The Lost Link in the Golden Chain: The Meaning of Προγινώσκω in Romans 8:29

Scholars typically interpret προγινώσκω in Romans 8:29 as (1) an act of foreknowledge (“know beforehand”) or (2) an act of unconditional election (“choose beforehand” and synonyms). The second interpretation is by far the majority view among Romans commentators, but scholars often assume rather than argue that προγινώσκω can have this meaning. The present study argues based on Greek lexicography and a fresh analysis of biblical and nonbiblical occurrences that there is no evidence that προγινώσκω can mean “choose beforehand” in ancient Greek or that this otherwise unattested meaning occurs in Romans 8:29. It also shows that προγινώσκω can refer to prior decisive action based on knowledge (“decide beforehand”), a meaning not normally considered for Romans 8:29.