New Testament word study: anablepsis:recovery of sight ”:


Denotes "recovering of sight" (from ana, here meaning "again", and blepō "to see") and occurs only ONCE in all of the New Testament, as we shall examine below.

The Greek ana - on its own - is a fairly rare preposition in the Greek NT, basically denoting:

  • “upwards, up” (confer the adverb ano, opposite to kata or kato) denoting motion from a lower place to a higher (Thayer), or
  • “up to” (Bullinger),

and this meaning is especially ascribed to ana when it is joined with a verb.

Thus e.g. ana-baino is literally “go up, ascend”, and kata-baino is “go down, descend”.

The word ana, otherwise used with numerals or measures of quantity with a distributive force, is translated "apiece" in Luke 9:3 ("two coats apiece”); and ana meson in 1 Corinthians 6:5 is literally "up to the middle of," i.e., among, or in the midst of, hence, “between”, used of those in the church able to decide between brother and brother, instead of their going to law with one another in the world's courts (Vine).

The Greek blepō (occurring 135 times in the NT) means (according to Strong/Thayer):

  1. to see, discern, of the bodily eye:
    • with the bodily eye: to be possessed of sight, have the power of seeing
    • perceive by the use of the eyes: to see, look descry
    • to turn the eyes to anything: to look at, look upon, gaze at
    • to perceive by the senses, to feel
    • to discover by use, to know by experience;

  3. used metaphorically: to see with the mind's eye:
    • to have (the power of) understanding
    • to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand
    • to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine;

  5. in a geographical sense of places, mountains, buildings, etc. turning towards any quarter, as it were, facing it.

The word blepō is also translated as follows:

“Behold, Beheld”: is also used of (a) bodily and (b) mental vision,

(a) "to perceive" e.g. Matthew 13:13;

(b) "to take heed" e.g. Mark 13:23,33; it indicates greater vividness than horao, expressing a more intent, earnest contemplation;

in Luke 6:41: of "beholding" the mote in a brother's eye;
Luke 24:12: of "beholding" the linen clothes in the empty tomb;
Acts 1:9: of the gaze of the disciples when the Lord ascended.

The greater earnestness is sometimes brought out by rendering "regardest".

“Beware” i.e. "to see," is applied to mental vision, and is sometimes used by way of warning "to take heed" against an object;

(Mark 8:15, 12:38; Acts 13:40; Philippians 3:2 (three times); Colossians 2:8).  

Also often “to look, see” with the meaning: “heed (to give, to take)”, implying more especially an intent, earnest contemplation;

(e.g. Matthew 24:4, Mark 4:24,13:5, 9:23, 33; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 8:9; 10:12; Galatians 5:15, Colossians 2:8, 4:17; Hebrews 3:12).

“Look”: primarily "to have sight, to see"; then "observe, discern, perceive", frequently implying special contemplation, is rendered by the verb "to look" in e.g.

  • Luke 9:62: "looking (back)";
  • John 13:22: "(the disciples) looked (one on another)";
  • Ephesians 5:15 (RV): "look (therefore carefully how ye walk)". To look" has the meaning of "taking heed, looking to oneself," in 2 John 1:8.

“See, Seeing”: "to have sight" is used of bodily vision in e.g. Matthew 11:4, and mental vision, e.g. Matthew 13:13,14;

it is said of God the Father in Matthew 6:4,6,18, and of Christ as "seeing" what the Father doeth, John 5:19.

It especially stresses the thought of the person who "sees".

Considering then the verb anablepō, this occurs 26 times in the NT and means:

  • “to look up”, and
  • “to recover (lost) sight” (Strong/Thayer).

This verb anablepō is used a.o. on every single occasion in the New Testament in connection with our Lord Jesus Christ restoring the sight of blind people.

The first occurrence of anablepō is of particular importance to note:

  • “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said unto Him: “Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?”

Jesus answered and said unto them, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their
sight [anablepō] …” (Matthew 11:3-5, KJV; emphasis Rotherham)


  • “And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David”. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David”. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, “What will ye that I shall do unto you?” They say unto Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened”.

So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight [anablepō], and they followed Him”.

