Peace on Earth; Good Will Toward Men(?)

Luke 2:14, Peace on earth. (See William Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek textbook, p. 43 for further explanation on this.) This often quoted phrase can also be translated as “on earth, peace toward men of good will.” This phrasing makes more sense, since the biblical concept of peace or shalom is a blessing only to men who have good will, make good choices or who are benevolent or of kindly intent, which is the definition of the Greek word eudokia.

green planet with the word peace

The shalom or total well-being, which is a gift from YHVH, doesn’t come to men who are of ill-intent or ill-will.

For example, when Yeshua was teaching his disciples how to preach the gospel, when going from town to town, he instructed them to lodge in homes that were worthy to hear the message. Upon them, the disciples were to leave their peace. Those homes who didn’t receive the gospel message were to considered unworthy and their peace was not to be left with them (Matt 10:11–14).

This teaches us that peace is something that is befitting of those who are worthy or of good will, and not to those who are unworthy or of ill-will.


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