For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. —Isaiah 9:6-7.
Girls, this week marks the second week of Advent, and the theme for this week is peace. In light of this week’s theme, I want to ask you a very important question.
What is peace?
Above, you can see one of the traditional Scripture readings for this week of Advent from Isaiah 9:6-7. This Scripture talks about Jesus as the Prince of Peace, and of the peace, He will bring. A second traditional reading for this week comes from John 14:27.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. —John 14:27
Usually when we think of peace, we think of everyone getting along and no fighting or wars. The Bible seems to mean something different when it talks about peace, though. In the Old Testament, Israel fought other nations a lot. In the New Testament, Ephesians talks about putting on armor (Ephesians 6) and spiritual warfare, and the Book of Revelation contains some things that sound rather un-peaceful.
So then, what does the Bible mean when it talks about peace? Let’s look at some Hebrew and Greek words, shall we?
In the verses from Isaiah, both times the word “peace” is used it’s translated from the Hebrew word shalowm (pronounced “shaw-lome”). One definition of shalowm does mean peace in human relationships, but most of the definitions of shalowm mean “completeness or soundness.”
In the verse out of the Gospel of John, the word translated as “peace” comes from the Greek word eirene (pronounced “i-ray-nay”). Eirene can mean national peace, peace between individuals or more likely, coming from the Gospels, it can mean “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, fearing nothing from God and content with its purpose on earth.” In essence, in the Gospel of John it most likely means “complete.”
Girls, I didn’t know any of this until I started doing the research for this article, but I think it’s so cool to look at this definition of peace in light of Jesus’s birth. This is exactly what Jesus came and died to give us: completeness, wholeness. We were missing a part of ourselves because we were separated from God, and Jesus came to give us completeness (peace).
I’m all for getting along with other people, but I think I like the “completeness” definition of peace the most.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace [eirene] among men with whom He is pleased.” —Luke 2:14
Girls, what do you think about defining peace as “completeness”? Does this definition help you understand the “peace” that Jesus came to bring?
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