SermonIndex Audio Sermons
SermonIndex - Promoting Revival to this Generation

Give To SermonIndex
Text Sermons : Greek Word Studies : Gentle (4239) praus

Open as PDF

Gentle (meek, KJV) (4239)(praus -- some sources state it originates from paos = easy, mild or soft) (Click for in depth study of the related noun translated "gentleness' = prautes) describes those who are of a quiet, gentle spirit, in opposition to the proud and supercilious Scribes and Pharisees and their disciples. We have a compound word gentleman, which once fully expressed the meaning of the word meek, but in our modern society has almost wholly lost its original meaning.

Praus is used 4 times in the NT in the NASB (Matt 5:5; 11:29; 21:5; 1 Pet 3:4) and is always translated "gentle" but could be translated as “meek” or “tender.” It refers to an inward grace of the soul. Here are some variations in translation...

"who don’t trust in their own power”

“whose strength is in their gentleness” (Barclay)

Praus - 14x in the Septuagint (LXX) - Num 12:3; Job 24:4; 36:15; Ps 25:9KJV; Ps 34:2; 37:11; 76:9; 147:6; 149:4; Isa 26:6; Dan 4:19; Joel 3:11; Zeph 3:12; Zech 9:9

Numbers 12:3ESV Now the man Moses was very meek (Lxx = praus), more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Psalm 37:11ESV But the meek (Lxx = praus) shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

In Classical Greek praus was used to describe tame or gentle animals (an unbroken colt was useless), a soothing medicine (medicine that was too strong would harm rather than cure), a mild or soft word (cf Pr 15:1), a gentle voice (emotion out of control would destroy and tear down) or a gentle breeze (wind out of control would bring destruction).

And so a person without meekness is

“like a city that is broken into and without walls” (Pr 25:28).

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Pr 16:32).

As Barclay relates...

It was the lack of that very quality which ruined Alexander the Great, who, in a fit of uncontrolled temper in the middle of a drunken debauch, hurled a spear at his best friend and killed him. No man can lead others until he has mastered himself; no man can serve others until he has subjected himself; no man can be in control of others until he has learned to control himself. But the man who gives himself into the complete control of God will gain this meekness which will indeed enable him to inherit the earth. (Matthew 5 Commentary - Daily Study Bible -online)

As someone has said praus is a word with a "caress" in it. In this regard it is interesting to note John Wycliffe's translation of Mt 5:5 as...

Blessed be mild men.

MacArthur writes that...

Meekness is the opposite of violence and vengeance. The meek person, for example, accepts joyfully the seizing of his property, knowing that he has infinitely better and more permanent possessions awaiting him in heaven (Heb. 10:34). The meek person has died to self, and he therefore does not worry about injury to himself, or about loss, insult, or abuse. The meek person does not defend himself, first of all because that is His Lord’s command and example, and second because he knows that he does not deserve defending. Being poor in spirit and having mourned over his great sinfulness, the gentle person stands humbly before God, knowing he has nothing to commend himself. (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary Chicago: Moody Press)

As noted above the Greeks characterized meekness as power under control and in the case of the Spirit filled believer this means that he or she is under the control of God's Spirit. From a practical standpoint, the individual who is "praus" exhibits a freedom from malice, bitterness, or any desire for revenge. The only way to truly define meekness is in the context of relationships because it refers to how we treat others. A gentle spirit should characterize our relationship with both man and God.

Meekness/gentleness also implies self-control. Aristotle explained that it is the mean between excessive anger and excessive angerlessness. So the man who is meek is able to balance his anger. It is strength under control. The meek person is strong! He is gentle, meek, and mild, but he is in control. He is as strong as steel.

Meekness implies submission to God but it is not a passive submission that shrugs its shoulders and says, "Oh well, I can't do anything about it anyway," but it is an active submission, a choosing to accept God's ways without murmuring or disputing.

Meekness is not cowardice, emotional flabbiness, lack of conviction, complacency, timidity or the willingness to have peace at any cost.

Neither does meekness suggest indecisiveness, wishy-washiness, or a lack of confidence. The meek person is gentle and mild in his own cause, though he may be a lion in God’s cause or in defending others.

