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Bits and pieces

Last update 30 December, 2016.

Destroyed and lost

3 parables

Parable of the lost coin

Luk 15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
Luk 15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

Parable of the good shepherd

Luk 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Luk 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Luk 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Parable of the prodigal son

Luk 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Luk 15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

The three parables quoted above all are about a being lost or misplaced in a certain way. All the blue words are translated from the Greek word ‘apollumi’.
Below you find the definition of that word according to Strong’s lexicon.

G622 avpo,llumi apollumi {ap-ol'-loo-mee}

1) to destroy

1a) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin
1b) render useless
1c) to kill
1d) to declare that one must be put to death
1e) metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell
1f) to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

2) to destroy

2a) to lose

A lot can be said about those definitions but it’s clear most of them seem to be of  permanent nature. The three parables all are about a temporary state. On top of that in two out of three the ‘lost items’ can’t be really blamed for being lost.



Prodigal son

Keep in mind all three parables in Luke 15, are part of a larger salvation teaching repeating the same point in different ways. So while there are differences in the parables combined they teach two important facts:

The root word ‘apollumi’ is separation. All three parables are about some sort of separation. Obviously the deeper meaning is about separation from God.



1) of separation

2b) of origin of a cause


Adding to the confusion

Parable of the narrow gate

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby
Matt 7:14 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.

Please note although ‘find it’ sounds like an activity of the person it’s not because salvation is the work of God. If not our works, seeking, could save us.

Eph 2:8 For ye are saved by grace through faith, and this a gift of God, not from you,

G684 avpw,leia apoleia {ap-o'-li-a}


1) destroying, utter destruction

2) a perishing, ruin, destruction

Apollumi and apoleia aren’t more different than destroy and destroying. So I find it rather strange Strong doesn’t assign the same meaning to both words. Meaning I’m missing ‘lost’ and similar words.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that every man who believes in him would not perish/apollumi, but have eternal life.

Obviously Jesus is the narrow gate because He’s the only way/gate to eternal life.

The prodigal son was clearly on the wide road. He did many sinful things. He left his father. He was financially destroyed (broke). Hungry. Generally in a very bad shape.

Matt 8:25 And the disciples having approached, they awoke him, saying, Save us, Lord, we are perishing.
Matt 8:26 And he says to them, Why are ye cowardly, O ye of little faith? Then after rising, he rebuked the winds and the sea, and there became a great calm.


They weren't afraid they got lost in the sense of no longer being able to find their way to the shore. Neither was their fear their bodies would be damaged/completely destroyed.

They simply were afraid to die. Dying is losing (G622) life. Dying is separation (G575) from life.


Linking Strong numbers

The above might have gotten a bit chaotic with all those seemingly unrelated verses. In this short section I hope to explain how they combined as team give a fuller story.

G575 → Separation - Apo → Primary root.

G622 → Lost → Apollumi  → This word’s root is G575. The base of G3639.

G684 → Destruction/destroying → Apoleia  → This word’s root is G622.

G3639 → Destroy/death → olethros → Based on G622

The connection between G575 and G622 is an easy one. When someone is lost it’s separated from where it should be.

The connection between G684 and G3639 is easy too, because destroy and destroying basically are the same words.

The other connections aren’t so easy to explain; but it can be said Death (G3639) is separation (G575) from life.

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to separation from life (destruction - G684), and many are they that enter in thereby
Matt 7:14 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.

Matt 26:7 There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
Matt 26:8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this separation from use of this ointment (waste - G684)?

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is separated from me (lost - G684), but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

So very often words like waste, perish, destroyed, lost, death, etc can be understood as being separated from something, separated from a purpose. But sometimes losing is very good…

Matt 10:39 He who finds his life will lose/apollumi it, and he who loses/apollumi his life because of me will find it.

Ok, all that said it must be pointed out that translating apollumi for example as dead isn’t wrong because separation from life is death. So what I’m saying is this: While the looking at the context of the verse a certain English word is a better translation than the very strict meaning of the Greek word.
But at the same time we must be very cautious not to assume a certain translation because it fits doctrine.


Destroyed beyond repair?


Matt 9:17 Nor do they put new wine into old skins; else the skins burst, and the wine runs out, and the skins are destroyed/apollumi. But they put new wine into new skins, and both are preserved together.

The wine skin aren’t totally destroyed. They currently are unfit for use. A bit of a stretch but they currently lost their purpose. However it can still be repaired by man.

Matt 5:29 And if thy right eye causes thee to stumble, remove it and cast it from thee, for it is advantageous for thee that one of thy body-parts should perish/apollumi, and not thy whole body be cast into hell.

The body parts are separated/isolated from the body.

Jas 1:11 For the sun rose up with the burning heat, and withered the grass. And the flower of it fell, and the beauty of its appearance perished/apollumi. So also the rich man will fade away among his pursuits.

Those plants seem to be destroyed/separated from life beyond control of man. I state that last part because obvious God can ‘resurrect the plants if He wishes to do so.

Isa 6:13 And if there be yet a tenth in it, it also shall in turn be eaten up. As a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stock remains when they are felled, so the holy seed is the stock of it.

The stump is compared with seed stock. Just as seed stock is set aside for the next planting season so the stump can sprout new branches. This shares some parallels with the remnant. Click

Hebrew (abad) and Aramaic (abiyd) for destroy give an extra hint. The root of those words indicates an action of isolation. Aleph, the first letter of both words adds the nuance of preparing something. Combined that means destroy has a meaning of separation for preparation. A corrective isolation instead of a vengeful separation.

Lev 26:38 And among the nations you will perish; the land of your enemies will devour you.

Devour is an idiom meaning taking into captivity (isolation).
Israel wasn’t destroyed (perished) in the strict sense of the word because the nation still exist. The next verse largely verifies what I wrote just above. God is working on them; He hasn’t fully rejected them.

Lev 26:44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.


To conclude

Apollumi has a much deeper meaning than many translations show.

Often that’s not a problem but when the study deepens, shallow translations may hide a lot of knowledge. It may even lead to false doctrine.