Understanding the Word ‘RECEIVE’



Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  -- II Timothy 2: 15 


This teaching is dynamic in its own sense when it comes to being an example of rightly dividing the Word of God.  This teaching will surely thrill the believer who studies and works God’s Word diligently.  It is very simple but extremely important.  The principle that you are about to learn pertains to one single word that you may never have paid much attention to.  Obviously, that word is RECEIVE.  Now, and for the first time, you are going to understand clearly that this word has two different meanings in the Greek.  You need to understand these two different meanings and how they are used to express two different ideas.  It is a very exciting idea to me and I sometimes feel that I should have taught this to you a long time ago.  But as I said before, God knows the exact right moment in time when something should be done.  There are some of you that are more than ready for this teaching and I’m going to start with a short explanation concerning why the Word is wrongly interpreted regarding the Holy Spirit in the Bible.



Most of the misunderstanding and wrong interpretation regarding the Holy Spirit in the Bible have been due to two things:


1.  The capitalization of the words “holy” (hagion) and “spirit'' (pneuma), plus the addition of the article “the” at will by each translator.


2.  The misunderstanding of the word “receive.”


It is “receive'' that we will deal with here, because it is of utmost importance in rightly dividing and understanding the pneuma hagion  scriptures and context.


There are seventeen different Greek word-forms, often translated by the one English word “receive.”  The average student does not see the shades of meaning as given in the Greek and thus taking “receive” in its commonly accepted sense, we develop wrong interpretations.


I believe that to most people the word “receive” means “to take'' and that is all.  But there are more connotations to this word.  Spiritually a person can receive something within the inner man without receiving it into manifestation in the senses world.  I will explain this in depth as the teaching continues.  We will use Scriptural examples from the Bible so that you will be able to easily understand the two different usages of the word receive.


I should mention to you at this point that the two Greek words that we will be studying used for the word receive are dechomai  and the other Greek word is lambano.  One can spiritually receive [dechomai]  a gift from God without its coming forth in evidence in the senses world [lambano].  Remember that all of God's gifts are spirit, and, as such, cannot be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, or touched.  To bring God's gift into evidence we must receive [lambano]  it into manifestation; that is, we must operate the gift.  Are you beginning to understand?  It will become easier and easier for you to understand this teaching as it progresses.


We now know that there are two Greek words that show this difference very clearly:  dechomai and lambano as illustrated in the previous paragraph.  Let’s get right to the individual definitions.


DECHOMAI - is receiving from God spiritually within oneself.  This is subjective reception.  When you are born again, you have dechomaid holy spirit (pneuma hagion), but have not manifested anything, that is, have not yet received into manifestation holy spirit (lambano).  What do I mean by lambano?  What does it mean to receive into manifestation the Holy Spirit?  The following gives you that answer.


LAMBANO - is receiving the gift into manifestation after having received it spiritually. This is an objective reception to the end of manifestation.  But what are we manifesting?  We manifest the Holy Spirit within us by speaking in tongues.  We are going to get into more explanations which will teach you, without a doubt, the difference between DECHOMAI AND LAMBAN0.


You should be getting an understanding as to why the word receive is so important.  You will see by the following examples that if you are not understanding the difference between dechomai and lambano, you cannot rightly divide the Word of God.  Then you have misunderstanding and mistranslations.  This still goes on to a great extent in the secular and religious world of today.  Most people do not understand or make an effort to understand the difference between Greek words and our English translation of the same word.  You can clearly see that in the Greek, the word receive, in the Bible, has two different distinct meanings.  Before we get into other scriptural examples, let’s repeat one of the most important Scriptures in the Bible today.


Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  -- II Timothy 2: 15 


Who do we stand approved unto?  Unto God and we are to work the Word of God so that we are never to be ashamed because we rightly divide it.  We do not guess at what the Word says and we do not use private interpretation. 


Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  -- II Peter 1: 20


That means when we can get to it some time, then we can say it’s first.  No, no, no.  It says first and that’s what the Word of God means.  No prophecy or interpretation or understanding of the Word of God is to be made by private interpretation - guesswork.  The Greek word used for ‘private’ is idios  and it means ‘one’s own’.  Clearly this means our own interpretation.  I have taught you, that the Bible interprets itself.  We have no right to guess at what the Word means.  In fact, from the Greek word idios  comes our English word for idiot.  By studying the Greek meanings of different words, we are then and only then able to rightly divide God’s Word.  Now we will get back to the specifics of our teaching regarding  the two Greek meanings of the word ‘receive’.


