Chosen or Elect?

The Question

Is there a difference between the elect and the chosen? If there is, what is the difference?

- C. from Arkansas

The Answer
Part 1: Chosen or Elect?

Chosen or Elect? (Part 1)

Are these two words used interchangeable in the Bible? Pretty much, the answer is yes. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew-Aramaic and the New Testament in Greek and each language had a word for basically the same thing. In Greek the word is "eklektos" and in Hebrew it is "bachar." Both mean choose, chosen, selected, elect.

In the New Testament, the word "eklektos" shows up eight times and here are two examples. Luke 18:7 says; "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?" Romans 8:33 says; "Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies."

Yet the same "eklektos" is translated as "chosen" in 1 Peter 2:9; "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special peopleā€¦"

In the Old Testament, "bachar" is sometimes translated as chosen and sometimes elect. The choice between these two words varies by translation. In the New King James version, Isaiah 42:1 says; "My Elect One in whom My soul delights!" but the New American Standard says in the same passage; "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights."

The way you can investigate word origins for yourself is to use a good Concordance including the corresponding Strong's numbers. What is that, you say? Strong's is a system giving every single word in the original languages of the Bible a number. That number tells you the root word, what it means, and how many times it is translated by each meaning.

For instance, when I look up "elect" in the Concordance it tells me all locations of that word in the Bible. It also tells me that "elect" is Strong's number "1588" When I go to "1588" in the Strong's listing, I see that it is the Greek word "eklektos." From there I continue with the meaning of the word which I can compare to the meaning of any other word I have looked up.

It is to our great benefit that there is more than one translation of the Bible and that there are so many study helps so readily available. Remember, no matter which one you "eklektos", be sure you "bachar" to read God's Word every day.

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