The Use of the Term “διανοίᾳ” in the New Testament 

Exegetical Psychology


The challenge for me was deciding whether the term “διανοίᾳ” meant reasoning, or the part of the mind producing reasoning. After reviewing the verses below, I decided that “reasoning” best fit the evidence. I could not rule out that certain instances may refer to the part of the mind producing reasoning. Both believers and unbelievers may reason about things, but unbelievers reason evilly because their hearts are darkened and in nature they are children of wrath.

1. Love and Reasoning. Following the Old Testament command, Jesus commanded people to love God “in all your heart (“ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου”), in all your soul (“καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου”), and in all your reasonings (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου)” (Matthew 22:37). Based upon this verse, all the things Jesus mentioned as things were inside the spiritual part of a person. Therefore, at times, the term “διανοίᾳ” may refer to the part of the mind which provides reasoning. In Luke 10:27, Jesus changed things slightly and said “out of all your heart” using the preposition (“ἐξ”), indicating that the source of the love is your heart, and added loving your neighbor as yourself. Likewise, in Mark 12:30, Jesus said “out of all your heart” using the preposition (“ἐξ”).

2. Jesus and Pride.  Mary said that God has done mighty deeds with His arm. Specifically, He has scattered the proud (“ὑπερηφάνους”) in the the “reasonings” (“διανοίᾳ”) of their heart (“καρδίας”) (Luke 1:51). God linked pride with reasoning there, indicating the proud reason (improperly) their way to their own haughtiness.

3. Jesus and Reasoning. Jesus knew the reasonings (“διανοήματα”)  of the crowd questioning Him about casting out a demon (Luke 11:17). Specifically, He replied with reasons why they were wrong. He met human reasoning with diving reasoning.

4.  Will of the Flesh and Reasoning. Paul described unbelievers as doing the will (“θελήματα”) of the flesh (“σαρκὸς”) and of the reasonings (“διανοιῶν”), and they were in nature (“φύσει”) children of wrath (“τέκνα ὀργῆς”) (Ephesians 2:3). The will of the flesh and the will of the reasonings produce evil actions, because unbelievers are in nature children of wrath. Notice further that the will of the flesh is evil and the will of the reasonings of unbelievers produces evil. The source of that evil will, evil flesh, and evil reasonings is the evil nature of the children of wrath. Furthermore, notice that the flesh influences the will and also reasonings influence the will. The will produces action, but more than one will may be at work within you, producing a conflict of wills. Finally, notice that the flesh and reasonings are not the same, as we will see when the war between the flesh and the spirit comes into view in Romans 7 and Galatians 5.

5. Darkness and Reasoning. Paul described the unsaved Gentiles as walking in the futility of their mind (“περιπατεῖ ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν”), being darkened (“ἐσκοτωμένοι”) in their reasoning (“διανοίᾳ”), excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance (“ἄγνοιαν”) that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart (“τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν”) (Ephesians 4:18). God wants us to know what evil works in the psychology of unsaved people, so that we may avoid the same in our lives. God provided clear distinctions and relationships in this verse. First, the mind (“νοὸς”) relates directly to the reasoning (“διανοίᾳ”). Second, the hard heart underlies their ignorance (“ἄγνοιαν”), which influences their ability to reason correctly from their mind. See also Romans 1.21 about the foolish heart darkened.

6. Evil Deeds and Reasoning. Paul explained that evil deeds arise from a hard heart, and that  hard heart relates to alienation (“ἀπηλλοτριωμένους”) from God and hostile in reasoning (“ἐχθροὺς τῇ διανοίᾳ”) (Colossians 1:21).  We see that the heart, mind and reasoning all fit together.

7. The New Covenant and Reasoning. God said that He would make a new covenant and He would give His law into their reasoning (“διάνοιαν”) and write His law upon their hearts (“καρδίας”) and He will become their God and they will become His people (Hebrews 8:10, 10:16). As above, God changes both the reasoning and the heart of people with salvation. 

8. Action and Reasoning. Because of the revelation of salvation, and because of personal experience with salvation, the believers must gird up the loins (“ἀναζωσάμενοι”)  of their reasoning (“διανοίας”), being completely sober (“νήφοντες”) (1 Peter 1:13). Peter then reasoned with them by reminding them to act like obedient children, because they must be holy, because God is holy.

9. Stirring Up and Reasoning. Peter wrote his second letter to wake the believers’ pure reasoning (“εἰλικρινῆ διάνοιαν”), in remembrance (2 Peter 3:1). Peter specifically wanted them to remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior by the apostles. Then Peter reasoned with them about the mockers coming and the will of God for all men to be saved. He wanted them to reason through his argument about what the mockers were missing as they reasoned about all things continuing just a they were. 

10. Jesus and Reasoning. As believers, we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us reasoning (“διάνοιαν”), so that we may know Him Who is true (1 John 5:20). Notice the gift of “reasoning” from God allows believers to know Him Who is true. God does not give us the part of the mind which reasons, but reasoning itself, so that we know him. Having the capacity to know is not the same as using that capacity to know. Therefore, I prefer the translation “reasoning.” Holy reasoning allows us to know God, which is eternal life.

