POWER
Also see Powers

POWER [Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology]

Power is an English logical construct referring to a variety of ideas relating to ability, capacity, authority, and might/strength. In human relationships, power is the authority one person holds over another. Terms such as boss, president, sheriff, and sexual harassment bring the picture of power to mind. The images that exist among Christians concerning "power" often depend upon the English translation with which they are familiar. The Bible uses a variety of Hebrew and Greek terms that represent the semantic domain of power although they may be translated in different ways. For example, the King James Version uses "power" for a large number of Hebrew and Greek terms. The Greek term exousia is most often translated "power" in the King James Version but it is almost always translated "authority" in modern versions. The contextual nuance of each occurrence of a Hebrew or Greek word must be considered in translation.

Power (dunamis) in the ancient Greek world was portrayed as a major cosmic principle. Some philosophers viewed it as second only to mind (nous). They viewed God and cosmic principle as equivalent. It was rare for them to speak of "the power of God" since these ideas were nearly equivalent. In the Bible, however, God is a person not merely power. Therefore, a phrase like "the power of God" takes on new meaning because a person who possesses the characteristic of power is the prime mover of the universe. Furthermore, the biblical deity is a God of history, not just nature. Therefore, this God brings the world into existence (Jer 27:5; 32:17) and distributes power to people to fulfill his historical purposes (cf. Exod 15:6, 13; Deut 3:24; Psalm 46:1; 86:16).

The biblical description of power relates primarily to God and people. Power is an inherent characteristic of God (Rom 1:20). It is the result of his nature. God's kind of power is seen in his creation (Psalm 19; 150:1; Jer 10:12). His inexplicable power is the only explanation for the virgin birth of Jesus (Luke 1:35). Power is always a derived characteristic for people, who receive power from God (Deut 8:18; Isa 40:29; Micah 3:8; Matt 22:29; 1 Cor 2:4; Eph 3:7), from political position (Esther 1:3; Luke 20:20), from armies (1 Chron 20:1), and from other structures that provide advantage over others. When humans perceive that their power is intrinsic to themselves, they are self-deceived (Lev 26:19; Deut 8:17-18; Hosea 2:7-9; John 19:10-11).

Jesus as the God-Man demonstrated both the intrinsic and derived aspects of power. He proclaimed his power and authority as derived from the Father (John 5:27; 17:2; 5:16-23). He also demonstrated that his power was derived from his authority as the Son of Man and that the two were an inseparable testimony to his divine nature (Matt 9:6-7; Luke 4:36; 9:1).

Power in the New Testament is used to describe the unseen world. The angelic realm is described as "powers" or "authorities" (Rom 8:38; Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:10, 16). Jesus exercised power over the unseen world through his exorcism of demons (Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1).

Paul especially images the living of the Christian life as an empowerment from God. The believer's union with Christ delivers him or her from the power of sin (cf. Rom. 6-8) and introduces him or her to the "power of [Christ's] resurrection" (Php 3:10). Salvation and holy living provide the Christian with a "spirit of power" for witness (2 Tim 1:7-8). Paul's view of the gospel itself is imaged as power (Rom 1:16). "Power" in Romans 1:16 renders the Greek word dunamis. It is often noted that the gospel is the "dynamite of God" because the English word "dynamite" is derived from dunamis. Such an observation, however, is not a valid use of etymology. Dynamite was not in existence during Paul's time. He had no such image in his mind. For Paul, the gospel dunamis was the dynamic of God's power conveyed through God's message. When presented to the world, the gospel dynamically works salvation in those who believe. Paul develops the motif of divine power as the key to Christian living by noting that unless the believer is empowered, it is impossible to please God (Rom. 6-8; 1 Cor 15:56-57).

Peter also utilizes the concept of power to image the Christian life as an empowerment from God. Second Peter 1:3 states that "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness." The context views this power as channeled through knowledge and virtue. Peter does not view this power as passive, but as the foundation and motivation to pursue a circle of virtues (1:5-9) that produce and evidence productive Christian living.

