I think your translation of Nicolaitan is incorrect


I did some research recently and I found your translation of the word "Nicolaitan" from the Greek to be incorrect. From your incorrect translation comes further assumptions which logically begin a continued false set of observations and conclusions. I am not trying to be difficult, merely bring to your attention that your answer needs to be reconsidered. It benefits no one to have a wrong answer because knowing for sure who and what Jesus hated informs us all. Jesus had already made it very clear on following our fleshly urges and following the practices of the world. The Nicolaitans were a different group. Do some research on it. This is meant with the best of intentions.


Isn't wonderful to say "Your answer is wrong" while simultaneously providing no information? The answer was well researched. While I didn't document the derivation of the word, I did quote numerous sources from early Christian writers -- people who knew Nicolaitans -- concerning their beliefs. You provided nothing but your personal belief that they are wrong. So what do you think the correct answer to be? What are your sources of information? Why should I or anyone take your word in regards to accuracy?

But since you believe the translation to be incorrect, let me cite sources:

The Greek word in question is nikolaites

Strong's Greek Dictionary: "adherent of Nicolaus"

Thayer's Greek - English Lexicon of the New Testament: "A follower of Nicholaus, a Nicolaitan: plur., Rev. ii.6, 15, -- a name which, it can scarcely be doubted, refers symbolically to the same persons who in vs. 14 are charged with holding τήυ διδαχήυ Βαλαάμ, i.e. after the example of Balaam, casting a stumbling-block before the church of God (Num. xxiv. 1-3) by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed unto idols as well as of committing fornication; for the Grk. name Νικόλαοσ coincides with the Hebr. בלעם acc. to the interpretation of the latter which regards it as signifying destruction of the people."

A.T. Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament: "Of the Nicolaitans (tôn Nikolaitôn). Mentioned again in verse Re 2:15 and really meant in verse Re 2:2. Irenaeus and Hippolytus take this sect to be followers of Nicolaus of Antioch, one of the seven deacons (Ac 6:5), a Jewish proselyte, who is said to have apostatized. There was such a sect in the second century (Tertullian), but whether descended from Nicolaus of Antioch is not certain, though possible (Lightfoot). It is even possible that the Balaamites of verse Re 2:14 were a variety of this same sect (verse Re 2:15)."

The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary: "The Nicolaitans were a sect in the Early Church mentioned in the New Testament only in Revelation 2:6 and 15. While the letter to the church at Ephesus commended the Ephesians because they "hate(d) the deeds of the Nicolaitans," the letter to the church at Pergamos indicates they had within their community adherents to "the doctrine of the Nicolaitans."

"Little is known of a certainty about this group. According to some of the apologists of the Post-Apostolic Church (most notably Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus), the Nicolaitans were a Gnostic sect that traced its origins to "Nicolas of Antioch," one of the seven Hellenists chosen to oversee the "distribution" to the widows and orphans of the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:5). Although this argument draws indirect support from the fact that the Early Church tended to enhance the image of people mentioned in the New Testament rather than vilify them (see Donaldson, "Nicolaitans," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 3:533f.), most scholars now reject the view that there was any connection between this person and the later sect (as Donaldson finally concludes; cf. also Beck, "Nicolaitans," Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 3:548). It seems there is a growing consensus that there may be no connection between the Nicolaitan sect mentioned in Revelation and the later Gnostic group of the same name.

"An alternative explanation for the origin of the name of this sect is that it is a symbolic wordplay linked etymologically to the name "Balaam" (mentioned in Revelation 2:14). According to Thayer "Balaam" is seen as a derivative of the Hebrew bala' 'am, "destroyer of the people," whereas the Greek "Nicolas" derives from nikos laos, "conqueror of the people" (Greek-English Lexicon). There is widespread agreement that the "doctrine of Balaam . . . to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication" (Revelation 2:14) is being presented here as the content of the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans," which already provides a link between "Balaam" and "Nicolaitan." Additionally, the symbolic name "Jezebel" is applied to a prophetess who was apparently preaching the same doctrine in the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:20). If this symbolic explanation of the name is rejected as being overly speculative (as it is by many modern scholars; cf. Beck, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 3:548), then all that can he said is that the sect draws its name from an otherwise unknown Nicolaus (cf. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, "Nicolaitians").