(Matthew 20:30-34, KJV, emphasis Rotherham)

  • “And Jesus answered and said unto him, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?”
    The blind man said unto Him, “Lord, that I might receive my sight[anablepō]”
    And Jesus said unto him, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole”.

    And immediately he received his sight [anablepō], and followed Jesus in the way”.

    (Mark 10:50-51, KJV; emphasis Rotherham)

  • Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see [anablepō]…”

    (Luke 7:22, KJV; emphasis Rotherham)

  • ….but he [a certain blind man nigh unto Jericho, v.35] cried so much the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me”.
    And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto Him: and when he was come near, He asked him, Saying, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?”

    And he said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight [anablepō].

    And Jesus said unto him, “Receive thy sight [anablepō]: thy faith hath saved thee”.

    And immediately he received his sight [anablepō], and followed Him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God”.

    (Luke 18:39-43, KJV; emphasis Rotherham)

  • Finally, we have – in John’s Gospel - the man who was born blind. Let us put this immensely important sign and miracle in proper context:

The weapons of Satan’s warfare, and that of his countless millions of angelic, demonic and human subordinates and servants, are deceit, lies, wiles, snares, corruption, subtilty, beguiling, craftiness, dishonesty, fraud, murder, killing, ruin and destruction –  employed throughout by him and his servants within his kingdom – namely the world as we know it:

We know that we are from GOD, and the whole world [kosmos] lies IN THE POWER OF the Evil One”  (1 John 5:19, ESV)

[literally: “lieth in Wickedness” [ponēros] – Young; “under the control of” – NIV; “under the sway of” – NKJV; most versions have: “in the power of”]

His purposes are two-fold:

  • To be worshipped
  • To deny GOD and the Lord Jesus Christ as GOD and SAVIOUR

Satan has therefore BLINDED the world, wherefore the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians:

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are LOST:  IN WHOM the god of this world [this Age: aiōn] hath blinded the minds of them which believe NOT” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, KJV)

HOWEVER - and let us mark this well - Satan has not just blinded the minds of men generally (though this is indeed the case),

BUT he has blinded for a particular purpose of absolute central importance for him to maintain and expand his power and authority over mankind:

Satan “hath blinded the minds of them which believe NOT

LEST the LIGHT of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the Image of God,

SHOULD SHINE UPON THEM” (2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV)

HENCE our Lord Jesus Christ said:

“I AM the LIGHT of the world [kosmos]: he that followeth ME shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the LIGHT OF LIFE” (John 8:12, KJV)

HENCE Scripture emphasizes that our Lord Jesus Christ, The Creator Himself, was the ONE, regarding Whom the Scriptures bear witness that:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD.

[So the Greek correctly reads – and so translate ALL Christian versions, of whatever language, through the centuries. The sect ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ – witnessing against Jehovah – malignantly, falsely and deceitfully translates “the Word was a god” in their so-called “World [sic!] Translation”]

“The SAME was in the beginning with God.

All things [panta: without the article; all things whatsoever] were made BY HIM; and WITHOUT HIM was not any thing made that was made.

In HIM was LIFE; and the life was the LIGHT of men.

And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That was the TRUE LIGHT, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was MADE by HIM, and the world KNEW Him NOT.

He came unto His own, and His own received Him NOT.

But as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on HIS Name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His Glory, THE GLORY as of the Only Begotten of the Father) FULL of grace and truth”
(John 1:1 – 14, KJV)

HENCE our Lord Jesus Christ also gave the world the tremendous sign of healing the man who had been blind from birth – and note why he had been born blind:

“And as [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth.
 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”
 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but THAT [hina: in order that; implying purpose] the works of God should be made manifest in him.
…As long as I am in the world [kosmos], I am the LIGHT of the world” [kosmos]

When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He ANOINTED [see below] the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him:
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is by interpretation, Sent.)
He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, “Is not this he that sat and begged?”

Some said, “This is he”: others said, “He is like him”: but he said, “I am he”.

Therefore said they unto him, “How were thine eyes opened?”

He answered and said, “A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, “Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash”: and I went and washed, and I received sight [anablepō]
Then said they unto him, “Where is He?” He said, “I know not”.