Gary T. Meadors


POWER [Holman Bible Dictionary]

The ability to act or produce an effect; the possession of authority over others. These two aspects of power are often related in Scripture. Because God has revealed His power in the act of creation, He has authority to assign dominion to whomever He wills (Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 27:5). God revealed His power by miraculously delivering Israel from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 4:21; Exodus 9:16; Exodus 15:6; Exodus 32:11) and in the conquest of Canaan (Psalms 111:6). God's acts are foundational for His claim on Israel. God's power includes not only the power to judge but also the power to forgive sin (Numbers 14:15-19; Jeremiah 32:17-18). 2 Kings 3:15 links the onrush of the power of God with prophecy. Here power approximates God's Spirit (compare Micah 3:8; Luke 1:35).

Christ's miracles evidenced the power of God at work in His ministry (Matthew 14:2; Mark 5:30; Mark 9:1; Luke 4:36; Luke 5:17). Luke highlighted the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering the ministry of Jesus (Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38) and the ongoing ministry of the church (Acts 1:8; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:7,Acts 4:33; Acts 6:8). Paul stressed the paradox that the cross—what is apparently Jesus' greatest moment of weakness—is the event in which God's power to save is realized (1 Corinthians 1:17-18; compare Romans 1:16). This scandal of God's power revealed in Christ's death continues in God's choice to work through the powerless (1 Corinthians 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:9). In some texts, powers refer to angelic powers (Romans 8:38; Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 2:15; 1 Peter 3:22).

Chris Church


POWER [King James Bible Dictionary]

POW'ER, n. The Latin has posse, possum, potes, potentia. The primary sense of the verb is to strain, to exert force. Power of attorney, authority given to a person to act for another.

POWERFUL

POW'ERFUL,
a. Having great physical or mechanical power; strong; forcible; mighty; as a powerful army or navy; a powerful engine.


POWER [ISBE]

pou'-er: This word, indicative of might, strength, force, is used in the Old Testament to render very many Hebrew terms, the translation in numerous instances being varied in the Revised Version (British and American) to words like "valor," "rule," "strength," "might," "dominion."

The principal words for "power" in the New Testament are dunamis, and exousia. In the latter case the Revised Version (British and American) frequently changes to "authority" (Mark 3:15; 6:7; Ephesians 1:21, etc.) or "right" (Romans 9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:9, etc.).

Power is attributed preeminently to God (1 Chronicles 29:11; Job 26:14; Psalms 66:7; 145:11; Revelation 7:12, etc.). On this attribute of power of God, see OMNIPOTENCE .

The supreme manifestation of the power, as of the wisdom and love of God, is in redemption (1 Corinthians 1:18,24).

The preaching of the gospel is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5, etc.). Miracles, as "mighty works," are denoted by the term "powers" (so Matthew 11:21,23 the Revised Version margin, etc.).

The end of all time's developments is that God takes to Him His great power and reigns (Revelation 11:17).

James Orr


POWER [Thompson Chain Reference]
Christ's power | Power of God | Healing Power | Spiritual Power | Divine Power over nature | Promised Power | Realized Power | Unrealized Power
  • CHRIST'S POWER

