From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


The word occurs three times in the NT, viz.  2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5 ‘the earnest of the Spirit,’ and  Ephesians 1:14 ‘the earnest of our inheritance.’ The word means ‘pledge,’ ‘surety,’ ‘assurance,’ and is taken from an old Hebrew term used in connexion with the transference of property. The Hebrew equivalent עֵרָבוֹן is found in  Genesis 38:17-18;  Genesis 38:20 referring to the pledge of a staff and a signet-ring given by Judah to Tamar as an assurance that she would receive her hire. Probably the word came into Greek through Phœnician traders, and we find it in Latin in three forms: arrhabo, arrabo ( e.g. Plautus, Truc . III. ii. 20), and arrha ( e.g. Aulus Gellius, XVII. ii. 21). It is found in the form arra or arrhes in the languages most directly derived from the Latin. The Scotch word ‘arles’-the coin given by a master to a servant on engagement as a pledge that the fee will be duly paid-is derived from the same source, and corresponds to the obsolete English word ‘earlespenny.’ The word signifies, not merely a pledge, but also a part of the possession. In the conveyance of property in ancient times it was usual for the seller to give the buyer a handful of earth or part of the thatch of the house as a token that the bargain would be binding, and that the whole property, of which the buyer thus received a part, would be delivered over in due course.

In Scripture the idea underlying this conception is frequently referred to. Thus in  Genesis 24:22;  Genesis 24:53 the earrings and the bracelets given by Eliezer to Rebecca are tokens of the wealth of his master and evidence of a comfortable home in Canaan. In the NT passages the Holy Spirit which is given to believers is regarded by the Apostle as both the pledge and the first-fruits of the inheritance that awaits them. In  2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5 ‘the earnest of the Spirit’ is the earnest which is the Spirit. The present possessions of Christian believers imparted by the Spirit are both pledge and foretaste of the future bliss that awaits them. They ate the ‘earnest’ of the ‘inheritance’ ( Ephesians 1:14).

W. F. Boyd.

King James Dictionary [2]

Earnest a. ern'est.

1. Ardent in the pursuit of an object eager to obtain having a longing desire warmly engaged or incited.

They are never more earnest to disturb us, than when they see us most earnest in this duty.

2. Ardent warm eager zealous animated importunate as earnest in love earnest in prayer. 3. Intent fixed.

On that prospect strange

Their earnest eyes were fixed.

4. Serious important that is, really intent or engaged whence the phrase, in earnest. To be in earnest, is to be really urging or stretching towards an object intent on a pursuit. Hence, from fixed attention, comes the sense of seriousness in the pursuit, as opposed to trifling or jest. Are you in earnest or in jest?

EARNEST, n. ern'est. Seriousness a reality a real event as opposed to jesting or feigned appearance.

Take heed that this jest do not one day turn to earnest.

And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.

1. First fruits that which is in advance, and gives promise of something to come. Early fruit may be an earnest of fruit to follow. The first success in arms may be an earnest of future success. The christian's peace of mind in this life is an earnest of future peace and happiness. Hence earnest or earnest-money is a first payment or deposit giving promise or assurance of full payment. Hence the practice of giving an earnest to ratify a bargain.

This sense of the word is primary, denoting that which goes before, or in advance. Thus the earnest of the spirit is given to saints, as a pledge or assurance of their future enjoyment of God's presence and favor.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

 2 Corinthians 1:20;  2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5;  Ephesians 1:13-14. Money given by a purchaser as a pledge for the full payment of the sum promised. The Holy Spirit is to the believer the first installment to assure him that his full inheritance as a son of God shall follow hereafter; the token of the fulfillment of "all the promises." Hence, the Spirit is called "the Holy Spirit of promise," "the first fruits of the Spirit" ( Romans 8:23), i.e., we have the Spirit Himself as the first fruits of our full redemption. Hebrew Arabon , brought by the Phoenicians to Greece and Rome, Latin Arrhabo .

