July 8, 2024
Ministry Voice

Exploring the Meaning of Anachoreo in Greek


Parts of Speech: Verb

Anachoreo Definition

NAS Word Usage – Total: 14

  1. to go back, return
  2. to withdraw
    1. so as to leave a room
    2. of those who through fear seek some other place, or shun sight


What is the origin of the Greek word Anachoreo in the Bible?

The Greek word “Anachoreo” has a deep root within the context of the Bible, carrying a rich history and profound significance. In the New Testament, “Anachoreo” is used in the book of Matthew 4:12-13. The word comes from the combination of “ana” which means ‘up’ or ‘back’ and “choreo” which means ‘to make room’, ‘to retire’ or ‘to withdraw’.

In the context of the Bible, “Anachoreo” holds the meaning of withdrawing or retiring to a solitary place for the purpose of solitude, prayer, or reflection. It signifies a deliberate act of seeking seclusion away from the hustle and bustle of the world to commune with God in a quiet and undisturbed setting. This practice of withdrawing to a solitary place is often associated with seeking spiritual renewal, guidance, and strength through intimate connection with the divine.

The significance of “Anachoreo” in the Bible is exemplified by Jesus himself, who frequently withdrew to solitary places to pray and commune with God. In Matthew 14:13, after hearing about the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew by boat to a solitary place. This act of seeking solitude and communion with God in times of need or decision-making highlights the importance of “Anachoreo” as a spiritual discipline in the Christian faith.

The word “Anachoreo” not only conveys the physical act of withdrawing but also implies a deeper spiritual connotation of seeking God’s presence and guidance in times of solitude. It underscores the importance of carving out moments of stillness and quietness amidst the busyness of life to foster a deeper relationship with God and to gain clarity and direction in one’s spiritual journey.

How is the term Anachoreo used in Greek literature outside of the Bible?

The term “Anachoreo” originates from ancient Greek and has been found in various literary works outside of the Bible. In Greek literature, the word “Anachoreo” typically refers to the act of withdrawing or retreating from something. It is often used to describe a physical or metaphorical removal from society, often for spiritual or reflective purposes.

In ancient Greek plays and philosophical texts, the concept of “Anachoreo” is frequently explored in the context of individuals seeking solitude or seclusion to contemplate philosophical questions or to connect with the divine. This withdrawal from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is often portrayed as a way to gain wisdom, inner peace, or divine insight.

Additionally, in historical texts and biographies from ancient Greece, the term “Anachoreo” is sometimes used to depict individuals who choose a more isolated lifestyle away from the city or public life. This decision to retreat can be seen as a form of self-imposed exile or a deliberate distancing from societal norms or pressures.

When examining the use of “Anachoreo” in Greek literature outside of the Bible, it becomes evident that the term carries connotations of introspection, contemplation, and seeking a deeper understanding of oneself or the world. Whether it is portrayed as a voluntary act of solitude for personal growth or a strategic move to disengage from society, the concept of “Anachoreo” in Greek literature reflects the multifaceted nature of human experience and the perennial quest for meaning and enlightenment.

What are the implications of “Anachoreo” in the context of Biblical teachings?

The Greek word ‘Anachoreo’ holds significant meaning in the context of Biblical teachings. This word appears multiple times in the New Testament and is rich in both literal and metaphorical implications. Understanding the deeper significance of ‘Anachoreo’ can provide insights into the spiritual journey and commitment to faith as portrayed in the Bible.

In Greek, ‘Anachoreo’ is a compound word derived from ‘ana’ meaning ‘up’ or ‘back’ and ‘choreo’ meaning ‘to make room.’ When combined, ‘Anachoreo’ conveys the idea of withdrawing, moving away or retiring, particularly in a physical or geographical sense. However, in the realm of Biblical teachings, ‘Anachoreo’ transcends its literal meaning and embodies a spiritual connotation.

One prominent instance where ‘Anachoreo’ is used in the New Testament is in the Gospels, where Jesus often retreats to desolate places to pray and commune with God. This act of withdrawing from the hustle and bustle of daily life signifies a deep spiritual connection and intimate relationship with the Divine. It highlights the importance of solitude and reflection in nurturing one’s faith and strengthening their bond with God.

Moreover, ‘Anachoreo’ can also symbolize a call to discipleship and sacrifice. When individuals are called to ‘Anachoreo’ in the Biblical narrative, it signifies a willingness to leave behind worldly attachments and embark on a spiritual pilgrimage. This may involve forsaking material possessions, comfort, and even relationships in pursuit of a higher purpose or calling.

The concept of ‘Anachoreo’ is closely linked to the idea of renunciation and detachment in the Christian faith. It emphasizes the need to detach oneself from worldly distractions and ambitions in order to focus wholeheartedly on serving God and fulfilling His will. By withdrawing from the world, individuals can deepen their spiritual awareness, cultivate virtues such as humility and selflessness, and align themselves more closely with the teachings of Christ.


In conclusion, the Greek word “anachoreo” holds significant meaning in the context of the Bible. Its root, “choreo,” conveys the idea of separating or departing, while the prefix “ana-” emphasizes a sense of intensification or completion. Therefore, when used in biblical texts to describe a form of withdrawal for spiritual reflection and prayer, such as Jesus seeking solitude in the wilderness, “anachoreo” denotes a deliberate and purposeful act of seclusion for profound spiritual connection. Understanding the rich connotations of this word adds depth to our interpretation of biblical narratives and reinforces the importance of intentional periods of retreat and communion with the divine in our own lives.

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