Meekness is not shyness or a withdrawn personality, as contrasted with that of an extrovert. Nor can meekness be reduced to mere niceness. D Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains it this way...

There are people who seem to be born naturally nice. That is not what the Lord means when He says, `Blessed are the meek.' That is something purely biological, the kind of thing you get in animals. One dog is nicer than another, one cat is nicer than another. That is not meekness. So it does not mean to be naturally nice or easy to get on with. Nor does it mean weakness in personality or character. Still less does it mean a spirit of compromise or 'peace at any price. How often are these things mistaken. How often is the man regarded as meek who says, 'Anything rather than have a disagreement. (Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)

Meekness is not weakness, but meekness does not use its power for its own defense or selfish purposes. Meekness is controlled strength or power completely surrendered to God’s control. It is an attitude of heart in which all energies are brought into the perfect control of the Holy Spirit.

The courage, strength, conviction, and softness of meekness come from the Spirit (see note Galatians 5:23), not from self. This spirit of meekness is ultimately the spirit of Christ Himself. Peter records our Lord's example of meekness that we might follow...

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (see notes 1 Peter 2:21; 22; 23).
Notice that in meekness Jesus did not attempt to defend Himself nor did He return evil for evil even though accused and suffering unjustly. This is our precious example of meekness beloved. Will you follow the Savior's steps along this narrow path? You will be blessed now and forever.

W E Vine writes that...

Meekness is an in-wrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God.

It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing and resisting
Praus refers to one who is not overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance and is gentle, humble, considerate, meek and unassuming.

Lloyd-Jones explains that...

The meek man is not proud of himself, he does not in any sense glory in himself. He feels that there is nothing in himself of which he can boast. It also means that he does not assert himself...He does not make demands for his position, his privileges, his possessions, his status in life (see esp. Phil 2:5)...the man who is meek is not even sensitive about himself. He is not always watching himself and his own interests. He is not al­ways on the defensive...We spend the whole of our lives watching ourselves. But when a man becomes meek he has finished with all that; he no longer worries about himself and what other people say. To be truly meek means we no longer protect ourselves, be­cause we see there is nothing worth defending. So we are not on the defensive; all that is gone. The man who is truly meek never pities himself, he is never sorry for himself. He never talks to himself and says, 'You are having a hard time, how unkind these people are not to understand you: He never thinks: `How wonderful I really am, if only other people gave me a chance.' Self-pity! What hours and years we waste in this! But the man who has become meek has finished with all that. To be meek, in other words, means that you have finished with yourself altogether, and you come to see you have no rights or deserts at all. You come to realize that nobody can harm you. John Bunyan puts it per­fectly. 'He that is down need fear no fall.' When a man truly sees himself, he knows nobody can say anything about him that is too bad. You need not worry about what men may say or do; you know you deserve it all and more...A person who is of the type that I have been describing must of necessity be mild. Think again of the exam­ples; think again of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mild, gentle, lowly— those are the terms...But it also means that there will be a complete absence of the spirit of retaliation, having our own back or seeing that the other person pays for it. It also means, therefore, that we shall be patient and long-suffering, especially when we suffer unjustly...But it also means that we are ready to listen and to learn; that we have such a poor idea of ourselves and our own capabilities that we are ready to listen to others. Above all we must be ready to be taught by the Spirit, and led by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Meekness always implies a teachable spirit. It is what we see again in the case of our Lord Himself. Though he was the Second Person in the blessed Holy Trinity, He became man, He deliberately humbled Himself to the extent that He was dependent entirely upon what God gave Him, what God taught Him and what God told Him to do. He humbled Himself to that, and that is what is meant by being meek. We must be ready to learn and listen and especially must we surrender ourselves to the Spirit....Finally, I would put it like this. We are to leave everything — ourselves, our rights, our cause, our whole future — in the hands of God, and especially so if we feel we are suffering unjustly. (Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)
Meekness speaks of a submissive and trusting attitude toward God. It is an attitude which accepts all of God's ways with us as good. It does not murmur or dispute (cf Phil 2:3, 14-16, James 5:9, Pr 13:10 15:18). It neither rebels nor retaliates (cf Pr 20:22, Ro 12:17-21, Mt 5:39, 44, 1Thes 5:15, 1Cor 13:5, 1Pet 3:8-9). It realizes that what comes to us from the hand of man has been permitted by God's sovereignty (Da 4:34-35, Ps 103:19 Da 7:27, 1Ti 6:15), has been filtered by His fingers of love, and will be used by God for His glory and our ultimate good. God is sovereign and in absolute control. Meekness looks beyond circumstances — no matter how upsetting and hurtful — and bows the knee to the sovereign God realizing that everything is permitted and used by Him for our chastening, our purifying.