They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind”.
[Enjoy the dialogue following! May we perceive a smile in the eyes of the Divine Author as He inspired the evangelist to write this record?
The (former) blind man stands his ground wonderfully and puts the arrogant Pharisees up against the wall, ‘innocently’ asking them if they want to be the Lord’s disciples too?; expresses ‘surprise’ that they do not know from where the Lord has come, and exposes their self-opinionated hypocrisy – as a result of which he is of course both verbally abused and kicked out: so often the reaction of religious establishments when their self-asserted superiority is challenged]

“And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight [anablepō]. He said unto them, “He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see”.
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, “This Man is not of God, because He keepeth not the sabbath day”. Others said, “
“How can a Man that is a sinner do such miracles?”
And there was a division among them.

They say unto the blind man again, “What sayest thou of Him, that He hath opened thine eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet”.
But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight [anablepō], until they called the parents of him that had received his sight [anablepō].
And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?”
His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.”
These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Therefore said his parents, “He is of age; ask him”.

Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, “Give God the praise: we know that this Man is a sinner

He answered and said, “Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: ONE thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, NOW I see
Then said they to him again, “What did He to thee? how opened He thine eyes?”

He answered them, “I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will YE also be His disciples?”

Then they reviled him [loidoreō: “heap abuse upon” – Thayer] and said,

Thou art His disciple; but WE are Moses' disciples. WE know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, WE know not from whence He is.”

The man answered and said unto them, “Why herein is a MARVELLEOUS thing, that YE know not from WHENCE He is, and yet HE hath opened MINE eyes.

Now we KNOW that God heareth NOT sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth HIS will, him HE HEARETH.
Since the world began was it not heard that ANY man opened the eyes of one that was BORN blind.
They answered and said unto himThou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach US?” And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
[In the Greek: nearly an affirmative statement, e.g. “you do believe…don’t you?”]
He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?”
And Jesus said unto him, “Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee”.
And he said, “Lord, I believe”. And he worshipped Him.

And Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see NOT might see; and that they which see might be made BLIND” (John 9: 1- 39, KJV)

Our Lord ANOINTED the eyes of the blind man – and we note this because it connects to the purposes of the Lord Jesus Christ’s coming.
[“anointed”: here epichrio (from epi: upon, and chrio: to anoint); the word chrio: anoint, anointing: “is confined to "sacred and symbolical anointings;" of Christ as the "Anointed" of God, (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38).
The title Christ signifies "The Anointed One.” Once it is said of believers, 2 Corinthians 1:21.
Chrio is very frequent in the Septuagint (LXX), and is used of kings (1Samuel 10:1), priests (Exodus 28:41) and prophets (1 Kings 19:16).
In the Scriptures it is not found in connection with secular matters” – Vine (excerpted).
Note that “anointing” was done in the case of those three offices which our Lord fulfilled].          

For sake of completeness: anablepō is also used 4 times in the passages dealing with Saul (the apostle Paul) receiving his sight back after seeing the Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:12,17,18; 22:13)

We can now consider our word anablepsis, which occurs only ONCE in the New Testament, namely in Luke 4:18.
And to see the context of this unique word selected by the Holy Spirit for only this one occasion in all of the New Testament, we enter the synagogue in Nazareth in Galilee on a certain Sabbath – because our Lord Jesus Christ is there, about to stand up and read one of that day’s texts!

“…He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read”

[i.e. the second lesson (from the Prophets – the first lesson being from the Law); indicating that He was a recognized member of this synagogue, since it was the only synagogue where our Lord is recorded to read from the day’s text; elsewhere He preached in the synagogues]

“And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias

 And when He had opened the book, He found the place [i.e. opened on the text for the day, namely Isaiah 61] where it was written,     

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;

He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight [anablepsis] to the blind,
  to set at liberty them that are bruised
  To preach the Acceptable Year of the Lord.

“And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down [namely to teach] And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.

And He began to say unto them [the original Greek has “say unto them that [hoti]   

THIS day is THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED in your ears”. (Luke 4:16-21, KJV)                                   

 Our Lord Jesus Christ rolled up the scroll, i.e. closed the book, gave it back and sat down to teach about this passage.

