Greek Word "mello"
I am Jessie Mills, Ph.D.
Child & Adult Clinical Psychology - Mills

Greek Word “mello”

(English “about to be”)


The following is a study of the Greek word “mello” (lit. “about to be”) according to its various grammatical forms.  Wigram’s Analytical Greek Lexicon, and A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by J. H. Mayer, are the authorities used.  Quotations are from Young’s Literal Translation.  There are 108 verses in the New Testament that use some form of mello for a total of 111 occurrences, including 3 verses which use the word twice, and 3 textual variants (Acts 23:30; Heb. 9:11 and 2 Pet. 1:12). 

Take a careful look at these texts.  In most translations, mello is incorrectly rendered “shall” most of the time, especially in prophetic texts, with no indication that a near time of occurrence is involved.  The use of mello indicates something is “about to be” or “about to” occur, so the English word “shall,” which simply implies a future action with no indication of timing, is not adequate to express the inherent imminency of the word “mello.”  This becomes very important when we look at prophetic texts that use this word in reference to the return of Christ and other end time events.  This implies that those events were “about to” occur.  Since most translators believe the events are still future, they have difficulty translating it with an “about to” sense, especially in prophetic texts.  Here is a complete list of all occurrences of “mello”, classified according to their tense and mood. 


*An asterisk in front of a verse reference in following pages, marks an important prophetic passage.  Note carefully how the word “mello” is used in that passage.


1. Future Indicative—Mood of fact or reality—action in future time. 

Mt. 24:6, “and ye shall begin to hear of wars, and reports of wars...” 

2 Pet. 1:12, “Wherefore, I will not be careless always to remind you...”


2. Present Subjective–Mood of contingency or possibility, questioning action in progress, or repeated action.

Mk. 13:4, “and what is the sign when all these may be about to be fulfilled?”

Lk. 21:7, “what is the sign when these things may be about to happen?”

Rev. 10:7, “the seventh messenger, when he may be about to sound, the secret of God may be finished...”


3. Present Infinitive–Denotes a process in action.  A verb used as a noun.

Acts 11:28, “[Agabus] did signify through the Spirit a great dearth is about to be throughout all the world–which also came to pass...”

Acts 19:27, “the great goddess Artemis...her greatness is about to be brought down...”

Acts 23:30, “a plot about to be of the Jews.”

*Acts 24:15, “...about to be a rising again of the dead”

Acts 25:4, “and himself [Paul) is about speedily to go on thither,.”

Acts 27:10, “I perceive that with much hurt, and much damage..  the voyage is about to be

Acts 28:6, “and they were expecting him to be about to be inflamed...”


4. Imperfect–Denotes action in progress in past time.

a. Action in progress in past time.

b. Action repeated in past time.

c. Customary action in past time.

d. Action begun in past time.

e. Action, or intention attempted, but not carried out in past time.

f. Impossible, impractical, or hesitant wish.


Lk. 7:2, “...centurion’s servant ... was about to die...”

Lk. 9:31, “[Moses and Elijah)..  spoke of his outgoing that was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.”

Lk. 10:1, “the Lord did appoint also other seventy and sent them...whither he himself was about to come.”

Lk. 19:4, “and having run forward before, he [Zaccheus] went up a sycamore, because through that way he [Jesus] was about to pass by.”

Jn. 4:47, “[A certain courtier) was asking Him that he may come down and may heal his son, for he was about to die.”

Jn. 6:6, “for he himself [Jesus) had known what he was about to do.”

Jn. 6:71, “and he spake of Judas...for he was about to deliver him up...”

Jn. 7:39, “and this he said of the Spirit, which those believing in him were about to receive...”

Jn. 11:51, “he [the chief priest) did prophesy that Jesus was about to die for the nation.

Jn. 12:33, “and this He [Jesus) said signifying by what manner of death he was about to die,.”

Jn. 18:32, “signifying what manner of death he was about to die.”

Acts 12:6, “...Herod was about to bring him forth...”

Acts 16:27, “the jailer ... was about to kill himself...”

Acts 21:27, “seven days were about to be fully ended”

Acts 27:33, “And till the day was about to be”

Heb. 11:8, “By faith Abraham...did...go forth to the place...he was about to receive as an inheritance...”

Rev. 3:2, “strengthen the rest of the things that are about to die...”

Rev. 10:4, “I was about to write...”


5. Present Indicative–Mood of fact or reality, present tense may be represented by:

A. Present action in progress or repeated.

B. Simple event in present time.

C. Customary action or general truth.

D. Tendency or attempt in present time.

E. Historic present:  for vivid description of past event.

F. Futuristic present:  present used for future.

G. Past action continuing into present ((requires a specific phrase to show the past aspect).


Matt. 2:13, “for Herod is about to seek the child to destroy him.”

*Matt. 16:27, “For, the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father...”

Matt. 17:12, “Elijah did already also the Son of Man is about to suffer by them.”

Matt. 17:22, “Son of Man is about to be delivered up”

Matt. 20:22, “are ye able to drink of the cup that I am about to drink?...”

Lk. 9:44 “...Son of Man is about to be delivered up...”

Lk. 19:11, “because of their thinking that the reign of God is about presently to be manifest.”

Jn. 6:15, “Jesus..  .having known that they are about to come and take him by force that they may make him king…”

Jn. 7:35, “Whither is this one about to go that we shall not find him?–to the dispersion of the Greeks is he about to go?...” (both uses are Pres. Indic.)

Jn. 14:22, “...hath come to pass, that to us thou are about to manifest thyself, and not to the world?”

Acts 5:35, “take heed to yourselves about these men, what ye are about to do...”

