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kardiognōstēs: does it mean omniscient?

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  • kardiognōstēs: does it mean omniscient?

    The Greek word kardiognōstēs ("heart-knower") is found in Acts 1:24 and Acts 15:8. This knowledge is expressed in many other passages of the Bible (1 Kings 8:39; Psalms 7:9; Jeremiah 17:10; Luke 16:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 2:23; etc).
    Before I get to how this word is properly defined let me point out that although the Bible records that certain individuals had more insight than others (cf. 1 Kings 14:5; 2 Kings 6:12; 8:11-12; Acts 5:3-5) they were never said to be able to know the totality of the hearts of all people let alone the totality of just one of them (2 Kings 4:27). Only God has this knowledge (omniscience).

    That God is "kardiognōstēs" is the same thing as saying He is omniscient.
    1. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDNTT): This belief in the omniscience of God is expressed succinctly by the adj. kardiognōstēs (2:183, Heart, T. Sorg).
    2. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT): The designation of God as ho kardiognōstēs, "the One who knows the heart," expresses in a single term (Ac. 1:24; 15:8) something which is familiar to both the NT and OT piety...namely that the omniscient God knows the innermost being of every man where the decision is made either for Him or against Him (3:613, kardiognōstēs, J. Behm).
    3. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (EDNT): On the one hand God is "in heaven" (Matt 6:9f. par.; 7:11; 11:25) and strictly distinguishable from everything that is of this world. On the other hand, however, he is present (Matt 6:1-18; Rev 1:8) and omniscient (Matt 6:8, 32; Acts 1:24; 15:8) (2:141, theos, G. Schneider).
    4. New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE): the psalmist acknowledged the omniscience of God who knows the secrets of the heart (44:21[22]) (3:426, ta`alummah - hidden, secret, Andrew Hill).
    5. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG, 3rd Edition): knower of hearts, one who knows the hearts, of God Ac 1:24; 15:8 (on these pass. s. JBauer, BZ 32, 88, 114-117); Hm 4, 3, 4. - M-M. DELG s.v. ginōskō. TW (kardiognōstēs, page 509).
    TW stands for the TDNT (Theologisches Worterbuch zum NT)
    See #2 for "omniscient."

    In agreement with the above several others are noted:
    1. David Pao and Eckhard Schnabel (Luke 16:15): The statement in 16:15 "God knows your hearts" - that is, the seat of human desire and volition, reaction and emotion - echoes OT passages such as Deuteronomy 8:2; 1 Sam, 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 7:10; 44:21; Prov. 21:2; 24:12; Jer. 11:20; 17:9-10 (cf. Acts 1:24; 15:8). The notion that God knows the innermost being of people affirms God's omniscience (Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, Editors G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, page 343-344).
    2. John Gill (Revelation 2:23): shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and heart; or am the omniscient God
    Revelation 2 Commentary - John Gill's Exposition on the Whole Bible
    3. David Aune (Revelation 2:23): This allusion has important christological significance, since the original speaker in Jer 17:10 was Yahweh, but now it is the exalted Christ who possesses the same omniscience (Word Biblical Commentary, 52A, Revelation 1-5, page 206).
    4. Karl Keil and Franz Delitzsch (1 Chronicles 28:9): To strengthen this exhortation, David reminds him of the omniscience of God. Jahve seeks, i.e., searches, all hearts and knows all the imagination of the thoughts; cf. Psalm 7:10; 1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 11:20; Psalm 139:1.
    1 Chronicles 28 Commentary - Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
    5. Albert Barnes (Psalm 7:9): The phrase used here - of trying the hearts and reins - is one that is often employed to describe the Omniscience of God. Compare Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Psalm 26:2; Psalm 139:13; Revelation 2:23.
    Psalms 7 Commentary - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
    6. Daniel Whedon (Jeremiah 12:3): A solemn appeal to the heart-searching God, not in the spirit of Phariseeism, but with a clear consciousness of thorough honesty. The fact that God is omniscient is terrible to the sinner, but a source of ineffably precious consolation and strength to the Christian.
    Jeremiah 12 Commentary - Daniel Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
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