Meekness says, "Not my will, but Yours be done."

Meekness bows before the throne and realizes that the God Who sits upon that throne is an all-wise God. God makes His wise plans on the basis of His righteous character. He has righteous ends in mind and chooses righteous means to achieve those ends.

Meekness knows that the God Who sits upon the throne of the universe is a good God. Meekness then, when faced with adversity, bows the knee. Why? How? Because the meek individual has come to know God's character. (Ponder a few of these passages - Isaiah 14:24, 27, Psalm 52:9, Psalm 107:9, Isaiah 45:5-7, Ecclesiastes 7:13-14, Psalm 31:14-15).

Meekness looks "not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). meekness does not accuse God of being unrighteous or unjust.

Meekness realizes that God is holy. He is a morally excellent, perfect being, pure in every aspect. So meekness makes itself low before His might and majesty.

Meekness whispers through its tears, "God, I trust You. I know You are holy. I know You are righteous. I know You are just. I accept everything that comes into my life without murmuring, without disputing, without retaliation. I know, God, that You are a God of wrath. I know that within You is a holy hatred for all that is unrighteous — an unquenchable desire to punish all unrighteousness. I know, God, that whatever is inconsistent with You must ultimately be consumed. And I wait for that day when You, in righteousness and justice, will move with wrath."

Meekness manifests itself in its reaction to evil — by turning the other cheek, loving its enemies, and praying for those who persecute it (Mt 5:39, 44).

Meekness can do this because it realizes that the insults and injuries which evil men and women may inflict are permitted by a sovereign God Who is in complete control and Who is therefore able to use such events to purify and build godly character in the one who is insulted or injured. As you can see meekness is absolutely not a characteristic of man in his natural (fallen, sinful, unredeemed, unregenerate) state but reflects an inwrought grace of God's Spirit living in and through him!. (Adapted from Kay Arthur's highly recommended book Lord, Only You Can Change Me: A Devotional Study on Growing in Character from the Beatitudes which covers Mt 5:1-16, see also her excellent complementary study on - Lord, I'm Torn Between Two Masters: A Devotional Study on Genuine Faith from the Sermon on the Mount)

Praus describes the man or woman whose temper is always under complete control. It means power put under control. The meek person knows when to be angry and when not to be angry. They patiently bear wrongs to themselves but are ever chivalrously ready to spring to the help of others who are wronged. When the meek person becomes angry, he or she is aroused by that which maligns God's Name or His work or is harmful to others, not by what is done against himself or herself. There is in fact is a lack of anger when they are harmed or criticized. And when they do demonstrate a "righteous anger" (cf Eph 4:26), it is controlled and carefully directed, not a careless and wild venting of emotion that spatters everyone who is near. People who are angered at every nuisance or inconvenience to themselves know nothing of meekness or gentleness or meekness.

Praus and prautes convey the idea of tenderness and graciousness, and can be accurately translated “meekness” and “meek” respectively. But unlike those English words, the Greek terms do not connote weakness but rather power under control. The adjective praus was often used of a wild horse that was broken and made useful to its owner. For believers, to be gentle is to be willingly under the sovereign control of God. Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as

“very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”
Yet that same Moses could act decisively, and flared up in anger when provoked.

How would you describe your attitude, beloved? Are you meek, humble, gentle, and mild, or do you tend to display an arrogant, selfish attitude toward others?

Gentleness is a God-honored character trait, a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23) and is never bitter, malicious, self-seeking, self-promoting, arrogant, or vengeful.

