Word Study on the Heart

New Testament

            Kardia is the greek word for heart. Kardia is defined as:

Kardia (kad-dee’-ah)

  1.             the heart
    1. that organ in the animal body which is the centre of the circulation of the blood, and hence was regarded as the seat of physical life
    2. denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life
    3. the vigour and sense of physical life
    4. the centre and seat of spiritual life
      1. the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours
      2. of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence
      3. of the will and character
      4. of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions
    5. of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate

Kardia is translated as any of the following English words in the New Testament: heart, 102; heart’s, 1; hearts, 49; mind, 2; minds, 1; quick, 1; spirit, 1.It is clear from this definition that not only does it refer to the heart that produces blood for physical life, but also the center of emotions and spiritual life. The use of the word kardia translated as heart in Mt 15:18 is clearly referring to the heart as a center of the being. If it was taken to mean anatomically then speaking from the heart would be a disgusting bloody vomit.

Old Testament         

    The Hebrew word “leb” is translated as “heart” in the OT. Leb is defined as:

  1. inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding
    1. inner part, midst
      1. midst (of things)
      2. heart (of man)
      3. soul, heart (of man)
      4. mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
      5. inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
      6. conscience
      7. heart (of moral character)
      8. as seat of appetites
      9. as seat of emotions and passions 1a
  2. as seat of courage

The word Leb is translated as the following English words in the Old Testament, the number following shows how many times it is used: Himself, 1; accord, 1; attention, 1; bravest, 1; brokenhearted, 3; care, 2; celebrating, 1; chests, 1; completely, 1; concern, 1; concerned, 1; conscience, 1; consider, 2; considered, 2; courage, 1; decided, 1; determine, 1; discouraged, 1; discouraging, 1; doing, 1; double heart, 1; encouragingly, 1; heart, 396; heart’s, 2; hearts, 40; himself, 6; imagination, 1; inspiration, 2; intelligence, 1; kindly, 5; life, 1; merry-hearted, 1; middle, 2; midst, 1; mind, 36; minds, 3; myself, 6; obstinate, 2; planned, 1; presume, 1; pride, 1; recalls, 1; reflected, 1; regard, 1; self-exaltation, 1; sense, 10; senseless, 1; seriously, 1; skill, 1; skilled, 1; skillful, 3; skillful man, 1; skillful men, 1; skillful persons, 1; spirits, 1; stouthearted, 1; stubborn-minded, 1; tenderly, 2; thought, 3; understanding, 7; undivided, 1; well, 2; willingly, 1; wisdom, 2; yourself, 1; yourselves, 1.Leb is clearly the Hebrew equivellent word for the greek word kardia. Although kardia could be used in the anatomical sense, the two words both deal with the idea that the “heart” is the center of emotions and spiritual life. For instance in Jer 17:9 the author is not saying that we have a medical condition that requires surgery, but that our fundamental center of being is “desperately sick” or depraved ( see word study on depravity.)


The word heart is referring to our inner being almost exclusively in scripture. The condition of our heart is very sick as God tells us in Jer 17:9. There is a cure that medical professionals cannot offer in a hospital, yet we can still form a hardened heart as Daniel describes in Dan 5:20. This is a heart condition that still plagues us, yet even with the cure lurking, our being can become hardened to the point that the cure Christ offers cant even break through.

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