Exegetical Psychology

Who Said Jesus Was Crazy?

Section One


Translators called Jesus many things in the New Testament. Some translators even imply that Jesus was crazy or that others thought that He was crazy. Therefore, we should try to understand if Jesus was actually crazy.

1.1 Seize Him. A great crowd gathered around Jesus when He went home to Capernaum (Mark 3:20). This crowd following Jesus had come from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3:7). They came because they heard of His works of powers and all that He was doing. The crowd pressed upon Jesus and the disciples so much that they could not eat a meal (Mark 3:20).  Having heard about the crowd, the ones from Him 1See Mark 8:11, Luke 6:19, 11:16; 12:48; John 7:29; 7:51; 8:26; Acts 9:2 for the phrase “παρ’ αὐτοῦ” and its translation as “from Him.” Only in John 7:29 does Jesus use the term to say He was from God Who sent Jesus. came out to seize Him. They were saying that Jesus was existemi (Mark 3:21). 2Mark provided: “καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη.” What does the term existemi mean? Some translators think Jesus was crazy or beside Himself. Such translations miss the mark. In order to answer that question about the meaning of existemi, we may examine other uses in the New Testament. One thing is for sure, Jesus was not crazy and He was not beside Himself (implying He was crazy or out of control). In fact, no one used the term existemi to describe Jesus as crazy. Some other people claimed Jesus had a demon and He was mad, but that was a completely separate matter full of blasphemy (see John 10:20).

1.2 Greek Words. In this study I will focus upon two root words in New Testament Greek. You do not have to understand New Testament Greek to understand this study, but I will use two new words to translate two Greek words. In the footnotes, I will deal with the Greek text and forms. We will examine the New Testament evidence to learn what those words mean. 

1.2.1 Ekstasis. I will use the word ekstasis to describe the New Testament Greek noun ἔκστασις.  This term noun describes the state of being moved out of something, or the state of being placed out of something. It describes a spiritual state.

1.2.2 existemi. I will use the word existemi to describe the New Testament Greek verb ἐξίστημι. This verb describes the action of moving out of something, or the action of setting something outside of something. It describes spiritual action.

Please be aware that many Bible translators do not pay close enough attention to the various words used to describe the psychological terms found in the Scriptures. They tend to confuse and misunderstand terms like ekstasis and existemi. Some translators think ekstasis means fear or amazement or madness. Jesus never feared and He commanded us to fear no one but God alone. We will see below how fear and existemi often go together. We will also see that, at times, existemi has a negative connotation, because it arises from (1) a failure to understand the past works of powers by Jesus; and (2) a hardened heart.  3See Acts 26:25 for the verb, the Greek term μαίνομαι for madness and Acts 12:15 (notice they accused Rhoda of madness, but the whole group later turned to existemi when they opened the door and saw Peter released–see 4.9 below. See also other uses of “madness” in John 10:20, Acts 26:24, 1 Corinthians 14:23, John 10:20, Acts 26:25).

Sometimes existemi arises from (1) failing to understand the past works of powers by Jesus; and (2) a hardened heart.

Finally, English words do not properly convey the meaning of many Greek words used in the New Testament. Therefore, I coin my own words to translate New Testament words hoping that some saints are willing to learn new things from Scripture. Please recall that God inspired each word in the original autographs of the Scripture and the words really matter. Thoughts come from words in Scripture. We must understand that translating the thoughts of Scripture should never supplant translating the inspired words of Scripture. When people translate thoughts instead of words, then the translator has crossed the line where God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Of course, all translators must produce a readable and understandable translation, but when they seek to translate thoughts instead of words, then they have begun to substitute interpretations for translations. Indeed, all translations include some commentary, but the starting point must be a firm recognition that God chose each word in the Scriptures to convey special meaning. Different words mean different things and they should not be conflated or confounded in translation. Each translation reflects the theology of Scripture held by the translator. God told the prophet Jeremiah not to omit a single word and we should heed that command likewise. While some Greek particles cannot be translated word for word, each translator must exercise utmost care to preserve the integrity of the words which can be translated. 

God inspired each word in the original autographs of the Scripture and the words really matter.

