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What is does the word ‘blessed’ mean in the Bible?

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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7 thoughts on “What is does the word ‘blessed’ mean in the Bible?

  1. Does Blessed mean blessed and highly favored?

  2. Many thanks for this I found it really helpful. Just to say that it is such a travesty that religion and Christianity has often turned blessing from god into something mysterious and abstract. That blessing is about the happiness and wellbeing we receive from god can get us much more directly to us thanking god for his blessings.

  3. As far as I can see the prayer bless me father for I have sinned It’s only when you’re speaking to God and should you receive a blessing and become a believer that there is a blessing because it makes you hunger and thirst for righteousness so therefore it’s an act of God of blessing Spyros katchis

  4. this was helpful thank you so much!

  5. Thank you for this article! I hear so many people these days say; “Have a blessed day.” or “I feel blessed to be alive.” or “You are blessed.” I have heard it so many times it would to go in one ear and out the other. But, as God guided me through Scripture through His Holy Spirit this word “blessed” took on a entirely
    different meaning. Especially, in Matthew 21:9 where it reads;
    And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (ESV)
    Who does Matthew say the crowd was talking about? Who does Matthew say is blessed? It Christ Jesus Himself!
    The same Christ Jesus who less than a week later, after He rides a donkey into Jerusalem would endure a trial with much questioning and much horrific physical pain.
    (Keep in mind He is called “blessed less than a week earlier.)
    (Matthew 22)
    1. Jesus is questioned by the religious leaders about paying taxes.
    (Matthew 22:15-22)
    2. Jesus is questioned about the resurrection.
    (Matthew 22:23-33).
    3. Jesus is questioned about the great commandment.
    (Matthew 22:34-40)
    4. Jesus ask the Pharisees questions (What do you think about the Christ?
    and “Whose Son is He?)
    (Matthew 22:41-46)
    5. Jesus continues to do His Father’s will by teaching His followers.
    (Matthew 23-25)
    6. Jesus is anointed with perfume; Judas agrees to betray Jesus, Jesus and His
    disciples have the Last supper; Jesus tells Peter again that he will deny Him.
    (Matthew 26:1-35)
    7. Jesus agonizes in the garden called Gethsemane in which Jesus tells His
    disciples to stay awake and watch and pray with Him, yet three different
    times Jesus finds them asleep.
    (Matthew 26:36-46)

    8. Jesus is betrayed, arrested and all of His disciples forsook Him and fled.
    (Matthew 26:47-50)
    (Keep in mind He is called “blessed less than a week earlier.)

    Note of importance! Christ is now on His own, or so it appears. His close disciples have all fled! (God’s plan from the beginning!)

    9. Caiaphas questions Jesus, Caiaphas rips his clothing and accuses Jesus of
    blasphemy. Then they spat in Jesus’ face, beat Him while others struck
    Jesus with the palms of their hands while degrading Him by asking Him to
    prophesy who is was that struck Him.
    (Matthew 26:57-68)
    10. Peter denies Jesus 3 times as Jesus said he would.
    (Matthew 26:69-75)
    11. Jesus is on trial before Pilate where he ask Jesus, “Are you the King of the
    Jews?” Jesus was silent and Pilate marveled greatly.
    (Matthew 27:11-14)
    12. Jesus was handed over to be crucified and Pilate ask the crowd to choose
    between Jesus and Barabbas as to he would let go. (They chose Barabbas
    who was arrested for taking part in a rebellion against Rome.)
    NOTE OF INTEREST – In is here in John 18:38 Pilate ask Jesu a very
    interesting question. One we all should be asking! One we should be
    seeking every second of every day, and that question is;
    What is truth?
    Jesus was scourged and delivered to be crucified.
    (Matthew 27:15-26)
    (Keep in mind He is called “blessed less than a week earlier.)
    13. A garrison of soldiers, about 200 men, stripped Jesus, clothed Him with a
    scarlet robe and placed upon His head was a crown of thorns which the
    soldiers twisted together, and He was led away to be crucified.
    (Matthew 27:27-31)
    (Keep in mind He is called “blessed less than a week earlier.)
    14. Jesus forced to carry His own crucifixion cross became physically unable
    to carry it any farther due to the beating they had delivered to Him.
    (Matthew 27:32-33)
    15. Jesus was nailed to the cross experiencing one of the most horrible ways to
    die man has ever devised. Jesus’ garments were divided among them,
    “They divided My garments among them,
    And for My clothing they cast lots.”
    (Matthew 27:35
    (Yet He is called “blessed less than a week earlier in Matthew 27:9)
    16. Jesus hung on the cross in agonizing pain for (most believe) 6 hours before
    He yielded up His spirit.
    (Matthew 27:50)

    Try to comprehend the horrible pain and suffering our
    Savior, Christ Jesus went through hanging upon that cross, naked, beaten to
    a pulp, nails in His hands/wrist and feet/ankles, while people openly mocked
    Him as they starred upon Him-our SAVIOR!

    The word blessed takes on a whole new meaning for me, (and I pray for you as
    well,) when God’s Scripture is examined and the God’s truth is what we are seeking. So, the next time someone uses the word “blessed,” I pray that we all consider what our Heaven Father means to be “blessed,” and what our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus did to be called “blessed.” Christ Jesus always did His Father’s
    will, always. It must be the same for us. In peace and love.

    “He must increase but I must decrease.”
    John 3:30

  6. I have also heard the word Blessed to mean..so full of God as to be envied.

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