Conversation [N]

generally the goings out and in of social intercourse ( Ephesians 2:3 ; 4:22 ; RSV, "manner of life"); one's deportment or course of life. This word is never used in Scripture in the sense of verbal communication from one to another ( Psalms 50:23 ; Hebrews 13:5 ). In Phil 1:27 and 3:20 , a different Greek word is used. It there means one's relations to a community as a citizen, i.e., citizenship.

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Conversation". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .


One's conduct; manner of walk.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our CONVERSATION in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. ( Ephesians 2:1-3 )

Source: A King James Dictionary. (Used with permission. Copyright © Philip P. Kapusta)

Bibliography Information

"Entry for 'Conversation'". A King James Dictionary.


kon-ver-sa'-shun (anastrophe, homilia):

This word is another illustration of the changes which time makes in a living language. The modern sense of the term is mutual talk, colloquy, but in the King James Version it never means that, but always behavior, conduct. This broader meaning, at a time not much later than the date of the King James Version, began to yield to the special, limited one of today, perhaps, as has been suggested, because speech forms so large a part of conduct. The New Testament words for "converse" in the modern sense are homileo (Luke 24:14,15; Acts 20:11) and sunomileo (Acts 10:27).

(1) In the Old Testament the word used to indicate conduct is derekh, "way" the course one travels (the King James Version Psalms 37:14; margin 50:23). It is the common Hebrew idea of conduct, possibly due, as Hatch thinks, to the fact that in Syria intercourse between village and village was so much on foot, with difficulty on stony tracks over the hills, and this is reflected in the metaphor.

(2) In the New Testament the idea of deportment is once rendered by tropos, "Let your conversation be without covetousness" (Hebrews 13:5 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "be ye free from the love of money"; the Revised Version, margin "let your turn of mind be free"). But the usual Greek word is anastrophe, "a turning up and down," possibly due to the fact, as Hatch again avers, that life in the bustling streets of Athens and Rome gave rise to the conception of life as quick motion to and fro. "Ye have heard of my conversation" (Galatians 1:13 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "manner of life"). So also Ephesians 4:22; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 13:7; "Let him show out of a good conversation" (James 3:13 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "by his good life"); "vexed with the filthy conversation" (2 Peter 2:7 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "lascivious life"); "holy conversation" (2 Peter 3:11 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "holy living"); "Our conversation is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "citizenship" (which see)). See also in the Apocrypha (Tobit 4:14; 2 Macc 5:8).

The translations in the Revisions put a wholesome emphasis upon conduct, and eliminate the danger of much misunderstanding. See further Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek.

G. H. Trever

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'CONVERSATION'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.