The Giving of Thanks

There are several words that can be translated “Thanks” in the New Testament and seeing that this article will be sent out shortly after Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving weekend, I thought that I would engage in a brief word study on the concept.
The Greek words, EUCARISTIA, EUCARISTEW, and EUCARISTOS are all Greek words that involve the concept of thanksgiving. Out of all of these words, EUCARISTEW, the verb, is most frequently used (39 times). The noun, EUCARISTIA is used 14 times and the adjective EUCARISTOS, once. The word is a compound word made from EU meaning “good” and CARIS, meaning “grace” or “gift.” Hence, to say “thank you” in Greek was to express “good grace to you” or “good gift to you.”
The word is used to express thanksgiving to both God and men, but it is used theologically in the New Testament to describe the state of the Christian’s indebtedness to God’s grace and mercy (2 Thessalonians 2:13). It is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). And it is that which is expressed to God for his sovereignty (Revelation 11:17).
This word may seem familiar to you because we have an English word that roughly corresponds to the Greek word, namely, Eucharist. This is the term that many use in the religious world to refer to the Lord’s Supper. It was the term used by early Christians as well. There are several references to the Lord’s Supper using this word to describe the Lord’s Supper in the writings of the apostolic “fathers.” Indeed, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 that thanksgiving must be involved in the prayer for both the bread and the fruit of the vine.
There are some additional words in the New Testament that may also be translated in this vein as well: CARIS, EXOMOLOGEW, and ANQOMOLOGEOMAI. CARIS usually means grace, but is used in 1 Corinthians 15:57 to express thanksgiving for the victory in Christ. It is also used in 2 Corinthians 9:15 in regard to God’s “unspeakable gift.”
EXOMOLOGEW is a completely different form. It is also a compound word from the preposition EK (out of) and hOMOLOGEW (confess). The idea is to express that which is out of confession. Jesus uses this word to speak to the Father in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the meaning is to “make thankful confession” or “make acknowledgment with praise.”
ANQOMOLOGEOMAI is another compound word composed of the preposition ANTI (against, opposite) and hOMOLOGEW. The word is used in Luke 2:38 to describe Anna’s thanksgiving and praise. The preposition ANTI seems to intensify hOMOLOGEW in this instead of offset it.
So let us practice what is written and give thanks regularly regarding all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

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Kevin Cauley

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