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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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 "Insights" from the New Testament Greek

By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

God "Bless" You!

  Recently, my wife sneezed, and I said "God bless you". Then, for some strange reason, I began to ask myself what I meant by "God bless you". I know there is some folklore behind the saying, such as "sneezing out your soul", and someone has to say "God bless you" for God to "put it back in". But, I've sneezed many times with no one around - and I'm still here. When I said "God bless you" to my wife, I guess I meant that I wanted God to be good to her in every way, and it inspired me to take this opportunity to review the words for "bless" in the New Testament.

  The New Testament talks about people "blessing God". Have you ever wondered how we can "bless God"? We are also commanded to "bless them which persecute you". And, God is often said to "bless" His people in the New Testament. Underneath these "blessings", there are four different Greek words in the New Testament, each with a different shade of meaning.

  "Eneulogeo", "to confer a benefit on": Probably, when most people think of a "blessing", they think of receiving some sort of "benefit", and, sure enough, there is the Greek word "eneulogeo", meaning "to confer a benefit on". Acts 3:25, and Gal. 3:8 state that through Abraham, all the nations of the earth will be "blessed", through the birth of the Savior. These are the only two instances where "eneulogeo", "to confer a benefit on", is used in the Greek New Testament.

  Used only twice, the Greek word "eneulogeo" speaks of the "benefits" bestowed on the nations of people on earth by the call of Abraham, the establishment of the Jewish race, and the resultant birth, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

  "Eulogeo", "to speak well of": Then, when we are commanded to "bless" those who persecute us, as in Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:28, and Rom. 12:14, we find the Greek word "eulogeo", from the same root word as "eneulogeo", but which means "to speak well of". We are commanded to "speak well" of those who persecute us. This is why our mothers told us "if you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all". So, find something good to say about those enemies!

  We also find this word "eulogeo" in James 3:9, where James says that with our tongue we "bless", or "speak well of" God and curse men, and that ought not to be so. And, in Luke 24:53, where the people were "praising and blessing God", interestingly, "praising" is from the Greek root "ainos", basically meaning "to tell a story", and "blessing" is "eulogeo", so the picture here is of the disciples in the temple, in Jerusalem after the resurrection, joyfully "telling stories" of the things that Jesus did and "speaking well of" God. "Eulogeo" is used 44 times in the New Testament.

  "Eulogia", "eloquent speech": The third word for "blessed" is the noun form "eulogia", meaning "eloquent speech". "Eulogia" is used 16 times in the New Testament. A good example is Eph. 1:3, where, as A.T. Robertson says, "Paul lovingly plays with the idea". In Eph. 1:3, we find three forms of the root word "eulog" in this one verse. "Blessed" (eulogetos, to be well spoken of) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us (eulogeo, spoken well of us) with all spiritual blessings (eulogia, all kinds of eloquent language) in heavenly places in Christ". What a wonderful thought, that "in Christ", we already have a position in heaven, and that we are being "well spoken of" in "eloquent language"! By now, I'm sure you realize that our English word "eulogy" comes from the Greek "eulogia".

  "Eulogia", meaning "eloquent speech", is used one time in the negative, in Rom. 16:18, where false teachers are said to deceive the hearts of the simple by means of good words and "fair speeches". Our protection from these "fair speeches" is to know what the Word of God teaches.

  "Makarios", "spiritually prosperous": Last, but not least, we have a completely different word translated "blessed", "makarios", which meant "happy" in the ancient world, but in the New Testament, adds the idea of "spiritual prosperity". "Makarios" is used 58 times in the New Testament, in such passages as the "beatitudes" of Matt. 5:3-11. "Blessed" in each "beatitude" means "spiritually prosperous". "Spiritually prosperous" are the poor in spirit, etc.

  Six times in the New Testament, the translators of the KJV used the English word "happy", and underneath each is the Greek word "makarios", or "spiritually prosperous".

  In the Book of Revelation, "makarios", is used seven times to state "spiritually prosperity":

  -- Rev. 1:3 "Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy."

  -- Rev. 14:13 "Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

  -- Rev. 16:15 "Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."

  -- Rev. 19:9 "Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."

  -- Rev. 20:6 "Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection."

  -- Rev. 22:7 "Behold, I come quickly: blessed [is] he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book."

  -- Rev. 22:14 "Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

  May the Lord richly "bless" you in EVERY way,

  Bob Jones