From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Power —The term indicates the efficient force by which personal commands and the claims of law receive obedient attention and fulfilment.

In Authorized Version of Gospels ‘power’ is used with about equal frequency to represent two words in the original, δύναμις and ἐξονσία. These words are thus distinguished by Grimm-Thayer:—‘δύν. power , natural ability, general and inherent; ἐξους. primarily liberty of action, then authority —either as delegated power or as unrestrained, arbitrary power.’ Cf. also Cremer, s.vv. In Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885, except in the three cases named below, ‘authority’ is given as the rendering of ἑξουσια, usually in the text, sometimes in the margin.  Luke 22:53 retains ‘power’ without any marginal alternative;  John 1:12 gives ‘right’;  John 10:18 retains ‘power,’ but has ‘right’ in margin.

1. Power in the personal life of Christ .—During His earthly ministry, in the impression made both upon His disciples and upon the hostile Pharisees, as well as upon the mass of the people, there is abundant testimony to the transcendent personality of Christ. With this accords also the estimate concerning Him in the Acts and the Epistles. A vague attempt at assimilation likened Him to one of the prophets ( Matthew 16:14), and Herod saw in Him the risen John the Baptist ( Mark 6:16), but otherwise His life and character were ever recognized as unique and beyond comparison (see Awe). In His works of healing, wrought on mind and body, the evidence was open to all ( Mark 5:15,  Luke 9:43). It was the same with His teaching ( Matthew 7:29). In dealing with the most venerated religious precepts and traditions, He acts with the ease and freedom of original authority, noting limitations and supplying enlarged meanings and higher applications ( Matthew 5:33-48). He rejects the offer of world empire ( Luke 4:6;  Luke Luk_4:8), and warns those whom He sent forward to tell of His approach not to rejoice even in the exercise of His delegated power ( Luke 10:20). The same qualities of range and originality are recognized in His sympathy with the outcast and suffering ( Luke 7:34;  Luke 13:11,  John 11:35), in His knowledge of the heart and its temptations ( Luke 5:20;  Luke 7:47,  John 4:18), and in His controversies with the Jewish leaders ( Matthew 22:15-46). A still deeper insight into the uniqueness of His character is afforded by what was involved in following and serving Him ( Luke 14:25-35,  John 14:12;  John 15:8). His works were stated by Himself to have been wrought in God ( John 14:10), who also had sent Him ( John 9:4,  John 16:28); and His day had been foreseen by Abraham ( John 8:56) and Isaiah ( Isaiah 61:1-2), and by the prophets generally ( Luke 24:27). His Kingdom was to be coextensive with the world and its nationalities ( Matthew 8:11;  Matthew 26:13;  Matthew 28:19,  John 10:16;  John 17:20). The gift of His life, offered freely and apart from external constraint, was to be the bond of union among His disciples ( Matthew 26:26-28,  John 15:12-13), and was to be the power that would draw the world unto Him ( John 3:14;  John 12:32). The impression thus made upon His disciples became in turn the testimony which they gave to the world—‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth’ ( John 1:14). See Authority of Christ.

2. Power in the Kingdom of Christ .—Christ declared of His Kingdom that it was not of this world ( John 18:36). Those worldly kingdoms were of the sword, established by and for physical dominion. As every created thing must, by the inward necessity of that condition, come to an end, so those kingdoms would perish by the sword ( Matthew 26:52). His Kingdom, on the other hand, did not rise from beneath, but descended from above, having its origin in the eternal thought of God, the Kingdom of heaven. With the first grasp of this meaning, its administration was spoken of as different from the law of a carnal commandment, being ‘the power of an endless life’ ( Hebrews 7:16).

