How The Bible Defines: Election
Forms of Elect
will the real election please step forward
My Greek verb form was assigned the number G1586. As a typical verb, I described an action performed by an individual. The action I described was a choice, a selection. Not just any random choice, mind you, but a deliberate and careful selection of an object for one’s self. Of course, having limited scope regarding the type choice I described reduced the number of times I was used in scripture, but I don’t mind. I’m not the type of word that feels the need to be used all over the place. In my opinion, the more frequently a word is used, the less intrigue it has. Besides, I am used more frequently than some of the other words, such as ‘Propitiation.’
As I was saying, my verb form described a deliberate choice. An example of this kind of choice is in the story of Lot when he separated from Abram. After evaluating all the surrounding region, Lot chose (that’s my verb form!) the plains of Jordan for himself. You can see that I didn’t bother with the little choices of life. I described the big, significant choices, where careful consideration was involved. Of course, Lot’s choice turned out to be a poor one, but I didn’t discriminate on the quality of the choice I described, so long as it had significance.
On occasion, I have had the honor of being used to describe a choice made by God Himself. Actually, not to brag, but, more than once I was called upon to describe God’s choices. A few examples include the choice of Aaron to be the priest, and the choice of Jerusalem as a place where He would set His name. There was also His choice of the twelve apostles. Oh yes, and the choice of Israel as the people of God. That was a big choice. There were a few other choices, but there was one choice that scripture never employed me to describe, and that was: the choice of certain individuals to receive righteousness or salvation. I imagine that will surprise some people, but it is true. I will not expand on this now, but it is discussed in greater detail in the book.
There are two chapters in the book that address my verb form. The first chapter provides a story that illustrates the concepts discussed in the second chapter, which examines the use of my verb form throughout the scripture.
Moving on to my adjective form, it was given the Strong’s number of G1588. Typical of adjectives, this form was used to describe an object, to make clear the type of object. If one didn’t know better, one might predict that my adjective was used to describe an object as a selected object. For example, the chosen plains of Jordan; that is, the selected plains. Indeed, there were occasions where my adjective form was used in this way, but they were rare. Instead, my adjective usually described an object as desirable: something that would certainly be selected if there was a choice to be made. For example, it wasn’t normally used to indicate the selected plains of Jordan, but the choice plains of Jordan that were of high quality and desirable.
When my adjective form was applied to people, it often described them as being valued and favored. An example is when I had the honor of describing the very Son of God, in the passage where God spoke of His elect (that is my adjective!) Servant, in whom He delighted (Isaiah 42:1). You can see that I was not merely indicating that the Servant was selected. I was conveying the treasured status of the Servant in the sight of God, for the Servant was favored by God above all others. It seems that despite being frequently used in this way, this element of my adjective is commonly overlooked. Thus, many have assumed that when scripture used me to describe believers as God’s elect, it was saying that they were selected by God. But the reality is that it was referring to the fact that they were treasured and people in whom God delighted. Personally, I think if this aspect of me had greater emphasis, more people would enjoy having my presence in their conversations.
There are four chapters in the book that describe my adjective form. I think this form is the most commonly misunderstood of all my forms, so a significant amount of attention was given to identifying its definition.
Finally, my noun form is heavily derived from my verb and adjective forms, as you might expect. This form was given the Strong’s number of G1589. I was not as widely used in this form as in the other two forms. But, as a noun, I was used exclusively to speak of God’s selections of people. Since my verb was a deliberate selection of significance, and my adjective described objects as favored, then it follows that my noun spoke of a deliberate selection of favored objects. And so it did. As a noun, I usually spoke of God’s selection of people whom He had chosen for Himself. There were and are two classes of people who enjoyed this kind of selection: the nation of Israel, and the believers in Jesus Christ.
My noun form was not used as extensively as my other two forms. Thus, only a single chapter in the book was dedicated to examining its uses.
This concludes the introduction excerpt from the book. Please select either the link below to read the long excerpt on the use of ‘elect’ in the Greek Old Testament, or the link to see the chapter excerpt on the conclusion.