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HOW ARE THE CONCEPTS "USEFUL" AND "KINDNESS" RELATED?
In the New Testament Greek, there is a group of words that focuses on the concept of "kindness." This group is related to another group of words that has to do with the idea of "useful," "being used," and even the idea of having "needs" (in the sense of lacking things we need to "use"). This is because both groups come from the same original Greek root word.
Of course, this does not mean that these two different word groups convey an identical meaning, for as words develop, meanings can change. ("Kindness" is definitely different from "useful"!) However, there is still value in knowing that these words are somewhat related.
THE VALUE OF KNOWING THIS FACT (when studying the concept of KINDNESS)
Remembering that "kindness" comes from the root word meaning "to use" may help us remember that the New Testament concept of "kindness" is an active concept. Genuine kindness does "useful" things for others! A passive kindness (such as "not being mean or nasty") - though important - is only a tiniest part of the New Testament concept of kindness.
THE VALUE OF KNOWING THIS FACT (when studying the concepts of USEFULNESS, NEEDS, etc.)
There are many words related to the word "use." They include words which focus on the concepts of being useful (or useless), being able to use things (including being wealthy), and being unable to use things (such as having needs). Many of the verses focus on attitudes and perspectives which can enhance our ability to express kindness (as well as other aspects of love - 1 Corinthians 13) to others.
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Dennis Hinks © 1997, 2004