  • POWER OF GOD

  • Healing Power -

  • Spiritual Power -
    • General References to
      • Gives Men Courage to Rebuke Sin
          - Micah 3:8
      • Mightier than Physical Forces
          - Zechariah 4:6
      • Jesus the Supreme Example of
          - Luke 4:14
      • Accompanies the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
          - Acts 1:8 | Acts 2:2
      • Enables Men to Speak with Authority
          - Acts 4:33 | Acts 6:8
      • Fills Life with Healing Influences
          - Acts 19:11 | Acts 19:12 | 1 Corinthians 2:4 | Ephesians 3:16 | 1 Thessalonians 1:5 | 2 Timothy 1:7
      • SEE Holy Spirit
    • Of Appetite
        Numbers 11:5 | Proverbs 16:26 | Proverbs 18:20 | Proverbs 23:2 | Proverbs 23:35 | Ecclesiastes 6:7 | Isaiah 29:8 | Isaiah 56:12
    • Of the Holy Spirit
      • Examples of Men Receiving the Gift of, under the Old Dispensation
        • The Seventy Elders
            - Numbers 11:25
        • Balaam
            - Numbers 24:2
        • Othniel
            - Judges 3:10
        • Gideon
            - Judges 6:34
        • Samson
            - Judges 14:6 | Judges 14:19
        • Saul
            - 1 Samuel 10:10 | 1 Samuel 11:6
        • David
            - 1 Samuel 16:13
        • Saul's Messengers
            - 1 Samuel 19:20 | 2 Chronicles 15:1 | Luke 2:25
        • SEE Spiritual; Power

      • Believers in the Early Church Baptized with
        • Simeon - Luke 2:25
        • Believers at Pentecost - Acts 2:3
        • The Samaritan Christians - Acts 8:17
        • Cornelius and his Company - Acts 10:44
        • The Ephesian Believers - Acts 19:6 | Acts 19:7 | 1 Corinthians 12:13 | 1 John 2:20
        • SEE Spiritual; Power

    • Of Prayer
      • Increased by Self-denial - Matthew 17:21
      • Dependent upon Faith - Matthew 21:22 | John 14:13
      • Unlimited to those who Abide in Christ o John 15:7
      • To be most Effective, should be accompanied by Praise o Acts 16:25 | Acts 16:26
      • Manifest in the life of Elijah o James 5:18
      • Examples of
        • Jacob - Genesis 32:26-28
        • Elijah - 1 Kings 17:21 | 1 Kings 17:22
        • The dying thief - Luke 23:42
        • Early disciples - Acts 4:31

    • Of Satan
      • Permitted to Afflict the Righteous
          Job 1:12
      • Claims Authority over the World
          Luke 4:6
      • Sinners Under the Dominion of
          Acts 26:18
      • Blinds the Minds of Unbelievers
          2 Corinthians 4:3 | 2 Corinthians 4:4
      • Contends with the Saints
          Ephesians 6:12
      • Inspires Lying Wonders
          2 Thessalonians 2:9 | Hebrews 2:14

    • Of Testimony
      • Relates to Personal Experience
          Psalms 66:16 | Psalms 71:15 | Psalms 119:13 | Psalms 119:46
      • Recounts God's Blessings
          Isaiah 63:7
      • Bursts forth from an Inward Fire
          Jeremiah 20:9 | Daniel 4:2 | onah 1:9
      • An Everyday Duty
          Malachi 3:16 |Matthew 9:31
      • Inspired by the "Spirit"
          Acts 2:4
      • Becomes Irrepressible
          Acts 4:20 |Acts 5:32 | Acts 26:22
      • The Outgrowth of Faith
          2 Corinthians 4:13 | 1 Peter 5:12

    • Of The Word
      • A Devouring Flame
          Jeremiah 5:14
      • A Crushing Hammer
          Jeremiah 23:29
      • A Life-giving Force
          Ezekiel 37:7 | Acts 19:20
      • A Saving Power
          Romans 1:16
      • A Defensive Weapon
          Ephesians 6:17
      • A Probing Instrument
          Hebrews 4:12

  • DIVINE POWER OVER NATURE

  • STRENGTH PROMISED, moral and spiritual

  • REALIZED POWER, (Christ's realized by men)
    • Ability to heal Lepers
        Matthew 8:2
    • Ability to give Absent Healing
        Luke 7:7
    • Ability to Control Demons
        Luke 8:31 | Luke 8:32
    • Ability to Raise the Dead
        John 11:22
    • Ability to Hold Fast to the Believer
        Romans 8:39
    • Ability to Keep Spiritual Treasures
        2 Timothy 1:12
    • Ability to Save to the Uttermost
        Hebrews 7:25
    • SEE Christ

