Chrestotes, What’s That? Kindness in the Bible


Word Kindness Typed on piece of paper


Titus 3:4-7 is a phenomenal part of Scripture. Not only is it a mouthful to read, but it provides us with a clue. You see, there’s a characteristic of God so compelling that it sparked salvation. Something that awesome is in need of a little sleuthing!

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

Did you spot it? Titus 3:4-5 tells us of a characteristic (kindness), then it gives us an example of that characteristic in action (salvation). It says that when God’s kindness (and His love for mankind) appeared, He saved us. So, why is salvation characterized by kindness?

Well, try to say “crayons,” “taught” and “aces” at once. Great job! They have nothing to do with kindness. But, if you can pronounce them, saying the Greek word “chréstotés” should be a cinch! It sounds like, “cray-staught-ace.” Galatians 5:22 lists it as a fruit of the Spirit, and it’s the same word used in the Titus passage. Yep, it’s the word we render in English as kindness.

Defining Kindness in the Bible

What does this peculiar word mean? We often think being kind is just a nice disposition, act or gesture. But Scripture is talking about acting for the good of another person. Chréstotés is a selfless act, looking for nothing in return. And, it’s about serving where there’s a need.

For instance, God showed kindness in salvation by acting for our good. He became a sacrifice in our stead, not expecting anything in return for this act. He also met our need. Salvation is more than nice! It is kind.

So, while God develops the fruit of Kindness in you today and in the days to come, look out for those to whom you can show kindness. Think about the differences between being nice, and showing kindness. God will develop chréstotés in you before you know it.

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