ON TODAY'S SITE:
Book of Matthew, David Morsey, Paul Ayres, Rev. Kit Billings, Book of Psalms
My friend Rich casually mentioned it the other day: "Do you know the
meaning of the original Greek word which the Bible translates as "meek"?
I was fascinated by his answer. With Rich's help, I've posted several
writers' explanations, each of which corroborates the others and
clarifies the fifth Beatitude. Suddenly the meek inheriting the
earth doesn't sound wimpy.
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Photo by Chuck Bowman All rights reserved
Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth.
The Holy Bible
Revised Standard Edition
The word "meekness" has, in the English language, a negative flavor.
It connotes a rather weak-willed person who is easily imposed upon...
The Greek word for meekness--prautes--has nothing in it of this
negative and weak implication. It is in fact quite a strong word
meaning "openness to God and man." As such, it implies a deter-
mined effort toward a conciliatory attitude. Applied to human
relationships it involves tolerance and flexibility. In the relation-
ship to God it implies a readiness to accept His Word and His will.
Some of the New Testament translators had a great deal of
trouble trying to decide what word best fit the Greek word praus...
A word master of the Greek language helped us in
defining the term. Barclay says in his commentary on Matt. 5:5 -
"It is the regular word for an animal which has been domesticated,
which has been trained to obey the word of command, which has
learned to answer to the reins. It is the word for an animal
which has learned to accept control."
The outgrowth of such a definition enriches our understanding
of Jesus' proclamation when He says, "Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5).
Taylorsville Road Church,
Photo by Stephen Bowman All rights reserved
It so happens that the Greek word for meek - praus - is one
of the truly great Greek ethical words in history. The first
standard meaning deals with finding the happy medium between
emotional extremes. For example, let's reflect on the emotion of
anger. The Greek ideal, when the Greek version of The Gospel
of Matthew was written, of human anger that was controlled by
meekness was neither excessive anger nor an extreme aversion
to angerlessness...And so the first possible translation of that
beatitude is: "Blessed is the man who is always angry at the
right time, and never angry at the wrong time."
The word praus does have a second important usage in the Greek
language, which relates to when an animal (perhaps an ox or a horse)
has come to accept a necessary degree of control - when it relents, at
last, to being trained to follow the will of its master without failing.
There are chaotic and unruly affections within our natural mindedness,
and these unregenerated forces within need to be reigned in, and the
Lord's divine power of love and wisdom is the only force
able to help us do that vital work and growth...
...So the second possible translation of this beatitude is:
"Blessed is the man who has every instinct, every impulse,
every unruly passion under control. Blessed is the man
who is self-controlled."
Rev. Kit Billings
January 30, 2005
The Last Word:
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the
abundance of peace.
The Holy Bible
New King James Version
Utterly Random Bonus Quote:
Too often we enjoy the comfort of our opinion
without the discomfort of thought.
President John F. Kennedy
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