Gamma Kappa

μεριμνάω, μέριμνα

from μερίς (also μέρος) (n.) “part, portion (as distinct from the whole)”
and its kindred verb, μερίζω (v.) “to divide, distribute, separate into parts, to be drawn in different directions” e.g. in 1 Cor 1.13, “is Christ divided?”

Derived from this verb μερίζω is the noun μέριμνα (n.) “care, concern; anxiety, worry, (being drawn in different directions)” and its related verb μεριμνάω (v.) “to care for, be anxious about, to be troubled with cares”

μεριμνάω is used in a neutral sense in 1 Cor. 7.34:

…the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

and very rarely in a positive sense, as in Philippians 2.20 where Paul commends Timothy:

…I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.

But the great majority of the uses of μεριμνάω and μέριμνα in the NT connote a negative state of mind, e.g. Matthew 6.25 “Do not be worried about your life” &c.

The inference is that of having a mind and heart divided, i.e. pulled in different directions. To understand the implications of this, consider the first and great commandment (Deut. 6.5): to love Yahweh your God with ALL your heart, soul, and might. The commandment precludes divided loyalties and affections. In the same way Jesus taught that “if your eye be ἁπλοῦς (single), your whole body will be full of light.” So the Lord warns us of the sown seed which is unfruitful because it is “choked with worries…” (Luke 8.14) He warns us further in Luke 21:34 to “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap…”

As Paul gives encouragement in Philippians 4.6 to “Be anxious for nothing…” so Peter also exhorts in 1 Peter 5.7, to be “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

Examples: Matthew 10.19, Luke 10.41, and all those noted above

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