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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The Hebrews called the Gentiles גויים , εθνη , the nations, that is, those who have not received the faith or law of God. All who are not Jews, and circumcised, are goiim. Those who were converted, and embraced Judaism, they called proselytes. Since the Gospel, the true religion is not confined to any one nation or country, as heretofore. God, who had promised by his prophets to call the Gentiles to the faith, with a superabundance of grace, has fulfilled his promise; so that the Christian church is now composed principally of Gentile converts; and the Jews, too proud of their particular privileges, and abandoned to their reprobate sense of things, have disowned Jesus Christ, their Messiah and Redeemer, for whom, during so many ages, they had looked so impatiently. In the writings of St. Paul, the Gentiles are generally denoted as Greeks, Romans 1:14 ; Romans 1:16 ; Romans 2:9-10 ; Romans 3; Romans 10:12 ; 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ; Galatians 3:28 . St. Luke, in the Acts, expresses himself in the same manner, Acts 6:1 ; Acts 11:20 ; Acts 18, &c.

2. St. Paul is commonly called the Apostle of the Gentiles, 1 Timothy 2:7 , or Greeks; because he, principally, preached Jesus Christ to them; whereas Peter, and the other Apostles, preached generally to the Jews, and are called Apostles of the circumcision, Galatians 2:8 . The prophets declared very particularly the calling of the Gentiles. Jacob foretold that the Messiah, he who was to be sent, the Shiloh, should gather the Gentiles to himself. Solomon, at the dedication of his temple, prays for "the stranger" who should there entreat God. The Psalmist says, that the Lord would give the Gentiles to the Messiah for his inheritance; that Egypt and Babylon shall know him; that Ethiopia shall hasten to bring him presents; that the kings of Tarshish, and of the isles, the kings of Arabia and Sheba, shall be tributary to him, Psalms 2:8 ; Psalms 67:4 ; Psalms 72:9-10 . Isaiah abounds with prophecies of the like nature, on which account he has justly been distinguished by the name of "the prophet of the Gentiles."

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Gentile'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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