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Bible Lexicons

Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament

Acceptance

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Several words are taken to represent the doctrine of the Divine acceptance of man in Proverbs 21:3, we read, 'To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.' Here the word Bachar (בחר ) signifies to choose or select, whether for work or for honour. this is the word used of the 'chosen people,' and answers to the word ἐκλεκτός, 'elect,' in the LXX and the N.T in some passages the LXX has rendered it αἱρετίξω, It has been rendered 'elect' in Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 45:4; Isaiah 65:9; Isaiah 65:22, in all which passages there is reference either to Israel or to the Messiah.

In Leviticus 10:19, 'Should it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?' we might render, 'Should it have been good or pleasing (טוב ) in his sight?' in Psalms 20:3, 'The Lord remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice;' here, as we read in the margin, the word for accept (דשׁן ) may signify either make fat or turn to ashes, the latter being the most probable in Ecclesiastes 12:10, 'The preacher sought to find out acceptable words,' the word (Chaphets) signifies pleasant or desirable.

In 1 Samuel 26:19, David says to Saul, 'If the Lord have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering.' Here the word to smell (רוח Ass. ruhhu) is used, so that the passage may be compared with others, suc has Genesis 8:21, where God is described as smelling a sweet savour, that is to say, being pleased with the offering, and hence with the offerer.

Nasa (נשׂא ), which has been discussed above, is frequently used to represent acceptance, with the addition of the word 'face' or 'person' (פנים ). It occurs in Genesis 19:21, where the angel says to Lot, 'I have accepted thee concerning this thing ;' in Genesis 32:20, where Jacob says of Esau, 'Perhaps he will accept of me;' and in Job 42:8-9, when God says of Job, 'Him will I accept.' See also 1 Samuel 25:35; Job 13:8; Job 13:10; Job 32:21; Job 34:10; Psalms 82:2; Proverbs 18:5; Malachi 1:8.

A noun formed from the verb Nasa is used without the additional word 'face' or 'person' in Genesis 4:7, 'If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?' Perhaps the word might be rendered excellency (as in the margin), or superiority, rather than acceptance. Our translators have rendered it dignity in Genesis 49:3, excellency in Job 13:11, and highness in 31:23.

The most important word for acceptance is ratsah (רצה ), to be well pleased. It is used of God's acceptance of Aar on s ministrations in behalf of Israel (Exodus 28:38; Deuteronomy 33:11), and is applied to the Divine regard for the offerer who comes before God in the appointed way. Thus, we read in Leviticus 1:4, 'He shall put his h and up on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him (לו ), to make atonement for him.' in the third verse of the same chapter, instead of rending with the A. V. ' of his own voluntary will,' there is little doubt that we should read ' for his acceptance;' and so in other passages. See R. V.

The following passages illustrate the usage of ratsah: - Leviticus 7:18; Leviticus 19:7, 'If it (the peace offering) be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth it shall bear his iniquity' (compare Leviticus 22:21; Leviticus 23:11). 2 Samuel 24:23, ' and Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.' Psalms 19:14, 'Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight.' Psalms 69:13, ' as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time,' e.g. at a se as on agreeable to Thee (compare Isaiah 49:8). Psalms 119:108. 'Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth.' See also Proverbs 10:32; Ecclesiastes 9:7; Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 58:5; Isaiah 60:7; Isaiah 61:2; Jeremiah 6:20; Jeremiah 14:10; Jeremiah 14:12; Ezekiel 20:40-41; Ezekiel 43:27; Hosea 8:13; Amos 5:22; Matthew 1:10; Matthew 1:13.

It is evident that by the Divine acceptance is to be understood the pleasure with which God welcomes into personal contact with Himself those who approach Him in his own appointed way, and in a spirit cognate to his own. An evildoer, as such, is not acceptable to God, even though he offer sacrifices. He must be sheltered by atonement, and must thus have the germ at least of a Divine life working in him if he would be regarded by God with pleasure.

The LXX frequently adopts εὐδοκέω, to be well pleased, for ratsah, especially in the Psalms. We also find προσδέχομαι and δέχομαι, to accept, in several passages. The adjectival form is usually δεκτός, and the substantive is εὐδοκία and θέλημα.

In the utterance, 'Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am swell pleased,' which is repeated in six passages in the N.T in slightly different forms, there may be an implied reference to Isaiah 42:1 ('Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth'), where the word ratsah is found. If so, we might gather that the purport of the announcement was that Christ Jesus was accepted by God as the minister of the true sanctuary and as the offering for the sins of the world. It is more probable, however, that the Greek word here used answers rather to the Hebrew chaphets, and signifies that Christ is one in whom God takes pleasure.

The verb προσδέχομαι in the N.T. generally means either to expect or to receive. It is used in the passage, 'This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them' (Luke 15:2) in Philippians 4:18, Christian service is spoken of as 'an acceptable sacrifice' (θυσία δεκτή). That which is acceptable in God's sight is spoken of as εὐδοκία in Matthew 11:26, and Luke 10:21, 'So it seemed good in thy sight;' compare also Ephesians 1:9, and Philippians 2:13 in Ephesians 1:5, the two Greek renderings of ratson are combined in one phrase - 'according to the good pleasure of his will.' in the angels' song (Luke 2:14), if we accept the reading 'good will towards men,' we must understand God's willingness to accept men; if we read 'towards men of good will,' we ought to understand his good will; so that the meaning is practically the same; and, after all, we are only dealing with a Greek rendering of what must have been a Hebrew song.

With regard to the word θέλημα, we have, in Hebrews 10:7, a quotation from the Psalms which rules the meaning of the word in other passages, 'Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.' Here θέλημαanswers to ratson, that which is acceptable in thy sight. 'by the which will,' continues the writer, 'we are sanctified.' Forasmuc has sacrifices of bulls and goats did not prove acceptable to God, the Divine son came to do what would be acceptable. He substituted the offering of Himself for the types, and this offering being accepted by God, believers in Him were sanctified there by (see Matthew 26:39) in Hebrews 10:36, the responsibility of doing the will of God is laid on the believer; and so in Hebrews 13:21, where we learn that what we do is wrought in us by God, and is acceptable to Him through Jesus Christ. Compare Romans 12:1.

on reviewing the passages of the N.T in which the idea of acceptance is presented, they will be seen to confirm the view taken of the Hebrew word, as signifying the favourable and pleasurable reception given to man by God. God's acceptance of the man who believes in his son is not to be regarded as a mere fictitious theory; it is a solid fact, a spiritual reality. Just as men here below have pleasure in one another under certain circumstances, so the unseen Author of Existence takes pleasure in those who fear Him, draws near to them when they draw near to Him, and in the person of Christ 'receiveth sinners and eateth with them.' It is indeed a mystery; but it is gloriously true, and will be more fully realised hereafter, when the Tabernacle of God shall be with men.

Public Domain
Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Acceptance'. Synonyms of the Old Testament. https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/eng/girdlestone/acceptance.html.
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