Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

A Benediction

Last Thursday night I was asked to give the benediction at the end of the Castleberry High School athletic banquet. I think the organizers of the event only intended a closing prayer, but I took a few moments to say a few things, and read a passage from Numbers 6:24-26:

The Lord Bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

This is perhaps the best known benediction of scripture. The term benediction, is not found in scripture, but is defined by Webster, “an expression of good wishes, the invocation of a blessing.”

The text is a blessing that Jehovah God supplied to Moses with which to equip Aaron and his sons as a part of their priestly service. This priestly blessing was to be delivered to the children of Israel. Concerning this action by the priests, God said, “So they shall put my name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them” (vs. 27).

The phrase “put my name on” is an interesting one. It indicates an invocation. Aaron was to invoke the name of God, as a means of securing God’s blessing upon the nation.

The practice of invoking such blessings continued in the New Testament. A reading of Paul’s epistles reveals his participation in this practice. In fact, Paul both started his letters and ended his letters with invocations of God’s blessing upon his readers. As the term benediction is most often associated with closing thoughts, we will limit our listing to those sentiments expressed at the end of the epistles:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (1 Corinthians 16:23).

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:11-14).

“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen” (Galatians 6:16-18).

“Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians 6:23-24).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Philippians 4:23).

“This salutation with by my own hand—Paul, Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen” (Colossians 4:18).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (1 Thessalonians 5:28).

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (2 Thessalonians 3:16-18).

“…Grace be with you. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:21).

“The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:22).

“All those who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen” (Titus 3:15).

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen” (Philemon 25).

These benedictions are not tiresome to read. They certainly weren’t to those who received them, as the great apostle was invoking God’s name on their behalf. Such a wonderful sentiment!

You will notice how often Paul invokes the Grace of God, and peace. You will also notice that such benedictions came in the form of prayers. Paul was asking God to bless his readers.

Such sentiments are certainly appropriate in our communication with one another. As the people of God, we are to love one another, and there is no better expression of that love than this. So, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!