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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [1]

A — 1: Ἀπόκρισις (Strong'S #612 — Noun Feminine — apokrisis — ap-ok'-ree-sis )

lit., "a separation or distinction," is the regular word for "answer,"  Luke 2:47;  20:26;  John 1:22;  19:9 .

A — 2: Ἀπόκριμα (Strong'S #610 — Noun Neuter — apokrima — ap-ok'-ree-mah )

akin to No. 1, denotes a judicial "sentence,"  2—Corinthians 1:9 , AV, and RV, margin, or an "answer" (RV, text), an answer of God to the Apostle's appeal, giving him strong confidence. In an ancient inscription it is used of an official decision. In a papyrus document it is used of a reply to a deputation. See Sentence.

A — 3: Χρηματισμός (Strong'S #5538 — Noun Masculine — chrematismos — khray-mat-is-mos' )

"a Divine response, an oracle," is used in  Romans 11:4 , of the answer given by God to Elijah's complaint against Israel. See the verb under Call.

A — 4: Ἀπολογία (Strong'S #627 — Noun Feminine — apologia — ap-ol-og-ee'-ah )

a "verbal defense, a speech in defense," is sometimes translated "answer," in the AV,  Acts 25:16;  1—Corinthians 9:3;  2—Timothy 4:16 , all which the RV corrects to "defense." See  Acts 22:1;  Philippians 1:7,16;  2—Corinthians 7:11 , "clearing." Once it signifies an "answer,"  1—Peter 3:15 . Cp. B, No. 4. See Clearing , Defense

 1—Peter 3:21

B — 1: Ἀποκρίνομαι (Strong'S #611 — Verb — apokrinomai — ap-ok-ree'-nom-ahee )

akin to A, No. 1, above, signifies either "to give an answer to a question" (its more frequent use) or "to begin to speak," but always where something has preceded, either statement or act to which the remarks refer, e.g.,  Matthew 11:25;  Luke 14:3;  John 2:18 . The RV translates by "answered," e.g.,  Matthew 28:5;  Mark 12:35;  Luke 3:16 , where some have suggested "began to say" or "uttered solemnly," whereas the speaker is replying to the unuttered thought or feeling of those addressed by him.

B — 2: Ἀνταποκρίνομαι (Strong'S #470 — Verb — antapokrinomai — an-tap-ok-ree'-nom-ahee )

anti, "against," and No. 1, a strengthened form, "to answer by contradiction, to reply against," is found in  Luke 14:6;  Romans 9:20 .

B — 3: Ὑπολαμβάνω (Strong'S #5274 — Verb — hupolambano — hoop-ol-am-ban'-o )

signifies (a) "to take or bear up from beneath,"  Acts 1:9; (b) "to receive,"  3—John 1:8; (c) "to suppose,"  Luke 7:43;  Acts 2:15; (d) "to catch up (in speech), to answer,"  Luke 10:30; in sense (d) it indicates that a person follows what another has said, either by controverting or supplementing it. See Receive , Suppose.

B — 4: Ἀπολογέομαι (Strong'S #626 — Verb — apologeomai — ap-ol-og-eh'-om-ahee )

cp. A, No. 4, lit., "to talk oneself off from" (apo, "from," lego, "to speak"), "to answer by way of making a defense for oneself" (besides its meaning "to excuse,"  Romans 2:15;  2—Corinthians 12:19 ), is translated "answer" in  Luke 12:11;  21:14; in  Acts 19:33 , AV and RV both have "made defense;" in  Acts 24:10;  25:8;  26:1,2 , the RV has the verb to make a defense, for the AV, "to answer," and in 26:24 for the AV, "spake for himself." See DEFENSE, Excuse , Speak.

B — 5: Ἀντιλέγω (Strong'S #483 — Verb — antilego — an-til'-eg-o )

"to speak against," is rendered "answering again" in the AV of  Titus 2:9 (RV, "gainsaying"). See Contradict , Deny , Gainsay , Speak.

B — 6: Συστοιχέω (Strong'S #4960 — Verb — sustoicheo — soos-toy-kheh'-o )

lit., "to be in the same line or row with" (sun, "with," stoichos, "a row"), is translated "answereth to" in  Galatians 4:25 .

