Jump to: ISBEWebster'sConcordanceThesaurusGreekHebrewLibrarySubtopicsTerms
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ol'-most (en oligo): In Acts 26:28 the Greek en oligo does not mean "almost," although scholars have for centuries translated the clause "Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian." The revisers saw clearly the errors of their predecessors, so far as the signification of the first two words is concerned; but their explanation of the sentence is also erroneous; for the Greek cannot mean "With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian." Paul's reply proves that en oligo must be taken with the last word poiesai, not with peitheis, since he takes up Agrippa's en oligo, couples it with en megalo and continues with genesthai which is the regular passive of poiesai (compare Lysias xii.71 with 72). And the idea of "Christian" is also taken up and repeated in hopoios kai ego eimi.

An investigation of the usage of en oligo shows that it was never used in the sense of "almost." soil from the peoples, mostly of their own blood, who have given up.

The phrase occurs first in the Hymn to Hermes, 240, and here it is evidently an abbreviated expression for the Homeric oligo eni choro (M 423). Compare K 161, P 394. But it was used for both time and place, with the substantive expressed or understood (Thuc. i0.930.1; iii0.660.3; iv0.260.3; iv0.550.3; ii0.840.3; ii0.860.5; iv0.960.3; v0.112; vii0.670.3; vii0.870.1; Pind. Pyth. viii0.131; Eur. Suppl. 1126; Hel. 771; Isoc. iv0.83; Dem. lviii0.6; iii.18). These uses persist from Homer far down into the post-classical literature (Plut. Per. 159; Coriol. 217; Mar. 427 A; Crass. 547 C; Polyb. x0.18; Appian, Mithrad. 330; Themistius xi.143 C; Eustath. II.B, p. 339.18). In the New Testament the phrase occurs also in Ephesians 3:3. Here too the common versions are incorrect. The clause in which the phrase occurs means simply, "as I said a little while ago"-the addition of en oligo merely indicates that the interval indicated by pro is short, an idea which would have been expressed in classical Greek by the simple dative, oligo and the adverb proteron (Ar. Thesm. 578; Aeschin. i. 2, 26, 72, 165; ii. 77, 147). Only a short while before Paul had expressed practically the same thought (Ephesians 3:3) and in almost identical language.

Consequently, en oligo, in the New Testament, means "a little," and is equivalent to oligos which occurs in 2 Peter 2:18. In classical writers the idea would have been expressed by oligon, or kat' oligon. So en oligo, which originally signified "in a little space" (or time), comes to mean simply "a little (bit)," ein bischen, but is never equivalent to oligou ("within a little") in any period of the language. The King James translators disregarded the real significance of poiesai, or adopted the reading of the inferior manuscripts (genesthai), so as to make the rest of the sentence harmonize with their translation of the first two words; and the revisers force the last two words into an impossible service, since the object of poiesai of which Christianon is the lucrative predicate, must be a third person, but certainly not Agrippa. Some scholars are of the opinion that the thought is: "You are trying to persuade me so as to make me a Christian." This is, indeed, the Spanish version; but examples show that the infinitive after peithein was used in a different sense. The best manuscript reads PITHEIS. This might, of course, stand for peitheis. But mepitheis may point to an original mepipotheis. Compare James 4:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:2, Plato Leg. 855 E. If these contentions be correct, the verb means simply "earnestly desire," and not "persuade."

Compare Herod. v0.93; Plato Protag. 329 D; Aesch. Persian. 542; Soph. Phil. 534; Eur. H.F. 1408; I.T. 542; Cycl. 68; Ion 1432, Ar. Lys. 605, tou dei; ti potheis; Agrippa is asking, "What do you want, Paul? What are you trying to do? Make me a Christian?" The implication in Paul's reply is that he is very desirous indeed of making him a Christian. And this interpretation harmonizes with the scene. The apostle's business at this juncture is not to convert heathen to Christianity; for he is in chains before Agrippa, Berenice, Festus and prominent men of Caesarea, meta polles phantasias (Acts 26:23), to answer the charges brought against him by the Jews. But he holds forth at length and with such ardor that the Roman king says (though not necessarily in irony): "You seem to be anxious to make me a Christian in small measure." And Paul responds: "both small and great."

