, 'I love Mr. Fuller's company, it is so diverting,' This expression moved me much. Oh, wretch that I am! Is this to have my speech seasoned with grace? O Lord, forgive me! Some humbling thoughts for the above in prayer.'

'4th. Tender this morning in remembering the above circumstance. Lord, make me more spiritual in time to come.'

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Ephesians 2:3 4:22 Psalm 50:23 Hebrews 13:5 Philippians 1:27,3:20

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Jeremiah 38:27  Psalm 37:14 Galatians 1:13 James 3:3

People's Dictionary of the Bible [11]

Conversation.  Philippians 3:20, A. V., but the R. V. reads more accurately "citizenship."

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

( דֶּרֶךְ , De'Rek Way ,  Psalms 38:14; Psalms 1, 23; Apocrypha and N.T. Ἀναστροφή , but Τρόπος in 2 Maccabees 20:12;  Hebrews 13:5) is never used in the Scriptures in the sense of Verbal Communication , but always in its now obsolete meaning of course of life or deportment, including all one's words and acts. In  Philippians 1:27;  Philippians 3:20, a different term is found in the original ( Πολιτεύομαι , Πολίτευμα ), which literally signifies residence, or relations to a community as a citizen. (See Citizenship).

Orientals are little in the habit of repairing to each other's houses for the purpose of social intercourse, but rather prefer to resort to some spot out of doors, where friends can meet together, and for this purpose the gate of the city is generally chosen. (See Gate). Such was the custom of old, and, accordingly, we find that to each city among the Jews there was an open space near the gate, which was fitted up with seats for the accommodation of the people ( Genesis 19:1;  Psalms 69:12). Those who were at leisure occupied a position on these seats, and either amused themselves with witnessing those who came in and went out, and with any trifling occurrences that might present themselves to their notice, or attended to the judicial trials, which were commonly investigated at public places of this kind ( Genesis 34:20;  Ruth 4:11;  Psalms 26:4-5;  Psalms 127:5). Promenading, so agreeable in colder latitudes, is wearisome and unpleasant in the warm climates of the East, and this is probably one reason why the inhabitants of those climates preferred holding intercourse with one another while sitting near the gate of the city, or beneath the shade of the fig-tree and the vine ( 1 Samuel 22:6;  Micah 4:4).

This mode of passing the time is still customary in the East. "It is no uncommon thing," says Mr. Jowett, "to see an individual or a group of persons, even when very well dressed, sitting with their feet drawn under them, upon the bare earth, passing whole hours in idle conversation. Europeans would require a chair, but the natives here (Syria) prefer the ground; in the heat of summer and autumn, it is pleasant to them to while away their time in this manner under the shade of a tree. Richly-adorned females, as well as men, may often be seen thus amusing themselves."

The Orientals, when engaged in conversation, are, in general, very mild in their demeanor, and do not feel themselves at liberty directly to contradict the person with whom they are conversing, although they may at the same time be aware that he is telling them falsehoods. The ancient Hebrews, in particular, very rarely used any terms of reproach more severe than those of שָׂטָן , Satan' , meaning "adversary," or "opposer;" רֵיקָה , Reykah , Paccia , "contemptible;" and sometimes נָבָל , Nabal , "fool," an expression which means "a wicked man," or "an atheist," not, as with us, a person deficient in understanding ( Job 2:10;  Psalms 14:1;  Isaiah 32:6;  Matthew 5:22;  Matthew 16:23). (See Fool).

When anything was said which was not acceptable, the dissatisfied person replied, "Let it suffice thee" ( Deuteronomy 3:26), or "It is enough" ( Luke 22:38). In addressing a superior, the Hebrews did not commonly use the pronouns of the first and second person, but instead of "I," they said "thy servant,"' and instead of "thou," they employed the words "my lord." Instances of this mode of expression repeatedly occur in Scripture (as in  Genesis 32:4;  Genesis 44:16;  Genesis 44:19;  Genesis 46:34;  Daniel 10:17;  Luke 1:38). The form of assent or affirmation was, "Thou hast said," or "Thou hast rightly said;" and modern travelers inform us that this is the prevailing mode of a person's expressing his assent or affirmation to this day in some parts of the East, especially when they do not wish to assert anything in express terms (comp.  Matthew 26:64). (See Affirmative).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

kon - vẽr - sā´shun ( ἀναστροφή , anastrophḗ , ὁμιλία , homilı́a ): This word is another illustration of the changes which time makes in a living language. The modern sense of the term is mutual talk, colloquy, but in the King James Version it never means that, but always behavior, conduct. This broader meaning, at a time not much later than the date of the King James Version, began to yield to the special, limited one of today, perhaps, as has been suggested, because speech forms so large a part of conduct. The New Testament words for "converse" in the modern sense are homiléō ( Luke 24:14 ,  Luke 24:15;  Acts 20:11 ) and sunomilḗō ( Acts 10:27 ).

(1) In the Old Testament the word used to indicate conduct is דּרך , derekh , "way" the course one travels (the King James Version  Psalm 37:14; margin  Psalm 50:23 ). It is the common Hebrew idea of conduct, possibly due, as Hatch thinks, to the fact that in Syria intercourse between village and village was so much on foot, with difficulty on stony tracks over the hills, and this is reflected in the metaphor.

(2) In the New Testament the idea of deportment is once rendered by trópos , "Let your conversation be without covetousness" ( Hebrews 13:5 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "be ye free from the love of money"; the Revised Version, margin "let your turn of mind be free"). But the usual Greek word is anastrophē , "a turning up and down," possibly due to the fact, as Hatch again avers, that life in the bustling streets of Athens and Rome gave rise to the conception of life as quick motion to and fro. "Ye have heard of my conversation" ( Galatians 1:13 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "manner of life"). So also   Ephesians 4:22;  1 Timothy 4:12;  Hebrews 13:7; "Let him show out of a good conversation" ( James 3:13 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "by his good life"); "vexed with the filthy conversation" (  2 Peter 2:7 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "lascivious life"); "holy conversation" (  2 Peter 3:11 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "holy living"); "Our conversation is in heaven" (  Philippians 3:20 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "citizenship" (which see)). See also in the Apocrypha (Tobit 4:14; 2 Macc 5:8).

The translations in the Revisions put a wholesome emphasis upon conduct, and eliminate the danger of much misunderstanding. See further Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek .