Oikia vs Oikos--A Vaid Distinction?

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Doctor
In some 19th Century paedobaptist polemical works, I've recently seen the terms oikia and oikos distinguished. Oikos is said to mean family and oikia is said to mean household, which would include servants, etc. Generally speaking, the argument is that in Acts and elsewhere in the NT oikos is used in the household baptism passages and that's the reason why children are baptized but not household servants as would have been the case under the covenant of circumcision. Some argued that the translators of the AV erred and that oikos should have been translated as "family."

Is there any validity to this? I can't recall seeing this distinction made in recent writers. Or have I missed it?

I first came across it in McKay's Immersion and Immersionists. Dabney makes reference to this distinction in his ST too. I found another example in A Compend of Baptism by William Hamilton. A search in Google Books will yield several other examples.

Hinton, a Baptist writer of that era, refers to this idea as "ingenious but untenable" and argues that at times the terms are sometimes used interchangeably in reference to the same house.
Last edited:


Puritan Board Graduate
For what it's worth oikos, oikia

Thayer's Lexicon says:

(Synonyms: οἶκος, οἰκία: in Attic (and especially legal) usage, οἶκος denotes one's household establishment, one's entire property, οἰκία, the dwelling itself; and in prose οἶκος is not used in the sense of οἰκία. In the sense of family οἶκος and οἰκία are alike employed; Schmidt vol. ii., chapter 80. In relation to distinctions (real or supposed) between οἶκος and οἰκία the following passages are of interest (cf. Valckenaer on Herodotus 7, 224): Xenophon, oecon. 1, 5 οἶκος δέ δή τί δοκεῖ ἡμῖν κειναι; ἄρα ὅπερ οἰκία, ἤ καί ὅσα τίς ἔξω τῆς οἰκίας κέκτηται, πάντα τοῦ οἴκου ταῦτα ἐστιν ... πάντα τοῦ ὀκου εἶναι ὅσα τίς κέκτηται. Aristotle, polit. 1, 2, p. 1252{b}, 9ff, ἐκ μέν οὖν τούτων τῶν δύο κοινωνιων (viz. of a man with wife and servant) οἰκία πρώτη, καί ὀρθῶς ἡσιοδος εἶπε ποιήσας "οἶκον μέν prootista] γυναῖκα τέ βοῦν τ᾽ ἀροτηρα." ... ἡ μέν οὖν εἰς πᾶσαν ἡμέραν συνεστηκυια κοινωνία κατά φύσιν οἶκος ἐστιν. ibid. 3, p. 1253{b}, 2ff, πᾶσα πόλις ἐκ οἰκιῶν σύγκειται. οἰκίας δέ μέρη, ἐκ ὧν αὖθις οἰκία συνισταται. οἰκία δέ τέλειος ἐκ δούλων καί ἐλευθέρων ... πρῶτα δέ καί ἐλάχιστα μέρη οἰκίας δεσπότης καί δοῦλος καί πόσις καί ἄλοχος. πατήρ καί τέκνα, etc. Plutarch, de audiend. poetis sec. 6 καί γάρ οἶκον πότε μέν τήν οἰκίαν καλοῦσιν, "οἶκον ἐς ὑψοροφον." πότε δέ τήν οὐσίαν, "ἐσθίεται μοι οἶκος." (see οἰκία, c.) Hesychius' Lexicon, under the words οἰκία, οἶκοι, under the word οἶκος. ὀλίγη οἰκία ... καί μέρος τί τῆς οἰκίας ... καί τά ἐν τῇ οἰκία. In the N. T., although the words appear at times to be used with some discrimination (e. g. Luke 10:5,6,7; Acts 16:31,32,34 ; cf. John 14:2), yet other passages seem to show that no distinction can be insisted upon: e. g. Matt. 9:23; Mark 5:38; Luke 7:36,37; Acts 10:17,(22,32); 17:5; 19:16; 21:8; 11:11,12,13; 16:15; (1 Cor. 1:16; 16:15).)
Not open for further replies.