All the manuscripts, except Sinaiticus, have peitheis (Alexandrinus PEITHE). Several read genesthai (instead of poiesai). Wetstenius (Amsterdam 1752) and Knapp (Halle 1829) follow these manuscripts. So most of the old translates: Coverdale (1535), "Thou persuadest me in a parte to become a Christen"; Biblia Sacra (Paris 1745) "In modico suades me C. fieri"; a Latin MS, 14th century, now in Lane Semitic., Cincinnati; Rosenmueller's Scholia (1829), "Parum abest quin mihi persuadeas ut fiam"; Stier und Theile's Polyglotten Bibel (1849), Tregelles (1857-1879, with Jerome's version); Edouard Reuss, Histoire apostolique (Paris 1876), "Tu vas me persuader bientot de devenir Chretien." The translation of Queen Elizabeth's Bible is "Somewhat thou bryngeste me in minde for to become Chryste." Wycliffe renders "In litil thing thou councelist me for to be maad a Christen man." Erasmus takes en oligo in the sense of "a little."

Calvin's rendering, "Thou writ make me a Christian in a moment," has been adopted in various countries (Wetstenius, Kuinoel, Neander, de Wette, Lange, Robinson, Hackett, Conybeare). The older scholars generally hold to "almost" (Valla, Luther, Beza, Grotius, Castalio, Du Veil, Bengel, Stier). Some interpret the phrase "with little labor" (Oecumenius, Olshausen, Baumgarten, Meyer, Lechler). Neander maintains that if we adopt the readings en megalo in Paul's answer, Agrippa's words must be explained "with a few reasons" ("which will not cost you much trouble"). Meyer-Wendt (Kritisch-exegetisches Handbuch uber die Apostelgeschichte) translates "mit Weregem imnerredest du mich Christ zu werden." Meyer himself conceives the words to have been spoken sarcastically. Se Classical Review, XXII, 238-41.

J. E. Harry

3643b. oligos -- a little, almost
... a little, almost. Transliteration: oligos Short Definition: barely. Word Origin
adverb from oligos Definition a little, almost NASB Word Usage barely (1). ...
// - 5k

4975. schedon -- near, nearly
... near, nearly. Part of Speech: Adverb Transliteration: schedon Phonetic Spelling:
(skhed-on') Short Definition: nearly, almost Definition: nearly, almost. ...
// - 6k

3195. mello -- to be about to
... verb Definition to be about to NASB Word Usage about (30), almost (1), am about
(2), certainly (1), come (12), delay (1), future (1), going (19), intend (1 ...
// - 9k

4523. Saddoukaios -- a Sadducee, a member of a Jewish religious ...
... Short Definition: a Sadducee Definition: a Sadducee, a member of the aristocratic
party among the Jews, from whom the high-priests were almost invariably chosen ...
// - 7k

3641. oligos -- few, little, small
... Of uncertain affinity; puny (in extent, degree, number, duration or value); especially
neuter (adverbially) somewhat -- + almost, brief(-ly), few, (a) little ...
// - 7k

1860. epaggelia -- a summons, a promise
... "Almost every NT use of the word () points back to the OT" (Walter C. Kaiser,
Jr., , Hints for Interpreting Bible Prophecy, 102).]. ...
// - 7k

529. apantesis -- a meeting
... Spelling: (ap-an'-tay-sis) Short Definition: the act of meeting, to meet Definition:
the act of meeting, to meet (a phrase seemingly almost technical for the ...
// - 6k

182. akatastatos -- unstable
... ak-at-as'-tat-os) Short Definition: unsettled, unstable Definition: unsettled, unstable
(though these are hardly strong enough equivalents), almost anarchic. ...
// - 7k

828. Augoustos -- Augustus, the name of a Roman emperor
... tos) Short Definition: Augustus Definition: Augustus, a title conferred on the first
Roman Emperor, C. Iulius Octauianus, denoting sanctity (almost divinity). ...
// - 6k

3897. paraplesios -- coming near, nearly resembling
... nigh unto. Neuter of a compound of para and the base of plesion (as adverb); close
by, ie (figuratively) almost -- nigh unto. see GREEK para. see GREEK plesion. ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
4592. meat -- a little, fewness, a few
... Word Origin from maat Definition a little, fewness, a few NASB Word Usage almost
(2), brief (1), close (1), diminish (1), easily (1), enough (3), few (20 ...
/hebrew/4592.htm - 6k

5244. nemalah -- an ant
... ant. Feminine from namal; an ant (probably from its almost bisected form) -- ant.
see HEBREW namal. 5243, 5244. nemalah. 5245 . Strong's Numbers.
/hebrew/5244.htm - 6k

369. ayin -- nothing, nought
... root Definition nothing, nought NASB Word Usage almost (1), bereft* (1), beyond
(5), beyond* (1), cease (2), countless* (2), else* (1), endless* (1), fails (1 ...
/hebrew/369.htm - 7k

