What the scriptures say about
Chief Good
Easton's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference

GOOD in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]

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Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25, 1:31 - (all that God made he saw was good)

GOODNESS OF GOD [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

A perfection of his character which he exercises towards his creatures according to their various circumstances and relations (Psalms 145:8,9; 103:8; 1 John 4:8). Viewed generally, it is benevolence; as exercised with respect to the miseries of his creatures it is mercy, pity, compassion, and in the case of impenitent sinners, long-suffering patience; as exercised in communicating favour on the unworthy it is grace. "Goodness and justice are the several aspects of one unchangeable, infinitely wise, and sovereign moral perfection. God is not sometimes merciful and sometimes just, but he is eternally infinitely just and merciful." God is infinitely and unchangeably good (Zephaniah 3:17), and his goodness is incomprehensible by the finite mind (Romans 11:: 3536,36). "God's goodness appears in two things, giving and forgiving."

GOOD [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

good (Tobh, Tubh, yaTabh; agathos, agathon, kalos, kalon): In English "good" is used in various senses, most of which are represented in the Bible.

(1) In the Old Testament the commonest word is Tobh, occurring very frequently and translated in a great variety of ways. Of the different shades of meaning, which frequently run into each other, the following may be distinguished:

(a) Possessing desirable qualities, beneficial, agreeable, e.g. "good for food" (Genesis 2:9); "We will do thee good" (Numbers 10:29); Who will show us any good?" (Psalms 4:6); "good tidings of good" (Isaiah 52:7).

(b) Moral excellence, piety: "to know good and evil" (Genesis 3:22); "that which is right and good" (Deuteronomy 6:1Deuteronomy 8a; 1 Samuel 12:23); "good and bad" (1 Kings 3:9, the Revised Version (British and American) "evil"); "Depart from evil and do good" (Psalms 37:27); "a good man" (Proverbs 12:2); compare Isaiah 5:20; Micah 6:8, etc.

(c) Kind, benevolent: "The men were very good unto us" (1 Samuel 25:15); "Give thanks unto Yahweh; for he is good" (1 Chronicles 16:34); "the good Yahweh" (2 Chronicles 30:18); "God is good to Israel" (Psalms 73:1); "Yahweh is good to all" (Psalms 145:9), etc.

(d) Serviceable, adequate, sufficient: "saw the light that it was good" (Genesis 1:4; so Genesis 1:10,12 etc.); "not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18); in the frequent phrase, "if it seem good" (1 Chronicles 13:2; Esther 5:4, etc.), sometimes rendered, "if it please" (Nehemiah 2:5,7; Esther 1:19, etc.).

(e) Not small or deficient (full, complete): "a good old age" (Genesis 15,15; 25:8); "a good dowry" (Genesis 30:20); "good ears," "years," "kine" (Genesis 41:24,26,35); "good understanding" (1 Samuel 25:3); "good trees -- "land" (2 Kings 3:19,25), etc.

(f) Not blemished, fair, honorable: "tender and good" (Genesis 18:7); "good kids" (Genesis 27:9); "good report" (1 Samuel 2:24; compare 2 Kings 20:3; Jeremiah 24:2); and the renderings "fair" (Genesis 26:7, etc.), "beautiful" (2 Samuel 11:2), "pleasant" (2 Kings 2:19), etc.

(g) Pleasure-giving, happy: "glad of heart" (1 Kings 8:66; Esther 5:9); sometimes in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) translated "merry" (Judges 16:25; 1 Samuel 25:36; 2 Samuel 13:28; Proverbs 15:15, the Revised Version (British and American) "cheerful"), etc.

Changes that may be noted in the Revised Version (British and American) are such as, "good" for "ready" (Isaiah 41:7); "I have no good beyond thee" for "My goodness extendeth not to thee" (Psalms 16:2); "goodly" for "good" (Psalms 45:1); "good" for "goodness" (Psalms 107:9); "good" for "well" (Zechariah 8:15).

Tubh means something good, e.g. "the good of the land" (Genesis 45:18,20; Deuteronomy 6:11; Job 21:16, the Revised Version (British and American) "prosperity").

YaTabh, "to do good," occurs several times, as, I will surely do thee good" (Genesis 32:12); "to do good" (Leviticus 5:4); "Make your ways and your doings good," the Revised Version (British and American) "amend" (Jeremiah 18:11; Zephaniah 1:12, etc.).