 Galatians 5:25 6:16 Acts 12:13Hearken

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

Passing over the very large number of occurrences of this word in the common sense of ‘reply’ (ἀποκρίνομαι, ἀπόκρισις), there are one or two interesting usages to note before we come to the most theologically significant use of the term. Thus in  Titus 2:9 slaves are enjoined not to ‘answer again’ (Authorized Version; Revised Version‘gainsay,’ ἀντιλέγω); in  Galatians 4:25 ‘this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to ( i.e. ‘corresponds with,’ συστοιχέω) the Jerusalem that now is’; in  Romans 11:4 St. Paul, discussing the despair of Elijah, asks ‘What saith the answer (χρηματισμός, ‘Divine oracle’) of God unto him?’

The passages with which we are most concerned, however, ate those which speak of the Christian answer or ‘defence’ (so usually in Revised Version) against critics from within or without the Church (ἀπολογέομαι, ἀπολογία). In the life of St. Paul we have, e.g. , his ‘answer’ or apologia before Felix ( Acts 24:10 ff.), before Festus ( Acts 25:8 ff.), and before Agrippa ( Acts 26:1 ff.). The charges brought against him were that he had incited the people to sedition ( Acts 24:5,  Acts 25:8), that he had profaned the Temple ( Acts 24:8), and that he was a ringleader of the Sect of the Nazarenes ( Acts 24:5). His defence was skilfully directed in each case to the rebutting of the charges, to the conciliation of his judges, and to the demand that as a Roman citizen he should be tried before Caesar. Before Agrippa and Festus he defended himself so successfully that they agreed that, if he had not appealed to Caesar, he might have been set at liberty, but having made the appeal he could no longer withdraw. In  2 Timothy 4:16 St. Paul is represented as complaining that at his ‘first answer’ (before Caesar) no man took his part, but that ‘all men forsook him’ (cf.  2 Timothy 1:15). With these instances may be compared the remarkable ‘answer’ of St. Stephen before the Sanhedrin (Acts 7).

Of probably even greater interest than these defences before civil tribunals are St. Paul’s answers to those who denied his Apostleship, the Judaizers who followed him from place to place and attempted to undermine his teaching and influence among his converts in his absence-a fact to which we largely owe the letters to the Galatians and the Corinthians, or at least the most characteristic and polemical portions of them. The same or other enemies charged him with inconsistency ( 1 Corinthians 10:2-11 etc.), and brought other charges against him ( 1 Corinthians 11:7-9,  1 Corinthians 9:2), such as the charge of being mean in appearance ( 1 Corinthians 10:7-10), of being rude of speech ( 1 Corinthians 11:6), of being a visionary ( 1 Corinthians 12:7), and of other things not mentioned, which evidently inspired certain obscure references throughout these chapters. St. Paul’s apologia meets these charges with a vehement assertion of his innocence, of his full Apostleship, of his competency to utter forth the gospel from fullness of knowledge ( 1 Corinthians 11:6), and of his abundant sufferings and self-denial for the sake of his converts. The large space given to these apologiae and personal rejoinders is remote from our modern habit of mind, but it should be borne in mind that every educated man in these days was expected by the Greeks to be ready to take free part in polemics of this kind, and to defend himself vigorously against attack. In  1 Peter 3:15 we have the well-known injunction to be ‘ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you,’ whether before a judge or in informal conversation-which should probably be interpreted in this sense. In  1 Peter 3:21 of the same chapter ‘the answer (Authorized Version) of a good conscience towards God’ is a difficult phrase, and the commentaries should be consulted. ἐπερώτημα can hardly mean ‘answer,’ and the Revised Versiontranslates ‘interrogation’ (see a long note in Huther in Meyer’s Com . pp. 192-197). C. Bigg ( International Critical Commentary , in loc .) interprets it of the baptismal question or demand.

The Epistle to the Hebrews has been called ‘the first Christian apology,’ in the sense of a definite and reasoned defence of the Christian faith and position. It had its forerunners in the speeches of St. Paul already referred to, and its successors in the long line of Ante-Nicene ‘apologies,’ of which those of Justin Martyr and Tertullian are two outstanding examples.

