Free Online Bible Library | Will (Testament)

We also have classes for: provides a comprehensive biblical education from world-class professors
to encourage spiritual growth in the church, for free.

Would you do us the favor of answering this two question poll so we can know how to serve you better? You will also be given the opportunity to join our team tasked with how to make better. Thank you.  --Bill Mounce


Will (Testament)

WILL (TESTAMENT) (διαθήκη, G1347, disposition, ordinance, full arrangement). The published will of a person (in the NT, God or Christ) concerning his possessions and his heirs.

In the LXX the term διαθήκη, G1347, is the common tr. for the Heb. word בְּרִית, H1382, covenant. This suggests that the Gr. trs. understood the OT as more than simply an agreement between parties. Rather, it was a publication of God’s sovereign will for man’s salvation in which man cooperated.

By NT times the primary meaning of διαθήκη, G1347, as will or testament had so far exerted itself that the idea of agreement is largely lacking. Particularly in non-Biblical Gr. lit., the term connoted simply “last will and testament.” Paul uses the word in this light (Gal 3:15-17, KJV covenant) in demonstrating that God’s covenant, like a man’s will, can be changed only by the originator. Similarly, the writer to the Hebrews expresses the terms of the covenant (διαθήκη, G1347) on an analogy with a will (διαθήκη, G1347) (9:15-18). He shows that when the testator dies, then only does the will become operative. Thus, since Christ has died, all the promises of the covenant are available to man.

Generally, however, the NT uses the term in a broader sense more in keeping with the OT idea. Jesus’ statement of a “new testament” in His blood tells of a new disposition of affairs for the redemption of men.


G. Kittel, TWNT, II, 124-134.

Biblical Training

The BiblicalTraining app gives you access to 2,100 hours of instruction (129 classes and seminars). Stream the classes, or download and listen to them offline. Share classes via social media, email, and more.