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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

This word occurs three times in the Authorized Version( Romans 4:8-9,  Galatians 4:15), but rightly disappears in the Revised Version,*[Note: In the two passages in Rom. the RV substitutes ‘blessing,’ in Gal. ‘gratulation.’]for the Gr. word μακαρισμός means not blessedness itself, but a pronouncement that some one is blessed. ‘Blessedness’ is simply a convenient generalization, expressing the meaning which NT writers convey by the adjectives translated ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ (μακάριος, εὐλογητός) and the participle εὐλογημένος, ‘blessed’ (practically an adjective); cf. the verb ἐνευλογέομαι ( Acts 3:25,  Galatians 3:8) and μακαρίζω ( Luke 1:48,  James 5:11). The various forms of εὐλογέομαι refer, literally, to being ‘well spoken of,’ and apparently always contain at least the latent thought of praise being conferred or happiness ascribed; μακάριος, however, expresses simply the possession of a quality, and for the ascription of this by others the verb μακαρίζω is needed.

Blessedness being a personal possession, any kind of action or utterance by others is of secondary importance in regard to it. Hence the crucial word is μακάριος, not εὐλογέομαι, etc. The Revised Versionhas in  John 13:17,  1 Peter 3:14;  1 Peter 4:14 altered the Authorized Versiontranslationof μακάριος from ‘happy’ to ‘blessed’; it might well have made the same alteration in  Romans 14:22,  1 Corinthians 7:40. Massie would banish ‘happy’ from the NT except in  Acts 26:2 ( Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , article‘Happiness’). In the OT אַשְׁרֵי, ‘O the happiness (or blessedness) of,’ has been even more frequently translated ‘happy’ when it might have been rendered ‘blessed’ (cf.  Psalms 89:15 with  Psalms 144:15, where the Hebrew is אַשְׁרֵי in both cases). Still, ‘happy’ is more suitable in the OT than in the NT, for the rewards promised to the OT saints are of a far more material and temporal order (see  Psalms 1:3-6; the epilogue even of  Job 42:10-17; and Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , article‘Blessedness’). For the NT it is significant not only that μακάριος, which occurs very frequently, represented to the Greeks the higher and even the Divine bliss, but also that the lower and more ordinary word εὐδαίμων, with its suggestion of good luck, is entirely absent. For the use of μακάριος in the Gospels, see article‘Beatitude’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and in Dict. of Christ and the Gospels . This was the regular term in NT times for ‘departed’ (to the world of blessedness); cf. Germ. selig , and see Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East 2, 1911, p. 166. On the whole, it bears an exceedingly lofty meaning, though it is less spiritual in Luke than in Matthew, In  Matthew 24:47 Matthew need not be understood as offering a coarsely material ‘blessedness’; the servant is advanced in the confidence of his master. There is no need to question the inwardness of any blessedness offered elsewhere in Matthew. In  Luke 12:37;  Luke 12:33 the spread table, and the flattering attentions received thereat, are somewhat prominent; but Jesus is speaking metaphorically, and elsewhere literal, materialistic views are rebuked ( Luke 11:27-28 and perhaps  Luke 14:15 ff.). Too much stress must not therefore he laid on  Luke 6:20-21, although there the blessedness of being ‘filled’ seems to refer to food rather than, as in Matthew, to righteousness.

In the rest of the NT μακάριος is less used than in the Gospels. St. Paul has it twice only ( Romans 4:7-8), and then in an OT quotation. In  1 Timothy 1:11;  1 Timothy 6:15 (never in the Gospels) it is applied to God, but in this sense εὐλογητός is usual. In regard to men, it is applied to those who give ( Acts 20:35), who are forgiven ( Romans 4:7-8), who endure temptation ( James 1:12), who act according to the perfect law of liberty ( James 1:25), who die in the Lord ( Revelation 14:13; see also  Revelation 1:3;  Revelation 16:15;  Revelation 19:9;  Revelation 20:6;  Revelation 22:7;  Revelation 22:14). It stands for a good which is above happiness, and dwells not least with those who are counted worthy to sacrifice happiness for conscience’ sake. It is based, partly, on a character which is its own ‘better and abiding possession’ ( Hebrews 10:34 m). While it remains itself, it is above all adequate earthly reward and beyond all earthly overthrow. Above all, it is based in the spiritual world; to the ‘pure in heart’ the highest blessedness is to ‘see God’ ( Matthew 5:8; cf.  1 John 3:2-3).

