The phrase ‘happy’ in the English language is often thought of as “Fortunate or lucky…. cheerful…contented…characterized by or indicative of pleasure….” (Random House College Dictionary). The way ‘happy’ is portrayed in the Bible is much more meaningful. As an example, the Bible doesn’t just present happiness to be an event or occurrence that result from ‘luck’ or a brief feeling of elation. The Bible states that happiness can be there despite experiencing a correction from God or enduring hardships while on the path to virtue. (Job 5:17; I Pet. 3:14, 4:14)
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The word ‘blessed’ that was used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is derived from the Greek word ‘makarios’ which translates into ‘happy’ or ‘blissful’. There are around 5 Hebrew and 2 Greek words that are interpreted as happy in the Bible. One Hebrew phrase is ‘to be at rest, safe’ (Matt 11:28-30). There are scholars that promote the concept of using the word ‘blessed’ in place of ‘happy’. An evaluation would be John 13:17 Inside King James and American Standard versions; King James states ‘If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” American Standard translates ‘makarior’ into: ‘If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them.’
A blessing is considered by the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as ‘the act or words of one that blesses,’ or ‘a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.’ Inside the scriptures, there are many phrases that are interpreted into ‘blessing’ or ‘bless’. The Hebrew version has commonly portrayed ‘bless’ as ‘barak’, which can also stand for ‘praise, congratulate, or salute’. The word blessing was noted in Genesis 1:22: “And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters and the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.’” Following that in verse 28: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” After God had sent Abram to the Promised Land (Genesis 12: 1-3), ‘he promised to bless him, make his name great, and through him, to bless all families of the earth’. The word blessing shown in these scriptures are clearly linked with happiness and welfare. Genesis 22: 16-18, God adds another blessing unto Abram saying that it was bestowed upon him by his willingness to follow God’s instruction.
There is another Hebrew word for blessing called isesher that is interpreted to be ‘happiness’. (Job 5:17) “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” This blessing is linked to the fact that God is working to show us the right way.
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