Section Two

Mark Usage

2.1 Roof Man. Mark used a term related to existemi to describe the reaction of the crowd to Jesus healing Roof Man (Mark 2:12). Some friends of paralyzed Roof Man had let him down through the roof and Jesus healed him. He arose from his couch in front on everyone, no longer paralyzed. 4Mark provided καὶ ἠγέρθη καὶ εὐθὺς ἄρας τὸν κράβαττον (hence, Roof Man) ἐξῆλθεν ἔμπροσθεν πάντων, ὥστε ἐξίστασθαι (present middle infinitive)  πάντας καὶ δοξάζειν τὸν θεὸν λέγοντας ὅτι οὕτως οὐδέποτε εἴδομεν.  Roof Man then got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all existemi and were glorifying God, saying, they had never seen anything like that (Mark 2:12).  Mark described the action of existemi as the result of seeing the works of power Jesus performed in Roof Man.  Mark noted that the people not only were existemi, but they also glorified God, saying they had never seen anything like this event. Therefore, we know that the term existemi does not mean to be unconscious or unaware. The people who were existemi were (1) glorifying God, a conscious spiritual act; and (2) they were speaking in rational terms. Existemi means here a heightened sense of God’s presence and work among them shown by Jesus healing Roof Man.

existemi describes the action of being moved spiritually, most often by works of powers.

2. 2 Raising Talitha. Mark used related terms to describe “existemi.” When Jesus raised a little girl (Talitha in Aramaic) from the dead, the crowd was existemi with ekstasis great (Mark 5:42). 5Mark provided: “καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον καὶ περιεπάτει· ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. καὶ ἐξέστησαν (Aorist Active Indicative 3p) [εὐθὺς] ἐκστάσει (noun-dative feminine singular) μεγάλῃ. This phrase may show a familiarity with Hebrew and Aramaic repeating words to emphasize the totality.  Please take notice of the aorist verb joined with the dative noun ἐκστάσει and the dative adjective μεγάλῃ. Please do not assume that the terms translated existemi and ekstasis follow the English dictionary definitions of ecstasy or related words. From Mark 5:42, we know that the verb existemi produced great ekstasis as a direct result of Jesus raising the dead girl. Ekstasis described a person being moved spiritually by observing the power of God at work. By the power of God displayed before them, they were moved to a new place spiritually. 

existemi produced great ekstasis as a direct result of people knowing Jesus raising the dead girl.

