Let us examine some fundamental bible verses in order to extricate some understanding from the text and decipher the meaning of the passage:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10)

In the Original Greek,

“archē sophias phobos kuriou kai boulē agiōn sunesis to gar gnōnai nomon dianoias estin agathēs” (Prov. 9:10)

Breaking down the words:

Archē (ἀρχή): a word with primary senses ‘beginning’, ‘origin’ or ‘first cause’ and ‘power’, ‘sovereignty’, ‘domination’ as extended meanings.

Sophias (Σοφíα): meaning “skill or cleverness in carpentry, music, or other crafts” or “skill related to everyday life: sound judgment, prudence” or “knowledge of a higher kind: learning, wisdom”

Phobos (Φόβος): meaning “fear”, phobos was also the Greek god of “horror” or “terror”

Kuriou (κῦρος)translated as Lord, meaning “supremacy” or “guardian” referring to the master of the household. A woman could not enter into any contract without her Kurio. In antiquity κύριος was translated as Kuros or Cyrus from Old Persian as a denoted male name or kingly title. Kyros is a Greek boy name derived from Κύρος, meaning of the name is ‘Far Sighted’.

Kai (καί): “and, even, also, both” or “actually, apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force”

Boulē (βουλή): meaning “will, determination, decision” or “plan, project, intention” or “counsel, advice, council, senate”. A political term meaning to will (after deliberating ) referred to a council of citizens (called βουλευταί transliterated as bouleutai) appointed to run daily affairs of the city. Originally a council of nobles advising a king.

Agiōn (άγιος): “holy, saint, pious” or “devoted to the gods”

Sunesis (σύνεσις): Meaning “a putting together in the mind”, hence: “understanding, practical discernment, intellect”. From the cognate sýnesis meaning “unification, meeting, sense, conscience, insight, realization, mind, reason”. This is where the Latin word synthesis is derived, meaning “collection, set, composition (of a medication),” from Gk. synthesis “composition,” from syntithenai “put together, combine,” from syn-“together” + tithenai “put, place,” from PIE root *dhe- “to put, to do”.

to gar: Meaning “for” or “after all”

Gnōnai (γνῶσις): meaning “know” from Proto-Indo-European *ǵenə-*ǵnō- “to know”. This is where the religious word “Gnostic” originates from Gk. Gnostikos, meaning the technique of knowing, or the ability to discern.

Nomon (ὄνομα): from L. nomen meaning “name” or “fame; to make a name for oneself” or “noun” or “phrase”.

Dianoias (διάνοια):  Meaning dia- “διά” + mind “νοια”, this word was used by Plato to describe a type of thinking, or intelligence, specifically about mathematical and technical subjects. It is the capacity for, process of, or result of discursive thinking, or dialectics. Dianoias literally means “between minds” and is intended to describe the relationship of thinking across two “minds” or ideas of thought. Whereas dianoias refers to “between minds”, dialects refers to “between speech” deriving its meaning from dia- “across, between” + legein “speak”. Because dianoias involved thinking about competing ideas, it contrasted with noesis– derived from nous (νοῦς) meaning “mind”– which was characterized by immediate apprehension, like thoughts and ideas or divine reason or practical wisdom, similar to our modern understanding of intelligence.

Estin (εστιν): the present active indicative third singular of εἰμί meaning “is he”. εἰμί means “I am”, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (“to be, exist”)

Agathē (ἀγαθός): Meaning “good, brave, noble, moral; fortunate, lucky; useful”. Coincidentally it is a female given name, which is reflective of ancient Greek attitude towards women as useful instruments of the household.

Some Thoughts

“archē sophias phobos kuriou kai boulē agiōn sunesis to gar gnōnai nomon dianoias estin agathēs” (Prov. 9:10)

My weak translation:
“The origin of wisdom is fear of his authority and will of pious understanding for knowing the name among minds is he good use.”

The Greek word θεός  (theos) with the Phyrigian cognate δεως (deōs) meaning God in English. This is also where the Latin word for god deus is derived. It is often connected with Greek “θέω” (theō), “run” and “θεωρέω” (theoreō), “to look at, to see, to observe”. The Proto-Indo-European translation of god is *ǵʰeu̯- meaning “invoke, pour.”

Hebrew: “תְּחִלַּ֣ת חָ֭כְמָה יִרְאַ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה וְדַ֖עַת קְדֹשִׁ֣ים בִּינָֽה׃ ”
The literal translation is “Understanding of the sacred and knowledge of God fear is the beginning of wisdom”

While the Hebrew translation is helpful, historical records provide little elaboration of the meaning of the terms being employed, such as understanding or sacred or knowledge or God. They simply seem to translate directly. However, while the original meaning of the word יְהוָ֑ה or Yaweh (God) is lost, contemporary scholars assume  יְהוָ֑ה or Yaweh to mean “He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists” or “I am that I am”.  It leads me to believe that they were preoccupied with understanding the forces and materials of nature, i.e. physics or natural causation, and it was in this understanding and the mindful observation and awareness it requires that all life’s answers reside, much in the way science fulfills this duty today.

The Stoic Epictetus coined the term for soul as hēgemonikon meaning “ruling principle or reason” (or “governing principle”).

Legere: Gather and Bind

We are a collection of thoughts. The self is a recollection: a continual recollection.

The Latin word legere is based on the PIE *leg- “to pick together, gather, collect”. Lego (λέγω) in Greek means “to count, tell, say, speak”. It is the root for the Gk. words lexis (λέξις) and logos, where we get modern words lexicon and logic and the like. Lexis  means “speech, diction”, whereas Logos means “word, thought, idea, account, reason”. Originally used by Homer as “to pick out, select, collect, enumerate;” cf. Gk. legein translates as “to say, tell, speak, declare”. The word Lecture is based on L. legere which means “to pick out words”.

The word Religion is derived from the Latin words re- “again” + legere “read, collect, gather up, select” from which the word “lecture” is based. What I found interesting is that within the word religion I notice the root ligare or lego which means “tie, bind, unite” and the word “ligature” comes to mind which means “bind, connect”. In this way religion can be interpreted as a way of ensuring the repeated gathering and binding of text to the mind through reading or, alternatively, the reuniting or reconnecting of people.

This is also where the word Intelligence is derived, from the Latin words inter- “between” + legere “choose, pick out, read”. Translated literally, the word intelligence refers to the ability to “select among”. Upon further reading I discovered that the word Diligence in Latin originally meant “to pick out, select,” from dis- “apart” + legere “choose, gather”.


It is also where the word “liege” comes from, referring to a lord to whom his subjects or “liege men” were bound.  Additionally it is where the word Allegiance is derived (although this translation is disputed).