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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Peace

PEACE . From Latin pax , through French. 1 . Except in Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:21; Daniel 11:24 (where RV [Note: Revised Version.] corrects to ‘security’), the OT ‘peace’ represents uniformly the Heb. shâlôm (Eastern salaam ), the fundamental sense of which always more or less distinctly implied is welfare (as in Genesis 43:27 , Psalms 73:3 etc.); of well-being, in the old turbulent times, peace was the prime condition. The word has the following specific religious uses: (1) it is the common formula of courteous well-wishing, employed both at meeting and at parting (see Gen 43:23 , 1 Samuel 1:17 , Psalms 122:7 f.; cf. Matthew 10:12 f.); (2) ‘peace’ constituted the most conspicuous blessing of the Messianic Kingdom of God (wh. see; cf. Psalms 72:3; Psalms 72:7 , Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:5-7; Isaiah 11:5-9 , Haggai 2:9 , Zechariah 9:10 ); and (3) it signified a sound and settled understanding between J″ [Note: Jahweh.] and His people ( Numbers 6:26 , Psalms 29:11; Psalms 85:8 ff; Psalms 122:6 , Jeremiah 16:5 etc.) hence J″ [Note: Jahweh.] ’s ‘covenant of peace ’ is lodged with His priests ( Numbers 25:12 , Malachi 2:4 f.). In this last and richest use the word approximates to its subjective NT signification, implying tranquillity of heart, as in Psalms 4:8; Psalms 119:155 , Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 48:22 .

2 . The transition, from OT to NT usage strikingly illustrates the inwardness of Christianity. Out of some 90 NT instances of ‘peace’ there are not more than 8 or 9 which do not refer to heart-peace. The Greek eirçnç in its proper sense signified peace strictly, as the opposite of conflict; but it took over, first in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] and then in the NT, the broader import of shâlôm , which is conspicuous in the (Hebraistic) Benedictions (see Mark 5:34 , Luke 7:30; Luke 24:36 , John 14:27 , James 2:16 etc.) and in the epistolary Salutations. In the latter formulæ, ‘peace’ comprehends the sum of blessing experienced, as ‘grace’ the sum of blessing bestowed, from God in Christ. The Messianic peace (1 (2), above) reappears in Luke 1:79; Luke 2:14 , Matthew 10:34; and the peace of harmony with God (1 (3)) in John 16:33 , Acts 10:36 , Romans 8:6; Romans 15:33 , Philippians 4:7 etc. The uses just named are gathered up, with a deepened sense, into the specific NT doctrine of peace, of which Paul is the exponent, and Romans 5:1 the classical text (cf. v. 10, also 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 , Ephesians 2:13-18 , Colossians 1:20; see article on Justification): ‘peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ is the state and the experience of those who have been ‘reconciled’ to the Father through the sacrifice offered by the Son of His love, whose ‘trespasses’ are ‘forgiven’ and in whose heart ‘the spirit of adoption’ dwells. Reconciled to God, men are reconciled to life and the world; by His cross Christ ‘has slain’ at a blow ‘the enmity’ between God and man and between race and race ( Ephesians 2:18 ). ‘Peace on earth’ is to flow from ‘the peace of Christ’ that ‘rules in’ Christian ‘hearts’ ( Colossians 3:15 ).

G. G. Findlay.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Peace'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/p/peace.html. 1909.

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