2.3 Water Walking. During the fourth watch of the night, the disciples were in a boat on the sea and Jesus walked on the water, intending to pass them by (Mark 6:48). 6Mark provided: καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτοὺς βασανιζομένους ἐν τῷ ἐλαύνειν, ἦν γὰρ ὁ ἄνεμος ἐναντίος αὐτοῖς, περὶ τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτοὺς περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἤθελεν παρελθεῖν αὐτούς. Jesus willed (“ἤθελεν”) to pass by the disciples. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought that it was a phantom, and cried out (Mark 6:49). 7 Mark provided: οἱ δὲ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης περιπατοῦντα ἔδοξαν ὅτι φάντασμά ἐστιν, καὶ ἀνέκραξαν. The term “phantom” (“φάντασμά”) only occurs in Mark 6:49 and in Matthew 14:26 (water walking). They all saw Jesus and were disturbed. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” (Mark 6:50). 8Mark provided: πάντες γὰρ αὐτὸν εἶδον καὶ ἐταράχθησαν. ὁ δὲ εὐθὺς ἐλάλησεν μετ’ αὐτῶν, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· θαρσεῖτε, ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε. Please take notice of the different terms related to fear. Mark said the disciples saw and were disturbed. The term “disturbed” has many uses in the New Testament. A few examples convey the meaning of the term “disturbed”: Herod was disturbed by the news of Jesus being born (Matthew 2:3); Zacharias was disturbed when he saw the angel (Luke 1:12); Jesus was disturbed in spirit because of Judas Iscariot betraying Him (John 13:21); the angel disturbed the water in the pool (John 5:4); saints were disturbed by words of false doctrine (Acts 15:24; Galatians 1:7); crowds can be stirred up (Acts 17:8, 13); Jesus was disturbed at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:33) and as He foretold His death (John 12:27); saints should not be afraid nor disturbed by opponents (1 Peter 3:14–fear and afraid are different things; Galatians 5:10); saints’ hearts should not be disturbed by denials of Christ and sifting by the devil, but they must be obedient to believe in God and Jesus (John 14:1, 27); after the resurrection, when Jesus appeared to the disciples on Sunday, the disciples were also disturbed (Luke 24:38). Jesus was never afraid (John 12:27), but He was troubled. Then Jesus went up into the boat and ceased the wind. And exceedingly out of abundance in themselves they were existemi (Mark 6:51). 9Mark provided: καὶ ἀνέβη πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος, καὶ λίαν [ἐκ περισσοῦ] ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἐξίσταντο. Please take notice of the verb ἐξίσταντο  (Imperfect middle indicative 3p) with the prepositional phrase ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. As a verb, existemi occurs in the people. They were exceedingly existemi by the works of powers of Jesus. Mark then explained the spiritual nature of existemi: “for they had not understood by the loaves; but their hearts had been hardened” (Mark 6:52). 10Mark provided: οὐ γὰρ συνῆκαν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἄρτοις, ἀλλ’ ἦν αὐτῶν ἡ καρδία πεπωρωμένη. Two things contributed to their existemi response to Jesus, shown by the word “for” connecting Mark 6:51 with Mark 6:52: (1) they had not gained understanding from the loaves; and (2) their hearts were hardened. Therefore, the spiritual nature of existemi could not be more clear.  existemi relates to the heart of a person. When people fail to understand with their hearts what Jesus has shown them and taught them, they react with existemi. Likewise, when people have hardened hearts, they react with existemi to the works of powers done by Jesus.

When people fail to understand with their hearts what Jesus has shown them and taught them, they react with existemi.

Likewise, when people have hardened hearts, they react with existemi to the works of powers done by Jesus.

2.4 Resurrection of Jesus. On the Sunday morning after the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to the tomb of Jesus (Mark 16:1). They saw a young man, clothed in a white robe, sitting in the empty tomb. The women were existemi (Mark 16:5). 11 Mark provided: Καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν. Please take notice that Greek has a perfectly distinct word for wonder as a verb: ἐξεθαμβήθησαν (aorist present indicative). As a side note, Gregory Thaumaturgus of Neocaesarea was known as the wonder worker. We should never confuse existemi with wonder or amazement. Mark used different Greek terms in the same passage and we must keep them separate. After hearing from the young man, the women went out from the tomb, for they had trauma and ekstasis (Mark 16:8). 12Mark provided: Καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις·  Please take notice that trauma “τρόμος”–noun-nominative masculine singular) and ekstasis (ἔκστασις”–noun–nominative feminine singular) were having (“εἶχεν”– verb–imperfect active indicative) them (αὐτὰς–accusative feminine 3p).  Trauma and ekstasis had the women; the women did not have trauma and ekstasis. Compare the fear they had in themselves. And they said nothing to anyone, because they were fearing (Mark 16:8). 13Mark provided: καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν· ἐφοβοῦντο (imperfect middle/passive 3p) γάρ. Please take notice that the women were fearing (ἐφοβοῦντο–verb–imperfect middle/passive indicative). Therefore, we know that trauma and ekstasis had them, and they were fearing. Those three terms were all different things and should not be confused. Again, ekstasis was associated with a work of power which produced the spiritual result of ekstasis. The women were not speaking because of fear, a separate word from ekstasis. Fear, trauma, and ekstasis may go together at times, but they remain distinct concepts. Trauma refers to a bodily condition associated with trembling. 14Fear and trembling in the New Testament go together as the emotion of fear produces the bodily response of trembling. See 2 Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 6:5 and Philippians 2:12 for “φόβου καὶ τρόμου.” See also 1 Corinthians 2:3 for “ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ πολλῷ.”  Ekstasis refers to a spiritual condition. Fear refers to an emotion. Trauma and ekstasis did not render the women speechless, but fear caused them not to say a word to anyone.