Numerous other Hebrew words are rendered "good" in various verbal connections and otherwise, as "to bring good tidings" (2 Samuel 4:10; Isaiah 40:9, etc.); "take good heed" (Deuteronomy 2:4; 4:15; Joshua 23:11); "make good" (Exodus 21:34), etc.; "good will" (ratson, Deuteronomy 33:16; Malachi 2:13); "what good?" the Revised Version (British and American) "what advantages?" (kishron, Ecclesiastes 5:11); "good for nothing," the Revised Version (British and American) "profitable" (tsaleah, Jeremiah 13:10), etc. In Jeremiah 18:4, "as seemed good to the potter," the word is yahsar, which means literally, "right."

(2) In the New Testament the words most frequently translated "good" are agathos and kalos.

The former, agathos, denotes good as a quality, physical or moral. Thus, "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good" (Matthew 5:45); "good gifts" (Matthew 7:11); "Good Master (the Revised Version (British and American) "Teacher") .... Why callest thou me good? none is good save one" (Mark 10:17 f; Luke 18:18 f; compare Matthew 19:16 f); "they that have done good" (John 5:29). Sometimes it is equivalent to "kind" (thus Titus 2:5 the Revised Version (British and American)); to agathon is "that which is good" (Luke 6:45; Romans 7:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:13), etc.; "that which is honest," the Revised Version (British and American) "honorable " (2 Corinthians 13:7); "meet" (Matthew 15:26; Mark 7:27); "worthy," the Revised Version (British and American) "honorable" (James 2:7); agathon is "a good thing," as "good things to them that ask him" (Matthew 7:11); Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46), etc.; agathoergeo (1 Timothy 6:18), and agathopoieo (Mark 3:4; Acts 14:17), etc., "to do good."

Kalos is properly, "beautiful," "pleasing," "useful," "noble," "worthy" in a moral sense, e.g. "that they may see your good works" (Matthew 5:16); "She hath wrought a good work on me" (Matthew 26:10; Mark 14,6); "the good shepherd" (John 10:11,14); "Many good works have I showed you" (John 10:32); "good and acceptable before God" (1 Timothy 5:4; the Revised Version (British and American) omits "good"); "the good fight" (2 Timothy 4:7); "good works" (Titus 2:7); "the good word of God" (Hebrews 6:5). But it is often practically equivalent to agathos, e.g. "good fruit" (Matthew 3:10); "good ground" (Matthew 13:23); "good seed" (Matthew 13:24); but the idea of useful may underlie such expressions; to kalon is properly "that which is beautiful." It occurs in Romans 7:18,21; 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "Hold fast that which is good." In Romans 7 it seems to be used interchangeably with to agathon. In Romans 5:7, "the good man" (ho agathos) is distinguished from "a righteous man" (dikaios): "For the good man some one would even dare to die" (compare Romans 7:16; Hebrews 5:14; James 4:17); kalos, "well," "pleasantly," is translated "good" (Luke 6:27; James 2:3); kalodidaskalos (Titus 2:3), "teachers of good things," the Revised Version (British and American) "of that which is good."

"Good" occurs in the rendering of many other Greek words and phrases, as eudokia, "good pleasure" (Ephesians 1:9); "good will" (Luke 2:14; Philippians 1:15); sumphero, "to bear together," "not good to marry" (Matthew 19:10), the Revised Version (British and American) "expedient"; philagathos, "a lover of good" (Titus 1:8); chrestologia, "good words" (Romans 16:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "smooth speech," etc.).

The following changes in the Revised Version (British and American) may be noted. In Luke 2:14 for "men of good will" (eudokia) the Revised Version (British and American) reads "in whom he is well pleased," margin "good pleasure among men, Greek men of good pleasure." The meaning is "men to whom God is drawing nigh in goodwill or acceptance"; compare Luke 4:19, "the acceptable year of the Lord"; Luke 4:43, "Preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God." In Matthew 11:5; Luke 4:43; 7:22; 1 Peter 1:25 and (American Standard Revised Version) Revelation 14:6 "the gospel" is changed into "good tidings." In Matthew 18:8 f; Mark 9:43,15,47; Luke 5:39, good is substituted for "better"; on the last passage in notes "Many authorities read `better' "; in 1 Corinthians 9:15 "good .... rather" for "better"; "good" is substituted in Luke 1:19; 8:1 and Acts 13:32 for "glad"; in Acts 6:3 for "honest"; in Hebrews 13:9 for "a good thing." In 2 Thess 1:11, all the good pleasure of his goodness" becomes "every desire of goodness" (m "Gr good pleasure of goodness"); in 1 Timothy 3:2, "good" (kosmios) becomes "orderly." There are many other instances of like changes.


