[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]I[/dropcap]n these days G1588 is commonly defined as indicating individuals selected to obtain salvation, but it was not used that way in the LXX.  Instead, it was typically used to describe objects as having inherent excellent qualities.  A few times the word appeared in the context of God's selection of individuals to positions of high authority.  A number of occasions, it described a people whom God chose as His people, who enjoyed abundant favor from God.  To summarize, G1588 was primarily used either (a) to describe people and objects which had superior qualities, or (b) to refer to the people whom God chose for Himself.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]S[/dropcap]uppose we take our conclusion and see how it fits within our opening verse, Mark 13:20.  If we apply the (b) definition to the verse, it reads "And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the [people of God’s] sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days."  This reading certainly fits the flow of the verse, and we may be tempted to embrace it and end the discussion at this point.  However, to do so would still be premature, for although the writers of the New Testament were likely to use G1588 with the same meaning as it had in the LXX, especially when speaking of people whom God chose, there is the possibility that they used the word in a new sense.  However, if they intended a new sense, it would have been necessary to clarify their intent, or they would risk confusing their readers.

For example, suppose an early believer is studying Mark's gospel, and the occurrence of G1588 in Mark 13:20 catches his eye.  Wanting to make sure he understands what the Lord was saying, he pulls a current copy of the Modern Dictionary of Greek Words from his bookshelf and flips to the entry for G1588.  As he reads the definitions for the nuances of the word, it is certain that he will not find in that secular dictionary a definition that reads: 'Individuals chosen by God for salvation.'

Suppose that, as our aspiring scholar considers the definitions he found, it occurs to him that a secular dictionary might not be the best resource to discover the theological significance of the Lord's words.  Returning the dictionary to the shelf, he takes out his Exhaustive Concordance to the Greek Old Testament and carefully examines every occurrence of G1588.  As we have seen above, he would likely conclude that the word could be describing either people with excellent characteristics, or people given a position of honor, or people whom God chose as His own.

However, suppose in using G1588, the Lord meant to describe people chosen by God for salvation.  This early believer would have no way of knowing that this was the intended meaning unless the Mark made this definition clear in the context.