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Its Use in the New Testament
Victor M. Eskew
A. Word studies can be very challenging studies from the Word of God.
1. One Greek word might be translated with several different English words.
2. One English word might translate several Greek words.
B. In this lesson, we want to begin a study of the word “grace” as it is used in the New Testament.
1. This Greek word for grace is “charis” or “karis.”
2. It is found 156 times in the New Testament.
C. When we think of grace, we think of the saving grace of God.
1. This is one use of the word.
2. It is interesting that the word is translated by 11 English words in the King James Version.
3. Let’s look at each one of these words in this lesson.
A. The word “charis” is translated “favor” five times in the KJV.
B. The first time we ever read the term “charis” in the Bible it is translated this way (Luke 1:30).
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
1. Here, the word means “loveliness,” or, “something which delights the beholder.
2. There was something about Mary that pleased God.
a. From the things mentioned in Scripture about her, we know she had to have a deep faith in God.
b. It is interesting that Mary very well may have only been 14 to 16 years of age, yet she found “grace” in God’s sight.
A. The word “charis” is translated “grace” 131 times in the KJV.
B. Jesus is described as being full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behold his glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
C. When we think of the word “grace,” we usually think of God’s saving grace.
1. This is its usual significance.
2. But, it can have reference to other things (See II Cor. 8:6).
A. The word “charis” is translated “gracious” one time.
B. In the passage in which it is found, it describes the words of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:22).
And all bore him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
1. Jesus spoke these words in the synagogue in Nazareth, His home town.
2. They deeply impressed His listeners.
a. One described the words as “winning words.”
b. Another said they were marked by fascination and charm.
c. Still another said they were kind, affectionate, and tender.
d. They stood in bold contrast to the words of the Jewish doctors and lawyer who spoke to and taught the people.
3. They wondered at His words because He was Joseph’s son.
4. Luke 4:14 helps us to understand why His words were so gracious.
And he returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee…
A. The word “charis” is translated “thank” eleven times.
B. Luke 6:32
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye: for sinners do even the same.
1. The word carries with it the idea of benefit, recompense, or reward.
2. There is nothing of great benefit in loving those who love you. All men, even sinners, do that.
3. NOTE: The rewards of Christianity come by stepping out of the usual, the ordinary, the common and the everyday activities of life.
a. Giving instead of hoarding
b. Service instead of being served
c. Loving one’s enemies instead of hating them
d. Rejoicing in suffering
e. Going the second mile
A. The word “charis” is translated “pleasure” two times (Acts 24:27; 25:9).
But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
B. The word was often used in the realm of banking.
1. It involves making a deposit.
2. Here, it means that Felix made a deposit to win the favor of the Jews.
3. His deposit involved leaving Paul bound in prison even though he was innocent.
A. The word “charis” is translated “liberality” one time.
B. I Corinthians 16:3
1. Paul had commanded the church at Corinth to take up a collection upon the first day of the week for the poor saints in Jerusalem (I Cor. 16:1-2).
2. He was going to eventually come to get the funds they had collected. In I Corinthians 16:3, he writes:
And whenever I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
a. Their collection was an act of kindness or grace.
b. Their action, liberal giving, is put in place of the gift. Their grace made the gift possible.
A. The word “charis” is translated “benefit” one time.
B. II Corinthians 1:15
And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that you might have a second benefit.
1. When Paul established the church in Corinth, the members were greatly blessed by his presence.
2. Paul longed to be with them again. This would give the church a second benefit: blessing, beneficence, and pleasure.
3. Lesson: One can receive “charis,” grace, because of the presence of an individual in his/her life. Our presence can also be grace to another person.
A. The word “charis” is translated “gift” one time.
B. II Corinthians 8:4
Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
1. The gift was the bountiful collection take up by the churches of Macedonia (II Cor. 8:1-2).
2. A gift is “grace” because it involves kindness, generosity, and favor by those who give it.
3. The next time you receive a thoughtful gift from another, you can say: “Thank you so much for your grace.”
A. The word “charis” is translated “joy” one time.
B. Philemon 7
For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
1. The benevolence of Philemon brought grace into the heart of the apostle.
2. The experience of grace is joy.
A. The word “charis” is translated “thankworthy” one time.
B. I Peter 2:19
For this is thankworthy…
1. The word is akin to the word “thank” that we studied earlier.
2. Peter was telling his readers that something was a positive to them. It was a blessing.
3. The act that was positive involved their suffering for the cause of Christ.
…if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
a. It is wrong from a justice standpoint to have to suffer just because one is a follower of God.
b. When we do, however, it is a positive. It confirms that we are the servants of Christ.
A. The word “charis” is translated “acceptable” one time.
B. I Peter 2:20
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, This is acceptable to God.
1. The word “acceptable” means agreeable to God, or, something with which He is well-pleased.
2. He does not rejoice in the injustice. He will revenge those wrongs in the Last Day.
3. Our demonstration of patient suffering is what is acceptable and pleasant to Him. He sees someone who truly loves Him and is fully committed to Him. This brings Him pleasure.
A. We have seen that the word “grace” has many flavors and many applications to it.
B. Eleven different English words help us to understand the beauty of the Greek word “charis.”
C. May each of us study these terms more and come to appreciate grace when it is experienced in all forms in our lives.