Grace and Thanks
- Grace (charis) and thanks (eucharis) appear to have something in common. However, the parts of a word may or may not contribute to a definition (example: funeral begins with fun).
- The prefix, eu, generally stands for good or well done.
- So, if indeed the parts of the word indicate its meaning, thanks may be seen as a response to “grace done well.”
- Grace, or, more exactly, the collection of character traits that make up a gracious nature includes patience, kindness, gentleness, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. These traits moderate the potentially strict characteristic of justice.
- In the Old Testament, thanks came from eulogia, “the Word done well.” So, thanks to God seemed more for the concepts and philosophy of God than the grace of God.
- See the Thanks handout for the 55 times when eucharis was used. Combining duplicates among the gospels, these may be subdivided as:
- Twenty-one occasions when God was thanked for a direct, miraculous action.
- Once God was thanked inappropriately.
- Twelve times God was thanked for causing something not immediately evident as a miracle.
- Nine times food was blessed.
- Three times thanks was offered non-specifically.
- In each occurrence of eucharis, the graciousness of God was in the context, so the connection of “thank” and “grace” is justified.
- Occasions of thanks in the Jewish style:
- Matthew 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered and said, “I thank you Father…” [some modern translations have switched to “praise.” Jesus probably selected this expression because it would be familiar to His audience, meaning “philosophy done well.” But, it also fit the context better than “grace done well.”]
- Luke 2:38 And coming in that instant, she [Anna of Asher] gave thanks to God…” [Anna used the familiar Jewish term, but again it fit the context better.]
- Hebrews 13:15 Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. [Many modern translations have switched this to “confessing.” The meaning is closer to “the homogeneous Word becoming the fruit of our lips.”]
- Occasions when grace was translated thanks:
- Luke 6:32 – 34 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinner loves those who love them.” (The same expression is used in verses 33 and 34) [Literally, Jesus said, “What grace is that to you?” or “How does this show a gracious nature?”]
- Luke 17:9 “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded?” [Literally, “Does he give grace to that servant?”]
- Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine… [Literally, “Grace to God that though you were slaves to sin…” The slogan, grace to God, could be extolling God’s grace or could be a promise to be gracious to a gracious God – so it probably both. Being gracious to God would include being patient, kind, gentle, forgiving, and merciful while waiting for God to act, having become all the more confident because of God’s grace.]
- 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory… [Literally, “Grace to God, who gives us the victory…”]
- 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph… [Literally, “Grace to God, who always leads us in triumph…”]
- 2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God who has put the same earnest care for you in the heart of Titus. [Literally, “Grace to God who has put the same earnest care…”]
- 2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. [Literally, “Grace to God upon His indescribable gift.”]
- 1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He has counted me faithful…” [Literally, “Gracious I am, being strengthened by Christ Jesus our Lord, that He esteemed me faithful…”]
- 2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did… [Literally, “Gracious to God I am whom I serve with a pure conscience as my forefathers did…”]
- 1 Peter 2:19 For this is commendable if because of conscience toward God one endures grief… [Literally, “Grace this is if because of conscience…” The English Standard Version says, “This is a gracious thing.”]