But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  -- Acts 8: 12


Then Simon himself believed also:  and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.  -- Acts 8: 13


In Acts 8: 12 the people believed Philip's preaching, and in verse 13 Simon believed also.  Surely when they believed they were saved and thus “received” dechomai, spiritually received, the Lord Jesus Christ, the new birth, for “they were baptized, both men and women.” 


Now watch the next verse.


Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received [dechomai] the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  -- Acts 8: 14


In verse 14 we note that “when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.”  This word “received” is dechomai, meaning they had received spiritually, but as yet had not manifested anything, that is, had not received into manifestation (lambano).  Acts 8: 15 continues:


Who, when they [Peter and John] were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.  -- Acts 8: 15


Here the word “receive” is lambano, “receive into manifestation.”


Notice the difference in the two usages of “receive.”  The correct interpretation depends upon understanding the usage of the word as it appears in these verses.  Up to this point in the early Church, from the day of Pentecost on, whenever anyone had received salvation he also had received the gift from the Holy Spirit into manifestation.  In each case the sign in the senses world that the gift had been received into manifestation was that they spoke in tongues, except in the church of Samaria, where they received the gift spiritually but did not speak in tongues immediately.  Peter and John, two leaders in the new church at Jerusalem came down to Samaria to see what was happening there and why.  Read verse 16 which only adds to the context.


Then laid they their  hands on them, and they received [lambano] the Holy Ghost [pneuma hagion].  -- Acts 8: 17


They manifested outwardly what they had previously received spiritually because they now spoke in tongues.  You have to be able to see by now that you must understand the two different meanings of the word receive to understand if they were mainly born again OR if they were born again AND also spoke in tongues.  You can see clearly the differences between the word receive.  I am going to give you a chart at the end of this teaching which will show you every usage of the two Greek words dechomai and lambano.  This chart will cover the New Testament.  My advice to you who are serious about learning and applying God’s Word is to do the following.  When you receive the chart, turn to the appropriate Scripture and to the word ‘receive’ and mark each word in pencil, with a D or an L.  This time, and every time you come across the word receive, you will have marked it as dechomai or lambano.  This will greatly improve your ability to rightly divide the Word of God.  It will take you some time to mark those words with a D or an L, but it does not take that long to accomplish this especially since it has such great profit.  By your own study, you will now always be able to rightly divide God’s Word regarding the word ‘receive’.  No longer will you guess or misunderstand what the Word ‘receive’ means.  I think some of you will find it exciting and it is exciting.  I have marked every single word ‘receive’ in my Bible with an L or a D.  The next time you are reading your Bible and you come across the word receive, you will know which Greek word applies and you will know the true meaning of that Greek word.  In the meantime, we will go over some more examples in the Word of God so that you will never again be confused as to the meanings of these two Greek words.


In Acts 10: 44 - 46 (please read the Scriptures) we are told that while Peter was preaching the Word to Cornelius and his household, the pneuma hagion fell upon all of them and Peter and his six companions were astonished that “on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost [pneuma hagion].”  The reason they knew they had received spiritually, dechomai, was that they now received into manifestation, lambano, “for they heard them speak with tongues.''  You cannot lambano Holy Spirit until you first dechomai Holy Spirit.  Are you beginning to understand?  You should not be having a problem, but if you are, reread the teaching for the second time.  This is not a difficult concept to understand.  To dechomai is to be born again - speaking in tongues is to lambano into manifestation the Holy Spirit that you received when you were born again.  This is very simple.


In Acts 19: 1 - 6 (again, make sure you read the Scriptures) we have a similar occurrence.  Paul arrived at Ephesus and found a few disciples.  They were believers, for Apollos had ministered as much of the Word to them as he knew and understood.  They had been saved under Apollos' ministry.  But when Paul met these new disciples, he said unto them, “Have ye received [lambano, manifested] the Holy Ghost since ye believed?''  Later, according to verse 6, Paul ministered to them and they received the Holy Spirit into manifestation, for it states that “they spake with tongues.''  Under Apollos’ ministry, they were able to dechomai Holy Spirit.  But that is all that Apollos knew and understood.  When Paul visited this area, he taught the believers how to speak in tongues and therefore they now received (lambano) the Holy Spirit into manifestation.  In a believer’s meeting, no more than three people are asked to speak in tongues and to interpret.  Speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues are two very important manifestations of Holy Spirit.  This is a result of being able to lambano Holy Spirit.


