Similar is Jude Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. So, how may we determine what is and what is not a benediction? God's Blessing is not a prayer or a doxology. Here is how to distinguish.
The word benediction, from its Latin origin, literally means a good word. It is God's good word of grace to his church.
The movement of a benediction is from heaven to earth, whereas the movement of a doxology or a prayer is from earth to heaven. A doxology is the church's good word of praise to God.
So, a prayer or a doxology is God's people speaking to God, whereas a benediction is God speaking blessing to his people. He must be the speaking subject addressing the church. Several examples will illustrate the difference.
Now let us look at a few examples of doxologies that are often mistaken for benedictions. The phrases "Now to him" and "to the only wise God be glory" gives us the clue that this is a doxology. The church through the inspired apostle is addressing God.
Ephesians and Jude 24 have the same clue, "now to him. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
All modern translations cf. The problem is that the main verb connected with "may" in the translation is in the next verse This Greek mood expresses a strong contingency. The particular form in verse 21 is a "voluntative optative," which is "expression of a wish,"  hence a prayer. According to Ernest de Witt Burton, author of Syntax of Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek , of the 35 times this "optative of wishing" is used in the New Testament it "most frequently expresses prayer. Finally, I believe that the presence of what is clearly a benediction at the end of the letter in verse 25 "Grace be with all of you," is one indication that this text, located prior to verse 25 is a prayer.
Most benedictions in the New Testament come at the end of letters. Other prayers that may be mistaken for benedictions, but are followed by what are clearly benedictions, at the very end of the letters, are found in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians Similar uses of the optative that give the appearance of benedictions, while in fact being prayers, are:. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
These latter two are examples of how the location of the text at the beginning, rather than the end, of the letter determines that this is not a benediction or a prayer, but rather an apostolic greeting or salutation. Both salutations and benedictions are God's word to his people, but the former begins worship, while the latter concludes it.
A benediction is performative. Forms communicate spiritual realities. The forms themselves are not distinct from the substance they impart. Performative language refers to speech as an act performing a specific function. The utterance itself is the act intended.
Most benedictions in the New Testament come at the end of letters. There is a look of God which fills with dismay, and makes men call to the mountains to hide them from his presence. But it is more than either or both of these. Peace represents well-being and wholeness. The blessings in Benediction are [not] easily won.
When someone makes a promise or forgives, this is performative. When a minister during a wedding service says: "I declare you husband and wife," this is a performative statement.
The FPR describes this performative power:. Public worship should be conducted in a manner that enables and expects God's people by faith actively to embrace the blessing of the Lord in the salutation and benediction. Feb 26, Pages. Feb 26, Minutes. A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado.
When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.
Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.
From the beloved and best-selling author of Plainsong and Eventide comes a story of life and death, and the ties that bind, once again set out on the High Plains in Holt, Colorado. There is a deep, satisfying music to this book, as Haruf weaves between such a large cast of characters in so small a space. He may be the most muted master in American fiction [and] Benediction seems designed to catch the sound of those fleeting good moments [with] scenes Hemingway might have written had he survived.
Haruf is a master in summing up the drama that already exists in life, if you just pay attention. The blessings in Benediction are [not] easily won. For that very reason they are all the more believable and all the more unforgettable. Haruf paints indelible portraits of drifting days that reveal unexpected blessings. We may not always recognize the best moments—maybe because they are often as simple as eating off the good china at a backyard picnic—but he understands their power to make us human. This is what makes Benediction a universal story, not a hometown tale.
Scene after scene, we appreciate that we are in the hands of a master of complex storytelling disguised as simple observation.
Reading [him], I am often reminded of the great Russian realists, who have a similar compressed intensity and who spent much of their writing time examining the lives of ordinary people living in small communities in wide-open spaces. With understated language and startling emotional insight, he makes you feel awe at even the most basic of human gestures. For readers looking for the rewards of an intimate, meditative story, it is indeed a blessing.
Perhaps not since Hemingway has an American author triggered such reader empathy with so little reliance on the subjectivity of his characters. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book!