Please give my friend Melissa a warm welcome back to Word Nerd Wednesday as she shares with us what it means to behold.
Behold Defined by Websters 1828 Dictionary
Behold: verb transitive, present tense. [Latin. observo, from servo, “to keep.”]
- To fix the eyes upon; to see with attention; to observe with care.
- In a less intensive sense, to look upon; to see.
Behold: Verb intransitive: to look; to direct the eyes at an object.
- To fix the attention upon an object; to attend; to direct of fix the mind.
It is in the imperative mode, expressing command, or exhortation; and by no means a mere exclamation.
Hebrew: Hinneh– behold, lo, see, if
Greek: idoú– second person, behold, singular imperative middle voice of eídō
: To turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything
Behold in the Bible
“Behold” is used in the KJV 1,298 times, and in the ESV 1,067 times. Some Bible versions do not use “Behold” in their translations, but instead use look, see, or observe. Behold carries a weight with it that you just cannot get with “look.”
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
John 1:29 (NIV)
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
John 1:29 (ESV)
In reference to this verse, Jared C. Wilson states in his book, The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together:
“The word behold might be more helpful to the point of Christianity than an apparently perfectly fine alternative. John does in fact mean that his hearers should see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, but behold tells us what kind of seeing we ought to be doing.
In other words, he’s not merely saying “look at him.” He’s telling us to look with consideration, with appreciation, with fixation and transfixion. To behold something is to “hold” something in our vision, to let the weight of it rest on our mind and heart.”
God himself used this word in the first chapter of Genesis, verse 29, after he had created man. He was calling attention to the seed and fruit yielding plants that he had provided to Adam and Eve for food. This garden was planted by God, and was special, made just for Adam and Eve. No bush of the field or small plant had sprung up yet on the face of the earth because God had not caused it to rain on the land and there was no man to work the ground. (Gen 2:5)
But his Garden was his gift to them. He wanted them not just to see in, but to behold it.
And then again, a couple verses later in chapter one, “God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good.” (GEN 1:31) In previous verses, each time that God had made something, he looked at it, and called it good, but at the accomplishment of his entire creation he beheld it as a whole and it was exceedingly good.
What Do You Behold?
Do you see the difference? Beholding takes concentration, it takes focus and contemplation. Unfortunately, in our time and culture, little is beheld, but much is seen. Our attention is drawn to the bright flashing lights and the little screens in our pockets. We can see more today than ever before in history, but we have lost the ability to attentively behold.
We come to Jesus looking for a quick pick-me-up or a life coach of sorts when what we are really starving for is his GLORY. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul tells us that we need to behold the Glory of Jesus to become more like him.
“And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”
When we turn off our phones and find a place of solitude away from all the distractions to open our Bibles, we come to Jesus and behold his glory. We behold who he is, what he has done, what he is doing now, what he will do when he comes again, and our hearts and our minds are focused on the eternal.
Might I encourage you, dear readers, in this Christmas season when all the lights are flashing and drawing your attention, look carefully at the glory of our Immanuel, God with us. Behold him. And in doing so, may you come to realize, as Paul did in Philippians 3:10-11(AMPC),
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].In this Christmas season when all the lights are flashing and drawing your attention, look carefully at the glory of our Immanuel, God with us. Behold him. #behold #wordnerdwednesday @abidinghearts Click To Tweet
Melissa King is a homeschooling mother of five and Army wife of 15 years. She is now settled permanently with her family in Louisville, Kentucky since her husband went from Active Duty to the Reserves. Their Homeis their greatest ministry through foster care. Though she has a degree in Art Education and is the Director of her local Classical Conversations campus, her most rewarding job is that of wife and mother. In those rare moments when she is not teaching, cleaning, or cooking she enjoys painting, reading, and knitting. She enjoys various mediums of arts and crafts and the occasional inspired post on her blog, Abiding Hearts at Home. She has an immense passion for Bible Study, especially women’s ministries such as Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) and Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), both of which have given her the opportunity to serve as a leader and facilitator. She has written an inductive Bible Study on Psalm 119 that she hopes to publish someday.