Word Study on Peace

Do you have high anxiety or panic attacks? Read this post and look for God’s promises.

The language of the Old Testament is Hebrew, and the main word for peace is shalom (pronounced shah-loam and appears 237 times), which means “prosperity, well-being, health, completeness, safety” (Mounce, p. 502).

The New Testament, written in Greek, uses the word eirēnē (pronounced ay-ray-nay, used 92 times, and we get the name Irene from it). In classical Greek, used long before the New Testament was written, it means a cessation of hostilities or war and a state of law and order that “makes the fruits of prosperity possible” (Mounce, p. 503). That is, when a society is in peace, life can proceed in order and prosperity and well-being and safety.

“In other words, ‘peace’ is a state of being that lacks nothing and has no fear of being troubled in its tranquility; it is euphoria coupled with security. … This peace is God’s favor bestowed on his people. Not all people receive this peace—only those who have been reconciled to God” (ibid.). When we say peace as a greeting, it communicates blessing (ibid.). Peace “is the opposite of disorder” (ibid.).

BDAG, the authoritative NT Greek lexicon, has these definitions for the noun depending on the context:

(1) “a state of concord, peace, harmony” between governments and people; the opposite is the sword (Matt. 10:34 // Luke 12:51). It is “harmony in personal relationships, peace, harmony.” It means “good order,” which is the opposite of turmoil and disorder (1 Cor. 14:33). There is a way or path of peace that leads to peace (Rom. 3:17). We are called to strive for or pursue peace (Rom. 14:19; 2 Tim. 2:22).

(2) It is “a state of well-being, peace.” Through salvation we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). We have peace that has been brought through Christ (Col. 3:15). We are to run towards the goal of peace (2 Pet. 3:14; Rom. 8:6). It is the essential characteristic of the Messianic Age (Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:15). An angel greeted and promised the shepherds peace on earth at the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2:29).

Now let’s look at cognates (words that have different forms but are related).

Making peace is eirēnopoieō (pronounced ay-ray-noh-poi-eh-oh) and is used only in Col. 1:20. This is the act of causing “a right or harmonious relationship, make peace.”

The endeavor to reconcile persons who have disagreements is called eirēnopoios (pronounced ay-ray-oh-poi-ohss). It literally means “peace-making.”

The adjective is eirēnikos (pronounced ay-ray-nee-kohss) and it is linked with righteousness (Heb. 12:11) and it can be translated as “peace-loving.”

The verb is eirēneuō (pronounced ay-ray-new-oh). It means to “cause others to live in peace, reconcile”; “to be at peace”; “to live in peace, be at peace.” A literal and awkward translation of one sense of the verb would be “peace-ify.” We have the verb pacify, which means to calm the two striving sides down. The verb also means to “keep the peace” (Matt. 9:50; Rom. 12:18; 1 Thess. 5:13). Or it means to “live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11).

Now let’s apply these definitions.

We are called not to be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:5-7). Further, we are supposed to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, and then the God of peace will be with us (Phil. 4:8-9, NIV’s choice of words). God is the God of peace; he is the source of peace. Prayer and petitions and thinking on the right things will bring us peace. Renew the mind with godly things, and then and only can you have peace.

How does this post help me grow in Christ?

Peace flows from the heart of God, goes through salvation in Christ, enters the hearts of all his disciples, and works in the Christian community, and finally goes outward to the larger world. Only in Christ can the world experience lasting peace.

Maintain your peace with him first, with each other, and within yourself.

Great promise to hold on to:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Is. 26:3, NIV)

If you go through panic attacks, pray that verse out loud. If you have your prayer language, a wonderful gift from God, then use it. Don’t neglect it. If you don’t have it, seek God for it. It is available to you.

Written by James Malcolm

RELATED

Do I Really Know God? He Is the God of Peace

SOURCES

Works Cited at Renewal Theology

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