Ekstasis refers to a spiritual condition resulting from witnessing the works of powers by Jesus.

Fear refers to an emotion.

Trauma refers to bodily trembling. 



Section Three

Matthew Usage

3.1 Mute and Blind Man. A demon-possessed man, blind and mute, was brought to Jesus and He healed him so that he spoke and heard (Matthew 12:22). All the crowds were existemi (a verb describing people experiencing ekstasis) (Matthew 12:23). 15Matthew provided: καὶ ἐξίσταντο (imperfect middle indicative)  πάντες οἱ ὄχλοι καὶ ἔλεγον· μήτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς Δαυίδ; Because they were existemi, they spoke. Therefore, we know that ekstasis does not make people crazy or unable to speak coherently. These people were existemi and asked if Jesus was the Son of David, a reference to Messiah. They knew exactly what they were saying and they made sense saying it. All the crowds were saying the same things about Jesus in their ekstasis. Therefore, we know that multiple crowds witnessing the same works of powers by Jesus had exactly the same spiritual reaction of existemi. They were moved to ask if Jesus was the Son of David, a reference to the Messiah. Existemi means that the people were moved spiritually by seeing the miracle performed by Jesus in their presence. They had a spiritual question about the identity of Jesus and whether He was the Son of David, the Messiah.

Multiple crowds simultaneously existemi witnessing the works of powers by Jesus.


Section Four

Luke Usage

4.1  Roof Man. In the parallel account to to Mark 2, Jesus healed a paralytic man (Roof Man) let down through the roof to be before Him (Luke  5:9). The Pharisees reasoned in their hearts that only God could forgive sins, but Jesus had just told Roof Man that his sins were forgiven (Luke 5:20). Jesus then proved He had authority to forgive sins by commanding Roof Man to get up, pick up his mat and walk (Luke 5:24). Roof Man did so immediately in the presence of many witnesses. And ekstasis took them and they were glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen a remarkable thing today” (Luke 5:26). 16Luke provided: καὶ ἔκστασις (noun-nominative feminine singular) ἔλαβεν ἅπαντας καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν θεὸν καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν φόβου λέγοντες ὅτι εἴδομεν παράδοξα σήμερον. Therefore, ekstasis means here an outside force that took the people. The people responded with words to the existemi taking them. They also were filled of fear. Fear filled them as existemi took them. 17Of course, they could have received (ἔλαβεν) existemi, but the sense of an outside force controlling them remains the same, except the manner of taking changes). If Matthew 9:8 described the same event, Matthew declared that the crowds were afraid (“ἐφοβήθησαν”–aorist passive indicative) and glorified God, the One having given authority to such men. Therefore, Mark showed that not only were the crowds existemi, but they also feared God because of the authority given to Jesus, a man. existemi made its presence felt and the people responded to the the remarkable work of power Jesus performed in their midst.

The crowds were existemi having witnessed the healing by Jesus, but they also feared God because of the authority given to Jesus.

4.2 Native Tongues. At Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles gathered in Jerusalem, thus fulfilling the prophesy and promise of Jesus (Acts 2:4). Hearing the apostles speaking in their native tongues, many people from different lands were existemi and wondered why Galileans were speaking foreign languages known to people in the audience (Acts 7). 18Luke provided: ἐξίσταντο (imperfect middle indicative) δὲ καὶ ἐθαύμαζον λέγοντες· οὐχ ἰδοὺ ἅπαντες οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ λαλοῦντες Γαλιλαῖοι; The middle voice here may indicate existemi arose within them, but it could also indicate it expressed its force within them existemi was not the same as wonder, but again described a particular spiritual response and movement in the people hearing the apostles. Luke further observed that they continued in existemi and were perplexed, asking what was happening (Acts 2:12). 19Luke provided: ἐξίσταντο (imperfect middle indicative) δὲ πάντες καὶ διηπόρουν (imperfect active indicative 3p), ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες· τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι; the middle voice associated with ἐξίσταντο stands in contrast with the active voice for διηπόρουν. As above, ἐξίσταντο acts reflexively in some sense, but διηπόρουν remains active voice, indicating different spiritual pathways at work (important for further study elsewhere). existemi here means that the people were moved spiritually by the apostles speaking in different known languages (recognized by the audience) about the great things of God. Some people in the crowd concluded the apostles were drunk, but they did not understand the language spoken (Acts 2:13).