Literature.-Comm. on the passages cited; E. F. Scott, The Apologetic of the New Testament , 1907; H. M. Gwatkin, Early Church History , 1909, ch. xi., and similar works; W. M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire , 1893. St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen , 1895; T. R, Glover, The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire , 1909.

E. Griffith Jones.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [3]

‛ânâh ( עָנָה , Strong'S #6030), “to respond, answer, reply.” This root occurs in most Semitic languages, although it bears many meanings. With the meaning that undergirds ‛ânâh, it appears in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Arabic, post-biblical Hebrew, and biblical Aramaic. It should be contrasted to ‛ânâh , meaning “oppress, subdue.”Biblical Hebrew attests the verb ‛ânâh about 320 times. One of the two meanings of ‛ânâh is “to respond,” but not necessarily with a verbal response. For example, in Gen. 35:3 Jacob tells his household, “And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress.…” In Gen. 28:10ff., where this “answering” is recorded, it is quite clear that God initiated the encounter and that, although He spoke with Jacob, the emphasis is on the vision of the ladder and the relationship with God that it represented. This meaning is even clearer in Exod. 19:18, where we read that God reacted to the situation at Sinai with a sound (of thunder).

A nonverbal reaction is also indicated in Deut. 20:11. God tells Israel that before they besiege a city they should demand its surrender. Its inhabitants are to live as Israel’s slaves “if it [the city] make thee answer of peace [literally, “responds peaceably”], and open unto thee.…” In Job 30:20, Job says he cried out to God, who did not “respond” to him (i.e., did not pay any attention to him). In Isaiah 49:8 the Lord tells the Messiah, “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.…” Here responding (“hearing”) is synonymously parallel to helping—i.e., it is an action (cf. Ps. 69:17; Isa. 41:17).

The second major meaning of ‛ânâh is “to respond with words,” as when one engages in dialogue. In Gen. 18:27 (the first occurrence of ‛ânâh ), we read: “Abraham answered and said” to the Lord, who had just spoken. In this formula, the two verbs represent one idea (i.e., they form an hendiadys ). A simpler translation might be “respond,” since God had asked no question and required no reply. On the other hand, when the sons of Heth “answer and say” (Gen. 23:5), they are responding verbally to the implied inquiry made by Abraham (v. 4). Therefore, they really do answer.

‛Ânâh may mean “respond” in the special sense of verbally reacting to a truth discovered: “Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said …” (Judg. 18:14). Since no inquiry was addressed to them, this word implies that they gave a report; they responded to what they had discovered. In Deut. 21:7, the children of Israel are told how to respond to the rite of the heifer—viz., “They shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.”

Ânâh can also be used in the legal sense of “testify”: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exod. 20:16). Or we read in Exod. 23:2: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.…” In a similar sense, Jacob proposed that Laban give him all the spotted and speckled sheep of the flock, so that “my righteousness [will] answer [i.e., testify] for me in time to come, when it shall come [to make an investigation] for my hire before thy face …” (Gen. 30:33).

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): (n.) To speak or write in return to, as in return to a call or question, or to a speech, declaration, argument, or the like; to reply to (a question, remark, etc.); to respond to.

(2): (n.) To respond to satisfactorily; to meet successfully by way of explanation, argument, or justification, and the like; to refute.

(3): (n.) To be or act in return or response to.

(4): (n.) To be or act in compliance with, in fulfillment or satisfaction of, as an order, obligation, demand; as, he answered my claim upon him; the servant answered the bell.

(5): (n.) To render account to or for.

(6): (n.) To atone; to be punished for.

(7): (n.) To speak in defense against; to reply to in defense; as, to answer a charge; to answer an accusation.

(8): (n.) To be opposite to; to face.

(9): (n.) To be or act in accommodation, conformity, relation, or proportion to; to correspond to; to suit.

(10): (v. i.) To speak or write by way of return (originally, to a charge), or in reply; to make response.

(11): (v. i.) To make a satisfactory response or return.

