July 1, 2024
Ministry Voice

Exploring the Meaning of Adelphe in Greek



Parts of Speech: Noun Feminine

Adelphe Definition

NAS Word Usage – Total: 25

  1. a full, own sister
  2. one connected by the tie of the Christian religion


What is the significance of the term “Adelphe” in Greek when referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the Bible?

In the Bible, the term “Adelphe” holds a significant place when referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus. This Greek word, commonly translated to “sister,” carries a deeper meaning when used in the context of the biblical narrative.

When the term “Adelphe” is employed in the Bible concerning Mary, it is not meant in a literal sense of a biological sister. Instead, it signifies a close relationship or spiritual bond. In the cultural and linguistic context of the time, the term “Adelphe” was used to depict a kinship beyond blood ties, often referring to cousins, extended family members, or members of the same community.

In the case of Mary, being referred to as “Adelphe” emphasizes her intimate connection to others in the Christian community and highlights her role as a beloved and respected figure within the early Christian movement. It underscores the unity and solidarity among believers, with Mary being held in high regard for her faith, devotion, and unique position as the mother of Jesus.

By using the term “Adelphe” to describe Mary, the biblical writers sought to convey more than just a familial relationship. They aimed to emphasize Mary’s importance and influence in the Christian faith, portraying her as a central figure in the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, and sacrifice.

Furthermore, understanding the significance of “Adelphe” in Greek concerning Mary sheds light on the cultural and social dynamics of the biblical world. It reveals the emphasis placed on community, support, and shared beliefs within early Christian gatherings, where individuals like Mary played crucial roles in shaping and nurturing the burgeoning faith community.

How is the term “Adelphe” used in the New Testament to describe the relationship between believers in Christian communities?

The term “Adelphe” is a Greek word used in the New Testament to describe the relationship between believers in Christian communities. The term “Adelphe” is derived from the Greek word “Adelphos,” which means brother. In its feminine form, “Adelphe” means sister and is used to denote the sisterly relationship among believers within the Christian faith.

Throughout the New Testament, the term “Adelphe” is used to emphasize the unity, love, and familial bond that believers share with one another in Christ. It signifies a deep level of care, support, and shared faith among members of the Christian community. The Apostle Paul often addressed fellow believers as “Adelphoi” (brothers) and “Adelphai” (sisters) in his letters, highlighting the close-knit nature of the early Christian communities.

In the book of Romans 12:10, Paul urges believers to “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Here, the term “Adelphe” conveys the idea of a familial bond that is characterized by love, respect, and mutual care. This emphasizes the importance of treating fellow believers as family members, showing kindness and honor towards one another.

Similarly, in 1 Thessalonians 4:9, Paul writes, “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.” In this verse, the term “Adelphe” highlights the inherent connection and love that believers should have for one another, reflecting the teachings of Jesus to love one another as He has loved us.

In what context does the term “Adelphe” appear in the Book of Acts, particularly in relation to familial bonds among early Christians? What does Adelphe mean in Greek in Context of the Bible

In the Greek New Testament, particularly in the Book of Acts, we encounter the term “Adelphe.” This term holds significance in understanding the familial bonds and relationships among early Christians. “Adelphe” is a Greek word that translates to “sister” in English, specifically referring to a female sibling or a spiritual sister within the faith community.

The Book of Acts provides us with instances where the term “Adelphe” is used to depict the close-knit relationships and unity among early Christians. In Acts 1:14, we see the disciples, both men, and women, gathered together in prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers. Here, the term “Adelphe” signifies a familial bond beyond blood ties, emphasizing the strong sense of kinship and community among believers.

Furthermore, in Acts 2:42-47, the early Christians are described as devoted to fellowship, breaking bread together, and sharing everything they had with one another. The use of “Adelphe” in this context highlights the deep connection and care they had for each other, resembling a tight-knit family where everyone looked out for one another.

As the early Christian community grew and faced challenges, the term “Adelphe” continued to be used to symbolize the solidarity and support that believers provided for each other. Acts 16:40 mentions how Paul and Silas, after being released from prison, visited the brothers and sisters (Adelphous te kai Adelphas), exemplifying the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood that existed among believers in times of need.


In conclusion, the Greek word “Adelphe” holds a rich and multifaceted meaning in the context of the Bible. Beyond its simple translation of “sister,” this term embodies the idea of unity, support, and familial love within the Christian community. Understanding the deeper significance of “Adelphe” allows us to appreciate the strong bond that believers share with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Embracing this concept enriches our reading and interpretation of the Scriptures, emphasizing the importance of love and solidarity in our faith journey. May we continue to explore and cherish the beautiful nuances of Greek biblical words like “Adelphe” as we deepen our understanding of God’s word.

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