Many people were existemi when the heard the apostles speaking in many known languages.

4.3 Raising Talitha. Luke recounted the synagogue official requesting that Jesus heal his daughter (see Mark 5:42 above). Jesus commanded the little girl to arise. The little girl arose. Ekstasis took all and they were glorifying God and they were filled with fear, saying that we have seen remarkable things today (Luke 5:26). 20Luke provided: καὶ ἔκστασις ἔλαβεν ἅπαντας καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν θεὸν καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν φόβου λέγοντες ὅτι εἴδομεν παράδοξα σήμερον. Luke emphasized the noun ekstasis, while Mark described how existemi produced ekstasis, and they related to one another. existemi means in Luke that the people were moved spiritually by Jesus raising Talitha from the dead before their eyes. They felt the emotion of fear and had a spiritual response of glorifying God.

Ekstasis took everyone who witnessed Jesus raise the child from the dead and they felt the emotion of fear.

4.4 Resurrection Day. On resurrection day, some women came from the tomb and existemi us (referring to the apostles) (Luke 24:22 ). 21Luke provided: ἀλλὰ καὶ γυναῖκές τινες ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξέστησαν (aorist active indicative 3p)  ἡμᾶς, γενόμεναι ὀρθριναὶ ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον. In this case, the women existemi the apostles. This transitive use of existemi shows how it can be communicated to another person. The apostles were moved spiritually by the testimony of the women who had been to the tomb.

When the women returned from the empty tomb, they existemi the apostles with their words about the empty tomb.

4.5  Beautiful Beggar.  Peter and John healed the paralytic (Beautiful Beggar) sitting by the Beautiful Gate begging alms daily for years (Acts 3:8). When the Beautiful Beggar stood up for the first time in more than forty years, for he was lame from birth, the crowd noticed (Acts 4:22).  Wonder and ekstasis filled the witnesses (Acts 3:10). 22Luke provided: ἐπεγίνωσκον δὲ αὐτὸν ὅτι αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ πρὸς τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην καθήμενος ἐπὶ τῇ ὡραίᾳ πύλῃ τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν θάμβους (noun–genitive neuter singular–source of filling) καὶ ἐκστάσεως (noun-genitive feminine singular–source of filling) ἐπὶ τῷ συμβεβηκότι (perfect active participle, dative neuter singular–in the sense of two things coming together) αὐτῷ (notice the dative to them as the object). The wonder and ekstasis and the witnesses came together, emphasizing the movement of wonder and ekstasis coming to the witnesses and filling them. The ekstasis came to them and they ran to Peter and John, clinging to them full of wonder. The ekstasis joined to them and moved them to run to Peter and John. 

Ekstasis came to the crowd witnessing the healing of the Beautiful Beggar  and they ran to Peter and John, clinging to them full of wonder.

4.6 Simon the Magician. After the Ascension of Jesus, Philip came to the city of Samaria preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There he met Simon the Magician, causing existemi in the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great (Acts 8:9).  23Luke provided: Ἀνὴρ δέ τις ὀνόματι Σίμων προϋπῆρχεν ἐν τῇ πόλει μαγεύων καὶ ἐξιστάνων (present active participle, nominative masculine singular–notice the nominative force here) τὸ ἔθνος τῆς Σαμαρείας (notice the transitive force of ἐξιστάνων), λέγων εἶναί τινα ἑαυτὸν μέγαν, This example of existemi shows that any display of power, fraudulent or not, may be enough to move people spiritually. Simon the Magician practiced magic, a supernatural evil which also moved people spiritually. People gave him attention saying this man is called the Great Power of God (Acts  8:10). Simon the Magician caused existemi in the people using his magic (Acts 8:11). 24Luke provided: προσεῖχον δὲ αὐτῷ διὰ τὸ ἱκανῷ χρόνῳ ταῖς μαγείαις ἐξεστακέναι (perfect active infinitive) αὐτούς. The force of the infinitive produced the result in the people. 