For various aspects of the idea of blessedness, as expressed in the NT by quite other words, see article‘Blessedness’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) .

Literature.-Article‘Blessedness’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , and Dict. of Christ and the Gospels  ; also F. C. Kempson, The Future Life , 1907, p. 308; J. M. Hodgson, Religion-The Quest of the ideal , 1911, p. 106; T. G. Selby, The Imperfect Angel , 1888, p. 25; T. Binney, King’s Weigh-house Chapel Sermons , 1869, p. 71; J. B. Lightfoot, Sermons in St. Paul’s Cathedral , 1891, p. 178.

C. H. Watkins.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

Condition or state of being in God's grace or favor. The Bible contains the words "bless, " "blessing, " and "blessed, " but not the noun "blessedness, " although the idea of a spiritual state of beatitude in which believers enjoy God's fellowship permeates the Bible. Bless translates the Hebrew asre [כַּאֲשֶׁר בַּאֲשֶׁר אֲשֶׁרמֵאֲשֶׁר] and baruk [בָּרַךְ בָּרַךְ] and the Greek eulogetos [Εὐλογητός] and makarios [Μακάριος]. All are used of believers, but only baruk and eulogetos [Εὐλογητός] of God. These words suggest divine protection, evoking believers' trust in their benefactor. They know God as the origin of every good thing in both this life and the next. The English word "blessedness" is derived from the root word for "blood" and suggests something set aside through sacrifice and in the Bible through Christ's sacrificial death for sins. Every aspect of the Christian life is embraced by blessedness with no credit assumed by the person experiencing it. It is purely God's grace.

In the Old Testament this blessedness may involve material things, but forgiveness is foremost ( Psalm 32:1 ). All Christians are blessed simply by believing in Christ and hearing and keeping his word ( Luke 11:28 ) and their perseverance in the face of trial ( Matthew 11:6 ). Blessedness can apply to special endowments. Abraham ( Genesis 12:1-3 ) and Peter ( Matthew 16:17 ) are blessed because they stand at the head of God's people in each Testament and are channels of God's blessedness to others. Elizabeth, as following generations, recognizes Mary's blessedness as the Lord's mother ( Luke 1:42,48 ). Perfected blessedness belongs to the dead in Christ ( Revelation 14:13 ). Whereas holiness refers to God's unapproachability and moral demands, blessedness focuses on what God does for the believer. From eternity he is blessed ( eulogetos [   Ephesians 1:3-4 ). Blessedness means God's bringing his promises to David to fulfillment in raising up Jesus as the Christ ( Luke 1:68-70 ). The original experience of Adam and Eve in Eden is a blessedness derived from a creation in which God provides for their spiritual well-being with his companionship and their physical needs with the garden's trees ( Genesis 2 ). The lost blessedness is replaced by cursed ground ( Genesis 3:17 ). No longer does man know God as benefactor, but rather malefactor, responsible for every evil experienced ( Genesis 3:12-13 ). While some like Abel, Seth, Noah, and the patriarchs regain blessedness, others like Cain ( Genesis 4:11 ) and Canaan ( Genesis 9:25 ) fall under God's disfavor. The lost blessedness of the original paradise is fully restored by the cross and is now associated with the redemption ( Luke 23:43 ). On that account Jesus is called blessed ( Matthew 23:39;  Luke 1:42;  19:38 ).

