Great



International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

grat, grat’-nes: "Great" occurs very often in Scripture. The chief words so translated are gadhol, rabh; megas, polus.

(1) In the Old Testament many other terms are employed:



(c) Other words thus translated are kabhedh, "heavy," e.g. "so great a people," the Revised Version (British and American) "thy great people," margin "heavy" (1Ki 3:9); me’odh, implying force, might, e.g. "with all his might" (2Ki 23:25). ’El and ’Elohim are sometimes used to express greatness. In Ps 36:6, we have "Thy righteousness is like the great (’El) mountains," the Revised Version (British and American) "mountains of God"; in Ge 30:8, "with great (’Elohim) wrestlings," the Revised Version (British and American) "mighty," margin "wrestlings of God"; and in 1Sa 14:15 "a very great (’Elohim) trembling," the Revised Version (British and American) "exceeding great," margin "a trembling of God."

(2)


(b) Polus denotes properly number, multitude, e.g. "great multitudes" (Mt 4:25); "a great company" (Lu 5:29, the Revised Version (British and American) "a great multitude"; frequent in the Gospels); "great possessions" (Mr 10:22). But also "great" in the sense of magnitude, e.g. "great plainness of speech," the Revised Version (British and American) "boldness" (2Co 3:12; 7:4); "a great trial of affliction," the Revised Version (British and American) "much proof" (2Co 8:2); "great love" (Eph 2:4).


(3) In His person and teaching, Jesus introduced into the world a new conception of greatness. It was to be found in humility and self-forgetting service: "Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister (the Revised Version, margin "servant"); and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant (the Revised Version, margin "(Greek) bond-servant"): even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mt 20:26-28; compare also Mt 18:1-4; 23:11; Php 2:5-11 ).