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furst ('echadh, ri'shon; proton, to proton, protos): Of these words, which are those most frequently used for "first," ri'shon is from rosh, "the head, and is used for the highest, chief, etc.; also of time, the beginning, e.g. Gen 8:13, in the first month"; in Isa 44:6; 48:12, it is used of Yahweh as Eternal and solely Supreme--the First and the Last (compare 41:4). Special usages are in connection with "firstborn," "first-fruit," etc.; proton is used of that which is first in order; but also of that which is first or chief in importance, etc. (Mt 6:33; Jas 3:17). In 1 Tim 1:15, Paul says Jesus came "to save sinners; of whom I am chief," literally, "first"; the same word is used by Jesus of the "first" of the commandments (Mk 12:29); where we read in 1 Cor 15:3, "I delivered unto you first of all," it is en protois ("in the foremost place"); "The first and the last" is applied to Christ as Eternal and Supreme (Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13); protos is "the first day" (Mt 26:17; Mk 16:9); in Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1,19; Acts 20:7, it is mia ("one").
W. L. Walker
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'first'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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