In the prophetic intimation of its advent through the mediation of the sorrows of Zion, the essential character and tendency of this Kingdom, the requirements of its citizenship, the extent of its dominion, the motive of its statesmanship, its estimate of heroism, and its rewards of service, were all so new and conflicting, that there seemed to be two Messiahs, one who should reign and deliver, and one who should serve and suffer (Isaiah 53;  Isaiah 59:16-19;  Isaiah 61:1-3). Only the accomplished fact was able to reveal, and in new areas of its expansion is still revealing, that for such a Kingdom the anointed Head must needs have suffered in order to enter into His glory ( Luke 24:26). The new and wonderful element that made its citizenship not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man ( John 1:13), consisted in this, that whereas in the kingdoms of the world there had been an ever-ascending scale of power, man living unto himself, and governments existing for the sake of the governing classes, so there was in this Kingdom a correspondingly descending scale of service in which all those features were precisely reversed. Whereas previously in religion men were the supplicants, and sacrificed unto their deities, and propitiated them by gifts and promises of devotion, in this Kingdom God Himself was the chief sacrificer, offering His only-begotten Son; and the Almighty sought to reconcile the weak unto Himself ( John 3:16;  John 3:18;  John 12:27;  John 18:37), with this leading fact of the Kingdom all the others followed in complete agreement. He who would be accounted greatest must qualify for that distinction by becoming the servant of all ( Matthew 20:26;  Matthew 20:28). Women are declared to excel in faith ( Matthew 15:28), discernment ( Matthew 26:13), and courageous sacrifice ( Mark 12:41-44). Little children are regarded with reverence, and the loving trust of a child’s heart gives direction to the wise, and appoints the duties of the great ( Matthew 18:3-4;  Matthew 19:14). The constitution and aspirations of the Kingdom, as embodied in the Sermon on the Mount, not only surpass all similar requirements of government, but seem to invert all that the world had hitherto counted great and noble. The innermost instinct of empire, the white ensign of this unique Kingdom, is the joy of harmonious relationship to the will of God. Government is by beatitudes. The crucifixion of self for the sake of others is the recognition mark of its people. This pervades all gradations of its society, for He who is on the throne emptied Himself, and what is done unto the least is regarded as done unto Him ( Matthew 25:40). Instead of pride and ambition, the lust of power and possession that had created and controlled other dynasties, its regalia and administration are entrusted to the poor in spirit who claim no homage. The dispensing of the beatitudes is given to those who have become acquainted with grief and discouragement, whose necks have felt the pressure of the harsh forces and sharp limitations of life. Here also for exalted office there is the partaking of the Divine nature, but it is reserved for the pure in heart. So rich is the provision for its subjects, that even the cry of hunger becomes a feast, and to bear a burden and cross with Christ is an immediate Paradise. By its connexion with the One Name of which the OT spoke it fulfilled the vision of the prophets which Judaism had obscured, and, on the other hand, included in due place and proportion those gifts for physical need and circumstance that had been the crown and consummation of Gentile desire ( Matthew 6:33). These are both represented in the familiar and venerated form of prayer which in its first part lifts the language of our possession above all gifts to God Himself, but makes it treason for His Church to covet the Name, the Kingdom, and the Will. In its second part it encourages the claim of our continual frailty, ignorance, and dependence.

Again, the same principle of looking and stooping downwards and of uplifting what is beneath is the main subject-matter of the parables of Christ. The power that is seen exemplified in them is the counterpart of what is set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. Under various aspects, in whole or in part, they unfold the meaning of discipleship, the power of the Kingdom, and the dangers that attend its service. Here also, to be in the Kingdom is beatitude; and when this privilege of entrance has been prevented by any cause whatever, the regret over the one wasted life and its great opportunity is described as weeping and gnashing of teeth ( Luke 13:28).

Thus in His life and death, in His teaching and labours, Christ conformed to the beatitudes of the Kingdom, and afterwards entrusted its advancement to His disciples. ‘Come unto me—take my yoke—learn of me,’—salvation, self-devotion, sainthood,—these were the steps into the Kingdom, and the power of its service.

In His last message to the disciples our Lord gave two special commands about the Kingdom they were to establish and extend in His name. This communication was accompanied by a touching and solemn act of covenant, and endeared by the mention of all that He had been and would be to them. The first concerned the loyalty to Himself that was to carry with it the invincible power of the Kingdom. It was, ‘Abide in me and I in you’ ( John 15:4). In His cherished presence they would know His purpose, and that would be their way of power. This presence, however, could be granted only where they loved one another as He had loved them ( John 15:12). It was in vain to go out to the conquest of the world unless this base of operations was safeguarded. They were to tarry in Jerusalem until it became in each heart a conscious experience beyond the reach of doubt or discouragement. This enabling supernatural power of the Kingdom came to be called the grace of God. In 1 Corinthians 13 its essential meaning is breathed forth as from a vase containing the fragrance of what is no longer visible. Its power within the heart is exhibited in Romans 8, and its energy of diffusion in Romans 13.

The second charge affected the world that was to be His possession, the nations that were to bring each its special riches and glory into His Kingdom ( Matthew 28:19-20, cf.  Mark 16:15). It was His greatest commandment, and is therefore the greatest test of love to Him. He recognized the right and claim of the world to wait until it received sufficient evidence that He had been sent to be its Ruler. He warned His disciples that the only evidence that could carry such conviction would be the sight of a Church so filled with the spirit of His Kingdom and so devoted to the fulfilment of His command, that all things would give way in order to the presentation of that proof. The world that will say the Church is one will say that Christ is Lord ( John 10:16;  John 17:21-23).

