Paul used the term peace (eirḗnē) about forty-five times throughout the Letters he penned to the churches. (I used MOUNCE Reverse Interlinear.) As I studied eirḗnē and its meaning, it is clear that the concept of eirḗnē is entwined in the Father’s purpose and Jesus’ work on the cross.
Eirḗnē is a Greek/Roman concept that differs from the Hebrew/Christian idea of peace. Eirḗnē is the Greek goddess of peace. The Roman version is Pax. Paul was a Hebrew who had his writings penned in Greek. The idea of peace for Paul was shalom. In the Roman mind, peace occurred when the societies they conquered stopped resisting and accepted Rome. In Christian thought, peace is being whole or one with the Father. Yes, many times Christians use peace to be a mellow feeling or time span when no conflict is present. (See Jews For Jesus.)
So, instead of being mellow or in a tension-free period, we need to be with the Father, at one with Him. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had oneness with God. He walked with them. I even see Him sitting with them by the River under the trees. Eve and then Adam replaced their relationship with knowledge. The Father wants you to be one with Him again. But the choice is in our hands, not His. The Father sent Jesus to restore the Way to Him and our fellowship. We need to go back and continue in the relationship.
Paul knew peace is accomplished by bringing things together. Ephesians 2:14 -17 and Colossians 1:20 deal with peace being achieved by The Blood of Jesus. If you replace peace with “one or whole” you will understand what I mean. The reason I used Mounce is I wanted eirḗnē to be my focus. Sometimes newer translations use peace as rest. Peaceable in Titus 3:2 is not eirḗnē. (Give translators some slack, our responsibility is to study and show ourselves approved.) Another variation is 1 Thessalonians 5:3 when Paul uses the Roman idea of peace with security.
My study started when I read the words of Jesus in John 14:27 and 20:21. (I never knew peace meant wholeness or one.) When Jesus said “My peace I leave with you,” I wondered if peace could be more than a feeling. Now, I understand Jesus (my peace) will be one with me and not leave me.
Shalom became part of my early studies. All the references showed shalom and being whole or together are part of peace. I confess shalom is such a big word I am unprepared to wrap my mind around all the ways God used it in the Old Testament. The word is used for safe, welfare, happiness, health, prosperity, and more.
It took a while, but I sorted the occasions when Paul wrote about peace (eirḗnē). I used seven groupings. They are:
- peace used with apo or from- Romans 1:7 and the other greetings
- ho or ____of peace-2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace
- pas-when peace is used with all or everything-Romans 12:18
- peace and the word pros or with- Romans 5:1 we have peace with God
- combined with other traits or gifts-2 Timothy 2:22 pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace,
- other uses- Ephesians 6:15 feet covered with the gospel of peace
- blood connections- Colossians 1:20 peace through His blood
My exercise may have been done differently, but these groupings served me well in my study.
Other Things I Saw:
- Paul opened and closed Ephesians and 2 Thessalonians, with an offer of peace from God.
- He added mercy in 1 and 2 Timothy, to the greeting of grace and peace from God.
- Romans 16:20-The God of peace will soon crush Satan. I thought that was funny, but we will be one (whole) when Satan is crushed.
- 1 John is the only Letter with no mention of peace.
Paul wrote about peace because he understood the Father wants His children to be one with Him again. The Father sent Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice, so our sin is no longer a hindrance to our fellowship. We are one with Jesus because of His blood. We will be one bride for Jesus when he returns.
See: Things Paul Wrote On-Hope
I used Bible Gateway for this study and