Col 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for as members of one body, you have been called to peace, and be thankful.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.
I thought I knew what peace was – (1) Absence of conflict and/or (2) having a restored relation, being ‘right’ with someone.
I was noodling in the back of my NASB Bible in the Greek section. It’s a cool edition – certain Hebrew and Greek words are underlined and then are keyed at the back via Strong’s method of classification. They come with extensive definitions. I was shocked to see a substantial section given to describe a third meaning of the Greek word for peace, eirene/1515. (Name your next daughter Irene!) This major heading describes a condition of health, welfare, prosperity, bliss and every good and kindness imaginable. Different passages are then cited and these blew my socks off! I had thought I had God’s peace pegged. Imagine the implications from THESE translations!
- Luke 1:79 – Zechariah talking about his son John who will be a herald of the light that will come into the world to “..guide our feet into the way of HAPPINESS (peace, # 1515)
- Luke 2:14 – Multitudes of angels startle the shepherds and tell them about Jesus’ birth and proclaim “….BLISS/HAPPINESS (peace, # 1515) among those with whom God is pleased.”
- Romans 8:6 – “..but the mind set on the Spirit is life and BLISS, GOODNESS, PROSPERITY (peace, # 1515)
A whole other topic is that word life –(zoe, # 2222) It has an expanded definition to mean – ‘a life that satisfies’ / not just plain old LIFE!
- Ephesians 6:15 – about getting yourself dressed with God’s armor for the day, “….having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of HAPPINESS, GOODNESS, PROSPERITY, BLISS (peace, # 1515)
- 2 Thess 3:16 – a lovely benediction – “May the Lord of BLISS, HAPPINESS, CONTENTMENT, (peace, # 1515) grant you BLISS, HAPPINESS, CONTENTMENT, GOOD THINGS IN LIFE (peace, # 1515) in every circumstance
And notes for this definition of peace go on to call the Lord of Peace, “the author and giver of blessedness”. This reminds me of the beatitudes. I always translate in my mind ‘blessed’ as ‘happy’ as in – Happy are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt 5: 5)
Finally, let’s consider the implications for an expanded definition of Eirene/peace by looking at what Jesus and Paul exhort us to: if peace truly is far more than what the world describes, then it is fitting that Jesus tells us to expect HIS version of peace to be completely different. It’s not just a removal of conflict and war or a relationship brought to health – it’s FAR more. Jesus offers us a vision of a world beyond what we normally expect or dream about – it’s a whole system meant to satisfy and thrill us. It is no wonder that Paul strongly recommends that we let THAT life be the standard in our lives (rule/arbitrate in decisions to be made). He ties it up nicely with the reminder to be thankful – that is to remember and appreciate what we have been given.
These truths fly away from our hearts and minds each night while we sleep. Therefore, each morning and throughout the day we have to intentionally remind ourselves, that is preach to ourselves what awaits us. Let us encourage one another to set our minds on this rich hope of peace, and not settle for peace and goods and standards offered by the world. They are a cheap imitation.