W. L. Walker

GOOD, Chief [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

What this consisted in was greatly discussed in ancient philosophy. Varro enumerated 288 answers to the question. By Plato "the good" was identified with God.

In the Old Testament while the "good" of the nation consisted in earthly well-being or prosperity (Deuteronomy 28 etc.), that of the individual was to be found only in God Himself (Psalms 16:2 the Revised Version (British and American), "I have no good beyond thee"; Psalms 41:1-5; 43:5; 73:25-28; Jeremiah 31:33 f; Habakkuk 3:17-19). This implied godly conduct (Micah 6:8, etc.), and led to the experience described as "blessedness" (Psalms 1, etc.; Jeremiah 17:7, etc.). It is the "Wisdom" extolled in Proverbs 1:20; 8:1 f (compare Ecclesiastes 1:1 f; Ecclesiastes 5:1 f), elsewhere described as "the fear of Yahweh." That God alone can be the true "good" of man is implied in the fact that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

In the New Testament the true "good" is placed by Jesus in "the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33; 13:44 f, etc.). This means nothing earthly merely (Matthew 6:19), but heavenly and eternal. It implies the Old Testament conception that God is the true "good"; for to seek the Kingdom supremely means whole-hearted devotion to God as our heavenly Father and to His righteousness. It was also spoken of by Jesus, as sonship to the heavenly Father (Matthew 5:45, etc.). This "good" is not something merely to be given to men, but must be sought after and won through taking up a right attitude toward God and our fellows, cherishing the Love that God is, and acting it out in kindness and righteousness, in resemblance to our God and Father (Matthew 5:43-48; here Genesis 1:27 is implied).

In some of the epistles Christ is represented as the true "good" (Philippians 3:8 f; Colossians 3:1-4,11). This is because in Him God was manifested in His Truth and Grace; in Him "the Kingdom" was present; through His cross the world is so reconciled to God that men can find acceptance and rest in Him as their "good"; Christ Himself in the Spirit is our Life; in Him we have "God with us." Having God as our "good," nothing but good, in the truest and highest sense, can come to us. Even the most seemingly adverse things are turned into good "to them that love God" (Romans 8:28).

Our true "good" is found thus in God even in this present life; but its fullness can be realized only in the eternal life beyond. Placing our "good" in God leads to such life in devotion to the "good" that God is, as tends to bring all that is best to this present world. It is men's failure to do this that is the source of our misery (Jeremiah 2:13, etc.). The ultimate ideal is that God shall be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

W. L. Walker

GOODNESS [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

good'-nes: This word in the Old Testament is the translation of Tobh (Exodus 18:9; Psalms 16:2, the Revised Version (British and American) "good"; Psalms 23:6), etc.;
of Tubh (Exodus 33:19; Psalms 31:19; Jeremiah 31:14; Hosea 3:5), etc.;
of checedh (Exodus 34:6), "abundant in goodness," the English Revised Version "plenteous in mercy," the American Standard Revised Version "abundant in loving kindness"; "The goodness of God endureth continually," the Revised Version (British and American) "mercy," the American Standard Revised Version "loving kindness" (Psalms 52:1), etc.

In the New Testament it is the translation of chrestotes ("usefulness," benignity); "the riches of his goodness" (Romans 2:4; 11:22, thrice); of chrestos ("useful," "benign," "kind," in Luke 6:35); "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4); of agathosune (found only in the New Testament and Septuagint and writings based thereon), "full of goodness." (Romans 15:14); "gentleness, goodness, faith" (Galatians 5:22); "in all goodness and righteousness and truth" (Ephesians 5:9); "all the good pleasure of his goodness," the Revised Version (British and American) "every desire of goodness." (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

The thought of God as good and the prominence given to "good" and "goodness" are distinctive features of the Bible. In the passage quoted above from Galatians 5:22, "goodness" is one of the fruits of the indwelling Spirit of God, and in that from Ephesians 5:9 it is described as being, along with righteousness and truth, "the fruit of the light" which Christians had been "made" in Christ. Here, as elsewhere, we are reminded that the Christian life in its truth is likeness to God, the source and perfection of all good. 2 Thessalonians 1:11 regards God Himself as expressing His goodness in and through us.


W. L. Walker

GOOD [Thompson Chain Reference]

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