With the exception of Luke who wrote Luke and Acts, the New Testament’s books were written in Greek by Jews who framed their religious thinking in Hebrew. Why? Because the foundation for the New Testament was the Tanakh (our Old Testament), which was written in Hebrew.
Sometimes, we miss deeper meanings because the authors used the Greek language.
For instance, my eyes were recently opened to one word in Paul’s greetings for his letters —
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:3)
The above greeting was used in one form or another in most of Paul’s letters. The Greek word eirēnē is translated into the English word peace. So, when we read the word peace, we think of tranquility, calm, and quiet.
Yet, the Apostle Paul who wrote the word would have been thinking about the Hebrew word shalom, much like Joseph spoke to his brothers —
And Joseph said, Peace [shalom] be to you… (Genesis 43:23)
The Hebrew word shalom means peace and tranquility, but it also means safety, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness, and integrity.
So, when Paul used the word peace in his greeting, his deeper meaning was the whole complex of peace/wholeness/well-being that is in our Lord Jesus.
If you want to hear how to say, “Peace be to you,” in Hebrew, click here.
(Continued in Part 13…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)