Published February 16, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Your Favorite Bible Word"

Last week in this space (following the regular Epistle) I asked what your favorite word is from the Bible. The only stipulation I put on it was that it not be "word" (as in the sense found in John 1) or a proper name.

Results were very interesting.

What word got the most votes? "Grace!" Ray Duke wrote, "If not for God's grace, we would have no hope of eternal life. We would all die under sin." Elaine Harcourt wrote, "If it wasn't for grace I would be doomed." Jerry Martin says, "Without grace and the salvation it offers, the rest is an exercise in futility." Lynda S. recalled the well-known phrase for which "grace" is an acronym, "God's Riches At Christ's Expense."

Perhaps the most familiar verse in the Bible specifically dealing with grace is Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."

"Grace" narrowly edged out the second most common choice, "Love." (Actually, I was afraid I had unfairly influenced the voting by asking the question right after a column about love, but ‘grace' still came out ahead.) Betty McEntire wrote, "My favorite word has always been ‘love' because it is the very essence of everything we do when we give our lives to Christ in showing that love to everyone we come in contact with so they want that for themselves. And all they have to do is believe and confess their sins and they are forgiven and forgotten because He paid that ultimate price for us on that old rugged cross so willingly. What more love could anyone do for us than to die for us!"

Indeed. As John 15:13 quotes Christ, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

In fact, as Rick Bowman wrote, "Paul, you make this so easy. ‘Love' is the word; 686 times it is written in the Bible. God claims that He is love. I'll run with that, bet my life on it..."

Here are the few other interesting words that were nominated:

Rest. "My single word is ‘rest.' We need rest in the Lord to calm our spirits." - Martin Stammis

Trust. "...because we can always trust Him. It is used in verses like Psalm 28:7 which reads, ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.'" – Evelyn Lange

Heart. "The center of us is our heart – to connect with the heart of God [as] we give Him gratitude and praises which [comes] from our hearts..." – Irene Shandroski

Treasures. "I like adventure and sometimes on those adventures you find some treasures. However, no earthly treasure will compare to the treasures in Heaven that await me when Jesus welcomes me home!" – Scott Roberts

Now, I did mention that when I first thought about asking for a favorite word, I immediately came up with one I would choose. One reader actually chose the same word: "Forgiven." Jeannine wrote and pointed out the fundamental truth: "Without forgiveness, I would never be accepted into God's perfect heaven."

That sums it up very well. And God's forgiveness is a direct result of those others words – grace, love, heart. Because of His grace and because of His love, we can enjoy the forgiveness of sins that He offers and for which Christ paid the cost on the Cross – making it possible for us to be with the Lord eternally.

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1).  Indeed.

- Paul

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