4574 SEBASMA (2): In Act.17.23 Paul began his discourse in the Areopagus with, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects." He continued in verse 23 saying, "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your devotion (sebasma), I also found an altar which had been inscribed, 'To an unknown God.' To what therefore you are ignorantly showing devotion (2151 eusebeo), this I announce to you."

So, a sebasma is a physical object of devotion (an idol) to which humans can wrongly "show devotion." 2Th.2.4 shows that an "object of devotion" (sebasma) is not limited to physical objects, but can go so far into the spiritual realm as to even include an attempt to usurp God's supremacy.

Recommended translation:

OBJECT OF DEVOTION Act.17.23. 2Th.2.4.

4573 SEBAZOMAI (1): to "show devotion," noting whom one is serving and is devoted and loyal to, in contrast to sebomai which concerns respect and devotion. See 4576 Sebomai which is very close in meaning sebazomai.

Recommended translation:


4576 SEBOMAI (10): to openly express respect and devotion for God, Jesus or an idol. This devotion may be sincere or empty (vain).

In Mt.15.8-9 and Mk.7.6-7 Jesus accused the Pharisees and scribes of error. Quoting Isaiah 29.13, he said, "...In vain do they sebomai me, teaching teachings which are the commandments of humans." The reason Jesus gave for their empty (vain) sebomai was, "[Their] lips respect me, but their heart is far from me." That is, their heart (devotion) to Jesus was false, because they verbally claimed to follow God's commandments, but showed a lack of respect for him by following their traditions instead. They showed a lack of devotion for God because their heart was far from God. Sebomai is the opposite of this, a true showing of respect for God out of one's heart. An English phrase that describes these characteristics is "show devotion."

Note the difference in meaning between "show submission" (proskuneo), which demonstrates mental and sometimes physical acts of submission, and "show devotion" (sebomai) which goes beyond this into personal characteristics of respect, loyalty and devotion. See 4352 "proskuneo for further information.

The "seb-" words are sometimes prefixed with "a" (not) or "eu" (good) to form words that are related to sebomai. Word-studies of these words are not included here. But here is a summary of these words and their translation:

"godlessness" (0763 asebeia)
"live godlessly (0764 asebeo)
"godlikeness (2150 eusebeia)
"show godlikeness" (2151 eusebeo)
"godly, godly one" (2152 eusebes)
"godly" (2153 eusebos)

Note that every FCM (NT) usage of a "seb-" word concerns the relationship of a person, either to God or to an idol.

Recommended Translation:

SHOW DEVOTION Mt.15.9. Mk.7.7. Act.13.43,50; 16.14; 17.4,17; 18.7,13; 19.27.


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