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Holman Bible Dictionary


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1. Gratitude directed towards God (except Luke 17:9 ; Acts 24:3 ; Romans 16:4 ), generally in response to God's concrete acts in history. Thanksgiving was central to Old Testament worship. Sacrifice and offerings were to be made not grudgingly but with thanksgiving (Psalm 54:6 ; Jonah 2:9 ). The psalmist valued a song of thanksgiving more than sacrifice (Psalm 69:30-31 ). David employed Levites “to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:4 ; also 1 Chronicles 23:30 ; Nehemiah 12:46 ). Pilgrimage to the Temple and Temple worship were characterized by thanksgiving (Psalm 42:4 ; Psalm 95:2 ; Psalm 100:4 ; Psalm 122:4 ). Thankfulness was expressed: for personal (Psalm 35:18 ) and national deliverance (Psalm 44:7-8 ); for God's faithfulness to the covenant (Psalm 100:5 ); and for forgiveness (Psalm 30:4-5 ; Isaiah 12:1 ). All creation joins in offering thanks to God (Psalm 145:10 ). See Psalms.

Thanksgiving is a natural element of Christian worship (1 Corinthians 14:16-17 ) and is to characterize all of Christian life (Colossians 2:7 ; Colossians 4:2 ). Early Christians expressed thanks: for Christ's healing ministry (Luke 17:16 ); for Christ's deliverance of the believer from sin (Romans 6:17-18 ; Romans 7:25 ); for God's indescribable gift of grace in Christ (2 Corinthians 9:14-15 ; 1 Corinthians 15:57 ; compare Romans 1:21 ); and for the faith of fellow Christians (Romans 1:8 ).

2. Epistolary thanksgiving: An element in the opening of a typical Greek letter. All of the Pauline Letters with the exception of Galatians begin with a thanksgiving. See Letters.

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 'Thanksgiving'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 26th, 2017
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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