6.1. Stephanos

The Greek word for crown is Stephanos in the following passages:
  1. Jesus’ crown of thorns (Mtt. Mat. 27:29; Mark Mark 15:17; John John 19:2, John 19:5).
  2. Man crowned with glory and honor (Heb. Heb. 2:7).
  3. Jesus crowned with glory and honor (Heb. Heb. 2:9).
  4. Paul’s Philippian believers (Php. Php. 4:1).
  5. Paul’s Thessalonian believers (1Th. 1Th. 2:19).
  6. The Twenty-Four Elders (Rev. Rev. 4:4+, Rev. 4:10+).
  7. The rider on the white horse (Rev. Rev. 6:2+).
  8. Locusts from the abyss (Rev. Rev. 9:7+).
  9. Woman with twelve stars (Rev. Rev. 12:1+).
  10. One like the Son of Man (Rev. Rev. 14:14+).
  11. Believer’s Crowns.
Significantly, in instances where the royalty of Jesus is plainly in view (Mtt. Mat. 27:29; Mark Mark 15:17; John John 19:2, John 19:5), the crown used is not diadēma, but stephanos.

When they had twisted a crown of thorns [ stephanos], they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Mtt. Mat. 27:29) [emphasis added]

Here the Roman soldiers clearly are mocking Jesus as royalty, yet He is wearing the stephanos. This use is contrary to the assertion that stephanos is a victor’s crown whereas diadēma represents royalty. Hemer explains the use of stephanos for royalty in this situation because the crown of thorns is literally a wreath: “There is certainly no reason for denying στέφανος [stephanos] its most usual sense here. It is ‘wreath’, not ‘diadem’, Kranz, not Krone. The ‘crown of thorns’ is admittedly στέφανος [stephanos] in the evangelists (Mtt. Mat. 27:29; Mark Mark 15:17; John John 19:2, John 19:5), but that was literally a garland. To the soldiers it meant mock royalty; perhaps to the writers it also implied victory.”1 But this fails to explain why Jesus is crowned with a stephanos in other contexts where a wreath is not in view (Heb. Heb. 2:9; Rev. Rev. 14:14+). The evidence that the Romans understood Jesus as claiming to be a king and not a victor is overwhelming (Mtt. Mat. 27:11, Mat. 27:29, Mat. 27:37; Mark Mark 15:2, Mark 15:9, Mark 15:12, Mark 15:18, Mark 15:26; Luke Luke 23:3, Luke 23:37, Luke 23:38; John John 18:33, John 18:39; John 19:3, John 19:12, John 19:14, John 19:19, John 19:21). Moreover, Jesus is frequently found wearing the stephanos . Those who assert that the horseman of Rev. Rev. 6:2+ cannot be Christ because he is wearing a stephanos need to make this determination from other factors.


1 Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 72.