Grace Is a Verb

Grace means God’s unmerited, unearned favor. But once you have experienced it, you must show it.

New Testament Greek has the verb charizomai, which means “to favor, forgive, thank” in some contexts; it’s related to the noun charis, which means “grace.”

Let’s see how we can translate the verb literally with “to grace” or “gracing.”

The following translations are mine. It may be clumsy, but if you would like to see published and polished translations, go to

Let’s begin.

This context is a summary description of Christ’s healing and deliverance ministry:

And at that hour he healed many of diseases, scourges [afflictions] and evil spirits, and graced [healed] many blind people to see. (Luke 7:21)

The context of the next verse is a quick lesson to Simon the Pharisee about forgiveness. One man is lent five hundred denarii, the other fifty. Both of their debts are forgiven. Who will love more?

… “He graced [forgave or called off debt] both [debtors] who did not have [it] to pay back. Which one therefore will love him [the creditor] more?” Simon answered and said, “I take it that the one who was graced [forgiven] more.” He [Jesus] said to him [Simon], “You replied correctly.” (Luke 7:42-43)

In that translation, above, grace could be rendered “canceled” or “forgiven” because at first glance it appears grace has different quantities. But I believe his grace is the same amount. People’s need will determine how much gratitude (another word related to grace) they show, once they receive grace that never runs out, but can be applied exactly to their need.

Next, Paul is in a storm, but an angel assures him that God will save everyone.

… “For an angel of God whose I am and whom I worship appeared before me this night saying, ‘Do not fear, Paul, for you shall stand before Caesar! And see! God has graced [granted] to you all those sailing with you!’” (Acts 27:23-24).

Further, God gave his Son to die for us, so he will grace us with all things.

Indeed he who did not withhold his own Son, but turned him over [to die] for us, how will he not grace [grant, give] us with all things with him? (Rom. 8:32)

In the next verse, we have the Spirit of God so we can recognize the things God has graced us with.

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so we might know the things graced [given] to us by God. (1 Cor. 2:12)

Grace and forgiveness add up to the same thing:

What you have graced to him, then I also, even I, grace to him—if there is anything to grace—I grace in the sight of Christ, because of you [for your benefit]. (2 Cor. 2:10)

In other words, that verb–appearing four times in one verse–could be translated as “forgive.”

Further, law and promise is contrasted. Abraham got his inheritance through the promise, long before the law was given by Moses.

For if the inheritance is by the law, then it is no longer by the promise, but God graced [freely gave] it to Abraham by the promise. (Gal. 3:18)

Next, we grace each other as God graced us in Christ. It could be translated as “forgive.”

Become kind to one another, with good gut-feelings, gracing each other, just as God in Christ graced you. (Eph. 4:32)

In the next passage, we have been graced to believe and suffer persecution:

… It has been graced [granted, given] to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also on his behalf to suffer, sharing the same struggle [contest] that you saw in me, but now hear about me. (Php. 1:29-30)

This translation needs a little help in brackets:

While you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him, gracing [forgiving] you [despite those] trespasses. (Col. 2:13)

That verse, above, reminds me of Rom. 5:20: “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” In other words, even in your worst sins, while you’re committing the sin, God’s grace abounds to you.

You grace (forgive) someone when he or she complains.

Forbear with one another, gracing [forgiving] yourselves if someone has a complaint against someone else, just as the Lord graced you. (Col. 3:13)

Paul expected to be restored or graced to Philemon.

At the same, prepare for me a visitor’s room, for I hope that through your prayers I shall be graced [visit] to you. (Phm. 22)

How does this post help me grow in Christ? 

All the above translations were literal, so they seem clumsy. Scholars and students of Greek might chuckle at it (or worse).

But I trust the message is clear.

Show favor and grace to people, even when you feel like they don’t deserve it.

That’s the nature of grace.


Grace Is a Verb

Grace to You

Alternatives to Grace?

Law versus Grace

Do I Really Know God? He Is Gracious


Works Cited

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