The magic of Simon the Magician caused existemi in the people.

4.7 Saul in Damascus. When Saul met Jesus in person on the Damascus Road, Saul was born again and no longer persecuted the church. Upon arriving in Damascus, he regained his sight lost on the Damascus Road by the blinding light. Then Saul went into the synagogue and proclaimed Jesus. All those hearing him were existemi and were asking if Saul was not the one who ravaged in Jerusalem the ones calling upon this Name? (Acts 9:21). 25Luke provided: ἐξίσταντο (imperfect middle indicative 3p–notice here the ones hearing were existemi, indicating the reflexive aspect of existemi) δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες καὶ ἔλεγον· οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πορθήσας εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ τοὺς ἐπικαλουμένους τὸ ὄνομα τοῦτο, καὶ ὧδε εἰς τοῦτο ἐληλύθει ἵνα δεδεμένους αὐτοὺς ἀγάγῃ ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς; Please take notice of the connection between existemi and talking. The audience was moved spiritually by Saul’s words, but they did not lose their faculties and were physically aware of the words of Saul and able to speak naturally. In contrast, Saul had been changed by the power of God at work within him, but the audience did not grasp the spiritual significance of what had happened to Saul on the Damascus Road.

All the people in the synagogue in Damascus were existemi as they heard Saul proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth as Christ and Savior.

4.8 Peter at Joppa. As Peter sat on the roof at the home of Simon the Tanner in Joppa overlooking the sea, ekstasis came upon him (Acts 10:10). 26Luke provided: ἐγένετο (aorist middle indicative, 3s) δὲ πρόσπεινος καὶ ἤθελεν γεύσασθαι. παρασκευαζόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἐγένετο ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἔκστασις (noun–nominative feminine singular).  Please take notice that ekstasis came upon Peter. 27The Greek word was ἐγένετο with the preposition  ἐπ’  indicating that the ekstasis came upon Peter; he did not become ekstasis (compare this prepositional phrase with an e. First, Peter became (ἐγένετο–aorist middle indicative 3s) hungry, but then ekstasis came (ἐγένετο) upon him. The text showed that Peter became hungry, something he felt inside of himself, originating within himself. In contrast, ekstasis came upon Peter, from a source outside himself. Peter then saw a sheet lowered from heaven and learned a great lesson from God about not calling anything unholy or unclean which God had cleansed. Later at Jerusalem, Peter described this same event, saying: “I was praying in the city of Joppa praying and in ekstasis I saw a vision (Acts 11:5). 28Luke provided: ἐγὼ ἤμην ἐν πόλει Ἰόππῃ προσευχόμενος καὶ εἶδον ἐν ἐκστάσει (notice the use of the prepositional phrase “in ekstasis”–noun–dative feminine singular indicating Peter was in the state of ekstasis when he had the vision) ὅραμα (noun-accusative neuter singular), καταβαῖνον σκεῦός τι ὡς ὀθόνην μεγάλην τέσσαρσιν ἀρχαῖς καθιεμένην ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ ἦλθεν ἄχρι ἐμοῦ. In the state of ekstasis, Peter saw the vision. Peter was moved to ekstasis, and in that state of ekstasis, Peter saw the vision.

Ekstasis came upon Peter and in ekstasis he saw the vision of the sheet lowered from heaven.

4.9 Peter at Caesarea.  At Caesarea all the circumcised believers (who came with Peter from Joppa) were existemi, because even upon the Gentiles the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out (Acts  10:45). 29Luke provided: καὶ ἐξέστησαν (aorist active indicative 3p–notice the use of the active voice here–intransitive) οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς πιστοὶ ὅσοι συνῆλθαν τῷ Πέτρῳ, ὅτι (notice the clause here indicating the source of existemi) καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ἔθνη ἡ δωρεὰ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐκκέχυται (perfect middle/passive indicative 3p). The existemi here described the spiritual movement in the circumcised believers because they witnessed the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Gentiles.