Adam Clarke writes that the English word "meek"

comes from the old Anglo-Saxon meca, or meccea, a companion or equal, because he who is of a meek or gentle spirit, is ever ready to associate with the meanest of those who fear God, feeling himself superior to none; and well knowing that he has nothing of spiritual or temporal good but what he has received from the mere bounty of God, having never deserved any favour from his hand. (Clarke, A. Clarke's Commentary: Matthew).
The person who is "gentle" or "meek" sees everything as coming from God and accepting it without murmuring and without disputing.

The "gentle, meek" person (empowered by the indwelling Spirit, gentleness being His fruit) is enabled to say

"God, in this situation (whatever it might be), You are in control. You are sovereign and You rule over all. You have a purpose and that one aspect of Your purpose is to make me more like Christ."

Robert Johnstone (in his excellent nineteenth-century commentary on James) has some insightful comments on meek or gentle writing...

"I do not know that at any point the opposition between the spirit of the world and the Spirit of Christ is more marked, more obviously diametrical, than with regard to this feature of character. That “the meek” should “inherit the earth”—they who bear wrongs, and exemplify that love which “seeketh not her own,”—to a world which believes in high-handedness and self-assertion, and pushing the weakest to the wall, a statement like this of the Lord from heaven cannot but appear an utter paradox. The man of the world desires to be counted anything but “meek” or “poor in spirit,” and would deem such a description of him equivalent to a charge of unmanliness. Ah, brethren, this is because we have taken in Satan’s conception of manliness instead of God’s. One Man has been shown us by God, in whom His ideal of man was embodied; and He, “when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously”; He for those who nailed Him to the tree prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” The world’s spirit of wrath, then, must be folly; whilst than a spirit of meekness like His, in the midst of controversy, oppositions, trials of whatever kind, there can be no surer evidence that “Jesus is made of God to His people wisdom.” (Johnstone, Robert : A Commentary on James - online)
Strong's note on praus states that

"Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time." (cf Is41:17)

William Barclay (critique) has a lengthy discussion of praus (and the related word prautes) writing that praus has two main lines of meanings...

"(a) Aristotle, the great Greek thinker and teacher, has much to say about praotēs (related to praus). It was his custom to define every virtue as the mean between two extremes. On one side there was excess of some quality, on the other defect; and in between there was exactly its right proportion.

Aristotle defines praotēs (related to praus) as the mean between being too angry and never being angry at all.

The man who is praus is the man who is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time. (Matthew 5 Commentary - Daily Study Bible -online)

Thus a meek individual is one who is angry on the right occasion with the right people at the right moment for the right length of time. Stated another way, meekness is "anger under control" but not just any kind of anger. Meekness is always the mean between excessive anger and excessive angerlessness. The man who is meek is able to balance his anger. Since a meek man is not a self-centered man, the anger is not about that which happens to him but is rather a righteous anger at what is wrongly done to others. (See the examples of Moses and Jesus in this discussion)

Barclay goes on to add...

To put that in another way, the man who is praus is the man who is kindled by indignation at the wrongs and the sufferings of others, but is never moved to anger by the wrongs and the insults he himself has to bear. So, then, the man who is (as in the Authorized Version), meek is the man who is always angry at the right time but never angry at the wrong time.

(b) There is another fact which will illumine the meaning of this word. Praus is the Greek for an animal which has been trained and domesticated until it is completely under control. Therefore the man who is praus is the man who has every instinct and every passion under perfect control. It would not be right to say that such a man is entirely self-controlled, for such self-control is beyond human power; but it would be right to say that such a man is God-controlled. (cf Gal 5:23, 2Peter 1:6)" (Matthew 5 Commentary - Daily Study Bible -online)
To reiterate Barclay's point, it is notable that the Greek term for meekness has its roots in the domestication of animals. Think of talk about a horse that has been "broken," meaning that the animal has learned to accept control by its master and is properly behaved. From there, the term has been extended to include people who are properly behaved. The meek are those of gentle behavior, loving and submissive.

Meekness is the attitude expressed by John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress writing...

He that is down needs fear no fall,
He that is low no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.

