Word Nerd Wednesday – Gentile

My dear friend Hope rejoins us around My Messy Desk all the way from Germany! Hope expands on the discussion of God’s all encompassing salvation plan that Misty began last week with her description of the meaning of the Israelites and Jews. I know you’ll be blessed!


Gentiles – nations; people groups (ethnic, from the Greek ethnos); pagans; heathens; non-Jews

The word is rooted in history and mystery.

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Historically, God set apart the Jewish people from other nations and their sinful practices (see Leviticus 18 for example). But, YHWH did not forget the other peoples of the world. In fact, from Jewish beginnings, God included Gentiles in his mysterious, far-reaching plan, promising Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3, also see Isaiah 49:6).


When Jesus came, He began to unveil the mystery of how God would accomplish His plan. 

First, Simeon recognized Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, as “light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32) and Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12, see John 3:16).

Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s (42:1-4) prophecy: He will proclaim justice to the nations and in his name the nations will put their hope (Matthew 12:18-21).

Jesus explained (Luke 4:24-30) that God does not limit His grace to Jews alone: Elijah was sent to a Gentile widow (1 Kings 17) and Elisha healed Naaman, a Syrian (2 Kings 5). 

Jesus told Kingdom stories about “others” (Luke 14, 21) and spoke of “other sheep” who would listen to his voice (John 10:14-18).

Further, Jesus expanded his mission to the entire world (Matthew 24:14, 25:32) and instructed His apostles to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

MYSTERY CLARIFIED: Gospel in Advance

Following Jesus’ resurrection, Holy Spirit came upon Jewish believers (Acts 2) and Gentile believers (Acts 11) compelling Peter to exclaim, “God gave them the same gift as he gave us . . . So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life” (Acts 11:17-18).

God called Paul to ministry, “I am sending you to them (Gentiles) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17-18).

And, Paul clearly explained, “Those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you’ . . . He (Jesus) redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Galatians 3:8-14 and see Romans 3-4).


This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise of Jesus Christ . . . this grace was given me (Paul): to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known (Ephesians 3:6-10, see Romans 16:25-27).

Please enjoy Ephesians 1-2 for a more complete understanding of God’s grace toward Gentiles.

Meet my dear friend, Hope!!

Hope Head Shot

Hello and Grüß Gott from Bavaria where I live with my dear husband. Although I have loved reading and writing and teaching for as long as I can remember, this is (obviously) my first blog contribution. I have been a disciple of Jesus Christ and student of God’s Word for nearly 25 years.

6 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday – Gentile

  1. Great info, Hope, thanks for sharing. 🙂 I’ve always loved that verse in Genesis. My husband is a Messianic Jew, and I think that’s had an impact on how I view the Gentile inclusion in the family of God. I find myself thanking God often for not stopping at the Jews, but including all mankind. I’m in the process of reading through Acts right now, and I’m so thankful for Paul’s commitment to obedience. Thank you for these words today, Hope, and thank you for bringing them to us, Liz. ((grace upon grace))

  2. Thank you, Brenda. I think you will also enjoy “Grafted,” coming to Liz’s blog on June 8. Meanwhile, I commend you for reading through the exciting story in Acts, an edge-of-your-seat-page-turning adventure, to be sure!

  3. For a bit more on Gentiles in the Old Testament:
    God generously sent Jonah to Ninevah to rescue an entire city; Ruth, the Moabite, found refuge under His wings (2:12) and a place in the royal genealogy (along with Rahab); and the Syrian general, Naaman, was healed and confessed faith in Elisha’s God as the one true God. The Israelites were commanded to love the alien (Ex. 23:9, Dt. 10:19) and foreigners wishing to serve The Lord were welcome (I Kings 8:41-43). In song, the Jewish people hoped all peoples might praise Him (Psalm 67, 117, many others). Indeed, God proclaimed to all mankind, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22) and declared, “My name will be great among the nations” (Malachi 1:11).

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