(12): (v. i.) To render account, or to be responsible; to be accountable; to make amends; as, the man must answer to his employer for the money intrusted to his care.

(13): (v. i.) To be or act in return.

(14): (v. i.) To be or act by way of compliance, fulfillment, reciprocation, or satisfaction; to serve the purpose; as, gypsum answers as a manure on some soils.

(15): (v. i.) To be opposite, or to act in opposition.

(16): (v. i.) To be or act as an equivalent, or as adequate or sufficient; as, a very few will answer.

(17): (v. i.) To be or act in conformity, or by way of accommodation, correspondence, relation, or proportion; to conform; to correspond; to suit; - usually with to.

(18): (n.) A reply to a change; a defense.

(19): (n.) Something said or written in reply to a question, a call, an argument, an address, or the like; a reply.

(20): (n.) Something done in return for, or in consequence of, something else; a responsive action.

(21): (n.) To be or act an equivalent to, or as adequate or sufficient for; to serve for; to repay.

(22): (n.) A counter-statement of facts in a course of pleadings; a confutation of what the other party has alleged; a responsive declaration by a witness in reply to a question. In Equity, it is the usual form of defense to the complainant's charges in his bill.

(23): (n.) A solution, the result of a mathematical operation; as, the answer to a problem.

King James Dictionary [5]

'ANSWER, ansur.

1. To speak in return to a call or question, or to a speech, declaration or argument of another person as, "I have called and ye have not answered." "He answered the question or the argument." This may be in agreement and confirmation of what was said, or in opposition to it. 2. To be equivalent to to be adequate to, or sufficient to accomplish the object. "Money answereth all things," noting, primarily, return. 3. To comply with, fulfill, pay or satisfy as, he answered my order to answer a debt. 4. To act in return, or opposition as, the enemy answered our fire by a shower of grape shot. 5. To bear a due proportion to to be equal or adequate to suit as, a weapon does not answer the size and strength of the man using it the success does not answer our expectation. 6. To perform what was intended to accomplish as, the measure does not answer its end it does not answer the purpose. 7. To be opposite to to face as, fire answers fire. 8. To write in reply to reply to another writing, by way of explanation, refutation or justification as, to answer a pamphlet. 9. To solve, as a proposition or problem in mathematics.

This word may be applied to a great variety of objects, expressing the idea of a return as the notes, or sounds of birds, and other animals an echo, &c.


1. To reply to speak by way of return as, there is none to answer.  1 Kings 18 . 2. To be accountable, liable or responsible followed by to before the person, and for before the thing for which one is liable as, the man must answer to his employer for the money entrusted to his care we can not answer to God for our offenses. 3. To vindicate, or give a justificatory account of followed by for as, a man cannot answer for his friend. 4. To correspond with to suit with followed by to.

In water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.  Proverbs 27 .

5. To act reciprocally, as the strings of an instrument to the hand. 6. To stand as opposite or correlative as, allegiance in the subject answers to protection on the part of the prince or government. 7. To return, as sound reverberated to echo.

The noise seems to fly away, and answer at a great distance.

8. To succeed to effect the object intended to have a good effect as, gypsum answers as a manure on a dry soil.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [6]

Besides the common usage of this word, in the sense of a reply, it has other significations. Moses, having composed a thanksgiving, after the passage of the Red Sea, Miriam, it is said, answered, "Sing ye to the Lord," &c,—meaning, that Moses, with the men on one side, and Miriam, with the women on the other side, sung the same song, as it were, in two choruses, or divisions; of which one answered the other.

 Numbers 21:17 , "Then Israel sung this song, Spring up, O well, answer unto it;" that is, sing responsively, one side (or choir) singing first, and then the other.   1 Samuel 29:5 , "Is not this David of whom they sung one to another in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?" They sung this song to his honour in distinct choruses.

This word is taken likewise for, to accuse or to defend any one, judicially.   Genesis 30:33 , "My righteousness shall answer for me;" it shall be my advocate before thee.   Deuteronomy 31:21 , "The song which thou shalt compose and teach them shall testify (answer) against them as a witness." Isaiah says, "The show of their countenance will testify (answer) against them; their impudence will be like a witness and an accuser.   Hosea 5:5 , "The pride of Israel doth testify (answer) to his face."