  • UNREALIZED POWER (of Christ)
    • To still the tempest
        Matthew 8:27
    • To forgive sins
        Mark 2:7
    • To heal the sick
        Mark 2:12
    • To provide for the multitude
        Mark 8:4
    • To cast out demons
        Mark 9:22
    • To control the forces of nature
        Mark 11:21
    • To come down from the cross
        Mark 15:31
    • To raise the dead
        John 11:37
    • To conquer death
        John 20:25




  • POWER [Nave's Topical Bible]

        * OF CHRIST
              o As the Son of God, is the power of God
                John 5:17-19; 10:28-30
              o As man, is from the Father
                Acts 10:38
              o Described as supreme
                Ephesians 1:20,21; 1 Peter 3:22
              o Unlimited
                Matthew 28:18
              o Over all flesh
                John 17:2
              o Over all things
                John 3:35; Ephesians 1:22
              o Glorious
                2 Thessalonians 1:9
              o Everlasting
                1 Timothy 6:16
              o Is able to subdue all things
                Philippians 3:21
              o Exemplified in creation
                John 1:3,10; Colossians 1:16
              o Upholding all things
                Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3
              o Salvation
                Isaiah 63:1; Hebrews 7:25
              o His teaching
                Matthew 7:28,29; Luke 4:32
              o Performing miracles
                Matthew 8:27; Luke 5:17
              o Enabling others to work miracles
                Matthew 10:1; Mark 16:17,18; Luke 10:17
              o Forgiving sins
                Matthew 9:6; Acts 5:31
              o Giving spiritual life
                John 5:21,25,26
              o Giving eternal life
                John 17:2
              o Raising the dead
                John 5:28,29
              o Rising from the dead
                John 2:19; 10:18
              o Overcoming the world
                John 16:33
              o Overcoming Satan
                Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14
              o Destroying the works of Satan
                1 John 3:8
              o Ministers should make known
                2 Peter 1:16
              o Saints made willing by
                Psalms 110:3
              o Helped by
                Hebrews 2:18
              o Strengthened by
                Philippians 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:17
              o Preserved by
                2 Timothy 1:12; 4:18
              o Bodies of, will be changed by
                Philippians 3:21
              o Rests upon saints
                2 Corinthians 12:9
              o Present in the assembly of saints
                1 Corinthians 5:4
              o Will be specially manifested at his second coming
                Mark 13:26; 2 Peter 1:16
              o Will subdue all power
                1 Corinthians 15:24
              o The wicked will be destroyed by
                Psalms 2:9; Isaiah 11:4; 63:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9
              o See JESUS
    