See also art. Force.

Literature.—W. Arthur, Tongue of Fire , ch. ix.; A. Maclaren, Holy of Holies , chs. vi. viii.; Mason, Conditions of our Lord’s Life on Earth (1896), 84; W. N. Clarke, What shall we think of Christianity? (1899), 106; Forrest, Authority of Christ .

G. M. Mackie.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

A — 1: Δύναμις (Strong'S #1411 — Noun Feminine — dunamis — doo'-nam-is )

for the different meanings of which see Ability , Might , is sometimes used, by metonymy, of persons and things, e.g., (a) of God,  Matthew 26:64;  Mark 14:62; (b) of angels, e.g., perhaps in  Ephesians 1:21 , RV, "power," AV, "might" (cp.  Romans 8:38;  1—Peter 3:22 ); (c) of that which manifests God's "power:" Christ,  1—Corinthians 1:24; the Gospel,  Romans 1:16; (d) of mighty works (RV, marg., "power" or "powers"), e.g.,  Mark 6:5 , "mighty work;" so  Mark 9:39 , RV (AV, "miracle");  Acts 2:22 (ditto); 8:13, "miracles;"   2—Corinthians 12:12 , RV, "mighty works" (AV, "mighty deeds").

A — 2: Ἐξουσία (Strong'S #1849 — Noun Feminine — exousia — ex-oo-see'-ah )

denotes "freedom of action, right to act;" used of God, it is absolute, unrestricted, e.g.,  Luke 12:5 (RV marg., "authority"); in   Acts 1:7 "right of disposal" is what is indicated; used of men, authority is delegated. Angelic beings are called "powers" in   Ephesians 3:10 (cp. 1:21); 6:12;   Colossians 1:6;  2:15 (cp. 2:10). See Authority , No. 1, see also Principality.

A — 3: Ἰσχύς (Strong'S #2479 — Noun Feminine — ischus — is-khoos' )

"ability, force, strength," is nowhere translated "power" in the RV (AV in  2—Thessalonians 1:9 ). See Ability , No. 2.

A — 4: Κράτος (Strong'S #2904 — Noun Neuter — kratos — krat'-os )

is translated "power" in the RV and AV in  1—Timothy 6:16;  Hebrews 2:14; in  Ephesians 1:19 (last part); 6:10, AV, "power" (RV, "strength"): see Dominion , A, No. 1, Strength, A No. 3.

A — 5: Δυνατός (Strong'S #1415 — Adjective — dunaton — doo-nat-os' )

the neuter of the adjective dunatos, "powerful" (akin to No. 1), is used as a noun with the article in  Romans 9:22 , "(to make His) power (known)." See Able.

A — 6: Ἀρχή (Strong'S #746 — Noun Feminine — arche — ar-khay' )

"a beginning, rule," is translated "power" in  Luke 20:20 , AV (RV, "rule"). See Beginning , B.

B — 1: Ἐξουσιάζω (Strong'S #1850 — Verb — exousiazo — ex-oo-see-ad'-zo )

"to exercise authority" (akin to A, No. 2), is used (a) in the Active Voice,  Luke 22:25 , RV, "have authority" (AV, "exercise authority"), of the "power" of rulers;  1—Corinthians 7:4 (twice), of marital relations and conditions; (b) in the Passive Voice,   1—Corinthians 6:12 , to be brought under the "power" of a thing; here, this verb and the preceding one connected with it, exesti, present a paronomasia, which Lightfoot brings out as follows: "all are within my power; but I will not put myself under the power of any one of all things." See Authority , B, No. 1.

 Revelation 13:14,15 Romans 16:25Able.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

Power is an English logical construct referring to a variety of ideas relating to ability, capacity, authority, and might/strength. In human relationships, power is the authority one person holds over another. Terms such as boss, president, sheriff, and sexual harassment bring the picture of power to mind. The images that exist among Christians concerning "power" often depend upon the English translation with which they are familiar. The Bible uses a variety of Hebrew and Greek terms that represent the semantic domain of power although they may be translated in different ways. For example, the King James Version uses "power" for a large number of Hebrew and Greek terms. The Greek term exousia [Ἐξουσία] is most often translated "power" in the King James Version but it is almost always translated "authority" in modern versions. The contextual nuance of each occurrence of a Hebrew or Greek word must be considered in translation.

Power ( dunamis [   Jeremiah 27:5;  32:17 ) and distributes power to people to fulfill his historical purposes (cf.  Exodus 15:6,13;  Deuteronomy 3:24;  Psalm 46:1;  86:16 ).

