My Good Pleasure? – Mondays with Mounce 273
Paul tells the Philippians that “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work on behalf of his good pleasure (ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας)” (v 13).
My wife Robin came home the other day dumbfounded, having heard the lyrics of a song that says God is working for “your good pleasure.”
True, there is no explicit pronoun present, neither αὐτοῦ or σου, so where does the “his” come from? The τῆς. ὁ is way more than the definite article, and one of its other functions is to perform the work of a possessive.
But what kind of narcissistic theology would think that God works for our pleasure? My goodness, someone needs to take a class in theology or worship, or just read the Bible.
God works for his good pleasure - as every translation says - and we understand that God’s pleasure is at the same time our best pleasure. But in our culture where we think we are the center of all things and church exists to make us feel good about ourselves, is it of any wonder that these lyrics would be written?
I have nothing more to say on the matter, other than we all should take Gary Parrett’s class on worship on BiblicalTraining.org (the ministry with which I am connected).
William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics on the ZA Blog. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV. The Mounce Reverse-Interlinear™ New Testament is available to freely read on Bible Gateway.
Learn more about Bill's Greek resources at BillMounce.com.
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