11. Epinoia. As a side note, in Acts 8;22, we have the single occurrence of the term “ἐπίνοια” in the New Testament. There it occurs in the heart of Simon the Sorcerer, whose heart was not right before God (“ἡ γὰρ καρδία σου οὐκ ἔστιν εὐθεῖα ἔναντι τοῦ θεοῦ”), because Simon the Sorcerer tried to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-25). Hence the rise of the practice of Simony, the buying and selling of ecclesiastical offices and powers. 


Only believers can reason properly, because they have the mind of Christ, and God changes their nature, so that they are in nature children of God, no longer children of wrath. The glories of salvation change our reasoning, so that now we can follow the reasoning of God. 


Matthew 15:19ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, ψευδομαρτυρίαι, βλασφημίαιFor out of the heart come evil dialogs, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
Matthew 16:8γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· Τί διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, ὀλιγόπιστοι, ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἐλάβετε;But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you dialog among yourselves that you have no bread?
Mark 2:6ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶνBut some of the scribes were sitting there and dialoging in their hearts,
Mark 2:8καὶ ⸀εὐθὺς ἐπιγνοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ ὅτι ⸀οὕτως διαλογίζονται ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ⸀λέγει αὐτοῖς· Τί ταῦτα διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, “Why do you dialog about these things in your hearts?
Mark 7:21ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, ⸂πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil dialogs, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
Mark 8:17 καὶ γνοὺς λέγει αὐτοῖς· Τί διαλογίζεσθε ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἔχετε; οὔπω νοεῖτε οὐδὲ συνίετε; πεπωρωμένην ἔχετε τὴν καρδίαν ὑμῶν;And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you dialog that you have no bread? Do you not yet mind or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?
Luke 2:35 καὶ σοῦ δὲ αὐτῆς τὴν ψυχὴν διελεύσεται ῥομφαία, ὅπως ἂν ἀποκαλυφθῶσιν ἐκ πολλῶν καρδιῶν διαλογισμοί.and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that dialogs from many hearts may be revealed.
Luke 3:15Προσδοκῶντος δὲ τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ διαλογιζομένων πάντων ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν περὶ τοῦ Ἰωάννου, μήποτε αὐτὸς εἴη ὁ χριστός,Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were dialoging in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ,
Luke 5:21καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες· Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας; τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναιεἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ θεός;The scribes and the Pharisees began to dialog, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who is able to forgive sins, but God alone?”
Luke 5:22 ἐπιγνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς αὐτῶν ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς· Τί διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why do you dialog in your hearts?
Luke 6:8αὐτὸς δὲ ᾔδει τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς αὐτῶν, ⸂εἶπεν δὲ⸃ τῷ ⸀ἀνδρὶ τῷ ξηρὰν ἔχοντι τὴν χεῖρα· Ἔγειρε καὶ στῆθι εἰς τὸ μέσον· καὶ ἀναστὰς ἔστη.But He knew their dialog, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward.
Luke 9:46Εἰσῆλθεν δὲ διαλογισμὸς ἐν αὐτοῖς, τὸ τίς ἂν εἴη μείζων αὐτῶν.But they entered dialog among themselves as to which of them might be the greatest
Luke 9:47 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ,But Jesus, knowing the dialog of their hearts, took a child and stood him by His side,
Luke 24:38καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Τί τεταραγμένοι ἐστέ, καὶ διὰ τί διαλογισμοὶ ἀναβαίνουσιν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν;And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why dialogs arise in your hearts?
Romans 1:21διότι γνόντες τὸν θεὸν οὐχ ὡς θεὸν ἐδόξασαν ἢ ηὐχαρίστησαν, ἀλλὰ ἐματαιώθησαν ἐν τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ἡ ἀσύνετος αὐτῶν καρδία·For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their dialogs, and their without understanding heart was darkened.
Romans 14:1Τὸν δὲ ἀσθενοῦντα τῇ πίστει προσλαμβάνεσθε, μὴ εἰς διακρίσεις διαλογισμῶν.Now receive the one who is weak in faith, but not to pass judgment of dialogs.
1 Corinthians 3:20καὶ πάλιν· Κύριος γινώσκει τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς τῶν σοφῶν ὅτι εἰσὶν μάταιοι.and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE DIALOGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE VAIN.”
Philippians 2:14Πάντα ποιεῖτε χωρὶς γογγυσμῶν καὶ διαλογισμῶν,Do all things without grumbling or dialoging;
1 Timothy 2:8Βούλομαι οὖν προσεύχεσθαι τοὺς ἄνδρας ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, ἐπαίροντας ὁσίους χεῖρας χωρὶς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλογισμοῦ.Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dialoging.
James 2:4οὐ διεκρίθητε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς καὶ ἐγένεσθε κριταὶ διαλογισμῶν πονηρῶν;have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?