Fullfill – a Biblical definition

Foundations, the Law

Let scripture interpret scripture.

A Biblical definition for the word “fulfill” of Matthew 5:17.

In Matthew 5:17 the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō is in the form: πληρωσαι

This Greek word πληρωσαι appears four times in the New Testament:

Mat_3:15 KJV  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Mat 3:15 αποκριθεις δε ο ιησους ειπεν προς αυτον αφες αρτι ουτως γαρ πρεπον εστιν ημιν πληρωσαι πασαν δικαιοσυνην τοτε αφιησιν αυτον

Mat_5:17 KJV  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfilMat 5:17 μη νομισητε οτι ηλθον καταλυσαι τον νομον η τους προφητας ουκ ηλθον καταλυσαι αλλα πληρωσαι

Rom_15:13 KJV  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Rom 15:13 ο δε θεος της ελπιδος πληρωσαι υμας πασης χαρας και ειρηνης εν τω πιστευειν εις το περισσευειν υμας εν τη ελπιδι εν δυναμει πνευματος αγιου

Col_1:25 KJV  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  Col 1:25  ης εγενομην εγω διακονος κατα την οικονομιαν του θεου την δοθεισαν μοι εις υμας πληρωσαι τον λογον του θεου

The Septuagint (LXX)

For those of us not familiar with the Septuagint (LXX), here is a summary:

The Septuagint (pronounced /ˈsɛptʊ.ədʒɪnt/), or simply “LXX”, referred to in critical works by the abbreviation, is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE in Alexandria. It was begun by the third century BCE and completed before 132 BCE.

It is the oldest of several ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean Basin from the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE).

The Septuagint was held in great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus (associated with Hellenistic Judaism) ascribed divine inspiration to its authors. Besides the Old Latin versions, the LXX is also the basis for the Slavonic, the Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Old Testament. Of significance for all Christians and for Bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the New Testament and by the Apostolic Fathers.   (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint)

Our access to this translation is of immense value because it gives us tremendous insight to the usage and meanings of New Testament Greek words in their first century context. 

Old Testament References from the Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures: 

The Greek word πληρωσαι appears nine times in the Septuagint.  For textual comparison I have included the following translations: the Brenton (LXX’s English translation,) the King James Version, the LXX, and the Hebrew Interlinear.  πληρωσαι and the words associated with it are highlighted.

You won’t have to be a Biblical scholar to realize that the first century understanding of πληρωσαι is very different than what is commonly taught.

Num_7:88 Brenton  All the cattle for a sacrifice of peace-offering, twenty-four heifers, sixty rams, sixty he-goats of a year old, sixty ewe-lambs of a year old without blemish: this is the dedication of the altar, after that Moses consecrated Aaron, and after he anointed him.

Num_7:88 KJV  And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.

Num 7:88 LXX  πᾶσαι αἱ βόες εἰς θυσίαν σωτηρίου δαμάλεις εἴκοσι τέσσαρες, κριοὶ ἑξήκοντα, τράγοι ἑξήκοντα, ἀμνάδες ἑξήκοντα ἐνιαύσιαι ἄμωμοι. αὕτη ἡ ἐγκαίνωσις τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου μετὰ τὸ πληρῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ καὶ μετὰ τὸ χρῖσαι αὐτόν. –

(Num 7:88)וכלH3605 And all  בקרH1241 the oxen  זבחH2077 for the sacrifice  השׁלמיםH8002 of the peace offerings  עשׂריםH6242 twenty  וארבעהH702 and four  פריםH6499 bullocks,  אילםH352 the rams  שׁשׁיםH8346 sixty,  עתדיםH6260 the he goats  שׁשׁיםH8346 sixty,  כבשׂיםH3532 the lambs  בניH1121 of the first  שׁנהH8141 year  שׁשׁיםH8346 sixty.  זאתH2063 This  חנכת H2598 the dedication המזבחH4196 of the altar,  אחריH310 after that  המשׁחH4886 it was anointed.  אתו׃H853

The Hebrew word חנכת H2598 is Hanukkah!

1Ch_29:5 Brenton  for thee to use the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for every work by the hand of the artificers. And who is willing to dedicate himself in work this day for the Lord?

1Ch_29:5 KJV  The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?

1Ch_29:5 LXX  διὰ χειρὸς τεχνιτῶν. καὶ τίς ὁ προθυμούμενος πληρῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ σήμερον κυρίῳ;

(1Ch 29:5)   לזהבH2091 The gold  לזהבH2091 for of gold,  ולכסףH3701 and the silver  לכסףH3701 for of silver,  ולכלH3605 and for all manner  מלאכהH4399 of work  בידH3027 by the hands  חרשׁיםH2796 of artificers.  ומיH4310 And who  מתנדבH5068 is willing  למלאות H4390 to consecrate his service  ידוH3027 to consecrate his service היוםH3117 this day  ליהוה׃H3068 unto the LORD?