3966. meod -- muchness, force, abundance
... Word Origin from an unused word Definition muchness, force, abundance NASB Word
Usage abundantly (1), all (1), almost (1), badly (3), carefully (1), closely (1 ...
/hebrew/3966.htm - 7k


The Almost Christian
... The Almost Christian. Acts 26:28 " "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
The chapter, out of which the text is taken, contains ...
/.../whitefield/selected sermons of george whitefield/the almost christian.htm

Almost a Disciple
... ALMOST A DISCIPLE. 'And when He was gone forth into the way, there came
one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him. Good Master ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture d/almost a disciple.htm

The Almost Christian
... First Series Sermon 2 The Almost Christian. "Almost thou persuadest me to be a
Christian." Acts 26:28. ... First. What is implied in being almost,. Secondly. ...
/.../wesley/sermons on several occasions/sermon 2 the almost christian.htm

Almost Persuaded. PM
... 221 Almost Persuaded. PM. "Almost," but Lost. (475) "Almost persuaded" now
to believe; "Almost persuaded" Christ to receive; Seems ...
/.../ otterbein hymnal/221 almost persuaded p m.htm

Few Saved; Or, the Almost Christian, the Hypocrite, and Apostate.
... third lines of the stanza. Hymn 2:158. Few saved; or, The almost Christian,
the hypocrite, and apostate. 1 Broad is the road that ...
/.../watts/hymns and spiritual songs/hymn 0 193055556 few saved or.htm

Almost at the Same Time, when Abraham was Now a Hundred Years Old. ...
... Almost at the same time, when Abraham was now a hundred years old� Almost at the
same time, when Abraham was now a hundred years old, his son Isaac was born. ...
/.../severus/life and writings of sulpitius severus /chapter vii almost at the.htm

It is Almost Incredible to Relate How the Hebrews who had Come ...
... The Sacred History Of Sulpitius Severus. Book I. Chapter XIII. It is almost
incredible to relate how the Hebrews who had come down into Egypt� ...
/.../severus/life and writings of sulpitius severus /chapter xiii it is almost.htm

"Almost Thou Persuadest Me"
... Lesson 41 "Almost Thou Persuadest Me". [This ... Christ. One, at least, had been
almost persuaded to accept the grace and pardon offered. ...
/.../white/the acts of the apostles/lesson 41 almost thou persuadest.htm

And for Almost all those Nine Years, Wherein with Unsettled Mind I ...
... Book V Chapter VI And for almost all those nine years, wherein with
unsettled mind I had been their� And for almost all those ...
/.../augustine/the confessions of saint augustine/chapter vi and for almost.htm

Few Saved; Or, the Almost Christian, the Hypocrite, and Apostate.
... Hymns, Book II HYMN 158 Few saved; or, The almost Christian, the hypocrite, and
apostate. LM Few saved; or, The almost Christian, the hypocrite, and apostate. ...
/.../watts/the psalms and hymns of isaac watts/hymn 158 few saved or.htm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(adv.) Nearly; well nigh; all but; for the greatest part.
Almost (27 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (adv.) Nearly; well nigh; all but; for the greatest
part. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. ALMOST. ol'-most ...
/a/almost.htm - 20k

Nineveh (23 Occurrences)
... Isaiah 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken
up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its ruin ...
/n/nineveh.htm - 52k

Nearly (13 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (adv.) In a near manner; not remotely; closely; intimately;
almost. ... (See NAS). Psalms 73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone. ...
/n/nearly.htm - 10k

... Here the slopes descend swiftly almost into the sea, and animals, once started
on the downward run, could not avoid plunging into the depths. ...
/g/gerasa.htm - 10k

Gerasenes (3 Occurrences)
... Here the slopes descend swiftly almost into the sea, and animals, once started
on the downward run, could not avoid plunging into the depths. ...
/g/gerasenes.htm - 11k

Persuade (20 Occurrences)
... Greek is literally "In little thou `persuadest' peitheis to make me a Christian."
the King James Version took peitheis as "convince" ("almost thou persuadest me ...
/p/persuade.htm - 15k

Crane (2 Occurrences)
... They were close relatives of stork, heron and ibis; almost as numerous as any
of these, and residents of Palestine, except in migration. ...
/c/crane.htm - 12k

Cock (12 Occurrences)
... times mentioned in the New Testament and always with reference to its habit of crowing
in eastern countries with such regularity as to be almost clocklike. ...
/c/cock.htm - 13k

Attitudes (1 Occurrence)
... was God's vicegerent upon the earth or over a certain country, and in some sense
Divine, worthy even of adoration, it is not strange that almost equal homage ...
/a/attitudes.htm - 20k

Hauran (2 Occurrences)
... Southeast. It is from 1,500 to 2,000 ft. above sea-level, and almost 50 miles
in length, by 45 in breadth. Chauran aptly describes it. ...
/h/hauran.htm - 11k

Bible Concordance
Almost (27 Occurrences)

Luke 5:7 So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came, and they filled both the boats so that they almost sank.

