Grace – Etymology and Usage

Let’s look at the derivation of the Greek and Hebrew words for grace and see what we can learn. The Greek word for grace is “charis” – The following definition is from Strongs Concordance:

χάρις charis; (“chairo”, cheer, to be cheerful); graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude)”

Fundamentally it is used as favor, gift. It is a word we find in English as the root of “charisma” and “charismatic”. From this we can see that besides being “a gift” it brings the sense not just of “a favor” but of “a favored one”, someone blessed. The “favor” of grace may be in the giver of grace, or in the recipient, as exhibiting characteristics of being favored.

The Hebrew word translated “grace” in the OT is “chen”. To settle that the OT “chen” is the same thing as NT “charis” we turn to a verse in Proverbs which is quoted several times in the NT:

“Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace (“chen”) unto the lowly.” (Proverbs 3:34)

God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace (“charis”) to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5). [Also James 4:6, verbatim]

That satisfies me that we are dealing with the same “grace”.

Strong’s on “chen”:

ןחֵ ḥên; graciousness, i.e. subjective (kindness, favor) or objective (beauty): — favour, grace(- ious), pleasant, precious, (well-)favoured.”

Here we are especially brought to the idea of favoring . . . and of being favored, in a favored state. In this case, when the recipient is in view, this is – again – the idea of being “blessed”.

Continue to Grace – As a “Thing” or visit previous in series, Grace – The Definition

Similar posts
  • Grace – Discovering More If grace can be decreased in power and effectiveness, hopefully there is a way to increase the same. Paul keeps saying “grace to you” at the beginning of his epistles and Peter tells us to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” ( 2 Peter 3:18) The first [...]
  • Grace – The Rejection of “Legalism” on the “right” side and “Lasciviousness” on the other side are both grace killers. So we need to highlight the warnings from Scripture for each. First the legalist: “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, [...]
  • Grace – The Definition The working definition Bill provides for grace is, “The desire and power to do what God wants me to do” This definition is quite distinct among those evangelical theology has given us. These include: Unmerited Favor This is actually a definition for grace that Bill accepts. But his point is that it is simply inexcusably [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *