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HAPPINESS (μακαρισμός, G3422, a pronouncing happy, a declaring blessed).


Happiness and blessedness are synonyms in Eng. semantics. The Gr. word makarismos is tr. into one or the other, depending on the tr’s. preference. The word is used only three times in the NT, and that by Paul (Rom 4:6, 9; Gal 4:15). It is not tr. “happiness” in either the RSV or the KJV, but in NEB it is tr. “happiness” in Romans and “happy” in Galatians. Phillips trs. it “happy state” (Rom 4:6), “happiness” (4:9), and “that fine spirit” (Gal 4:15). In the KJV it is tr. “blessedness” in all three instances. In the RSV it is “blessing” in the Rom. references and “the satisfaction you felt” in the Galatian reference. Consequently, the Biblical concept of happiness may be derived from these trs. of the word makarismos.


Two related ideas are seen in Paul’s use of this Gr. word. In the first instance, Paul describes happiness as the state of the just. He said, “In the same sense David speaks of the happiness of the man whom God ‘counts’ as just...‘Happy are they’, he says, ‘whose lawless deeds are forgiven...happy is the man whose sins the Lord does not count against him’” (Rom 4:6-8 NEB). Nor is being a Jew a sole requisite for “this happiness,” as seen in Abraham’s righteousness by faith (Rom 4:9). The other use of “happiness” is that of an emotional experience of delight or joy in the presence of a person loved, as the Galatians’ happiness in having Paul with them (Gal 4:15).


E. S. Jones, Abundant Living (1942), 331; E. V. Pierce, The Supreme Beatitude (1947), 13-27.

See also

  • Blessedness