Tag Archives: true grace

More Than One Grace Macedonians Money Angels Incarnation How Do They Go Together

The traditional teaching of 2Corinthians chapters eight and nine is used to get believers to give money to religious institutions’ needy causes. The  Macedonians, who gave in the midst of affliction and poverty, is the standard to duplicate.

But searching through the verses of this passage in light of Greek meanings reveal a different point.

Here are a couple of key words from previous posts about this passage that help reveal the fullness of what Paul was saying.

(2Cor 8:2 2Cor 9:11,13 – BTW liberality is not about giving money)

liberal/liberality in the Greek means

  • simplicity
  • singleness
  • sincerity
  • purity
  • graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

(Liberality is not about giving money.)

(2Cor 9:7 BTW –  a cheerful giver loves God, not God loves a cheerful giver)

cheerful in the Greek means

  • propitious (favorably disposed toward someone)
  • disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”)
  • won over
  • already inclined

(Cheerful in this context is not about smiling or laughing when giving.)

We will see that grace is the source of of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving.

More Than One Grace

In the Greek there is more than just one word for grace. They are cognates of the same root word, but their individual meanings are important to apply.

In this passage (2Cor chapters 8 and 9) several cognates of ‘grace’ are used NINE times.

Now this is curious. Any Greek words for money or offering are NOT used in these two chapters!

Grace is such a big deal that Macedonian story (chapters 8-9) is book-ended with grace.

Grace Bookends

Beginning of story –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.” (2Cor 8:1)

End of story –

“… who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:14,15)

The Graces_GrowingInFullness_Nancy Teague


It is grace, grace, grace! It is not about money, money, money. In fact, there are no Greek words that mean ‘money’ or even ‘offering’ in this story.

Exposing Mistranslations

In fact let me back the grace focus with a few examples.

“…to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of God” (2Cor 8:19)

Now, we would automatically think this gift is money. Some translations even say ‘offering’. So it must be money, right? Nope.

The Greek word for gift in this verse is

  • xáris (charis)- favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit”) – properly, grace. xáris preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)

“…prepare your generous gift beforehand…” (2Cor 9:5)

Looks like a big offering of money! Ah but, ‘generous’ is not even in the Greek, and ‘gift’ is eulogia – adulation, praise, blessing. Of course ‘blessing’ can be money, but I am deconstructing the religious mindset that this passage is all about giving money.

More mistranslations:

  • In verse 20 Paul continues – “avoiding that anyone blame us in the lavish gift…” Sounds like a lot of money. But, ‘gift’ is NOT in the Greek. “Lavish’ means thickness, abundance, lavish generosity. It seems there could be an abundance of something else going on.
  • Verse 21 – “providing honorable things…”. The translation ‘honorable things’ in the Greek means beautiful, good, worthy; beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character. ‘Providing’ means – I take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice; to think, plan before. There is thought and practice of things beautiful, worthy, and of honorable character. Again, more than about the wallet.

Looking up some of these words in the Greek can certainly get one to reconsider what is really being said!

What Is Thanks

It is the GRACES theme that overwhelms Paul at the end.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Cor 9:15)

Now, Is this a usual “thanks”?

When we say thanks, it generally means we are expressing gratitude for a pleasant experience, kindness, or help.

Is this what Paul was doing, but was just super thankful to God? No.

Paul is not thanking God. Say what?!

Check out the actual Greek meanings in this verse:

Thanks  

xáris ‘charis’ (khar’-ece) – grace, favor, kindness, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit; sometimes rendered ‘thanks’, but the core-idea is “favor, grace“, “extension towards“.
[Please note it is NOT the cognate euxáristos – prop. thankfulness (thanksgiving) – literally, “the giving of thanks for God’s grace – e.g. 2Cor 9:11,12.]

to God

for

epí (a preposition) – upon – naturally looks to the response (effect) that goes with the envisioned contact, i.e. its apt result (“spin-offs,” effects).

the

indescribable

anekdiḗgētos – indescribable, that cannot be thoroughly related, inexpressible, impossible to estimate

of him

autos – an intensive pronoun (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.)

gift!

dōreá – a gift, freely given and hence not acquired by merit or entitlement. It expresses a brand of giving that highlights the beneficent desire of the giver. (Note: this word comes from dídōmi – to put, place. It is used in 2Cor 8:1 – “…the grace of God put/placed on the churches. So when God ‘puts/places’ something or Someone on or in someone it is actually connected with being a free gift!).

Paul, in other words, is ecstatically shouting – “Grace to God upon the indescribable of him, Jesus, His free gift to all of us. ”


Angel Announcement Precursor to the Macedonians

Speaking of Paul’s loud pronouncement, how about –

The angel shocked the shepherds and said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people…” and then suddenly a multitude of heavenly host filled the skies with praise to God in response to Grace becoming flesh and the goodwill it meant toward men! (Lk 2:10-14)

Paul, in a way, was joyfully echoing this angelic raving, besides boasting how the Macedonians couldn’t help but display the fruit of  true grace!