Marvin Vincent has a long note on praus, meekness, writing that it is

Another word which, though never used in a bad sense, Christianity has lifted to a higher plane, and made the symbol of a higher good. Its primary meaning is mild, gentle. It was applied to inanimate things, as light, wind, sound, sickness. It was used of a horse; gentle.

As a human attribute, Aristotle defines it as the mean between stubborn anger and that. negativeness of character which is incapable of even righteous indignation: according to which it is tantamount to equanimity. Plato opposes it to fierceness or cruelty, and uses it of humanity to the condemned; but also of the conciliatory demeanor of a demagogue seeking popularity and power. Pindar applies it to a king, mild or kind to the citizens, and Herodotus uses it as opposed to anger.

These pre-Christian meanings of the word exhibit two general characteristics.

1. They express outward conduct merely. 2. They contemplate relations to men only. The Christian word, on the contrary, describes an inward quality, and that as related primarily to God.

The equanimity, mildness, kindness, represented by the classical word, are founded in self-control or in natural disposition. The Christian meekness is based on humility, which is not a natural quality but an outgrowth of a renewed nature.

To the pagan the word often implied condescension, to the Christian it implies submission.

The Christian quality in its manifestation, reveals all that was best in the heathen virtue — mildness, gentleness, equanimity — but these manifestations toward men are emphasized as outgrowths of a spiritual relation to God.

The mildness or kindness of Plato or Pindar imply no sense of inferiority in those who exhibit them; sometimes the contrary. Plato’s demagogue is kindly from self-interest and as a means to tyranny. Pindar’s king is condescendingly kind.

The meekness of the Christian springs from a sense of the inferiority of the creature to the Creator (cf Mt 5:3), and especially of the sinful creature to the holy God (Mt 5:4). While, therefore, the pagan quality is redolent of self-assertion, the Christian quality carries the flavor of self-abasement.

As toward God, therefore, meekness accepts his dealings without murmur or resistance as absolutely good and wise.

As toward man, it accepts opposition, insult, and provocation, as God’s permitted ministers of a chastening demanded by the infirmity and corruption of sin; while, under this sense of his own sinfulness, the meek bears patiently “the contradiction of sinners against himself,” forgiving and restoring the erring in a spirit of meekness, considering himself, lest he also be tempted (see Gal 6:1–5). The ideas of forgiveness and restoration nowhere attach to the classical word. They belong exclusively to Christian meekness, which thus shows itself allied to love. (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament Vol. 1, Page 3-37)
Praus conveys the idea of "controlled strength" and is that humble and gentle attitude that expresses itself in a patient submissiveness.

Think about it...if gentleness or meekness governs the circumstances we encounter rather than the circumstances governing us, it has to be powerful.

Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. The meek have a special happiness because they are free of pride and ambition.

The gentle or meek are those who accept all as coming from God and demonstrate that same behavior to others in a gentleness of life, which is the fruit of the Spirit.

Meekness is an equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down because it is not occupied with self at all.

There is no discord possible on the bassviol to a string that does not exist, or that has not been brought to any tension. (H. W. Beecher.)

J C Ryle says that the meek are...

He means those who are of a patient and contented spirit. They are willing to put up with little honor here below; they can bear injuries without resentment; they are not ready to take offense. Like Lazarus in the parable, they are content to wait for their good things (Luke 16:20). Blessed are all such! They are never losers in the long run. One day they will “reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). (Ryle, J. C. Matthew.)
J Vernon McGee asks...

How do you become meek? Our Lord was meek and lowly, and He will inherit all things; we are the heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. We are told that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, temperance, and meekness. Only the Spirit of God can break you and make you meek. If you could produce meekness by your own effort, you would be proud of yourself, wouldn’t you? And out goes your meekness! Meekness is not produced by self-effort but by Spirit effort. Only the Holy Spirit can produce meekness in the heart of a yielded Christian... The Beatitudes present goals which the child of God wants to realize in his own life, but he can’t do it on his own. You may have heard of the preacher who had a message entitled “Meekness and How I Attained It.” He said that he hadn’t delivered his message yet, but as soon as he got an audience big enough, he was going to give it! Well, I have a notion that he had long since lost his meekness. Meekness can only be a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (McGee, J. V. Thru the Bible commentary. Vol. 4, Page 30. Nashville: Thomas Nelson) (Bolding added)
D Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes an interesting observation regarding how meekness is contrasted with the first two beatitudes noting that...

here (meekness) we are reaching a point at which we begin to be concerned about other people. Let me put it like this. I can see my own utter nothingness and helplessness face-to-face with the demands of the gospel and the law of God (the first beatitude, "poor in spirit"). I am aware, when I am honest with myself, of the sin and the evil that are within me, and that drag me down (the second beatitude, "those who mourn"). And I am ready to face both these things.

