Saturday, May 24, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 19 and 20: Eager and Sincere

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words eager and sincere.


There are a number of Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible that are translated into the NIV as eager. It seems, though, that Greek or Hebrew words translated fall into one of two specific uses of eager: 1) to be hasty 2) to be zealous. Generally speaking, when eagerness is used to represent being hasty it is used in a pejorative context; when it is used to represent being zealous it is in a positive context. The concept of being hasty (eager), in both the old and new testaments, is used often regarding the pursuit of money:

  • Proverbs 28:20, 22-"A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished...A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware of the poverty that awaits him"
  • 1 Timothy 6:10- "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs"
More specifically, the Greek word used in 1 Timothy 6, oregō, means " to stretch one's self out in order to touch or to grasp something, to reach after or desire something". I can't help but think of Smeagol/Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and his "eagerness" for the ring ( warning: this scene is somewhat graphic):


  Contrast that with the use of the word eager when it is implying spiritual zeal (making a clear distinction between appropriate zeal and overbearing zealotry). This manifestation of eagerness is noted multiple times in the Bible:

  • 2 Chronicles 15:15- "All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side."
  • Psalm 78: 34-"Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again."
  • Titus 2:14-" who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
  • 1 Peter 3: 13-"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?"
Eagerness is an attitude, but what we direct our eagerness towards, be it ourselves and money or doing good and serving God, is crucial.


The use of the word sincere in the Bible seems to be focused in what sincerity is not--it is not hypocritical and it is not feigned. Interestingly, other versions use the phrase "without hypocrisy" or similar phrasing in place of sincere. There are many aspects of how we lives where sincerity is key:

  • in our love (Romans 12:9, 2 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22)
  • in our devotion (2 Corinthians 11:3)
  • faith (1 Timothy 1:5)


  1. I was so sorry to see you closed your Whitney Pitcher Twitter account. Will miss your insights there and wonder if you will resume these word studies? I did enjoy them.

    1. My mistake...I see now that you just changed the name of your Twitter handle. :) Still hope you might return to these at some point.