The Etymology Of Our English Word: ‘Edification’

This study is produced from the Booklet published by RBT Bible Ministries, entitled “Edification Complex of the Soul,” with permission. We will begin by looking at several Greek words, which will help us understand certain points of doctrine. We begin with the word Edification.  

Etymology of the Word “Edification.” This term comes to us in Scripture from the Koiné Greek of the first century.

Three different Greek words have been translated “edify” or “edification” in the King James Version. Since the Koiné Greek builds nouns upon compounds, these two words are derived from the noun “oikos,” which means a “house or structure.” 

The verb “demo” means to build or erect.” In Ephesians 4:12, 16, and 29, the word “edification” is “oikodome,” which means the act of building or erecting a structure — the process of construction.

So, from these verses in Ephesians, we learn that the teaching of God’s Word erects an “Edification Complex,” and naturally the edification complex is erected in the believer’s soul.

Another similar Greek word is “oikodomia,” which denotes the result of construction, or a completed structure. This structure is only completed when the believer breaks the maturity barrier. So, as you can see, it is important to check out (know) the original Greek used in New Testament Scripture. 

A third Greek word, “oikodomos,” refers to the “actual builder” or the “contractor,” and in this case it refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit uses Bible Doctrine to build an “Edification Fortification” (or “EF,” first coined here by C. S. Craig, teacher of this web site), so the believer can be successful in the learning and application of God’s Word.

This fortification is a library, a storehouse, a superstructure filled with Bible Doctrine. God has thought of everything! This EF will always be a light to guide us to victory. This light goes with us wherever we go and nothing can separate us from God’s light or God’s Love. (Romans 8:38-39) Walk in His Light. (Psalms 119:105; Isaiah 2:5; Ephesians 5:8)

As the believer sits under the instruction of the pastor-teacher, the building is literally under construction. So, instruction equals construction — a literal transformation of the believer’s thinking. A renewing of the mind. Is that awesome, or what?

God wants us to think like Christ, act like Christ, imitate Christ. We are to be conformed to the image of Christ.” Make this your personal goal. The Holy Spirit wants to build, in you, a spiritual super structure like no other in the world — a fortification containing the Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

If you want to be like Christ, you must learn to think like Christ and that is THE PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE — to learn God.

Therefore, the OBJECTIVE IN YOUR LIFE, as well as the PASTOR/TEACHER, should be the consistent inhale of Bible Doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Be fortified! Edification Fortification (EF) Ephesians 4:11, 12.  

The Bible is the Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Ephesians 5:18, tells us not to be drunk with wine, but to be “filled with the Spirit.” The filling of the Holy Spirit is accomplished by “naming” or “confessing” or “agreeing” with God regarding your personal life — your knownto-you sins) to God. (1 John 1:9) Simple! If you have a question or not sure of this simple truth, do not be alarmed or discouraged.  Just go back to the top and begin again.  Do this until you see the light.

IT IS INTERESTING THAT a biblical synonym for “Edification” in Scripture is “light.” Light refers to edification in certain bible passages, such as: Psalms 43:3; 119:130; Ephesians 5:18, 13:  1 John 2: 8-11.

“The entrance of your word gives light; it gives understanding (edification) unto the simple” Psalms 119:130. 

All the beauty and illumination of God’s Word and the Christian Life is found in the phrase “gives light.” God is the giver of life, the giver of knowledge, the giver of light. God gave His Word, the Word of life and light — a light so bright that it can penetrate the darkness of man’s soul. God is a GIVER.

God gives, man receives, or rejects … this is because God gave us “volition” (or, a choice). We can choose to walk with the Lord or we can choose to walk alone.

Have you chosen to walk with the Lord?

The light of EDIFICATION in the believer’s soul may also be called a beacon of light, because the Gospel is a beacon shining through the darkness to lost ships at sea (the unbeliever). “The entrance of thy Word gives light,” Psalms 119:105; 130. The beacon says, “Home is this way. Come to the light. Come home.”

Pray with me, please: Father, the entrance of your Son, Jesus Christ, brought light to the world; the entrance of your Holy Spirit at salvation gives light.

Let there be light” in this study, so that those searching for truth may come and be saved from the treacherous waters of darkness, in Jesus’ name Amen.  (Genesis 1:3).

Light is a many splendorous thing!


From His human birth to the grave — with the exception of the THREE HOURS DURING WHICH HE BORE OUR SINS, the humanity of Christ was sustained by the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:18; 27:46; John 3:34). We have the same power source that Christ Himself used during His lifetime — The Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Therefore, we are to put on Christ, that is, the Mind of Christ.

Christ personified Truth — the Word of God. He IS TRUTH! So, we are to put on Truth every day, just like putting on our clothes. Remember God’s Word is a covering — a protective Armor (Ephesians 6:12-17).

The “House In The Soul” — Proverbs 24:3, 4

I want to give you one more Scriptural reference to the Edification Complex in the soul, found in Proverbs 24:3,4. “Through wisdom is a house built; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”  

The Hebrew word for wisdom (chakmah) is the equivalent to the Greek word “epignosis.” Both refer to God’s Word (Bible Doctrine) stored in the soul of the believer, and ready for daily use in the human spirit.

God has provided everything the believer needs to live an effective Christian life. Colossians 1:9-10 is another substantiation of God’s Wisdom and filling: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. That (here is the reason) you might (potential, based on your freedom to choose) walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, (with the result that) being FRUITFUL (fruits of the spirit) in every good work, AND increasing in the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD (Bible Doctrine).

(Please note: I have added the words in parenthesis for clarification and ease of understanding.)

The Books of Ephesians and Colossians in the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament Books of Isaiah, Psalms and especially the Book of wisdom — Proverbs, teach that Bible Doctrine is imperative to living the Christian Life.

But, there is still more enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Turn to Isaiah 33:6: “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times.” Knowledge here in this verse is the Hebrew word “deah,” and refers to doctrine resident in the soul — the soul structure, the soul-house we spoke of earlier. By faith deah becomes chakmah — it refers to wisdom. 

Scripture knowledge becomes Scripture Wisdom when it is transferred from our soul to our spirit, by faith. Knowledge is the word gnosis in the Greek. Epignosis is wisdom. Wisdom in the spirit is ready for application to life.

GOD HAS A PLAN! It is not complicated — it is simple! Why? Because it happens automatically when you study under a teacher and believe what you are learning under the teacher’s guidance. When you believe, the Holy Spirit transfers this knowledge to your spirit where it becomes wisdom for application. That’s it! Don’t make it complicated. God the Holy Spirit does all the work. As stated above as we began our study, just learn, believe and apply God’s wonderful word daily. God is perfectly capable to guide, protect and lead you through grace-fields.

In closing, I recommend that you use  your concordance and look up all the verses of Scripture that contain the word “light” and every form of it. The more you understand and appreciate God’s Wonderful Light, the more you will want to inhale His wonderful Word (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

The purpose of God’s Word is to build us up an edification structure in the soul; a defense mechanism (fortress) against the world, the flesh, and the devil; a construction project for maturing in the Christian life. The filling of the Spirit is the key to living the Christian Life, because the Holy Spirit is able to lead us and direct our path through life and on to eternity. Utilize 1 John 1:9 as often as needed and in so doing you glorify God.  

In addition, God’s Word is designed to divorce the human race from the human merit system, which is man’s way, NOT GOD’S WAY (Isaiah 55:8). Some of the most arrogant believers are the ones who actually believe they are “helping God.” Infinite God does not need our finite help. 

Happy Studying. 


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