The Concept in the Old Testament
“Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” In Hebrew, the word “kind” is called leb, and it means” the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the center of anything” (Strong, 1890, p. 125). Joseph used the word “kind”, in this context, as he addressed his brothers, who had sold him to slavery as a boy. The brothers had travelled to Egypt in search of food after a prolonged drought in Israel, and they found out that Joseph had become a high-ranking officer in Pharaoh’s government. Joseph is comforting his brothers because they are feeling sorry for selling him into slavery.
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“Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come into you, to keep them alive.” The Hebrew word for “kind” in this context, is miyn, and it means “kind, sometimes a species (usually of animals)” (Strong, 1890, p. 65). In this verse, God is giving instructions to Noah on the species of animals that should be allowed into the ark. Therefore, the word “kind” is used to mean “species” or “types” of animals.
“I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, says the LORD: the sword to slay, the dogs to tear, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.” The Hebrew equivalent for the word “kind”, in this context, is mishpachah, and it means a family, i.e. circle of relatives; figuratively, a class (of persons), a species (of animals) or sort (of things); by extension a tribe or people:-family, kind(-red)” (Strong, 1890, p. 74). God is speaking to prophet Jeremiah to describe the nature or types of punishments that He would release to the Israelites. Therefore, “kind” is used to mean sort of things or categories of the destroyers that God would use to punish the Israelites.
Analysis of the Concept in the Old Testament
In the OT Bible verses noted above, the word “kind” is used to give different meanings within diverse contexts. In Genesis 50:21, it is used as a comforting or reassuring word. Joseph’s brothers are sorry for selling him to Egyptian merchants, but he reassures them that he would help them contrary to what they expected. On the other hand, the same word is used in Genesis 6:20 as a noun to mean the species of animals that Noah should let into the ark.
In Jeremiah 15:3, the word “kind” is used to describe the sorts or nature of destroyers that God will use as punishment for Israelites’ defiance of His laws. The conditions under which the word is used and the reasons for its usage also differ in the three verses. In Genesis 50:21, Joseph’s brother have just realized that the person that they sold into slavery is now powerful and he is the only one who can help them get food in Egypt. They are sorry, regretful, and broken in spirit; hence, Joseph is moved by their situation, and thus he assures them that he is willing to help them, as brothers. In Genesis 6:20, people have started to multiply, and they continue to defy God’s laws.
Therefore, God is about to destroy the earth through floods, and thus He gives Noah specific instructions on the species of animals that should be put in the ark for safety in the land of Eden. In Jeremiah 15:3, the prophet, while in the land of Judah, has been interceding for the people for God to reconsider His decision to punish the Israelites. However, God is adamant that He has to carry out His plans, and thus he specifies the nature of destroyers that would be unleashed on the people for punishment. In the OT, the word is used twice as a noun and once as an adjective. Therefore, these verses differ based on who, why, when, and what of the message being communicated.
Concepts in the New Testament
“And the natives showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.” The Greek equivalent of the word “kind” in this context is philanthrōpia, which means “fondness of mankind, i.e. benevolence (“philanthropy”):-kindness, love towards man” (Strong, 1890, p. 75). Paul describes the benevolent reception that he receives from the locals of Malta after he is shipwrecked on his way to Italy.
“And he said to them, this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” In Greek, the word “kind” here is genos, and it means “kin” (abstract or concrete, literal or figurative, individual or collective):-born, country(-man), diversity, generation, kind(-red), nation, offspring, stock” (Strong, 1890, p. 20). Jesus uses this word to describe the specific nature of the evil spirits that have possessed the boy.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The Greek equivalent of the word “kind” in this context is chrēstos, and it means “employed, i.e. (by implication) useful (in manner or morals):-better, easy, good(-ness), gracious, kind” (Strong, 1890, p. 78). Apostle Paul is addressing the Ephesians instructing them on how they should treat one another. Therefore, Paul uses the word “kind” to tell Christians to be forgiving and gracious like God.
Analysis of the Concept in the New Testament
The word “kind” is used in the three verses under a different context, and thus it gives varied meanings. In Acts, Paul is addressing an unspecified audience, while in Mark Jesus is speaking to His disciples, and in Ephesians, Paul is writing to the Ephesians. In Acts, the word is used as an adjective to describe the goodness of the people of Malta after treating Paul philanthropically, even though he is a stranger to them.
In Mark, the word is used as a noun as Jesus emphasizes a certain type of evils spirits that can only be driven out using prayers. In Ephesians, Paul uses the word “kind” as an adjective to instruct his audience how it should treat one another through forgiveness and tenderheartedness. Similarly, the word differs based on when and where it was used. In Acts, Paul has been shipwrecked and landed on an Island, Malta, and the locals treat him compassionately despite being a stranger. In Mark, Jesus has just experienced transfiguration in the region of Caesarea Philippi, and He has found his disciples struggling to exorcise demons from a possessed boy.
Therefore, He uses the word to specify and emphasize that such form of demons can only come out through prayer. In Ephesians, Paul is writing from a prison in Rome, addressing fellow believers in Ephesus on how they should treat each other. Therefore, in the NT, the word is used twice as an adjective, and once as a noun.
Concept Analysis in the NT and OT
In the OT, the word “kind” is used twice as a noun and once as an adjective. However, in the NT, it is used twice as an adjective and once as a noun. Nevertheless, despite the word being used as a noun or an adjective, the context and meaning differ significantly in both testaments. For instance, as a noun, in the OT the word is used in Genesis 6:20 to describe animal species and in Jeremiah 15:3 to imply the nature of destroyers that would punish the Israelites.
In the NT, it is used in Mark 9:29 to specify a certain type of demons. Therefore, the meaning of the word differs based on the context of its usage. Similarly, as an adjective, “kind” is used in Genesis 50:21 as a reassuring word as Joseph promises to treat his brothers considerably. In Acts 28:2, Paul uses the word to describe the benevolence of the Maltese locals, while in Ephesians 4:32 he uses it to instruct fellow believers on how to live with one another. Therefore, the word “kind” has varied meaning in both NT and OT depending on the context where it has been used.
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The Bible was translated into the English Language for the spread of the gospel. However, some words with different meanings in Hebrew and Greek were assigned a single word in English. For instance, the word “kind” has been used in different Bible verses to give varied meaning based on the context of usage. The word has been used as either an adjective or a noun. As shown in this paper, the usage of the word “kind” in Genesis 6:20 and 50:21, Jeremiah 15:3, Acts 28:2, Ephesians 4:32, and Mark 9:29 gives different meanings.
Kind. (1989). In Webster’s dictionary of English usage. Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster Publishers.
Strong, J. (1890). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: Showing every word oft e text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word with references to the English words. Nashville, TX: Methodist Book Concern.
The New Living Translation. (2007). Life application study Bible. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.