Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Earnest, a pledge, given and received, to assure the fulfillment of an engagement. Hesychius explains it as somewhat given beforehand. This idea attaches to all the particular applications of the word, as anything given by way of warrant or security for the performance, of a promise; part of a debt paid as an assurance of paying the remainder; part of the price of anything paid beforehand to confirm the bargain between buyer and seller; part of a servants wages paid at the time of hiring, for the purpose of ratifying the engagement on both sides. The idea that the earnest is either to be returned upon the fulfillment of the engagement, or to be considered as part of the stipulation, is also included. The word is used three times in the New Testament, but always in a figurative sense: in the first (), it is applied to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which God bestowed upon the apostles, and by which He might be said to have hired them to be the servants of His son; and which were the earnest, assurance, and commencement of those far superior blessings which He would bestow on them in the life to come, as the wages of their faithful services:—in the two latter (; ), it is applied to the gifts bestowed on Christians generally upon whom, after baptism, the Apostles had laid their hands, and which were to them an earnest of obtaining an heavenly habitation and inheritance, upon the supposition of their fidelity. This use of the term finely illustrates the augmented powers and additional capacities promised in a future state.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Earnest'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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