The biblical description of power relates primarily to God and people. Power is an inherent characteristic of God ( Romans 1:20 ). It is the result of his nature. God's kind of power is seen in his creation ( Psalm 19;  150:1;  Jeremiah 10:12 ). His inexplicable power is the only explanation for the virgin birth of Jesus ( Luke 1:35 ). Power is always a derived characteristic for people, who receive power from God ( Deuteronomy 8:18;  Isaiah 40:29;  Micah 3:8;  Matthew 22:29;  1 Corinthians 2:4;  Ephesians 3:7 ), from political position ( Esther 1:3;  Luke 20:20 ), from armies ( 1 Chronicles 20:1 ), and from other structures that provide advantage over others. When humans perceive that their power is intrinsic to themselves, they are self-deceived ( Leviticus 26:19;  Deuteronomy 8:17-18;  Hosea 2:7-9;  John 19:10-11 ).

Jesus as the God-Man demonstrated both the intrinsic and derived aspects of power. He proclaimed his power and authority as derived from the Father ( John 5:27;  17:2;  5:16-23 ). He also demonstrated that his power was derived from his authority as the Son of Man and that the two were an inseparable testimony to his divine nature ( Matthew 9:6-7;  Luke 4:36;  9:1 ).

Power in the New Testament is used to describe the unseen world. The angelic realm is described as "powers" or "authorities" ( Romans 8:38;  Ephesians 3:10;  6:12;  Colossians 1:16;  2:10,16 ). Jesus exercised power over the unseen world through his exorcism of demons ( Mark 6:7;  Luke 9:1 ).

Paul especially images the living of the Christian life as an empowerment from God. The believer's union with Christ delivers him or her from the power of sin (cf.  Romans 6-8 ) and introduces him or her to the "power of [Christ's] resurrection" ( Philippians 3:10 ). Salvation and holy living provide the Christian with a "spirit of power" for witness ( 2 Timothy 1:7-8 ). Paul's view of the gospel itself is imaged as power ( Romans 1:16 ). "Power" in  Romans 1:16 renders the Greek word dunamis [   1 Corinthians 15:56-57 ).

Peter also utilizes the concept of power to image the Christian life as an empowerment from God. Second Peter 1:3 states that "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness." The context views this power as channeled through knowledge and virtue. Peter does not view this power as passive, but as the foundation and motivation to pursue a circle of virtues (1:5-9) that produce and evidence productive Christian living.

Gary T. Meadors

See also Gospel; Powers

King James Dictionary [4]

POW'ER, n. The Latin has posse, possum, potes, potentia. The primary sense of the verb is to strain, to exert force.

1. In a philosophical sense, the faculty of doing or performing any thing the faculty of moving or of producing a change in something ability or strength. A man raises his hand by his own power, or by power moves another body. The exertion of power proceeds from the will, and in strictness, no being destitute of will or intelligence, can exert power. Power in man is active or speculative. Active power is that which moves the body speculative power is that by which we see, judge, remember, or in general, by which we think.

Power may exist without exertion. We have power to speak when we are silent.

Power has been distinguished also into active and passive,the power of doing or moving, and the power of receiving impressions or of suffering. In strictness, passive power is an absurdity in terms. To say that gold has a power to be melted,is improper language,yet for want of a more appropriate word, power is often used in a passive sense, and is considered as two-fold viz.as able to make or able to receive any change.

2. Force animal strength as the power of the arm, exerted in lifting, throwing or holding. 3. Force strength energy as the power of the mind, of the imagination, of the fancy. He has not powers of genius adequate to the work. 4. Faculty of the mind, as manifested by a particular mode of operation as the power of thinking, comparing and judging the reasoning powers. 5. Ability, natural or moral. We say, a man has the power of doing good his property gives him the power of relieving the distressed or he has the power to persuade others to do good or it is not in his power to pay his debts. The moral power of man is also his power of judging or discerning in moral subjects. 6. In mechanics, that which produces motion or force, or which may be applied to produce it. Thus the inclined plane is called a mechanical power, as it produces motion, although this in reality depends on gravity. The wheel and axle, and the lever, are mechanical powers, as they may be applied to produce force. These powers are also called forces, and they are of two kinds, moving power, and sustaining power. 7. Force. The great power of the screw is of extensive use in compression. The power of steam is immense. 8. That quality in any natural body which produces a change or makes an impression on another body as the power of medicine the power of heat the power of sound. 9. Force strength momentum as the power of the wind, which propels a ship or overturns a building. 10. Influence that which may move the mind as the power of arguments or of persuasion. 11. Command the right of governing, or actual government dominion rule, sway authority. A large portion of Asia is under the power of the Russian emperor. The power of the British monarch is limited by law. The powers of government are legislative, executive, judicial, and ministerial.

