All of us long to hear, see, and experience good. In a recent phone conversation, someone asked, “what is some good news?” Fortunately, there is always good news. The word “good” got me thinking. So for a word focus in our ladies’ Bible study, I did some “mining” into the word. According to scholars, “good” is used in Scripture over six hundred times, depending on the translation.
Because Scripture was written in both Hebrew and Greek, we can find the nuances of our English word “good.” For example, “good” in Scripture can be translated various ways. In the Old Testament, good involves “possessing desirable qualities, beneficial, agreeable…moral excellence, piety…kind, benevolent… sufficient…fair, honorable” (biblestudytools.com). The Literal Word App puts all six hundred plus verses at our fingertips and makes for a most encouraging study.
Here are a few principles we can discover. “Good” is used extensively in the first several Genesis chapters. God proclaimed everything about His creation good. From the beginning, good has been contrasted with evil. We discover it is not good for man to be alone. God’s promises are good; His words are good. God works out good even through trials. We keep God’s commands for our own good, and our obedience to Him is good in His eyes. God promised good land for Israel, and work is called “good.”
Moving into the New Testament, we learn more, while using the app. In the New Testament, the words most frequently translated “good” are agathos and kalos. Agathos denotes good as a quality, physical or moral. Kalos is beautiful, pleasing, useful, or noble.
God is good; He makes good things. God does good, and believers should do good. Overcome evil with good, and recognize that truly good gifts come from above. The Word of God equips us for good works. Hold to the good, and be zealous for it. Turn from evil, and do good. People will confuse good with evil, sometimes calling good “evil,” while calling evil “good.” Be good stewards of the gifts God has given us. We sow good; we reap good. It is good to thank God. God does not withhold good from His people. God’s Name is good. We should both seek the good and hold to the good, always remembering that God does good. Interestingly, no individual person is called good throughout all of the Bible. Only God and His creation are called good.
We can have a good conscience before God because of Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross. John 10:11 quotes Christ as saying: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (ESV).
Goodness or kindness is a reflection of the divine character of God. It is only possible through the Holy Spirit’s working in the heart of those who have confessed Christ as Savior and Lord. Galatians 5:22-23 states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
Here is a summer challenge. Install the Literal Word App, and check out all six hundred plus verses. Then pick another word, and study it through all the Bible. Before embarking on a word study, humbly pray, and ask God for His guidance. And, remember, we do not do good to be right before God; we receive His goodness, through the forgiveness of our sins, because of Christ.