        * OF GOD
              o One of his attributes
                Psalms 62:11
              o Expressed by
                    + The voice of God
                      Psalms 29:3,5; 68:33
                    + The finger of God
                      Exodus 8:19; Psalms 8:3
                    + The hand of God
                      Exodus 9:3,15; Isaiah 48:13
                    + The arm of God
                      Job 40:9; Isaiah 52:10
                    + The thunder of his power
                      Job 26:14 
              o Described as
                    + Great
                      Psalms 79:11; Nahum 1:3
                    + Strong
                      Psalms 89:13; 136:12
                    + Glorious
                      Exodus 15:6; Isaiah 63:12
                    + Mighty
                      Job 9:4; Psalms 89:13
                    + Everlasting
                      Isaiah 26:4; Romans 1:20
                    + Sovereign
                      Romans 9:21
                    + Effectual
                      Isaiah 43:13; Ephesians 3:7
                    + Irresistable
                      Deuteronomy 32:39; Daniel 4:35
                    + Incomparable
                      Exodus 15:11,12; Deuteronomy 3:24; Job 40:9; Psalms 89:8
                    + Unsearchable
                      Job 5:9; 9:10
                    + Incomprehensible
                      Job 26:14; Ecclesiastes 3:11 
              o All things possible to
                Matthew 19:26
              o Nothing too difficult for
                Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:27
              o Can save by many or by few
                1 Samuel 14:6
              o Is the source of all strength
                1 Chronicles 29:12; Psalms 68:35
              o Exemplified
                    + In the creation
                      Psalms 102:25; Jeremiah 10:12
                    + In establishing and governing all things
                      Psalms 65:6; 66:7
                    + In the miracles of Christ
                      Luke 11:20
                    + In the resurrection of Christ
                      2 Corinthians 13:4; Colossians 2:12
                    + In the resurrection of saints
                      1 Corinthians 6:14
                    + In making the gospel effectual
                      Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18,24
                    + In delivering his people
                      Psalms 106:8
                    + In the destruction of the wicked
                      Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:22 
              o Saints long for exhibitions of
                Psalms 63:1,2
              o Have confidence in
                Jeremiah 20:11
              o Receive increase of grace by
                2 Corinthians 9:8
              o Strengthened by
                Ephesians 6:10; Colossians 1:11
              o Upheld by
                Psalms 37:17; Isaiah 41:10
              o Supported in affliction by
                2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Timothy 1:8
              o Delivered by
                Nehemiah 1:10; Daniel 3:17
              o Exalted by
                Job 36:22
              o Kept by, unto salvation
                1 Peter 1:5
              o Exerted in behalf of saints
                1 Chronicles 16:9
              o Works in and for saints
                2 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 1:19; 3:20
              o The faith that saints rely on
                1 Corinthians 2:5
              o Should be acknowledged
                1 Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 33:13
              o Pleaded in prayer
                Psalms 79:11; Matthew 6:13
              o Feared
                Jeremiah 5:22; Matthew 10:28
              o Magnified
                Psalms 21:13; Jude 1:25
              o Efficiency of ministers is through
                1 Corinthians 3:6-8; Galatians 2:8; Ephesians 3:7
              o Is a ground of trust
                Isaiah 26:4; Romans 4:21
              o Wicked people
                    + Do not know
                      Matthew 22:29
                    + Have against them
                      Ezra 8:22
                    + Will be destroyed by
                      Luke 12:5 
              o The heavenly host magnified
                Revelation 4:11; 5:13; 11:17
              o See GOD, OMNIPOTENT
              o See GOD, POWER OF
    
        * OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
              o Is the power of God
                Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20
              o Christ commenced his ministry in
                Luke 4:14
              o Christ worked his miracles by
                Matthew 12:28
              o Exemplified in
                    + The creation
                      Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalms 104:30
                    + The conception of Christ
                      Luke 1:35
                    + Raising Christ from the dead
                      1 Peter 3:18
                    + Giving spiritual life
                      Ezekiel 37:11-14; Romans 8:11
                    + Performing miracles
                      Romans 15:19
                    + Making the gospel effective
                      1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5
                    + Overcoming all difficulties
                      Zechariah 4:6,7 
              o Promised by the Father
                Luke 24:49
              o Promised by Christ
                Acts 1:8
              o Saints
                    + Upheld by
                      Psalms 51:12
                    + Strengthened by
                      Ephesians 3:16
                    + Enabled to speak the truth boldly by
                      Micah 3:8; Acts 6:5,10; 2 Timothy 1:7,8
                    + Helped in prayer by
                      Romans 8:26
                    + Abound in hope by
                      Romans 15:13 
              o Qualifies ministers
                Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8,9
              o God’s word the instrument of
                Ephesians 6:17
              o See HOLY SPIRIT
    
        * SPIRITUAL
          Genesis 32:28; Isaiah 40:29-31; Mark 9:29; Luke 1:17; 4:32; 24:49; John 7:38,39; Acts 1:8; 2:2-4; 6:8;
          Ephesians 1:19,20; 1 Corinthians 1:24-28; 4:19,20; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 
          2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 6:5
              o See HOLY SPIRIT

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