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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Greek - meekness
Greek - meekness
Hebrew - meekness
Hebrew - meekness

A personality trait of gentleness and humility, the opposite of which is pride. Meekness does not refer to weakness or passivity but to controlled power. Aristotle described meekness as the middle position between excessive anger and an excessive lack of anger.

Meekness or gentleness is exemplified by God (2 Samuel 22:36, Psalms 18:35), Moses (Numbers 12:1-13), and Jesus (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 11:29, Matthew 12:14-21; Matthew 21:5). In the Old Testament the meek were often the poor and the oppressed (Amos 2:7; Amos 8:4; Job 24:4; Psalms 9:18; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 16:19). The Hebrew word translated meek (anaw) means, “wretched, impoverished, oppressed, in need, bowed over,” but came to mean, “humble, pious.”

The meek receive the special concern of God and are called blessed (Psalms 37:11; Matthew 5:5). God identifies with the poor and oppressed, hears their pleas, and helps them (Psalms 10:17; Psalms 22:26; Psalms 25:9; Psalms 147:6; Psalms 149:4). The Messiah will also have a special ministry to the meek (Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18).

Christians are encouraged to be meek (Ephesians 4:1-2; Colossians 3:12). Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and should mark the Christian's attitude toward sinners (Galatians 6:1). Paul was meek with the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:21). Pastors should be meek and teach meekness (1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 3:2). Christians should receive God's Word with meekness (James 1:21). Wisdom is expressed with meekness (James 3:13). Christian wives can witness to their unbelieving husbands with their meek spirit (1 Peter 3:1-4). All Christians should be prepared to give a defense of their faith in meekness (1 Peter 3:15). See Humility; Patience; Pride; Poor; Spiritual Gifts.

Warren McWilliams

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'MEEKNESS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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