But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us. I say of myself that I am a sinner, but instinctively I do not like anybody else to say I am a sinner. That is the principle that is introduced at this point. So far, I myself have been looking at myself. Now, other people are looking at me, and I am in a relationship to them, and they are doing certain things to me. How do I react to that? That is the matter which is dealt with at this point. I think you will agree that this is more humbling and more humiliating than everything that has gone before. (Meekness) is to allow other people to put the searchlight upon me instead of my doing it myself. (Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)
The perfect example of praus is our Lord Jesus Christ and how He walked and responded even to those who mistreated and falsely accused Him (1Peter 2:18-25). He did not operate with deceit, did not return derogatory remarks and did not threaten even though He had more right to do so as Creator than anyone ever created. He kept His mouth closed & prayed. He continually entrusted Himself to God, knowing that God knew his unjust treatment & that He would judge righteously. Jesus' purpose was not to judge (at least not as a Man) but to win over the sinner. Jesus then is the wife's (and all believer's) Example, Role model and most importantly our Enabler (through the Spirit of Christ Who indwells all believers) to supernaturally exhibit this gentle spirit. (1Th 5:24).

Meekness caused Joseph to look beyond the murderous intentions and cruel actions of his brothers to the sovereignty of God. And he was ready to accept all of God's dealings with him without bitterness. As the brothers justifiably feared for their lives, in meekness, the Joseph exhibits the perfect example of power under control declaring...

"Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." (Genesis 50:19-20)

In the New Testament Jesus is our example of perfect gentleness or meekness, in His famous invitation...

28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (refresh you, cause you to cease from movement or labor in order to recover your strength, which emphasizes the restorative character of the rest) 29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle (meek - praus) and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST (noun form of "rest" in v28) FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 "For My yoke is easy (profitable, good for any use, easy to bear chrestos see related word chrestotes), and My load is light." (Mt 11:28-30)

A yoke was a wooden frame which was put on the backs of animals and around their necks joining the two animals for a common task, such as plowing or pulling a load. If you were yoked with Jesus Christ, who do you think would "pull the load"? Obviously the Lord. And so in order to manifest meekness we must yoke ourselves to Jesus, for He is the very essence and epitome of meekness. He promises us that if we take His we will find the rest of available in a meek, humble heart. The picture would have been very familiar to Jesus' audience for in Biblical times a young ox was commonly yoked to an older, more experienced ox so that the older ox might train the younger to perform properly. For example, by bearing the same yoke, the untrained ox would soon learn the proper pace and how to heed the direction of the master. By analogy believers learn by being yoked to Christ, as we surrender to His will in every area of your life.

His yoke is "easy" in that it is good and profitable and has nothing harsh or galling about it. Christ's yoke is not one which chafes, irks or galls, but is smooth and even. Hence, the term suggests that gracious nature which mellows that which otherwise would have been harsh and austere. Christ yoke is "easy" in that it is well-fitting. In Palestine ox yokes were made of wood. The ox was brought, and the measurements were taken. The yoke was then roughed out, and the ox was brought back to have the yoke tried on. The yoke was carefully adjusted, so that it would fit well, and not gall the neck of the patient beast. The yoke was tailor-made to fit the ox. And so is His yoke for you beloved, for He is "gentle and humble in heart". Learn meekness from the Master's touch.

Christ shows as alluded to earlier that meekness is by no means a reflection of weakness or a spineless character. In fact, as stated, genuine Spirit given meekness is anger under control. Anger that is properly motivated and apportioned. In short, it is a "righteous anger". It follows that meekness is not apathy, not a milquetoast mentality, nor a doormat demeanor! Let's look at how our gentle Lord manifested his "meekness" in appropriate anger...

