#blessed: Lesson 1: Part 1

Hello, and welcome to 10-Minute Bible study!

We are studying Psalm 1:1-3 in this series, which, if you’ll recall from last week’s introduction, opens with the word blessed. So before we get into studying that passage, we’re going to spend the first few weeks digging in deep to the meaning of the word blessed!

BACKGROUND

To start my research, I wanted to find out the Biblical definition of the word blessed. As it turns out, there are four words translated blessed in our Bibles, two in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. When we find the word bless, blessed, or blessing, a form of one these four words is being used:

Old Testament (Hebrew)

barak

esher

New Testament (Greek)

eulogeo

makarios

We’re going to start by studying barak and eulogeo before we move on to esher and makarios in a couple of weeks.

So here we go!

Barak and eulogeo both reference a state of being divinely favored and consecrated to God. The actual definition of barak is “to kneel, to bless,” so the word also implies a gesture of praise and submission. The definition of eulogeo is “to speak well of, to praise, to bless.” Every time the word blessing is used in the Bible it is a form of barak or eulogeo, which means that every blessing in Scripture is an outward symbol of divine favor and consecration to God.

These two words are used throughout Scripture to describe God, people, and even things. When a thing was blessed, it meant that thing was consecrated to God for divine purposes. When these words are used to describe God, they refer to praise. God can be barak and eulogeo blessed by people through words or gestures of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, etc. What an awesome concept to think that we, mere humans, can bless God!

APPLICATION

Now that we’ve been introduced to the meaning of these two words, let’s start answering our questions!

What does it mean to be blessed?

Oh here we go! This is somewhat of a loaded question, and we’re going to tackle it head-on.

We’ve merely scratched the surface of the word blessed, but we do know barak and eulogeo blessedness means being divinely favored and consecrated to God. Even a quick Google search gives these results:

Blessed - “made holy, consecrated”

Blessing - “God’s favor and protection”

Does this surprise you as much as it did me?!

Honestly, I think the majority of us would have described being blessed as “having blessings.” Would you agree with that statement? We consider the good things in our lives to be blessings - and they are!

In the Old Testament, when a person or group of people were barak blessed, it usually resulted in the physical bestowal of good things and/or favorable circumstances. These good things were blessings. They were an outward symbol of divine favor and consecration to God.

It’s probably safe to say most people feel as though they have been blessed by good things which have been physically bestowed upon them - love, family, children, a home, friendships, education, a job opportunity, etc. But what about the things that don’t feel good to us - can they be blessings too? And what about good things that are bestowed upon people who aren’t consecrated to God? Are all people blessed, and are all blessings from God?

We’re going to answer these questions in bits and pieces, and we’ll start here...

Are all people blessed?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Let’s find out why!

The first time God blessed man in the Bible is found in Genesis 1:28. We’ll start with verse 27 to get the whole context:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed [barak] them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28, NASB)

From the very beginning, God blessed mankind. All people have been divinely favored because we have been created in the image of God, we have been given authority over the other parts of creation to meet our physical needs, and we have the potential to be fruitful and multiply. (Stay tuned for next week because we’re going to dive into that phrase!)

Now let’s take a look at the third time God speaks a blessing over man in the Bible (the second time was Noah...in case you were wondering:). In Genesis 12:1-3 God blessed Abraham, and He ended His blessing with these words:

...all peoples on earth

will be blessed through you.

This verse says ALL peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham. How? Because Jesus Christ came from the bloodline of Abraham, and Jesus Christ was God’s ultimate blessing available for all mankind!

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10, NIV)

Mankind is favored by God because He created us in His image, He loves us, and He sent His Son to die for us!

However, only those who accept the blessing of Jesus Christ are consecrated to God and can receive the greatest blessing of all - eternal life with God (Romans 6:23). And only those who accept the blessing of Jesus Christ are recipients of the fullness of spiritual blessings. (Once again, stay tuned for next week!)

When we accept the gift of Jesus Christ, we are blessed - consecrated to God for divine purposes!

Ok, now let’s circle back around to the question we posed earlier about blessings: What about the things that don’t feel good to us - can they be blessings too? And what about good things that are bestowed upon people who aren’t consecrated to God? Are all blessings from God?