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Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican since 1850
Free Article
Power in the Bible
What does the Bible say about “power”? The subject is current and of great interest, but not at all simple. Anyone searching for the word “power” in the Old Testament would be disappointed: it does not exist in Hebrew.

Is that because Sacred Scripture does not provide any cause for reflection about power? Far from it. However, we do not find any theoretical statement about it since the biblical tradition is a lived experience that becomes clearer over the course of the narration. It is necessary, therefore, to bear in mind that conceptualizations and language have evolved over time, and that certain realities are often connected to a particular period in history. This is why the term exousia, “authority,” and some others that belong to the same semantic domain, such as dynamis, “strength,” and kratos, “force,” appear in the Septuagint, the earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament.

The discourse on power begins with the first page of Genesis, where the strength of God unfolds, culminating in the creation of the human person, God’s most luminous exaltation. Such dynamism, when in reference to God, is a positive thing, since it creates, liberates and saves. It manifests as wisdom and a perennial gift. It is a force without limits. Dynamic strength belongs to the Creator and defines power when it refers entirely to God: it is the manifestation of God’s glory. We rejoice in the glory of God, which is revealed through the creative act and in the gift that has been given to us. Indeed, the encounter with infinitely divine strength makes us who we are as free creatures.
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