And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise." 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." (John 2:17-18)

The meekness of Christ could not ignore the moneychangers and sacrifice sellers. Instead we see His meekness manifest at the right time against the right people and for the right reason.

In fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy (Zech 9:9), as Jesus prepares for His triumphal entry in His last week in Jerusalem, Matthew records

Kent Hughes sums up Jesus as the incarnation of meekness noting that

He, he displayed it in two ways, both of which showed his power. In respect to his own person, he practiced neither retaliation nor vindictiveness. When he was mocked and spat upon, he answered nothing, for he trusted his Father. As we have noted, when he was confronted by Pilate, he kept silent. When his friends betrayed him and fled, he uttered no reproach. When Peter denied him, Jesus restored him to fellowship and service. When Judas came and kissed him in Gethsemane, Jesus called him "friend." And Jesus meant it. He was never insincere. Even in the throes of death, he pleaded, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). In all of this Jesus, meek and mild, was in control. He radiated power.

Yet, when it came to matters of faith and the welfare of others, Jesus was a lion. He rebuked the Pharisees' hardness of heart when he healed the man's withered hand on the Sabbath (Mt 12:9-45). He was angered when his disciples tried to prevent little children from coming to him (Mark 10:13-16). Jesus made a whip and drove the moneychangers from the temple (John 2:14-17). He called Peter "Satan" after the outspoken fisherman tried to deter him from His heavenly mission (Mt 16:21-23). All of this came from Jesus, the incarnation of gentleness.

Bringing this all together, we have an amazing picture. The one who is meek has a gentle spirit because he trusts God. Indeed, there is a caress about his presence. At the same time the meek person possesses immense strength and self-control, which he exhibits in extending love rather than retaliation against those who do him evil. He stands up fearlessly in defense of others or of the truth as the occasion arises. (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom. Crossway Books) (Bolding added)

Hughes goes on to note some practical benchmarks by which you can assess whether you are manifesting the meekness Christ's calls for...

• Harshness: If you are mean in your treatment of others, if there is an absence of gentleness in your treatment of others, take heed.

• Grasping: If you make sure you always get yours first, if numero uno is the subtle driving force in your life, if you care little about how your actions affect others, beware.

• Vengeful: If you are known as someone never to cross, if you always get your "pound of flesh," be on your guard.

• Uncontrolled: If rage fills your soul so that life is a series of explosions occasioned by the "fools" in your life, watch out.

Again, this is not to suggest that you are not a Christian if you fall into these sins, but rather to point out that if they are part of your persona, if you are a self-satisfied "Christian" who thinks that the lack of gentleness and meekness is "just you" and people will have to get used to it, if you are not repentant, you are probably not a Christian. (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom. Crossway Books) (Bolding added)

Matthew Henry has an excellent summary of meekness writing...

The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God, to His word and to His rod, who follow His directions, and comply with His designs, and are gentle towards all men (see note Titus 3:2 ); who can bear provocation without being inflamed by it; are either silent, or return a soft answer; and who can show their displeasure when there is occasion for it, without being transported into any indecencies; who can be cool when others are hot; and in their patience keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of any thing else.

They are the meek, who are rarely and hardly provoked, but quickly and easily pacified; and who would rather forgive twenty injuries than revenge one, having the rule of their own spirits. (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible)

Barton explains that...

Meek people realize their position before God (Mt 5:3) and gladly live it out before their fellow humans. They do not look down on themselves, but they do not think too highly of themselves either. Such people exemplify the Golden Rule. They are not arrogant; they are the opposite of those who seek to gain as much for themselves as possible. Ironically, then, it will not be the arrogant, wealthy, harsh people who get everything. Instead, the meek will inherit the earth. (Barton, B. B. Matthew. Life application Bible commentary. Page 77. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how one can know when he or she is truly meek. Here is his test...