Power is no blessing in itself, but when it is employed to protect the innocent.

Under this sense may be comprehended political, ecclesiastical, and military power.

12. A sovereign, whether emperor, king or governing prince or the legislature of a state as the powers of Europe the great powers the smaller powers. In this sense, the state or nation governed seems to be included in the word power. Great Britain is a great naval power. 13. One invested with authority a ruler a magistrate.  Romans 13 14. Divinity a celestial or invisible being or agent supposed to have dominion over some part of creation as celestial powers the powers of darkness. 15. That which has physical power an army a navy a host a military force.

Never such a power--

Was levied in the body of a land.

16. Legal authority warrant as a power of attorney an agent invested with ample power. The envoy has full powers to negotiate a treaty. 17. In arithmetic and algebra, the product arising from the multiplication of a number or quantity into itself as, a cube is the third power the biquadrate is the fourth power. 18. In Scripture, right privilege.  John 1 .  1 Corinthians 9 19. Angels, good or bad.  Colossians 1 .  Ephesians 6 . 20. Violence, force compulsion.  Ezekiel 4 . 21. Christ is called the power of God, as through him and his gospel, God displays his power and authority in ransoming and saving sinners.  1 Corinthians 1 22. The powers of heaven may denote the celestial luminaries.  Matthew 24 23. Satan is said to have the power of death, as he introduced sin, the cause of death, temporal and eternal, and torments men with the feat of death and future misery. 24. In vulgar language, a large quantity a great number as a power of good things. This is, I believe, obsolete, even among our common people.

Power of attorney, authority given to a person to act for another.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

Some English versions of the Bible use the word ‘power’ to translate different Greek words. In some cases the meaning has to do with great strength or the ability to exercise that strength ( 1 Corinthians 1:18;  Ephesians 1:19;  Revelation 5:13). In other cases it has to do with authority, or the right to exercise authority ( Matthew 21:23;  Matthew 28:18;  John 1:12;  Romans 13:1). The present article is concerned with the first of these meanings. For the second meaning see Authority .

Evidences of God’s power

The Old Testament repeatedly speaks of God’s immeasurable power. This power was demonstrated through his creation of the universe ( Psalms 33:6-9;  Isaiah 40:21-23;  Jeremiah 10:12-13), his activity in nature ( Psalms 29:3-10;  Psalms 66:5-7), his control of history ( Exodus 9:16;  Psalms 33:10;  Isaiah 40:15-17) and his saving acts on behalf of his people ( Exodus 15:4-12;  Exodus 32:11;  Psalms 106:8;  Psalms 111:6;  Isaiah 40:10-11).

These evidences of God’s power are referred to also in the New Testament ( Luke 1:49;  Romans 1:16;  Romans 1:20;  Romans 15:19;  Hebrews 1:10-12;  Revelation 7:12;  Revelation 15:8). The life and ministry of Jesus Christ provide particularly clear evidence of God’s power ( Luke 4:14;  Luke 4:36;  Luke 5:17;  Luke 9:1; see Miracles; Kingdom Of God ) The supreme demonstration of God’s power is the resurrection of Jesus ( Romans 1:4;  Ephesians 1:19-20).

Saving power at work

God’s promise to believers is that the same power as raised Jesus from death is available to them. Just as Jesus conquered sin and death, so can those who trust in him. They have victory over sin now and are assured of victory over death at Jesus’ return ( Romans 6:5-11;  Romans 8:9-11;  Philippians 3:9-11;  1 Corinthians 6:14;  1 Corinthians 15:42-44;  1 Corinthians 15:54-56).

The entire salvation God has made available operates by his power. This salvation includes saving sinners from eternal condemnation and giving them victory over sin in their lives as believers ( Romans 1:16;  Romans 6:14;  1 Corinthians 1:18;  1 Corinthians 1:24;  1 Corinthians 2:5;  Ephesians 1:18-20;  Ephesians 3:20;  1 Peter 1:3-5). This power becomes theirs through the Spirit of God within them ( Acts 1:8;  Romans 15:13;  Ephesians 3:16; cf.  Micah 3:8;  Zechariah 4:6; see Holy Spirit ).