Luke 8:42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as he went, the multitudes pressed against him.
(See NIV)

Luke 24:29 They urged him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is almost evening, and the day is almost over." He went in to stay with them.

Acts 7:23 But when he was almost forty years old, it came into his heart to go and see his brothers, the children of Israel.

Acts 13:44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city was gathered together to hear the word of God.

Acts 19:26 You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands.

Acts 21:27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him,

Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Acts 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

Romans 13:12 The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let's therefore throw off the works of darkness, and let's put on the armor of light.

Philippians 2:27 For in fact he was ill almost to death: but God had mercy on him; and not only on him but on me, so that I might not have grief on grief.

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Exodus 9:31 And the flax and the barley were damaged, for the barley was almost ready to be cut and the flax was in flower.

Exodus 17:4 Moses cried to Yahweh, saying, "What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me."

Joshua 10:20 It happened, when Joshua and the children of Israel had finished killing them with a very great slaughter until they were consumed, and the remnant which remained of them had entered into the fortified cities,
(See NIV)

Judges 19:9 And when they got up to go away, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, Now evening is coming on, so do not go tonight; see, the day is almost gone; take your rest here and let your heart be glad, and tomorrow early, go on your way back to your house.

Judges 19:11 When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said to his master, "Please come and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it."

2 Samuel 1:6 The young man who told him said, "As I happened by chance on Mount Gilboa, behold, Saul was leaning on his spear; and behold, the chariots and the horsemen followed hard after him.
(See NIV)

2 Kings 25:3 Now on the ninth day of the fourth month, the store of food in the town was almost gone, so that there was no food for the people of the land.

Job 32:19 My stomach is like wine which is unable to get out; like skins full of new wine, it is almost burst.

Psalms 27:13 I had almost given up my hope of seeing the blessing of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalms 31:10 My life goes on in sorrow, and my years in weeping; my strength is almost gone because of my sin, and my bones are wasted away.

Psalms 73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone. My steps had nearly slipped.

Psalms 94:17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

Psalms 119:87 They had almost wiped me from the earth, but I didn't forsake your precepts.

Proverbs 5:14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

Jeremiah 52:6 In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the store of food in the town was almost gone, so that there was no food for the people of the land.



Related Terms

Nineveh (23 Occurrences)

Nearly (13 Occurrences)


Gerasenes (3 Occurrences)

Persuade (20 Occurrences)

Crane (2 Occurrences)

Cock (12 Occurrences)

Attitudes (1 Occurrence)

Hauran (2 Occurrences)

Augury (5 Occurrences)




View (86 Occurrences)



Captain (167 Occurrences)

Zion (169 Occurrences)

Unclean (393 Occurrences)

Urged (44 Occurrences)

Lust (42 Occurrences)

Godhead (5 Occurrences)

Goliath (6 Occurrences)

Gentiles (150 Occurrences)

Tools (3 Occurrences)

Raven (7 Occurrences)

Emmaus (1 Occurrence)

Elkoshite (1 Occurrence)

Michal (18 Occurrences)

Foot (193 Occurrences)

Practically (2 Occurrences)

Pigeon (3 Occurrences)

Persuasion (2 Occurrences)

Bashan (54 Occurrences)

Citizenship (4 Occurrences)

Chios (1 Occurrence)

Achmetha (1 Occurrence)

Annas (4 Occurrences)

Azekah (7 Occurrences)

Sorek (1 Occurrence)

Sinai (38 Occurrences)

Sure (142 Occurrences)

Surely (587 Occurrences)

Gad (78 Occurrences)

Patriarchs (6 Occurrences)

People (13047 Occurrences)

Territory (140 Occurrences)


Cleanse (75 Occurrences)

Eagle (27 Occurrences)

Lebanon (66 Occurrences)









Gerizim (4 Occurrences)

Evening (163 Occurrences)



Birds (125 Occurrences)

Partridge (2 Occurrences)

Obadiah (21 Occurrences)

Rhodes (2 Occurrences)

Damascus (58 Occurrences)

Judges (117 Occurrences)

Water (4571 Occurrences)

Tarsus (5 Occurrences)


Tablets (31 Occurrences)

Areopagus (3 Occurrences)


Enrogel (4 Occurrences)

En-rogel (4 Occurrences)

Philosophy (1 Occurrence)

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Top of Page
Top of Page