Here are the entries from W.E. Vine’s, Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, with my slight revisions and paltry additions; nos. 4 and 5 are my additions based on the use of the word “decide” by the NET:

  1. diakrino (verb) – primarily means “to make a distinction,” hence, “to decide, especially judicially, to decide a dispute, to give judgment,” 1 Cor 6:5 (AV: “judge;” RV: “decide;” ESV: “settle a dispute”), where saints are warned against procuring decisions by litigation in the world’s law courts. Matt 16:3 used of interpreting the sky and times. Matt 21:21 || Mark 11:23, lit., “not distinguishing” = doubting; Acts 10:20, “without hesitation.” Acts 11:2, to criticize. Acts 11:12; 15:9, of distinguishing (negatively) or discriminating between people. See CONTEND.
  2. diagnosis (noun) – transliterated in English, primarily denotes “a discrimination” (dia, “apart,” ginosko, “to know”), hence, “a judicial decision,” which is its meaning in Acts 25:21, RV, “for the decision of the Emperor” (ESV, “decision of the emperor”). Note: Cp. diaginosko, “to distinguish,” Acts 23:15, “to judge” (ESV, “determine his case”), or “determine,” Acts 24:22, RV (ESV, “decide your case”).
  3. diakrisis (noun) – “a distinguishing,” and so “a decision” (see A), signifies “discerning” in 1 Cor 12:10 (so NKJV; NIV, NASB: “distinguishing;” NET, NRSV: “discernment;” ESV: “ability to distinguish”) ; Heb 5:14, lit., “unto a discerning of good and evil” (NASB, NKJV, NET: “to discern;” NIV: “distinguish”); in Rom 14:1, “not to (doubtful) disputations” is more literally rendered in the margin “not for decisions (of doubts);” NASB: “but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions;” NET: “do not have disputes over differing opinions.” See DISCERN. Cp. JUDGE. LXX, Job 37:16.
  4. krino (verb) – to judge, decide. Acts 4:19; NET, “you decide” (NASB: “you be the judge”).
  5. dokimazo (verb) – to examine, test; approve. Php 1:10; NET: “so that you can decide what is best” (NRSV: “determine”; NIV: “discern;” ESV, NASB; NKJV: “approve”).

This was a bit of an experiment, fun, but I don’t know that I want to do some type of Bible word study based on Vine. I’d like to do a conceptual study with lots of contributions by readers who will come out of the woodwork. Let me think about this some more. Meanwhile, comments (i.e., your additions, thematic and applicational) are welcome, especially those usages that are theologically important.

I found it noteworthy that the group of words is not used for a “decision for Christ,” as in “I have decided to follow Jesus.”

One thought on “Word study: Decide, decision

  1. Tom Wright gets really annoyed with the “decision for Christ” crowd.

    He compares it to when the Romans would send a herald to announce that a new Caesar had ascended to the throne. When that herald preached that “Caesar is Lord!” he was not saying, “If you’d like to try out a new kind of imperial experience, perhaps Caesar Nero is the one for you.”

    Likewise with Christ. Christ is not one option among many. Christ IS LORD, and people can choose to submit to his Lordship or not. But, as you say, it is not the kind of choice that we typically use “decision” language to discuss.

What do you think?