Although they have this power of God within them, believers are not to seek exhibitions of it that will draw attention to themselves ( 2 Corinthians 12:9;  2 Corinthians 13:4). They should be humble and dependent on God, so that he alone may be the one in whom people trust and to whom they give praise ( Acts 3:12-16;  1 Corinthians 2:4-5;  2 Corinthians 4:7;  Philippians 4:13;  1 Thessalonians 1:5;  2 Peter 1:3).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [6]

POWER . In general the word means ability for doing something, and includes the idea of adequate strength, might, skill, resources, energy, and efficiency, either material, mental, or spiritual, to effect intended results. Strictly speaking, there is no real power or authority in the universe but that which is ultimately of God (  Psalms 62:11 ,   John 19:11 ,   Romans 13:1 ). But this Almighty One has originated innumerable subordinate powers, and some of these are possessed of ability to perform acts contrary to the will and commandments of the Creator. And so we may speak of the power of God, or of man, or of angel, or of demon, or of powers inherent in things inanimate. Inasmuch as in the highest and absolute sense ‘power belongeth unto God,’ It is fitting to ascribe unto Him such doxologies as appear in   1 Chronicles 29:11 ,   Matthew 6:13 . In   Matthew 26:64 the word ‘power’ is employed for God Himself, and it is accordingly very natural that it should be often used to denote the various forms of God’s activity, especially in His works of creation and redemption. Christ is thus the power of God both in His Person and in His gospel of salvation (  1 Corinthians 1:18;   1 Corinthians 1:24 ,   Romans 1:16 ). The power of the Holy Spirit is also another mode of the Divine activity. By similar usage Simon the sorcerer was called ‘the power of God which is called Great’ (  Acts 8:10 ), i.e. a supposed incarnation of the power of God. The plural powers is used in a variety of meanings. (1) In   Matthew 7:22 ,   Luke 10:13 ,   Acts 2:22;   Acts 8:13 , ‘powers,’ or ‘mighty works,’ along with ‘signs and wonders,’ are to be understood as miracles, and were concrete manifestations of supernatural power. (2) ‘The powers of the heavens’ (  Matthew 24:29 ,   Mark 13:25 ) are understood by some as the forces inherent in the sun, moon, stars, and other phenomena of the heavens, by virtue of which they ‘rule over the day and over the night’ (  Genesis 1:18 ); by others these heavenly powers are understood to be the starry hosts themselves conceived as the armies of the heavens. (3) Both good and evil angels are designated by the terms ‘ principalities and powers ’ in such passages as   Ephesians 1:21;   Ephesians 3:10;   Ephesians 6:12 ,   Colossians 1:16;   Colossians 2:10; Col 2:15 ,   1 Peter 3:22 . The context of each passage must show whether the reference is to angels or demons. in   Ephesians 2:2 Samatan is called ‘ the prince of the power of the air ,’ and these powers are further defined in   Ephesians 6:12 as ‘world-rulers of this darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ These are thought of as so many ranks of evil spirits who are ever at war with God’s hosts, and seek to usurp the heavenly regions. (4) in   Romans 13:1 civil magistrates are called ‘the higher powers’ because of their superior rank, authority, and influence as officers ordained of God for the administration of justice among men (cf.   Luke 12:11 ,   Titus 3:1 ). (5) ‘The powers of the age to come’ (  Hebrews 6:5 ) are best understood of all supernatural gifts and spiritual forces which belong to the age or dispensation of the New Covenant, of which Jesus is the Mediator (cf.   Hebrews 9:15 ). They include the ‘greater works’ (  John 14:12 ) which Jesus assured His disciples they should do after His going unto the Father and sending them the Spirit of truth. See Authority, Kingdom of God.

M. S. Terry.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [7]

Kôach ( כּוֹחַ , Strong'S #3581), “strength; power; force; ability.” This Hebrew word is used in biblical, rabbinic, and modern Hebrew with little change in meaning. The root is uncertain in Hebrew, but the verb is found in Arabic ( wakaha , “batter down,” and kwch , “defeat”). Kôach , which occurs 124 times, is a poetic word as it is used most frequently in the poetic and prophetical literature.

The basic meaning of kôach is an ability to do something. Samson’s “strength” lay in his hair (Judg. 16:5), and we must keep in mind that his “strength” had been demonstrated against the Philistines. Nations and kings exert their “powers” (Josh. 17:17; Dan. 8:24). It is even possible to say that a field has kôach , as it does or does not have vital “powers” to produce and harvest: “When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength [i.e., crops] …” (Gen. 4:12—the first occurrence). In the Old Testament it is recognized that by eating one gains “strength” (1 Sam. 28:22), whereas one loses one’s “abilities” in fasting (1 Sam. 28:20); “And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God” (1 Kings 19:8).

The above definition of kôach fits well in the description of Daniel and his friends: “Children in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability [ kôach ] in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans” (Dan. 1:4). The “ability” is here not physical but mental. They were talented in having the intellectual acumen of learning the skills of the Babylonians and thus training for being counselors to the king. The internal fortitude was best demonstrated by the difficulties and frustrations of life. A strong man withstood hard times. The proverb bears out this important teaching: “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small” (Prov. 24:10).