The payment of an earnest or deposit bound both seller and purchaser to carry out the contract (i.e. a guarantee, a down payment). This partial payment implies the identity in kind of the deposit with the future full payment; but a "pledge" may be of a quite different kind ( Genesis 38:17-18). "Earnest" implies, besides the security of the believer's future inheritance, its identity in kind, though not in degree, with his present possessed enjoyment of the spirit. Heaven perfected will continue heaven already begun in part ( Revelation 22:11 ff).

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

 Romans 8:19 2 Corinthians 7:7 Hebrews 2:1 Luke 22:44 1 Corinthians 12:31 2 Corinthians 5:2 Jude 1:3

2. The Greek arrabon is a first payment on a purchase which obligates the purchaser to make further payments. A payment made in advance, it secures legal claim to an article or validates a sales contract before the full price is paid. The concept is a Semitic one with the word being adopted into Greek. The related Hebrew term appears in   Genesis 38:17 , where Judah promised to send Tamar a young goat and she asked for a pledge to hold until she received the promised animal. God has given believers the Holy Spirit in their hearts as an earnest or pledge of the salvation to come ( 2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5;  Ephesians 1:14 ). Daily relationship with the Spirit brings total confidence that God will complete His plan and the believer will share His gift of eternal life.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Ἀρραβών (Strong'S #728 — Noun Masculine — arrabon — ar-hrab-ohn' )

originally, "earnest-money" deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote "a pledge" or "earnest" of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine "pledge" of all their future blessedness,  2—Corinthians 1:22;  5:5; in  Ephesians 1:14 , particularly of their eternal inheritance. In the Sept.,  Genesis 38:17,18,20 . In modern Greek arrabona is an "engagement ring."

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [6]

EARNEST . In   2 Corinthians 1:22;   2 Corinthians 5:5 ,   Ephesians 1:14 St. Paul describes the Holy Spirit as the believer’s ‘earnest.’ The word means ‘part-payment,’ the deposit being the same in kind as what is to follow. Cf. Tindale’s (1533) use of ‘earnest-penny’: ‘that assured saving health and earnest-penny of everlasting life.’ Rabbi Greenstone ( JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] v. 26) quotes Kid . 3 a to the effect that the payment of a perutah , the smallest coin of Palestinian currency, on account of the purchase, was sufficient to bind the bargain. The Gr. word was probably introduced by the PhÅ“nicians. Deissmann ( Bible Studies , p. 108 f.) shows that in   2 Corinthians 1:21 the verb ‘stablisheth’ connotes a legal idea and stands in ‘an essential relation’ to ‘earnest’ in   2 Corinthians 1:22 . St. Paul represents the relation of God to believers under the image of ‘a legally guaranteed security.’

J. G. Tasker.

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): ( a.) Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain or do; zealous with sincerity; with hearty endeavor; heartfelt; fervent; hearty; - used in a good sense; as, earnest prayers.

(2): ( a.) Intent; fixed closely; as, earnest attention.

(3): ( a.) Serious; important.

(4): ( v. t.) To use in earnest.

(5): ( n.) Something given, or a part paid beforehand, as a pledge; pledge; handsel; a token of what is to come.

(6): ( n.) Something of value given by the buyer to the seller, by way of token or pledge, to bind the bargain and prove the sale.

(7): ( n.) Seriousness; reality; fixed determination; eagerness; intentness.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Earnest.  2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5;  Ephesians 1:14. The Hebrew word was used generally for Pledge,  Genesis 38:17, and in its cognate forms for Surety,  Proverbs 17:18, and Hostage.  2 Kings 14:14.

