What is a benediction? What are some of the benedictions in the Bible?
The word "benediction" comes from the Latin bene meaning "good" and dicere meaning "say." In the Bible, a benediction referred to "good words" from God or His representatives toward His people as a blessing.
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One of the best known benedictions in the Bible is found in Numbers 6:24-26 and was known as the priestly blessing that was to be spoken by the priest to the people of Israel: "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
In the New Testament, several benedictions are found at the conclusion of various books. For example, near the end of Ephesians, Paul wrote, "Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible" (Ephesians 6:23-24). Similarly, in 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 we read, "Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints."
Another powerful benediction is found at the conclusion of one of the New Testament's shortest books, the Book of Jude. Jude 1:24-25 says, "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
In the Old Testament, benedictions were often used at the tabernacle, temple, and within the home. In the New Testament, a benediction was often given at the end of the service, similar to what was seen in the conclusion of many New Testament letters. Throughout the history of the church, many books of liturgy have also been developed that emphasize the common use of a benediction to conclude a service, using either a biblical passage or prewritten statement of encouragement. Still today, it is not uncommon to see a church using a benediction to end its services.
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