"The man who is truly meek is the man who is amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do." (Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)

As Hughes notes this

"test as to whether we are truly meek is not whether we can say we are poor sinners, but rather what we do when someone else calls us vile sinners. Try it! (Hughes, R. K. Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom. Crossway Books)

Why is meekness so important? Why not just be Christians who have good manners and a good standing in the community? Our Lord is not calling us to business as usual but to be radical believers who emulate His character, character that shows the reality of His life in and through our lives, especially as seen in this paradoxical trait of non-retaliatory power under control. The world is dead in its trespasses and sins and desperately needs to see the meek, gentle spirit of Christ in and through you dear follower of Christ. Will you surrender to His call?

Thomas Watson...

The proposition I shall insist on, is that meek people are blessed people. For the right understanding of this, we must know there is a twofold meekness. Meekness towards God, meekness towards man.

1. Meekness towards GOD, which implies two things: submission to his will; flexibleness to his Word.

[1] Submission to God's WILL: when we react calmly, without swelling or murmuring, under the adverse dispensations of providence. 'It is the Lord's will. Let him do what he thinks best' (1 Samuel 3:18). The meek-spirited Christian says thus: 'Let God do what he will with me, let him carve out whatever condition he pleases, I will submit.' God sees what is best for me, whether a fertile soil or a barren. Let him chequer his work as he please, it suffices that God has done it. It was an unmeek spirit in the prophet to struggle with God: 'I do well to be angry to the death!' (Jonah 4:9).

[2] Flexibleness to God's WORD: when we are willing to let the Word bear sway in our souls and become pliable to all its laws and maxims. He is spiritually meek who conforms himself to the mind of God, and does not quarrel with the instructions of the Word—but with the corruptions of his heart. Cornelius' speech to Peter savored of a meek spirit: 'Now here we are, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you' (Acts 10:33). How happy is it when the Word which comes with majesty, is received with meekness! (James 1:21).

2. Meekness towards MAN. Basil calls this 'the indelible character of a gracious soul.' 'Blessed are the meek'. To illustrate this, I shall show what this meekness is. Meekness is a grace whereby we are enabled by the Spirit of God to moderate our angry passions. It is a grace. The philosopher calls it a virtue—but the apostle calls it a grace, and therefore reckons it among the 'fruit of the Spirit' (Galatians 5:23). It is of a divine extract and original. By it we are enabled to moderate our passion. By nature the heart is like a troubled sea, casting forth the foam of anger and wrath. Now meekness calms the passions. It sits as moderator in the soul, quieting and giving check to its distempered motions. As the moon serves to temper and allay the heat of the sun, so Christian meekness allays the heat of passion. Meekness of spirit not only fits us for communion with God—but for civil converse with men; and thus among all the graces it holds first place. Meekness has a divine beauty and sweetness in it. It brings credit to true religion; it wins upon all. This meekness consists in three things: the bearing of injuries, the forgiving of injuries, the recompensing good for evil. (See full message Beatitudes)

FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH: hoti autoi kleronomesousin (3PFAI) ten gen: (Psalms 25:13; 37:9,11,22,29,34; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 4:13)

Spurgeon comments that...

The quiet-spirited, the gentle, the self-sacrificing,-It looks as if they would be pushed out of the world but they shall not be, “for they shall inherit the earth.” The wolves devour the sheep, yet there are more sheep in the world than there are wolves, and the sheep, continue to multiply, and to feed in green pastures.

David asks...

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. (Psalm 25:12,13)

Spurgeon on His seed shall inherit the earth.

God remembers Isaac for the sake of Abraham, and Jacob for the sake of Isaac. Good men's sons have a goodly portion to begin the world with, but many of them, alas! turn a father's blessing into a curse. The promise is not broken because in some instances men wilfully refuse to receive it; moreover, it is in its spiritual meaning that it now holds good; our spiritual seed do inherit all that was meant by "the earth," or Canaan; they receive the blessing of the new covenant. May the Lord make us the joyful parents of many spiritual children, and we shall have no fears about their maintenance, for the Lord will make each one of them princes in all the earth.

Sermon by Spurgeon on Inheritance - Psalm 47:4 A Wise Desire

They (845) (autos) is emphatic placed first in the Greek construction which means "they" and "they only" will inherit the earth. Only the meek. None other! A present and a future inheritance as explained below.

Promoting Revival to this Generation.
Privacy Policy