Romans 8:29 states “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Now, the word translated “forknew” is the Greek word proginosko (4267) which is a compound of the words “pro” (4112-“before”) and “ginosko” (1091-“to know”). Now, some non-Calvinists claim that this word only means that God knew things beforehand and that it does not mean He predestined them to come to pass. Funny thing is, that’s not the case.
Since I believe in actual research from authoritative sources when doing Bible study, I did some investigation as to the usage of the Greek word “proginosko”. According to the Complete Biblical Library Greek Dictionary the word has three primary meanings. (1) It often refers to having insight of something yet future. For example, a writing of Xenophon contains this statement: “As I recognize this in advance, I think I need more money” (Cyropaedia 2.4.11). (2) It may also refer to prognosticating or foreshadowing something. Aristotle said that “the bees foreshadow winter” (Historia Animalium 6 27.b.10). (3) It can mean “coming to a decision beforehand” as in Demosthenes (Orations 29.58), “prejudged by his own friends.” In the Septuagint God knew beforehand the deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of the enemies and made that knowledge known to the fathers (Wisdom of Solomon 18:6). Therefore, based on historical research, the word can mean “to know beforehand”. It can also mean “to come to a decision beforehand”. Therefore, a simple word study won’t answer the question for us as to what “foreknew” means. Next time, we will examine further evidence in order to reach a conclusion.