2Ch_13:9 Brenton  Did ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make to yourselves priests of the people of any other land? whoever came to consecrate himself with a calf of the heard and seven rams, he forthwith became a priest to that which is no god.

2Ch_13:9 KJV  Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.

2Ch_13:9 LXX ἦ οὐκ ἐξεβάλετε τοὺς ἱερεῖς κυρίου τοὺς υἱοὺς Ααρων καὶ τοὺς Λευίτας καὶ ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς ἱερεῖς ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ τῆς γῆς; πᾶς ὁ προσπορευόμενος πληρῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας ἐν μόσχῳ ἐκ βοῶν καὶ κριοῖς ἑπτὰ καὶ ἐγίνετο εἰς ἱερέα τῷ μὴ ὄντι θεῷ.

(2Ch 13:9)   הלאH3808 Have ye not  הדחתםH5080 cast out  אתH853  כהניH3548 the priests  יהוהH3068 of the LORD,  אתH853  בניH1121 the sons  אהרןH175 of Aaron,  והלויםH3881 and the Levites,  ותעשׂוH6213 and have made  לכם  כהניםH3548 you priests  כעמיH5971 after the manner of the nations  הארצותH776 of lands?  כלH3605 so that whosoever  הבאH935 cometh  למלא H4390 to consecrate ידוH3027 to consecrate  בפרH6499 bullock  בןH1121 himself with a young  בקרH1241 himself with a young  ואילםH352 rams,  שׁבעהH7651 and seven  והיהH1961 may be  כהןH3548 a priest  ללאH3808 of no  אלהים׃H430 gods.

Job_20:23 Brenton  If by any means he would fill his belly, let God send upon him the fury of wrath; let him bring a torrent of pains upon him.

Job_20:23 KJV  When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.

Job_20:23 LXX  εἴ πως πληρώσαι γαστέρα αὐτοῦ, ἐπαποστείλαι ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν θυμὸν ὀργῆς, νίψαι ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν ὀδύνας·

(Job 20:23)   יהיH1961 he  למלא H4390 is about to fill בטנוH990 his belly,  ישׁלחH7971 shall cast  בו  חרוןH2740 the fury  אפוH639 of his wrath  וימטרH4305 upon him, and shall rain  עלימוH5921 upon  בלחומו׃H3894 him while he is eating.

Psa_20:4-5 Brenton  (19:4) Grant thee according to thy heart, and fulfill all thy desire.  (5)  (19:5) We will exult in thy salvation, and in the name of our God shall we be magnified: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.

Psa_20:4-5 KJV  Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.  (5)  We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Psa_20:4-5 LXX  (19:5) δῴη σοι κατὰ τὴν καρδίαν σου καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν βουλήν σου πληρώσαι.  (5)  (19:6) ἀγαλλιασόμεθα ἐν τῷ σωτηρίῳ σου καὶ ἐν ὀνόματι θεοῦ ἡμῶν μεγαλυνθησόμεθα. πληρώσαι κύριος πάντα τὰ αἰτήματά σου.

(Psa 20:4-5)   יתןH5414 Grant  לך  כלבבךH3824 thee according to thine own heart,  וכלH3605 all  עצתךH6098 thy counsel.  ימלא׃ and fulfill  H4390 (5)   נרננהH7442 We will rejoice  בישׁועתךH3444 in thy salvation,  ובשׁםH8034 and in the name  אלהינוH430 of our God  נדגלH1713 we will set up banners:  ימלאH4390 fulfill  יהוהH3068 the LORD  כלH3605 all  משׁאלותיך׃H4862 thy petitions.

Isa_8:8 Brenton  and he shall take away from Juda every man who shall be able to lift up his head, and every one able to accomplish anything; and his camp shall fill the breadth of thy land, O God with us.

Isa_8:8 KJV  And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

Isa_8:8 LXX καὶ ἀφελεῖ ἀπὸ τῆς Ιουδαίας ἄνθρωπον ὃς δυνήσεται κεφαλὴν ἆραι ἢ δυνατὸν συντελέσασθαί τι, καὶ ἔσται ἡ παρεμβολὴ αὐτοῦ ὥστε πληρῶσαι τὸ πλάτος τῆς χώρας σου· μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν ὁ θεός.

(Isa 8:8)   וחלףH2498 And he shall pass  ביהודהH3063 through Judah;  שׁטףH7857 he shall overflow  ועברH5674 and go over,  עדH5704 to  צוארH6677 the neck;  יגיעH5060 he shall reach  והיהH1961  מטותH4298 and the stretching out  כנפיוH3671 of his wings  מלא H4393 shall fill רחבH7341 the breadth  ארצךH776 of thy land,  עמנו  אל׃H6005 O Immanuel.

