And the special word is.... Hold on a sec. We may appreciate it more if we understand that the normal word for disciple, mathētēs
, appears 100s of times in the N.T., whereas this word, with almost the same meaning, shows up only once!
The rare mathētria
(pron. Mah-THEY-tree-ah) is known as a hapax
(the Greek word for "once"), since in the N.T. it appears uniquely in Acts 9:36. There are many hapaxes in the N.T., for example bēryllos, topadzion, chrysoprasos, hyacinthos,
-- precious stones in Revelation.
means a female disciple; it's the feminine form of mathētēs,
which itself includes both genders. If you're not familiar with Tabitha (Dorcas), a woman who made quite an impact both
times she was alive please take a peek at the setting
in which this lovely hapax appears. The Lord calls men and women to the same standard. This fact should have impact in the church, starting with equal respect for both genders. Tabitha was a disciple till the very end -- even though in her case the end came twice. She had two
opportunities to be a faithful disciple unto death!
If you're interested in learning about some of the special Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible, click here
for 50+ words. (Older disciples, how many do you think you know already? I wonder... Why not find out?)