Christian Universe ™
January 13, 2013
I have long been confused about the various uses of the word "bless" or "blessing" in the New Testament. I did some research and found that, as they have done with other words like :hell", the KJV translators use these words to translate different Greek words, creating a bit of confusion. Eulogia and makarios are both translated "bless". The root Greek word for the first means "to praise", the second means "happy". We speak well of others, we praise God for things, and we are happy to be serving God.
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 01-13-2013
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 01-20-2013
Have you ever thought about the word blessing in the Bible? We say that we bless our food, and the Lord’s Supper. We say that God blesses us. What does it mean to bless or be blessed?
There are two Greek words rendered as bless in the King James Version, One is eulogia and means praise. The other is makarios (mak-ar'-ee-os) which means “happy”. Once we understand this, the ways that the word, bless, and its variations are used in the Bible make more sense.
Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
In verse 44, Jesus actually tells His disciples to praise, or speak well, of those who curse them. Curse in this sense is from the Greek word that means to insult, revile, slander or falsely accuse.
The apostle Paul wrote the following about that statement that Jesus made:
1 Thessalonians 5:15 "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."
Romans 12:14 "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not."
In other words, we need to do our best to get along with people, and to not get involved in revenge when dealing with other people, even those who are spoiling for a fight.
James 3:8 "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."
In this passage from James, we see that humans tend to use the tongue to praise God, yet will use the same tongue to slander, revile or wish ill upon other human beings. We must not use the tongue to both bless and curse -- it is meant for edification and encouragement. We should praise God, and speak well of Him, and we should speak things to benefit our fellow man.
Titus 3:2 "To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."
1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."
We reap that which we sow. Similar to forgiving in order to be forgiven, believers in Christ are to seed the earth with praise and good speech about others, in order to receive praise.
We see this manifested in the Lord’s Supper.
Matthew 26:26 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;"
In this passage, while a form of the same word that we have been discussing -- that is, eulogia, the giving of praise -- has been used for the bread, a different word is used for the cup, which is rendered in the KJV as "gave thanks". Yet, we see the similarity in that we speak well of God, or praise Him, at the same time that we thank Him for the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, in the following passage, we see that the word that means “to praise” or “to speak well of” is used to describe what took place at the Lord’s Supper.
1 Corinthians 10:16 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
The cup, which is to believers the blood of Jesus, is well-spoken of, or praised, for it signifies to us the love and the grace of God. The bread, which is to us the body of our Lord, is also to be praised, for it shows that Jesus willingly gave His life to save us. Therefore, Jesus, His blood, and His body, are praiseworthy. They are blessings to us, and we bless them. That is, they speak well of God’s love toward us, and we speak well of God for giving them to us. We thank Him.
Elizabeth, cousin to Mary, mother of Jesus, called Mary blessed among women. This is also from the same root that means worthy of praise.
Luke 1:41 "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."
2 Corinthians 1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;"
Jesus is also called blessed, or praiseworthy.
John 12:12 "On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord."
The so-called Beatitudes (from Latin Beatus, “be-aahh-tus” -- happy), the blessings pronounced by Jesus, in Matthew chapter 5, is from the other Greek word, makarios (mak-ar'-ee-os), which means “happy”. He was saying, “Happy are…”
This same root word, meaning happy, is also found in the following passage:
Luke 11:27 "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
The same general use is found in James 1:12 and 25, Acts 20:35, Romans 4:8, and similar passages. We need to realize this so that we will not confuse the meaning of being blessed.
When we speak of blessing food, or offering the blessing over it, understand that we are thanking and praising God for providing for us. When we ask God to bless the bread and the fruit of the vine, what we are really doing is thanking Him for His son Jesus, and praising His wisdom for sending Jesus to teach us, bring us back to God, and take away our sins if we believe and obey.
God has blessed us, that is, has given us much for which to be thankful, and so we bless His name – that is, we praise Him and what He has done, and continues to do, for us. Those things that we receive from Him, we call blessings.
Since God has provided us the reason to be thankful and to speak well of Him, we are also instructed to be thankful for others, and to speak well of them. We must not praise the Creator and with the same mouth slander or revile His creation.