The Greek derivative, however, acquired a more technical sense as signifying the Deposit paid by the purchaser on entering into an agreement for the purchase of anything. In the New Testament, the word is used to signify the pledge or earnest of the superior blessings of the future life.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Earnest. Something given as a pledge for the performance of a specified bargain.  Genesis 38:17; R. V., "pledge." It must be observed that the earnest, properly speaking, is a part of the whole to be granted; what remains, therefore, and is expected, is similar in kind to that already received. Thus, the earnest of the Spirit (the Spirit itself being the earnest) is that measure of grace vouchsafed here which shall be augmented and ripened into the fulness of grace hereafter.  2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5;  Ephesians 1:13-14.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [10]

This word is of great importance in the Scripture tongue, applied as it is, with peculiar emphasis, to the work of the Holy Ghost upon the heart. The apostle, speaking of the wonderful gifts of God's grace, saith, "Now he that hath wrought us for the self same thing is God, who hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." ( 2 Corinthians 5:5) And elsewhere, he calls it the earnest of our inheritance. ( Ephesians 1:14) It becomes the Lord's pledge, the Lord's token, and covenant of his love to the soul. Sweet evidence of divine faithfulness!

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [11]

A pledge of the performance of a promise; or part of a debt, paid in assurance of the payment of the whole; or part of the price, paid down to confirm a bargain; or part of a servant's wages, paid at the time of hiring, to ratify the engagement. In the New Testament it describes the gifts of God to his people here, as the assurance and commencement of the far superior blessings of the life to come,  2 Corinthians 1:22   5:5   Ephesians 1:13,14 .

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [12]

 2 Corinthians 1:22 (a) The thought is that the Holy Spirit is given as a pledge, or as a down payment. GOD gives a foretaste of greater blessings that are to follow. (See also2Co  5:5;  Ephesians 1:14).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 2 Corinthians 1:22 5:5 Ephesians 1:14 Genesis 38:17-20

Morrish Bible Dictionary [14]

See Holy Spirit

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Earnest'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/e/earnest.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

ûr´nest ( ἀῤῥαβών , arrhabō̇n ): Found three times in the New Testament: The "earnest of our inheritance" ( Ephesians 1:14 ); "the earnest of the Spirit" ( 2 Corinthians 1:22;  2 Corinthians 5:5 ). It has an equivalent in Hebrew ‛ērābhōn (found in  Genesis 38:17 ,  Genesis 38:18 ,  Genesis 38:20 ), in Latin arrabo , French arrhes and the Old English arles . The term is mercantile and comes originally from the Phoenicians. Its general meaning is that of a pledge or token given as the assurance of the fulfillment of a bargain or promise. It also carries with it the idea of forfeit, such as is now common in land deals, only from the obverse side. In other words, the one promising to convey property, wages or blessing binds the promise with an advance gift or pledge partaking of the quality of the benefit to be bestowed. If the agreement be about wages, then a part of the wages is advanced; if it be about land, then a clod given to the purchaser or beneficiary may stand as the pledge of final and complete conveyance of the property.

Figurative: In the spiritual sense, as used in the passages above named, the reference is to the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts being a token and pledge of a perfect redemption and a heavenly inheritance. There is more than the idea of security in the word as used, for it clearly implies the continuity and identity of the blessing.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

Earnest, a pledge, given and received, to assure the fulfillment of an engagement. Hesychius explains it as somewhat given beforehand. This idea attaches to all the particular applications of the word, as anything given by way of warrant or security for the performance, of a promise; part of a debt paid as an assurance of paying the remainder; part of the price of anything paid beforehand to confirm the bargain between buyer and seller; part of a servants wages paid at the time of hiring, for the purpose of ratifying the engagement on both sides. The idea that the earnest is either to be returned upon the fulfillment of the engagement, or to be considered as part of the stipulation, is also included. The word is used three times in the New Testament, but always in a figurative sense: in the first , it is applied to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which God bestowed upon the apostles, and by which He might be said to have hired them to be the servants of His son; and which were the earnest, assurance, and commencement of those far superior blessings which He would bestow on them in the life to come, as the wages of their faithful services:—in the two latter , it is applied to the gifts bestowed on Christians generally upon whom, after baptism, the Apostles had laid their hands, and which were to them an earnest of obtaining an heavenly habitation and inheritance, upon the supposition of their fidelity. This use of the term finely illustrates the augmented powers and additional capacities promised in a future state.