The patriarchs live in a state of unperfected blessedness with their weaknesses removed at death ( Hebrews 11:13 ). Blessedness for Israel was dependent on their keeping the covenant by which God established them as his people. It required their worship of him as the only God. Idolatry deprived them of their blessedness. Blessedness in the Old Testament at times assures certain material blessings ( Genesis 39:5 ). Canaan is given as a land of inheritance to Israel and military conquest and physical prosperity follow ( 1 Kings 4:20 ). The psalms focus on the individual, often with physical prosperity given to God's enemies. Blessedness entails the believer's continual occupation with God's word, the avoidance of the wicked, and perseverance and final flourishing ( Psalm 1 ). This psalm's first words, "blessed" ( asre [   Psalm 22 ), material deprivation, and seeing the wicked flourish, but are finally victorious ( Psalm 2 ). Israel's persecuted prophets lived in the same unresolved dilemma, one now promised Christians ( Matthew 5:12 ). Blessedness is seen not in how God materially rewarded the prophets, but in their perseverance ( James 5:11 ). The occasional Old Testament association of blessedness with material advantages is reversed in the New Testament and is linked with financial destitution. The poor ( Luke 6:20 ) and the poor in spirit ( Matthew 5:3 ) have already gotten their blessedness in attaining the kingdom of God. Jesus is despised by others ( Isaiah 53:3 ) and the poorest of men and still in him blessedness comes to its highest expression ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 ). The blessedness of the righteous is seen in their persecution by God's enemies ( Matthew 5:11-12 ). The apostles are blessed in seeing what prophets could only long for ( Matthew 13:16 ) and rejoice because they are allowed to suffer for Christ ( Acts 5:41 ). Suffering brings martyrs into a state of blessedness ( Revelation 14:13 ). The martyrs have attained blessedness and are called "saints, " not because of their moral perfection, but because their deaths identify them with Christ.

David P. Scaer

Bibliography . C. W. Mitchell , The Meaning of b r k "to bless" in the Old Testament  ; C. Westermann, Blessing in the Bible and the Life of the Church .

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

BLESSEDNESS . The substantive does not occur either in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] or RV [Note: Revised Version.] of the OT, and has rightly been expunged from the RV [Note: Revised Version.] of   Romans 4:6;   Romans 4:9 ,   Galatians 4:15 , where alone it had place in the AV [Note: Authorized Version.] of the NT. ‘Blessed’ and ‘happy’ are found in both Testaments as a varying translation of the same Heb. or Gr. word; ‘blessed’ greatly pre-ponderating. The Biblical blessedness represents a conception of happiness in which the religious relation is taken into account, with its emotions and its issues. In the OT these issues sometimes lie rather in material prosperity life, long life, wealth, children, outward peace but it is recognized that the conditions of these are spiritual (  Psalms 1:1-6 ), and in not a few instances the inward and spiritual is itself represented as the content of true happiness ( e.g .   Psalms 32:1-11 [but see   Psalms 32:10 ],   Proverbs 4:7 [but see   Proverbs 3:2;   Proverbs 3:10 ]).

In the NT the stress is decisively shifted to the spiritual content of blessedness, which may consist with the most adverse earthly conditions (  Matthew 5:10-11 ,   Luke 6:22 ,   James 1:12 ). The thought of compensation in future reward is not absent, even from the ‘Beatitudes’ (esp. in their Lukan form,   Luke 6:20-26 ); but the reward is clearly only the consummation of a blessedness already attained by the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, etc. In the teaching of Jesus the summum bonum appears now as place in the Kingdom of God, now as eternal life ( e.g.   Matthew 25:34 ,   Mark 10:17;   Mark 10:23 ,   John 3:3-5;   John 4:14 ), and both are described as a present possession (  Luke 17:20-21 ,   John 3:36 ).

Finally, in the Johannine writings the religious relation, already in the OT an essential condition of blessedness ( e.g.   Psalms 2:12;   Psalms 33:12 ), is made supreme and in itself all-sufficing. Eternal life is personal union with Christ, revealer of the Father, by trust and fellowship ( e.g.   John 5:24;   John 6:54;   John 17:3 ,   1 John 5:11-20 ). For so man becomes partaker of the life of Him who is Himself the ‘blessed God’ (  1 Timothy 1:11;   1 Timothy 6:15 ).

S. W. Green.

King James Dictionary [4]

BLESS'EDNESS, n. Happiness felicity heavenly joys the favor of God.

1. Sanctity.

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(n.) The state of being blessed; happiness; felicity; bliss; heavenly joys; the favor of God.

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

Blessing And Cursing

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

bles´ed - nes  : This translation of μακαρισμός , makarismós (a word signifying "beatification" or "the ascription of blessing"), is used but three times, in  Romans 4:6 ,  Romans 4:9 , and  Galatians 4:15 , in the King James Version only. In the first two instances it refers to the happy state or condition of a man to whom Christ's righteousness is imputed by faith, and in the last to a man's experience of that condition. See Happiness .