Whole Life Offering Book Excerpt 2 of 6: Philanthropy is a New Testament Term

The term “philanthropy” is not only the ancient description of the exploits of a Greek god. It is also how the Bible itself explicitly chooses to name the Christian God’s relationship to humanity, in Titus 3:4 (KJV): “But after that the kindness and philanthropy of God our Savior toward man appeared.”

Regrettably, the term “philanthropy” is quite literally lost in translation, as it is typically rendered only as “love” in most versions.

That is unfortunate because it prevents us from understanding the specific kind of love, which has been extended—namely, “phil-anthropy”, or friendship love toward human beings—a comprehensive attitude and pattern of direct contact, warm relationship, and unfailing and unwarranted beneficence on the part of the divine toward human beings. “Love” simply struggles to be able to carry that freight.

A new word had to be created to do so—“phil-anthropy”–and Paul, the apostle and first great Christian theologian, pressed it into service in his letter to Titus to convey news he considered extraordinary about the divine.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, The Whole Life Offering: Christianity as Philanthropy, scheduled for release in January 2011.)

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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2 Responses to Whole Life Offering Book Excerpt 2 of 6: Philanthropy is a New Testament Term

  1. Roy says:

    Nice, Eric. I’m looking forward to the book.

    • EFoley says:

      Thanks, Roy–I’m enjoying writing it. Definitely a stretcher! I’m thankful for the opportunity for personal transformation and reflection it’s providing.

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