What is the apostolic benediction? 

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By BibleAsk Team


The Apostolic Benediction 

Referring to the apostolic benediction, the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthian Church wrote, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (ch. 13:14). This verse is unique in that here alone, in the New Testament, is what later came to be known as the apostolic benediction.

From the time of the apostles, it became a part of church liturgy. It was also said at the baptism of new converts and at the dismissal of Christian assemblies. The apostolic benediction suggests every kind of graciousness and tender consideration. No divine attribute is more valuable to a sinner than the grace, love and communion of God (2 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 3:24).

As a Christian greeting, “grace” showed the wish that the one to whom it was given might have the fullness of God’s strength and blessing. “Peace,” a common greeting of the Jews, wished for the one addressed every physical and spiritual blessing (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 5:9; Luke 1:79; 2:14; John 14:27). God’s “grace” justifies repentant sinners (Romans 3:24; Titus 2:11). And His “peace” keeps their hearts and minds set on Him (Philippians 4:7). 

Old Testament Foundation

To comprehend the depth and significance of the Apostolic Benediction, one must turn to the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. The specific verses, Numbers 6:22-27, serve as the foundation for this ancient and enduring blessing: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: ‘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.’ “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'”

The Apostolic Benediction Made Possible Through Christ 

The life, death, and resurrection of Christ brought new meaning to the word grace. “Grace” was realized as the redeeming love of God in Christ (2 Timothy 1:9).  With this Christian word, “grace” became Paul’s customary greeting in all his epistles (1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 3; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). Peter and John also used similar greetings in their books (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2; 2 John 3; Revelation 1:4). 

The Apostolic Benediction Supports the Godhead 

2 Corinthians 13:14 together with other Scriptures support the doctrine of the Godhead. Such verses are: Matthew 3:16,17; 28:19; Luke 3:22; John 14:26; 15:26; Acts 1:4,5; 2:33;10:38; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:17; 2:18, 22; 4:4-6; Titus 3:6; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Jude 20-21). The test of all true Christian experience is fellowship and communion with God the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

The Apostolic Benediction stands as a testament to the enduring power of sacred words. Originating in the Old Testament, it has traversed centuries, cultures, and religious traditions, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who have encountered its profound message. Whether recited in a church, or whispered in a moment of personal reflection, this blessing continues to be a source of comfort, inspiration, and a tangible reminder of the timeless connection between humanity and the divine.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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