It is not about money. It is about GRACE GRACE GRACE.  And the essence of grace is about joy!  The Macedonians got that. Talk about fullness!

Dig In

  • “I bring you tidings of great joy.” ‘Joy’ (xará) comes from the root word for grace (xar). Xará means – grace recognized, joy because of grace. Now this angel is talkin’ GREAT joy. Greek ‘great’ means – large, great, in the widest sense. To parallel that, the Macedonians had an “abundance of joy (xará)”! (2Cor 8:2) Their “abundance” (GR superfluity, excessively large amount, an abundance that exceeds normal expectations) was noticeable too. Hmm, is the grace you experience noticeable?
  • The heavenly host were actually saying (in the Greek meanings) – “Glory to God, namely upon (upon – that causes an effect) the physical earth peace (peace – from a word that means to join, tie together into a whole; properly, wholeness) in (in – inside, within – as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside) the human race, with whom He is pleased (pleased – good-will, good-pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, delight of men). Hey, is something wonderful going on IN each human, but we can’t see it because we really do not understand grace nor what Grace completed?
  • The story of the Macedonians is truly about being enriched in all ‘liberality’ – simplicity, purity, sincerity, singleness. This caused euxáristos (giving thanks for God’s grace). (2Cor 9:11) Gosh, to grasp that the coming of Jesus – His glory, full of grace and truth, revealed in flesh (because He really does enjoy our likeness of Him) – brought excessive enrichment to all mankind.

Oh, the exceeding grace of God in you!!!

 

Advertisements

Religious Grace versus True Grace In The Old Testament

In the last three posts I’ve been unpacking the When, How, Where, Why of grace according to religion.

Now it’s time to begin to see true grace in scripture.

But there is a problem!

If your understanding of grace comes from religious influence, then you will be hindered in knowing the fullness of true grace in either the Old or New Testament.

This religious influence can be determined by two words – ‘If then’.

If Then says Religion. Really?_GrowingInFullness.com

 

‘If then’ is religious Christianity’s formula for knowing God and following God. But is it right? Really.

The formula works something like this –

  • If God does this, then you must do this.
  • If you do this, then God will do this for you.
  • If you want God to do something, then you should do this.

So when reading the Bible please consider that many translations come from those influenced by ‘If then’.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Religious ‘If then’ Old Testament grace translation of Ps 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps 84:11 NKJ)

As an aside, in case you didn’t know, when you see a word in italics in a Bible verse that means the interpreter added this word.

Religious ‘if then’ interpretation of Ps 84:11 explains (and in my former traditional religious Christianity I would have concurred)

  • The religious translation says ‘will give’ (future implication), it does not say ‘gives’ (present tense). Thus any grace (or even glory!) He might give will depend on something you do.
  • If you walk uprightly (are good, live morally upright, do the church requirements – go to church weekly, participate in church programs, tithe, pray, worship, have daily quiet time, memorize scriptures, do the rituals, etc.) then He will give you good things.
  • He will even be a shield to you – i.e. will protect you if you live uprightly and do those religious requirements.

Conditions, conditions, conditions to get God’s blessings. Really?

Ps 84:11 is better and fuller than ‘If then’ religion says!

Check out the eye-opening fuller Hebrew meanings (in bold) of the key words in this verse. The words are in order as listed in the Hebrew translation of Ps 84:11. (source BibleHub.com)

“For (because) a sun (daylight) and shield; Lord God put/place/set grace (charm, pleasant, elegance, precious) and glory (glorious, abundance, riches, honor); the Lord not withhold (restrain) good (beautiful, pleasant, agreeable), walk (go, come) blameless (complete, sound).”

In other words – Because God is a sun and shield He put grace/charm/elegance/preciousness and glory/abundance/riches/honor (in you)! He did not withhold good/beauty/pleasantness/agreeableness (from you). So you go forth as you really are (full of charm, preciousness, abundance, and honor) – in blamelessness/completeness/soundness.

Notice the present tense of this verse in the Hebrew. There is no future tense ‘will’ nor is there any ‘If then’ equation in the Hebrew.

Now that is true grace!

Don’t let religion make you think or believe there is an “If then” in your relationship with God. Be you really are – full of grace and glory. Amazing!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘if then’ with God – all His promises and gifts are “Yes and Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2Cor 1:20)
  • God has ALWAYS been for you, in fact for everyone. Read scripture with this truth in mind, it will help you get rid of the religious ‘If then’ mindset.
  • Grace came in fullness when Jesus (God Himself) showed up as a human being, but the shadow of Jesus and His fullness is found in the Old Testament. Process all grace (in Old and New Testament) through Jesus Christ and you will grow in true grace and in fullness.

P.S. More to come in really seeing true grace in the Old Testament.