A special sense of kôach is the meaning “property.” The results of native “abilities,” the development of special gifts, and the manifestation of one’s “strength” led often to prosperity and riches. Those who returned from the Exile gave willingly out of their riches ( kôach ) to the building fund of the temple (Ezra 2:69). A proverb warns against adultery, because one’s “strength,” or one’s wealth, may be taken by others: “Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth [ kôach ]; and thy labors be in the house of a stranger” (Prov. 5:10).

In the Old Testament, God had demonstrated His “strength” to Israel. The language of God’s “strength” is highly metaphorical. God’s right hand gloriously manifests His “power” (Exod. 15:6). His voice is loud: “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (Ps. 29:4). In His “power,” He delivered Israel from Egypt (Exod. 32:11) and brought them through the Red Sea (Exod. 15:6; cf. Num. 14:13). Even as He advances the rights of the poor and needy (Isa. 50:2), He brought the Israelites as a needy people into the Promised Land with His “power”: “He hath showed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen” (Ps. 111:6). He delights in helping His people; however, the Lord does not tolerate self-sufficiency on man’s part. Isaiah rebuked the king of Assyria for his arrogance in claiming to have been successful in his conquests (10:12-14), and he remarked that the axe (Assyria) should not boast over the one who chops (God) with it (v. 15). Likewise God had warned His people against pride in taking the land of Canaan: “And thou say in thine heart, My power [ kôach ] and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power [ kôach ] to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deut. 8:17-18). The believer must learn to depend upon God and trust in Him: “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).

The Septuagint gives the following translations: ischus (“strength; power; might”) and dunamis (“power; might; strength; force; ability; capability”).

Webster's Dictionary [8]

(1): ( n.) Ability to act, regarded as latent or inherent; the faculty of doing or performing something; capacity for action or performance; capability of producing an effect, whether physical or moral: potency; might; as, a man of great power; the power of capillary attraction; money gives power.

(2): ( n.) Ability, regarded as put forth or exerted; strength, force, or energy in action; as, the power of steam in moving an engine; the power of truth, or of argument, in producing conviction; the power of enthusiasm.

(3): ( n.) Capacity of undergoing or suffering; fitness to be acted upon; susceptibility; - called also passive power; as, great power of endurance.

(4): ( n.) Same as Poor, the fish.

(5): ( n.) The exercise of a faculty; the employment of strength; the exercise of any kind of control; influence; dominion; sway; command; government.

(6): ( n.) The agent exercising an ability to act; an individual invested with authority; an institution, or government, which exercises control; as, the great powers of Europe; hence, often, a superhuman agent; a spirit; a divinity.

(7): ( n.) A military or naval force; an army or navy; a great host.

(8): ( n.) A large quantity; a great number; as, a power o/ good things.

(9): ( n.) The rate at which mechanical energy is exerted or mechanical work performed, as by an engine or other machine, or an animal, working continuously; as, an engine of twenty horse power.

(10): ( n.) A mechanical agent; that from which useful mechanical energy is derived; as, water power; steam power; hand power, etc.

(11): ( n.) Applied force; force producing motion or pressure; as, the power applied at one and of a lever to lift a weight at the other end.

(12): ( n.) A machine acted upon by an animal, and serving as a motor to drive other machinery; as, a dog power.

(13): ( n.) The product arising from the multiplication of a number into itself; as, a square is the second power, and a cube is third power, of a number.

(14): ( n.) Mental or moral ability to act; one of the faculties which are possessed by the mind or soul; as, the power of thinking, reasoning, judging, willing, fearing, hoping, etc.

(15): ( n.) The degree to which a lens, mirror, or any optical instrument, magnifies; in the telescope, and usually in the microscope, the number of times it multiplies, or augments, the apparent diameter of an object; sometimes, in microscopes, the number of times it multiplies the apparent surface.

(16): ( n.) An authority enabling a person to dispose of an interest vested either in himself or in another person; ownership by appointment.

(17): ( n.) Hence, vested authority to act in a given case; as, the business was referred to a committee with power.

