Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25 verse 5

Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.

Psalm 25 verse 12

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32 verse 8

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51 verse 6

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Psalm 86 verse 11

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law.

Psalm 94 verse 12

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143 verse 10

All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace.            

Isaiah chapter 54 verse 13

Jesus said: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew chapter 11 verse 29

Jesus said: It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God". Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

John chapter 6 verse 45

An online digest of the truth about God as we find it in the Bible

1. Definition of Grace

Let’s begin, then, with a definition of the word, remembering that the Bible was written not in English but in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). So the English word “grace” is being used to translate a Hebrew word and a Greek word.

In Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word is number 2580, pronounced khane, meaning literally “graciousness, kindness, or favour”. The root word is 2603, pronounced khaw-NAN, meaning “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favour; to bestow”.

There is a similar word in the Hebrew (number 2617 in Strong, pronounced KHEH-sed) which is often translated by the term “loving kindness” in the King James translation. The root of this word is 2616, pronounced khaw-SAD, which means to bow to an equal.

The two words are found together in Esther chapter 2 verse 17, which reads:

The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the maidens, so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen.

Esther chapter 2 verse 17

The background to this is that Ahasuerus (Hebrew pronunciation), or Xerxes (Greek pronunciation), the king of Persia, is searching for someone to replace Queen Vashti, whom he has deposed. Virgins from all over the country have been sought out and brought to the royal harem, where they have undergone 12 months of intensive beauty treatments. Eventually, each girl has her opportunity to impress the king and win his favour, if not his love. Esther was the one who managed to win both.

So king Ahasuerus shows Esther:

  • grace (khane) – he is the most powerful man in the country, and one of the most powerful in the world, and she is a nobody, an orphaned Jewish girl who just happened to have a pretty face, but he invites her into his palace, into his presence, into his embrace

  • and favour (KHEH-sed) – he lifts her up and sets her upon a throne beside him, making her his equal, as far as it was possible for that to occur in the culture of that day.

It’s when we come into the New Testament, however, that the concept of grace really comes to life. The Greek word is pronounced KHAR-ece (normally written charis), and is the root of our English words charisma and charismatic. This is number 5485 in Strong’s. It comes from the root (5463) KHAH-ee-ro, which means to rejoice. It’s basic meaning is:

That which causes joy, pleasure, gratification; a benefit; gratitude for a kindness granted.

As used by the New Testament writers, its meaning is expanded to incorporate:

  • A favour done without expectation of return.
  • Unearned and unmerited favour.
  • The absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men, finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver.

The following acrostic helps us to understand the implications of the word as used in the Christian context:

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

In brief, this means that Jesus paid the price and we obtained the benefit. Esther did nothing to earn or deserve her place in the king’s palace. All of the effort to make her presentable to the king was made by the king’s servants, and all of the expenses were paid from the king’s treasury. All that Esther had to do was to turn up and then do what she was told. There is no way that she could ever have found her way into the king’s harem by her own effort or ingenuity.

Of course, the Esther and Ahaserus analogy is an imperfect one, because:

  • Only one person could become queen, but everyone can become a child of God
  • Only beautiful young virgins were eligible, but everyone is eligible for salvation
  • King Ahaserus had a purely selfish motive for his campaign, but God is motivated by love and compassion
Go back to "Grace - Introduction" Go on to "2. The Covenant of Grace"