To answer, is likewise taken in a bad sense; as when it is said that a son answers his father insolently, or a servant his master.   Romans 9:20 , "Who art thou that repliest against God?" that is, to contest or debate with him.   John 18:22 , "Answerest thou the high priest so?" St. Paul declares that he "had in himself the answer (or sentence) of death;"   2 Corinthians 1:9; like a man who has had notice of condemnation, he had a certain assurance of dying.

To answer is also used in Scripture for the commencement of a discourse, when no reply to any question or objection is intended. This mode of speaking is often used by the evangelists, "And Jesus answered and said." It is a Hebrew idiom.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

Besides the common use of this word in the sense of to reply, it is very often used in the bible, following the Hebrew and Greek idioms, in the sense of to speak; meaning simply that one begins or resumes his discourse,  Zechariah 3:4;  6:4;  Matthew 11:25;  12:38;  Luke 7:40 . It also means, to sing in choruses or responses,  1 Samuel 18:7; and to give account of one's self in judgment,  Genesis 30:33;  Job 9:3 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Answer . An answer is (1) an apology or defence, as   2 Timothy 4:16 ‘at my first answer no man stood by me’; so perhaps   1 Peter 3:21 ‘the answer of a good conscience’; (2) oracle, Divine response, as   Romans 11:4 ‘what saith the answer of God?’

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

(usually עָנָה , Anah', Ἀποκρίνομαι ) has other significations in Scripture besides the common one in the sense of Reply.

1. Moses having composed a thanksgiving after the passage of the Red Sea, Miriam, it is said, "Answered;" meaning that Moses with the men on one side, and Miriam with the women on the other side, sung the same song, as it were, in two choruses or divisions; of which one "Answered" the other ( Exodus 15:21). So also  1 Samuel 29:5, where they sung in distinct choruses; comp.  Numbers 21:17.

2. This word is likewise taken for to Accuse, or to Defend Judicially

( Genesis 30:33;  Deuteronomy 31:21;  Hosea 5:5).

3. To "Answer" is likewise taken in a bad sense, as when it is said that a son Answers his father insolently, or a servant his master ( John 18:22;  Romans 9:20;  2 Corinthians 1:9).

4. To "Aswer" is also used in Scripture for the Commencement of a discourse, when no reply to any question or objection is intended. This mode of speaking is often used by the Evangelists: "And Jesus Answered And said." his a Hebrew idiom ( Job 3:2;  Song of Solomon 2:10;  Zechariah 3:4;  Zechariah 4:11-12;  Matthew 11:25;  Matthew 12:38;  Matthew 17:4;  Mark 9:5;  Luke 7:40). (See Affirmative).

Answer Of A Good Conscience ( Συνειδήσεως Ἀγαθῆς Ἐπερώτημα ) , a phrase occurring  1 Peter 3:21, very variously interpreted, but apparently signifying simply the ability to address God in prayer (as if a response to His searching of the heart) with a conscience free from a sense of guilt, or the seeking after Him with a pure conscience (see Alford, in loc.). (See Conscience).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

an´sẽr  : In our English Bible the word "answer" does not always mean a simple reply to a question.

Six different words are translated by answer. (1) It is frequently used where no question has been asked and in such cases it means a word, a statement. (2) It also means a response ( Job 21:34;  Job 34:36 ). (3) It often means a declaration or proclamation from God where no question has been asked. See the many passages that read: "The Lord answered and said." (4) The other words translated "answer" or "answered" in the Old Testament are unimportant shadings and variations.

The words translated "answer" are not so varied. (1) It sometimes means an apology, a defense ( 1 Peter 3:15;  Acts 24:10 ,  Acts 24:25 ). (2) It may mean simply "to say" ( Mark 9:6 ). (3) It may mean a revelation from God ( Romans 11:4 ). (4) It is also used to apply to unspoken thoughts of the heart, especially in the sayings of Jesus; also by Peter to Sapphira ( Acts 5:8 ).