I first looked into this word when I had to do a teaching presentation on Philippians chapter 1 for a prison epistles class in bible college. I shared with the class that day that my husband affectionately calls me a word monger. The young man whose presentation immediately followed mine got the title a little confused and opened his presentation with the flattering reference to me, “Well, I’m not a word-nerd…”
In spite of that, I decided to post on apokaradokia today for three reasons:
1) I recently posted on Paul’s “arrogance” in Philippians 1:21-26 and thought it would be a good follow-up.
2) It is just a plain old crazy-cool compound Greek word.
3) Writing about it is exponentially more fun than presenting it in class. I thought it would be nice to share what I learned in a way that doesn’t make me shake, lose my train of thought, or have my mouth go completely dry.
So here it is from my comfort zone to yours…
Paul is the only New Testament author to use this word. It can be found in both Phil. 1:20 and Rom. 8:19.
Philippians 1:20 (NASB)
20 according to my earnest expectation (αποκαραδοκια) and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Romans 8:19 (NASB) 19 For the anxious longing (αποκαραδοκια) of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
You should be getting a sense for what the word picture means, but what is the picture? Let’s break it down.
Apo – away from Kara – head Dokeo – thought, supposition, opinion
So, this is what we have: A straining of the head outward in a concentrated, focused anticipation of an expected and longed for event.
I read somewhere that this word was used in Greek literature to describe watchmen scanning the horizon for a signal.
So, in Phil 1:20 Paul is saying that he so confidently expects and passionately longs for God to be glorified through him, he’s pretty much got blinders on for anything that would distract him from that pursuit. He is intent on one thing, and he is convinced that there is no circumstance that can prevent it.
What if I made the gospel so central in my life that I was intent on bringing God glory in every responsibility, relationship, leisure activity, circumstance, conversation, and thought? What if I really believed God would honor and use that?
I don’t know about you, but I need me some αποκαραδοκια action today!