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 Jeremiah 10:12 Jeremiah 27:5 Exodus 4:21 Exodus 9:16 Exodus 15:6 Exodus 32:11 Psalm 111:6 Numbers 14:15-19 Jeremiah 32:17-18 2 Kings 3:15  Micah 3:8 Luke 1:35

Christ's miracles evidenced the power of God at work in His ministry ( Matthew 14:2;  Mark 5:30;  Mark 9:1;  Luke 4:36;  Luke 5:17 ). Luke highlighted the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering the ministry of Jesus ( Luke 4:14;  Acts 10:38 ) and the ongoing ministry of the church ( Acts 1:8;  Acts 3:12;  Acts 4:7 ,Acts 4:7, 4:33;  Acts 6:8 ). Paul stressed the paradox that the cross—what is apparently Jesus' greatest moment of weakness—is the event in which God's power to save is realized ( 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; compare  Romans 1:16 ). This scandal of God's power revealed in Christ's death continues in God's choice to work through the powerless ( 1 Corinthians 1:26-29;  1 Corinthians 2:3-4;  2 Corinthians 12:9 ). In some texts, powers refer to angelic powers ( Romans 8:38;  Ephesians 3:10;  Colossians 2:15;  1 Peter 3:22 ).

Chris Church

Morrish Bible Dictionary [10]

The two principal words in the N.T. translated 'power' are 1, δύναμις, and 2, ἐξουσία. It is important to see the difference between them, for their signification is not at all the same. No. 1 may be described as 'capacity, moral or physical ability, power.' No. 2 signifies 'delegated authority, right, privilege, title.' The latter always supposes power to exercise the right; but in the former there is no thought of right or authority. No. 1 is translated in the A.V. 'ability, might, mighty, mighty deeds, miracles, power, strength, violence, mighty works, wonderful works,' etc. which will help further to show the character of the word, contrasted with No. 2, which is translated 'authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, and strength.'

The word 'power' occurs in both lists, and this needs to be cleared of any ambiguity. No. 2 is often translated 'power' where some other word would convey the sense better; but there is no single word in the English language that exactly answers to the Greek, and which would suit in all places. A concordance must be consulted for a full list of the occurrences: a few passages only are cited. All 'authority' is given to the Lord Jesus.  Matthew 9:6;  Matthew 28:18;  John 17:2 . Satan offered to give to the Lord 'authority' over the kingdoms of the world which had been delivered to him, if the Lord would fall down and worship him.  Luke 4:6 . To as many as received the Lord, to them gave He 'right ' or 'title' to become the children of God.  John 1:12 . "There is no 'authority' but of God," No. 2 occurring five times in  Romans 13:1-3 . Along with 'principality' occurs No. 2 in  Ephesians 1:21;  Ephesians 3:10;  Ephesians 6:12;  Colossians 1:16;  Colossians 2:10,15;  Titus 3:1 .

The principal thing to remember is that No. 2 signifies a delegated right or title, with the presumed power or strength to enforce the right; whereas in No. 1 it is strength or power only.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [11]

Ability, force, strength. Power includes a particular relation to the subordinate execution of superior orders. In the word authority we find a sufficient energy to make us perceive a right. Dominion carries with it an idea of empire.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [12]

For the use of this word in  1 Corinthians 11:10 , see VEIL.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

pou´ẽr  : This word, indicative of might, strength, force, is used in the Old Testament to render very many Hebrew terms, the translation in numerous instances being varied in the Revised Version (British and American) to words like "valor," "rule," "strength," "might," "dominion." The principal words for "power" in the New Testament are δύαμις , dúnamis , and ἐξουσία , exousı́a . In the latter case the Revised Version (British and American) frequently changes to "authority" (  Mark 3:15;  Mark 6:7;  Ephesians 1:21 , etc.) or "right" ( Romans 9:21;  1 Corinthians 9:6;  2 Thessalonians 3:9 , etc.). Power is attributed preeminently to God ( 1 Chronicles 29:11;  Job 26:14;  Psalm 66:7;  Psalm 145:11;  Revelation 7:12 , etc.). On this attribute of power of God, see Omnipotence . The supreme manifestation of the power, as of the wisdom and love of God, is in redemption ( 1 Corinthians 1:18 ,  1 Corinthians 1:24 ). The preaching of the gospel is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 2:4;  1 Thessalonians 1:5 , etc.). Miracles, as "mighty works," are denoted by the term "powers" (so  Matthew 11:21 ,  Matthew 11:23 the Revised Version margin, etc.). The end of all time's developments is that God takes to Him His great power and reigns (  Revelation 11:17 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

or the ability of performing, is in an essential degree an attribute of Deity: God is emphatically styled All-powerful. Power signifies sometimes a right privilege, or dignity ( John 1:12); sometimes absolute authority ( Matthew 28:18); sometimes the exertion or act of power, as of the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 1:19), of angels, or of human governments, magistrates, etc. ( Romans 13:1), and perhaps it generally includes the idea of dignity and superiority. So, the body "is sown in weakness, it is raised in power" ( 1 Corinthians 15:43). The "prince of the power of the air" ( Ephesians 2:2) is a figurative representation of Satan (q.v.). (See Air).