Look up goodness in Easton’s Bible Dictionary. What did you find?
Goodness & good are clearly not the same thing. Just for kicks & giggles, Google “-ness”. What did you find?
“Good” defines & describes something, in both the way God used it in Genesis and even the way we tend to use it today. That is not what Paul’s letter to the Galatians is talking about. In Galatians, Paul uses a noun form of the word. It is a thing, not a description. When you couple that form of “good” with “-ness,” you get “goodness,” turning its meaning into a state, condition, or quality of good according to dictionary.com. Ok…so enough englishese. Lets move ahead…
Read Romans 15:14 (hang onto this verse because we are coming back to it).
Read 2 Peter 1:5-9.
We can clearly see that goodness is not an end all, be all. Peter tells us that more is to accompany the goodness. So far, have you found any other words in your translation or a commentary that may otherwise define goodness?
According to 2 Peter, what precedes goodness? What follows the developing of goodness?
In all my studying of goodness, I kept getting swung back around to Romans 15:14. For each verse that I studied, it continued to reference the verse 14. Other than using the actual word, I didn’t see how this explained goodness any further. But I took one more look at it today & a few things jumped out at me.
- Paul brings to light 3 attributes of the Roman Christians in this verse. What are they?
- Thinking a bit more abstractly, could you be full of right knowledge without also being full of goodness? Explain your thoughts.
- Can you instruct someone in the right decisions if you don’t have the goodness, or the moral reasoning, to make right decisions yourself? (Basically, can you teach someone to tie a shoe if you don’t know how to tie a shoe?)
So in order to be full of knowledge, we have to be full of goodness. And in order to be full of goodness, we must be full of faith. We can’t make right decisions without goodness & without that goodness, we have no knowledge. Hmm…… So goodness is about more that just making good decisions or being a “good” person, right? But what does it mean to be a “good” person or be full of goodness?
Read Ephesians 5:8-17.
When we see light used in the Bible it can refer to a physical light that illuminates an area, but what else might it refer to?
According to Ephesians, what place does light have with fruit (vs. 11)?
Looking at verse 9, what accompanies the developing of goodness?
Can fruit grow without light? (No, really. Literally speaking, if it were always dark, would you be able to grown a lemon tree?)
Bad things, decisions, or deeds tend to happen under certain circumstances – either at night when it is dark, or in secret when no one is around. According to these verses, what does light do to these things, decisions, or deeds (vs. 13)?
Light is the exposure. There is a reason the cliche “bring it to light” exists. Light illuminates darkness, confusion, and evil. Fruit cannot grow without the presence of light…or Light. Fruit cannot grow in the exclusivity of darkness. Fruit must have light, so in order for us as believers to produce fruit, we must be in the presence of light.
Do you see how all of this is coming together? How goodness, which seems to be very simple, is much more important than we probably thought? Those moral reasonings – which we call goodness – are imperative to knowledge & truth & the ability to teach others. If we cannot be good & our soul isn’t full of goodness, how in the world can we direct others to knowledge or truth? We are called to be a light in this world…and what have we seen grows in the presence of light?
[Why isn’t there a “mind blown” emoji?]