In conclusion, in order to rightly divide the Word of Truth, the usage of the word “receive” is highly important to the proper understanding of the verses of scripture in which the word appears.  In the following pages are given every reference in the New Testament where the roots dechomai and lambano are found, so that you may study these two meanings of the word “receive” to your own satisfaction.  Try to remember to mark every word “receive’’ with an L or a D.  A small pencil mark above the word will suffice.


A.  DECHOMAI - subjective reception


Matthew 10: 14, 40 (used 4 times), 41 (1st and 3rd); 11: 14; 18: 5 (twice)


Mark 4: 20; 6: 11; 9: 37 (4 times); 10: 15


Luke 8: 13, 40; 9: 5, 11, 48 (4 times), 53; 10: 8, 10, 38; 15: 2; 16: 4, 9; 18: 17; 19: 6


John 4: 45


Acts 2: 41; 3: 21; 7: 38, 59; 8: 14; 11: 1; 15: 4; 16: 21; 17: 7, 11; 18: 27;  21: 17;

22: 5, 18; 28: 7, 21, 30


Romans 16: 2


I Corinthians 2: 14


II Corinthians 6: 1, 17; 7: 15; 8: 4; 11: 16


Galatians 4: 14


Philippians 2: 29; 4: 18


Colossians 4: 10 (2nd)


I Thessalonians 1: 6; 2: 13 (2nd)


II Thessalonians 2: 10


I Timothy 5: 19


Hebrews 11: 17, 31; 12: 6


James 1: 21; 2: 25


III John 9; 10




B.  LAMBANO - objective reception into manifestation or evidence, possible only after dechomai.


Matthew 7: 8; 10: 8, 41 (2nd, 4th); 13: 20 (2nd); 17: 24; 19: 29; 20: 7, 9, 10 (twice), 11; 21: 22, 34;  23: 14; 25: 16, 18, 20, 22, 24


Mark 4: 16; 7: 4; 10: 30; 11: 24; 12: 2, 40; 15: 23; 16: 19


Luke 6: 34 (twice); 9: 51; 11: 10; 15: 27; 16: 25; 18: 30; 19: 12, 15; 20: 47; 23: 41


John 1: 11, 12, 16; 3: 11, 27, 32, 33; 4: 36; 5: 34, 41, 43 (twice), 44; 6: 21; 7: 23, 39;  10: 18; 12: 48; 13: 20 (4 times), 30; 14: 3, 17; 16: 14, 24; 17: 8; 18: 3; 19: 30; 20: 22


Acts 1: 8, 9; 2: 33, 38; 3: 5; 7: 53; 8: 15, 17, 19; 9: 19; 10: 16, 43, 47; 16: 24; 17: 15; 19: 2; 20: 24, 35; 26: 10, 18; 28: 2


Romans 1: 5, 27; 4: 11; 5: 11, 17; 8: 15 (twice); 11: 15; 13: 2; 14: 1, 3; 15: 7 (twice)


I Corinthians 2: 12; 3: 8, 14; 4: 7 (3 times); 9: 24; 11: 23; 14: 5; 15: 1, 3


II Corinthians 11: 4 (twice), 24


Galatians 1: 9, 12; 3: 2, 14; 4: 5


Philippians 4: 9, 15


Colossians 2: 6; 3: 24; 4: 10 (1st), 17


I Thessalonians 2: 13 (1st); 4: 1


II Thessalonians 3: 6


I Timothy 3: 16; 4: 3, 4


Philemon 12; 17


Hebrews 2: 2; 6: 7; 7: 5, 8, 9; 9: 15; 10: 26; 11: 8, 11, 13, 35; 12: 28 


James 1: 7, 12; 3: 1; 4: 3; 5: 7


I Peter 4: 10


II Peter 1: 17


I John 2: 27; 3: 22; 5: 9


II John 4; 8; 10


III John 8


Revelation 2: 17, 27; 3: 3; 4: 11; 5: 12; 14: 9, 11; 17: 12 (twice); 18: 4; 19: 20; 20: 4




That’s it.  Work some of these Scriptures and remember to mark them D or L.  Once you do this, you never have to do it again.  Be sure to use a pencil, not an ink pen.