Isa_13:3 Brenton  I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfil my wrath, rejoicing at the same time and insulting.

Isa_13:3 KJV  I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

Isa_13:3 LXX ἐγὼ συντάσσω, καὶ ἐγὼ ἄγω αὐτούς· ἡγιασμένοι εἰσίν, καὶ ἐγὼ ἄγω αὐτούς· γίγαντες ἔρχονται πληρῶσαι τὸν θυμόν μου χαίροντες ἅμα καὶ ὑβρίζοντες.

(Isa 13:3)   אניH589 I  צויתיH6680 have commanded  למקדשׁיH6942 my sanctified ones,  גםH1571 I have also  קראתיH7121 called  גבוריH1368 my mighty ones  לאפיH639 for mine anger,  עליזיH5947 them that rejoice  גאותי׃H1346 in my highness.

Jer_33:5 Brenton  (40:5) to fight against the Chaldeans, and to fill it with the corpses of men, whom I smote in mine anger and my wrath, and turned away my face from them, for all their wickedness:

Jer_33:5 KJV  They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.

Jer_33:5 LXX (40:5) τοῦ μάχεσθαι πρὸς τοὺς Χαλδαίους καὶ πληρῶσαι αὐτὴν τῶν νεκρῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, οὓς ἐπάταξα ἐν ὀργῇ μου καὶ ἐν θυμῷ μου, καὶ ἀπέστρεψα τὸ πρόσωπόν μου ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν περὶ πασῶν τῶν πονηριῶν αὐτῶν

(Jer 33:5)   באיםH935 They come  להלחםH3898 to fight  אתH854 with  הכשׂדיםH3778 the Chaldeans,  ולמלאם H4390 but to fill אתH854 them with  פגריH6297 the dead bodies  האדםH120 of men,  אשׁרH834 whom  הכיתיH5221 I have slain  באפיH639 in mine anger  ובחמתיH2534 and in my fury,  ואשׁרH834 whose  הסתרתיH5641 I have hid  פניH6440 my face  מהעירH5892 city.  הזאתH2063 from this  עלH5921 and for  כלH3605 all  רעתם׃H7451 wickedness

The context of the instances πληρωσαι in the LXX and its associated Hebrew words don’t hint to these definitions; end, complete or finish.

The dedication of the altar was not “the end of it.” it was its beginning!

The consecration of a priest into service was not “the end” of his service or life, it was the beginning of service!

Given that this word πληρωσαι is not only used as fill and fulfil but also as dedicate, dedication and consecrate, it is safe to say that the first century usage of this particular form of πληρωσαι should not be interpreted as: end, complete or finish. To do so would be to ignore the Biblical definition for the sake of doctrine.

When we let scripture interpret scripture – Matthew 5:17 takes on a very different meaning than what is commonly taught.



5 Responses

  1. Romans 10:4 fits in good with this dicussion. The English work “end” is usually used for the translation of the the Greek work “telos” which means “goal” like a captain of a ship uses a telecope to aim his ship towards the goal.

  2. Can someone help me with this question:

    Ephesians 2:15 (NKJV)
    having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,


    from (kata) and (argeo); to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literal or figurative :- abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.
    Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

    How to translate this is needed help someone?


  3. Never mind here is the answer:

    Ephesians 2:11-13 (KJV)
    Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
    That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
    But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

    key words: Circumcision

    Ephesians 2:14-15 (KJV)
    For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
    Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

    key word: enmity

    Ephesians 2:16 (KJV)
    And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

    keyword: reconcile

    Galatians 6:15 (KJV)
    For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

    key word: uncircumcision nor circumcision

    Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV)
    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    key word: destroy

    Ephesians 2:7-9 (KJV)
    That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    key word: grace and works

    It sounds like it was a issue with circumcision and the law is no longer on stone but in are heart?

    buy killing the mans ordinance which they made a commandment for peace, coventant and now Jesus is are renewed coventant

    any responses please


  4. Kul Tov

    Firstly thanks Clint for this study it has formalised much of what our kohal have come to believe and understand.

    if i may be so bold as to give ‘jduran41′ some advice, i believe an answer to a query of this nature it is better researched then just given.

    I would like to point you to the words ‘takkanah’ which forms part of the ‘halakha’ (Jewish law)
    or as we talk of Rabbinical laws, which Yahshua came out strongly against and if you understand these and then read the scripture you quote it will make perfect sense.

    ‘commandments contained in ordinances’

    ask yourself ‘Whose ordinances?’ If you answer in the light of the above the scripture answers itself.

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