Bible Benedictions: Part 1
‘Bene’ means good. ‘Diction’ means pronouncement. So benediction means pronouncement of good. A Biblical benediction extols the wonderful deeds God performs for His children. God blesses His people. He personally reaches down and touches lives. Many benedictions are scattered over the pages of the New Testaments and several in the Old Testament. We will examine a few of these to appreciate God’s great mercy.
The most famous Old Testament benediction is the Aaronic Benediction:
May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6: 24-26).
This is the only Old Testament benediction we will discuss. It is a wonderful proclamation to the people of Israel—God’s chosen people descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Aaron was told to proclaim this to the ‘sons of Israel.’ Why? Because God wanted them to understand only He could make them safe and secure. A wicked world driven by the evil prince of the air would ultimately devour them. God was their only Protector and Provider. This passage equates God’s face with His grace and blessing. God’s face portrays His active presence and involvement in the lives of His people. His countenance suggests His fondness for them—like a shepherd who continuously watches after his own sheep. The picture of God as Shepherd is constantly replayed through the pages of Scripture. It is a good one to invoke here because it shows God is not only present with His ‘sheep’ but also fondly looking after them and actively securing their path.
The remaining benedictions will all be from the New Testament. The Apostle Paul wrote the majority of them. Why? Perhaps because he wrote more than any other New Testament author. Possibly because he started so many churches in Asia and Europe—each one founded upon the chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. But most of all, Paul mirrored God’s love of every member of the Body of Christ. He desired they understand a Sovereign God provides for them.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:7).
Many benedictions written by Paul incorporate grace and peace in their text. God revealed the mystery of His grace to the Apostle and directed him to proclaim it to the world. I like the acronym G-R-A-C-E, which stands for God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. All God’s riches are only available to His children through the costly blood of His only Son. The ‘Blood of Christ’ eternally atones for sin. A believer appropriates God’s grace by faith. Faith is also a gift of God. It is much more than belief. “The demons believe and tremble” (James 2:19). Faith implies devotion and trust that persists throughout life into eternity.
Every human born in this world is an enemy of God. Enemies are never at peace with one another. Paul’s benedictions do not proclaim peace between men in this world. They affirm peace between God and man. This peace is often present in the midst of worldly warfare. Once again, God provided that bond of peace through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. Only those who come to God through Jesus Christ can have the ‘peace, which surpasses all understanding.’ Those who do not come through Jesus will remain enemies with God. Their eternal abode will be far away from God—in Hell.
May the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).
This benediction informs the believer that God gives staying power—perseverance—when human emotion begs to drop out of the race. Life is a race and God grants each of His children the ability to persevere to the finish line.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Tim 4: 7-8).
God also grants us ‘the same mind with one another.’ This ‘mind’ is the ‘Head’ of the Body of Christ—Jesus. Our minds and egos fly in opposite directions. God, the Holy Spirit, encourages all believers to adopt Jesus’ mind and proclaim with one voice the ‘glory of God the Father.’ This maximizes God’s witness to a wicked world.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13)
It if quite comforting to know that our God is ‘the God of hope.’ If He were not, all our hope would be in peril. Worldly hope is fleeting and rarely apprehended. One ‘hopes’ to win a lottery, but that hope is without substance. It rarely occurs. ‘The God of hope’ provides His children with a hope that is sure and secure. It will occur just as He promised. We can always take God’s promises to the bank. He cannot lie.
…so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6: 18-20).
God the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. His eternal power provides each believer with an abounding hope that persists throughout life until its fulfillment is realized in eternity. This should fill believers with joy in the midst of their worldly struggles.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you (Romans 16:20).
Paul writes that soon God, who is at peace with us through Jesus Christ, will crush His enemy, Satan, under our feet. We will behold Satan’s defeat. One day, soon, he will have no influence on our lives. God will fulfill the age-old promise of Genesis 3: 15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your Seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” What a glorious time lies in wait for those who love Jesus!