Idiot

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Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

The word translated ignorant is not the normal Greek word agnoeo meaning ignorant or unlearned[1] but is the Greek word idiōtēs [ἰδιώτης].[2] The English word “idiot” comes from the Latin the idiōta which came to mean an ignorant person. But in the Greek idiōtēs as used here in Acts meant a private "person not involved in public affairs".

Even the word translated unlearned in this text is not the Greek agnoeo nor amathes which can mean ignorant but it is the word agrammatoi which only appears once in the Bible and “should not be rendered ‘unlearned'”3 This word agrammatoi is rare in Greek text. Its meaning may depend on the period and use in context. I have found it describing the muster rolls of a battalion or a registry of members kept by scribes.


Further reading: Are Christians Idiots?



  1. agnoew agnoeo meaning to be ignorant, not to know {Ac 13:27 17:23 Ro 10:3 2Pe 2:12;1Co 14:38; Mr 9:32 Lu 9:45; Heb 5:2}
  2. from idios meaning as 'pertaining to one's self, one's own, belonging to one's self'.
    "Etymology. Idiot as a word derived from the Greek idiotes, idiotes (person lacking professional skill', 'a private citizen', 'individual'), from idios, idios ('private', 'one's own')." Wikipedia




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