*Acts 17:31, “because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world...”

Acts 20:38, “sorrowing...that they are about no more to see his face...”

Acts 22:16, “and now, why tarriest thou?  Having risen, baptize thyself...”

Acts 22:26, “Take heed what thou art about to do, for this man is a Roman;.”

Acts 23:3, “..God is about to smite thee, thou white-washed wall...”

*Acts 26:23, “that the about to proclaim light to the nations.”

Rom. 4:24, “but also on ours [account) to whom it [righteousness] is about to be reckoned–to us believing on Him...”

Rom. 8:13, “for if according to the flesh ye do live, ye are about to die; ...”

1 Thes. 3:4, “we said to you beforehand, that we are about to suffer tribulation...”

Rev. 1:19, “Write the things ..that are about to come after these things;”

Rev. 2:10, “Be not afraid of the things that thou art about to suffer.  The devil is about to cast some of you into prison...” (used twice, both Pres. Indic.)

Rev. 3:16, “I am about to vomit thee out...”

*Rev. 12:5, “and she brought forth a male child, who is about to rule all nations with a rod of iron;...”

*Rev. 17:8, “The was, and is not; and it is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction...”


6. Present Participle–A verb used as an adjective.  In the present tense it may denote:

A. Continuing or repeated action.

B. Action simultaneous to leading verb.

C. Some action as leading verb.

D. To identify as a member of a certain class.


*Mt. 3:7, “Brood of vipers! who did shew you to flee from the [about to be] wrath?”

Mt. 11:14, “he is Elijah who was about to come;” (present tense–is).

*Mt. 12:32, “it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is coming [lit. “about to be”].”

Mk. 10:32, “he began to tell them the things about to happen to him,.”

Lk. 3:7, “who did prompt you to flee the coming wrath?”

Lk. 13:9, “and if indeed it may bear fruit [in the future).”

*Lk. 21:36, “that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these things that are about to come to pass...”

Lk. 22:23, “And they [the disciples) reasoned among themselves..  .who then of them it may be, is about to do this thing [betray Jesus).” 

Lk. 24:21, “we were hoping that he it is who is about to redeem Israel...”

Jn. 12:4, “Judas Iscariot, of Simon, who is about to deliver him up–.”

Acts 3:3, “who, having seen Peter and John about to go into the temple...”

Acts 13:34, “no more being about to return to corruption...”

Acts 18:14, “and Paul being about to open his mouth...”

Acts 20:3, “[Paul) being about to set forth to Syria...”

Acts 20:7, “Paul was discoursing to them about to depart on the morrow...”

Acts 20:13, “thence intending to take in Paul, for so had he arranged, intending himself to go on foot;.” (used twice here, both Present Participle)

Acts 21:37, “And Paul being about to be led into the castle...”

Acts 22:29, “they departed from him who are about to examine him, .  .

Acts 23:15, “he may bring him down unto you, as being about to know more exactly the things concerning him;...”

Acts 23:20, “as being about to inquire something more exactly about him;.”

Acts 23:27, “and being about to be killed by them...”

Acts 24:25, “and he reasoning concerning righteousness, and temperance, and the judgment that is about to be...”

Acts 26:2, “being about to make a defense before thee to-day,.”

*Acts 26:22, “saying nothing besides the things that both the prophets and Moses spake of as about to come,.”

Acts 27:2, “being about to set sail by the coasts of Asia...”

Acts 27:30, “in pretense as if...they are about to cast anchors,.”

*Rom. 5:14, “who is a type of him who is coming.”

*Rom. 8:18, “the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us;.”

Rom. 8:38, “nor things present, nor things about to be...”

1 Cor. 3:22, “or things present, or things about to be...”

*Gal. 3:23, “shut up to the faith about to be revealed,.”

*Eph. 1:21, “not only in this age, but the coming one;.”

*Col. 2:17, “which are shadows of the coming things,...

1 Tim. 1:16, “for a pattern of those about to believe on him to life...”

*1 Tim. 4:8, “a promise having of the life that now is and of that which is coming

1 Tim. 6:19, “treasuring up to themselves a right foundation for the time to come [lit. about to be]...”

*2 Tim. 4:1, “Christ, who is about to judge the living and dead...”

*Heb. 1:14, “being sent forth because of those about to inherit salvation?”

*Heb. 2:5, “For not to messengers did He subject the coming world...”

*Heb. 6:5, “the powers of the coming age,.”

*Heb. 8:5, “Moses, being about to construct the tabernacle...”

*Heb. 9:11, “And Christ being come, chief priest of the coming [lit. “about to be”] good things...”

*Heb. 10:1, “For the law having a shadow of the coming [lit. “about to be”] good things...”

*Heb. 10:27, “fiery zeal about to devour the opposers;.”

Heb. 11:20 “concerning coming [lit. “about to be”] things...”

*Heb. 13:14, “for we have not here an abiding city, but the coming one we seek;”

*Jas. 2:12, “so speak ye and so do, as about by a law of liberty...”

*1 Pet. 5:1, “of the glory about to be revealed...”

2 Pet. 2:6, “an example of those about to be impious...”

*Rev. 3:10, “I also will keep thee from the hour of the trial that is about to come upon all the world...”

Rev. 6:11, “their brethren who are about to be killed-even as they.”

Rev. 8:13, “trumpet of the three messengers who are about to sound”

Rev. 12:4, “the dragon did stand before the woman who is about to bring forth...”


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© Copyright 2015 by Jessie Mills. All Rights Reserved by the author, Jessie E. Mills, Jr. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior express written permission of the publisher, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or other publications. Such quotations must be used with proper reference to their context and give appropriate credit to their authorship.