The circumcised believers were existemi because the Gentiles had received the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

4.10  Peter Released.  When the angel led Peter out of the prison in Jerusalem, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark. He knocked on the door and eventually the people inside the home came out and opened the door. They saw Peter at the door and were existemi  (Acts  12:16). 30Luke provided: ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἐπέμενεν κρούων· ἀνοίξαντες δὲ εἶδαν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐξέστησαν (aorist active indicative 3p–notice the intransitive force of the verb here. The existemi here described the spiritual movement seeing Peter standing there, after their fervent prayer for his release. By the way, the same people seeing Peter at the gate had just told Rhoda that she was mad. 31Luke provided: οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπαν· μαίνῃ (present middle/passive indicative 2s–compare the same use of the term to describe Paul (Acts 26:24-25); the Corinthians (hypothetically in 1 Corinthians 14:23); and Jesus (John 10:20)) ἡ δὲ διϊσχυρίζετο οὕτως ἔχειν. οἱ δὲ ἔλεγον· ὁ ἄγγελός ἐστιν αὐτοῦ.

 The people seeing Peter freed from prison and standing at the gate were existemi by his presence.


Section Five

Paul Usage

5.1  Paul Praying.  After Paul returned to Jerusalem from Damascus following his conversion, he was praying in the temple. While praying, I became in ekstasis (Acts 22:17). 32Luke provided the exact words of Paul: “Ἐγένετο δέ μοι ὑποστρέψαντι εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ προσευχομένου (present middle/passive participle, genitive masculine singular) μου ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ γενέσθαι (aorist infinitive middle) με (personal pronoun accusative first person)  ἐν ἐκστάσει (noun–dative feminine singular–notice the prepositional phrase describing Peter at Joppa). The infinitive here follows the parallel use of Ἐγένετο to mean he came to Jerusalem and later in the same verse Paul became in ekstasis.  Like Peter in Joppa, Paul became in ekstasis and saw Jesus speaking to him. Ekstasis describes a state of being moved spiritually where the person does not lose consciousness, but sees clearly in the spiritual realm. In this case, the Lord Jesus appeared and made a direct revelation to Paul about danger and the need to leave Jerusalem. Peter at Joppa also had a direct revelation from God in ekstasis.

In the temple in Jerusalem Paul became in ekstasis while praying and saw the Lord Jesus talking with him. 

5.2 Paul and the Corinthians. Paul told the Corinthians that the ministry team was not commending themselves to the Corinthians, but giving them an occasion to be proud of the ministry team. He explained to the Corinthians that if we are existemi, to God. If we sound-think, to you (2 Corinthians 5:13). 33Paul provided: εἴτε γὰρ ἐξέστημεν (aorist active indicative 1p), θεῷ· εἴτε σωφρονοῦμεν (present active indicative, 1p), ὑμῖν. Paul contrasted the state of being existemi toward God and the state of being sound-thinking toward the Corinthians. In the context Paul was discussing that the ministry team was made manifest to God and hopefully they were made manifest to the consciences of the Corinthians. Therefore, Paul was not claiming that the ministry team was beside itself (in the sense of a loss of control), but the ministry team was existemi, moved spiritually to God. Likewise, not in contrast, if they were sound-thinking, then they were sound-thinking toward the Corinthians. So, existemi applies to the ministry team’s state of being in (or toward) God, and the sound-thinking applies to their state of being toward the Corinthians.

Paul declared to the Corinthians that if the ministry team were existemi, they were existemi toward God. If they were sound thinking, they were sound-thinking toward the Corinthians.


Section Six


existemi and ekstasis both relate to spiritual movement produced by witnessing supernatural powers. Most uses of those terms describe spiritual movement produced by witnessing firsthand the power of God at work. In one instance magic caused existemi. Existemi describes actions, while ekstasis describes the state of being moved spiritually. In both cases, existemi and ekstasis do not cause a loss of consciousness or mania. The people remain able to see, speak and praise God. Ekstasis, fear, trauma, and wonder may go together at times, but only ekstasis describes spiritual movement. The other things describe bodily events or feelings. This study only scratches the surface here and will need correction and refinement by others studying these terms. I look forward to hearing from you.