"It has already been mentioned that the Nicolaitans in the Book of Revelation are probably not to be identified directly with the later Gnostic sect of this name. Apparently the group mentioned in Revelation was an antinomian sect who felt that Christian freedom permitted participation in aspects of Hellenistic society that involved eating food which had been offered to idols and participating in sexual immorality, even though both activities had been prohibited to Gentile Christians by the "Jerusalem Council" (Acts 15:28f.). The antinomian groups identified as "followers of Balaam" in 2 Peter 2:15 and Jude 11 may or may not be related to the Nicolaitans in Revelation 2 (see Donaldson, "Nicolatians," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 3:534 and Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches, pp.87-94)."

The hard thing about the email is one can never tell the tone of one's voice or emotions and you must derive it from words and our own concepts of meaning.  I have obviously deeply offended you which I assure from my heart was never my intention.  And of course you are right, I was vague in my email, I did not offer any "proof" etc.  Your reply is appreciated and again I am sorry for causing you to be offended in any way.  Please accept my apology. 

Briefly I wish to explain this matter. I thought what I had was a good point to make in regards to what appears different translation of Nicolaitans from other reading and study that I did. That reported translation was not the one your web site gave as an opening statement but instead a different one.  When you try to evaluate blindly what is being said by others it is not always  possible to make the correct assumptions.  I viewed your point of view as a misstatement as to what "Nicolaitans" actually means in the Greek.  I had pretty much found agreement that the actual translation is reported to be a compound of three words in the Greek language.  I read in several places this information and they were all the same translation. 

Please forgive the offense. I can see that much time and effort was spent on your reply and I know your time is valuable.  I do have Strong's Greek Dictionary.  I suggest you post your reply to me as it offers qualifying research as to the source and reasons of your conclusions. It seems to me that any web site making bold statements of facts could benefit their purpose of teaching the Bible to their readers if they better documented their sources of information.

If I have missed something on your web site, please do not flame at me about it. I am a fair-minded person and in surfing the web I see many twisted views about who Jesus is and what he came here for and how we will all be saved and so forth. I am searching for greater knowledge of Scriptures and I did not mean to offend anyone.  But consider your web site's information and your statements if you are not completely correct in your opening assumption as to the translation and meaning.  It poses a challenge to other seemingly credible web sites and some conflict.

I feel that in knowing what God hates will help keep my eyes wide open and frankly I am only hoping to check things to a more comfortable conclusion.

No offense was taken. I hope you understand that I deal with all sorts in teaching the gospel. The difficulty with your original note was that you stated, "I found your translation of the word "Nicolaitan" from the Greek to be incorrect," but you did not state what was incorrect, why it was incorrect, or what you found to be a better translation. You further stated that what was written was a "false set of observations and conclusions." It appeared to be a blind shot, but you need to realize that you made strong statements without foundations. Of course I will answer back just as strongly.

I don't mind giving sources, though often in an attempt to keep answers short and reasonably easy to read, I will skip over items that are easily confirmed. You need to be careful in using the Internet as a source. There is a lot of good information available, but there is also a lot of junk. Unfortunately, I have found one person making ignorant statements which are then pick up by others, copied and modified. Before you know it, it is everywhere. An idea found on the Internet might be an interesting point to start researching, but make sure to truly verify the ideas with credible sources. The Mosaical law required establishing facts by two or three witnesses. "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established" (Deuteronomy 19:15). By this it was meant that you had two or three independent sources -- not two or three citing the same source.

The answers provided on La Vista's site are not off the cuff remarks. I do research the responses and attempt to provide the best answer possible. You might not like the answer, but my goal is accuracy.