In Luke’s inspired account, our Lord is quoting the Isaiah 61:1 passage directly from the Greek Old Testament translation of the Hebrew, namely the Septuagint (LXX):

Luke 4:18 (Textus Receptus)

πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ ἕνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίζεσθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν

Septuagint (LXX) Isaiah 61:1

πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ   καρδίᾳ   κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν

We have underscored the three last words:

καὶ  τυφλοῖς     ἀνάβλεψιν
[kai  tuphlois  anablepsin]

and to [the] blind recovering of sight

Our word anablepsis also occurs only ONCE in all of the Septuagint (LXX), namely here in Isaiah 61:1.


The Greek anablepsis in the Septuagint (LXX) translates the original Hebrew word in Isaiah 61:1, which is pĕqach-qowach.

The Hebrew pĕqach-qowach is a doubled form of the root word paqach (redoubled).

The Hebrew paqach meansto open (the eyes)” (Strong; likewise Brown-Driver-Briggs)

Gesenius has this note: “to open specially with the eyes. God is said to open any one’s eyes in a double sense:

  • to restore sight to the blind (2 Kings 6:17,20; Psalm 146:8; Isaiah 42:7);
  • to enable to see things which otherwise are hidden from the eyes of mortals (Genesis 21:19).

The word pĕqach-qowach, i.e. the root word paqach redoubled, therefore has the primary meaning of “opening the eyes wide”.
Thus Brown-Driver-Briggs has: “opening (of eyes), wide” Origin: from paqach redoubled”
This agrees with both Gesenius and Strong; all three note that pĕqach-qowach may also mean “opening of the prison”; as well as “liberation” (Gesenius).

Some English translations, referring to this dual meaning, translate Isaiah 61:1 as follows:

ESV: “the opening of the prison to those who are bound”*
Footnote: * Or the opening [of the eyes] to those who are blind; Septuagint: and recovery of sight to the blind
AMP: “the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound”
CJB: “to let out into light those bound in the dark”

This Hebrew word pĕqach-qowach also occurs only ONCE in all of the Hebrew Old Testament, namely here in Isaiah 61:1.

Almighty God,

  • He Who says that "The words of the lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6), and
  • regarding Whom "As for God, His way is perfect: The word of the Lord is tried" (Psalm 18:30),

HE has ensured:

  • that in Luke 4:18, the unique word anablepsis is used there only ONCE in all of the New Testament;
  • that in Isaiah 61:1 in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Old Testament the unique word anablepsis is used there only ONCE in all of the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament;
  • that in Isaiah 61:1 in the original Hebrew Old Testament the unique word  pĕqach-qowach is used there only ONCE in all of the Old Testament

When the Holy Spirit thus three times trains the searchlight on one unique word reserved specifically for this Isaiah 61:1 prophecy, it indicates that we should give this phenomenon intense attention.

WHY may this be so?

The answer surely is found in what our Lord says so emphatically:

THIS day is THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED in your ears”. (Luke 4:16-21, KJV)

Our Lord Jesus Christ, plainly and directly, says that Isaiah 61:1 is “fulfilled” (filled to the full) THIS very day when HE is standing there in the synagogue. His very presence fulfills this prophecy.

HE IS the One
  • Who has “The Spirit of the Lord” upon Himself
  • Whom God “hath anointed”
  • Whom God “hath sent”

To preach the gospel to the poor;
To heal the brokenhearted,
To preach deliverance to the captives,
   To the recovering of sight [anablepsis] to the blind,
 To set at liberty them that are bruised,
   To preach the Acceptable Year of the Lord.

Our Lord Jesus Christ verifies that He is this One; and the Holy Spirit ensures - through the usage three times of a unique word, used nowhere else in the New Testament, the Septuagint (LXX) and the Hebrew Old Testament – that no-one else in all the Bible can be identified in the same way.

Isaiah 61:1 can only apply to the Lord Jesus Christ. HE, the Messiah, is the Speaker in Isaiah 61:1.
And note also, that the Speaker, even our Lord Jesus Christ, continues speaking in Isaiah 61:2 to 61:9 AND that in verse 8 He refers to Himself as:

“I the LORD”

[“I the Lord”; “Jehovah”; LXX has: “Ego gar eimi kurios”]


The interested Bible-student can follow through on the above by viewing the  26 New Testament occurrences of anablepō at:

Similarly, the 135 New Testament occurrences of blepō can be viewed at: