Good, Goodly, Goodness - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Good, Goodly, Goodness

[ A-1,Adjective,G18, agathos ]
describes that which, being good" in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effect; it is used
(a) of things physical, e.g., a tree, Matthew 7:17; ground, Luke 8:8;
(b) in a moral sense, frequently of persons and things. God is essentially, absolutely and consummately "good," Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19. To certain persons the word is applied in Matthew 20:15; Matthew 25:21,23; Luke 19:17; Luke 23:50; John 7:12; Acts 11:24; Titus 2:5; in a general application, Matthew 5:45; Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; Romans 5:7; 1 Peter 2:18.

The neuter of the adjective with the definite article signifies that which is "good," lit., "the good," as being morally honorable, pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial. Christians are to prove it, Romans 12:2; to cleave to it, Romans 12:9; to do it, Romans 13:3; Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 3:11 (here, and here only, the article is absent); John 5:29 (here, the neuter plural is used, "the good things"); to work it, Romans 2:10; Ephesians 4:28; Ephesians 6:8; to follow after it, 1 Thessalonians 5:15; to be zealous of it, 1 Peter 3:13; to imitate it, 3 John 1:11; to overcome evil with it, Romans 12:21. Governmental authorities are ministers of "good," i.e., that which is salutary, suited to the course of human affairs, Romans 13:4. In Philemon 1:14, "thy goodness," RV (lit., "thy good"), means "thy benefit." As to Matthew 19:17, "why askest thou Me concerning that which is good?" the RV follows the most ancient mss.

The neuter plural is also used of material "goods," riches, etc., Luke 1:53; Luke 12:18,19; Luke 16:25; Galatians 6:6 (of temporal supplies); in Romans 10:15; Hebrews 9:11; Hebrews 10:1, the "good" things are the benefits provided through the sacrifice of Christ, in regard both to those conferred through the Gospel and to those of the coming Messianic Kingdom. See further under No. 2. See BENEFIT, GOODS.

[ A-2,Adjective,G2570, kalos ]
denotes that which is intrinsically "good," and so, "goodly, fair, beautiful," as
(a) of that which is well adapted to its circumstances or ends, e.g., fruit, Matthew 3:10; a tree, Matthew 12:33; ground, Matthew 13:8,23; fish, Matthew 13:48; the Law, Romans 7:16; 1 Timothy 1:8; every creature of God, 1 Timothy 4:4; a faithful minister of Christ and the doctrine he teaches, 1 Timothy 4:6;
(b) of that which is ethically good, right, noble, honorable, e.g., Galatians 4:18; 1 Timothy 5:10,25; 1 Timothy 6:18; Titus 2:7,14; Titus 3:8,14. The word does not occur in the Apocalypse, nor indeed after 1 Peter.

Christians are to "take thought for things honorable" (kalos), 2 Corinthians 8:21, RV; to do that which is honorable, 2 Corinthians 13:7; not to be weary in well doing, Galatians 6:9; to hold fast "that which is good," 1 Thessalonians 5:21; to be zealous of good works, Titus 2:14; to maintain them, Titus 3:8; to provoke to them, Hebrews 10:24; to bear testimony by them, 1 Peter 2:12.

Kalos and agathos occur together in Luke 8:15, an "honest" (kalos) heart, i.e., the attitude of which is right towards God; a "good" (agathos) heart, i.e., one that, instead of working ill to a neighbor, acts beneficially towards him. In Romans 7:18, "in me ... dwelleth no good thing" (agathos) signifies that in him is nothing capable of doing "good," and hence he lacks the power "to do that which is good" (kalos). In 1 Thessalonians 5:15, "follow after that which is good" (agathos), the "good" is that which is beneficial; in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "hold fast that which is good (kalos)," the "good" describes the instrinsic value of the teaching. See BETTER, FAIR HONEST, MEET, WORTHY.

[ A-3,Adjective,G5543, chrestos ]
said of things, "that which is pleasant," said of persons, "kindly, gracious," is rendered "good" in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "goodness" in Romans 2:4. See EASY.

Note: Lampros denotes "gay, bright," "goodly" in James 2:2, AV, (RV, "fine"); in James 2:3, AV, "gay;" in Revelation 18:14 (RV, "sumptuous"). See GORGEOUS, SUMPTUOUS. For asteios, "goodly," Hebrews 11:23, RV, See BEAUTIFUL. For hikanos, Acts 18:18, AV, "a good while" See WHILE. Note (16).

[ B-1,Noun,G5544, chrestotes ]
akin to A, No. 3, denotes "goodness"
(a) in the sense of what is upright, righteous, Romans 3:12 (translated "good");
(b) in the sense of kindness of heart or act, said of God, Romans 2:4; Romans 11:22 (thrice); Ephesians 2:7 ("kindness"); Titus 3:4 ("kindness"); said of believers and rendered "kindness," 2 Corinthians 6:6; Colossians 3:12; Galatians 5:22 (RV; AV, "gentleness"). It signifies "not merely goodness as a quality, rather it is goodness in action, goodness expressing itself in deeds; yet not goodness expressing itself in indignation against sin, for it is contrasted with severity in Romans 11:22, but in grace and tenderness and compassion." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 292.] See GENTLENESS, KINDNESS.

[ B-2,Noun,G19, agathosune ]
"goodness," signifies that moral quality which is described by the adjective agathos (See A, No. 1). It is used, in the NT, of regenerate persons, Romans 15:14; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; in the last, the phrase "every desire of goodness" (RV; the addition of "His" in the AV is an interpolation; there is no pronoun in the original) may be either subjective, i.e., desire characterized by "goodness," "good" desire, or objective, i.e., desire after "goodness," to be and do good.

Trench, following Jerome, distinguishes between chrestotes and agathosune in that the former describes the kindlier aspects of "goodness," the latter includes also the sterner qualities by which doing "good" to others is not necessarily by gentle means. He illustrates the latter by the act of Christ in cleansing the temple, Matthew 21:12,13, and in denouncing the scribes and Pharisees, 23:13-29; but chrestotes by His dealings with the penitent woman, Luke 7:37-Luke 7:50. Lightfoot regards chrestotes as a kindly disposition towards others; agathosune as a kindly activity on their behalf.

J. A. Robertson (on Ephesians 5:9) remarks that agathosune is "the kindlier, as dikaiosune (righteousness) the sterner, element in the ideal character."

[ B-3,Noun,G2140, eupoiia ]
"beneficience, doing good" (eu, "well," poieo, "to do"), is translated as a verb in Hebrews 13:16, "to do good."

[ C-1,Adverb,G2573, kalos ]
"well finely," is used in some mss. in Matthew 5:44, with poieo, "to do," and translated "do good." In James 2:3 it is rendered "in a good place" (AV marg., "well" or "seemly"). See WELL.

[ C-2,Adverb,G2095, eu ]
"well," used with poieo, is translated "do ... good" in Mark 14:7. See WELL.

[ D-1,Verb,G15, agathopoieo ]
from A, No. 1, and poieo, "to do," is used
(a) in a general way, "to do well," 1 Peter 2:15,20; 1 Peter 3:6,17; 3 John 1:11;
(b) with pointed reference "to the benefit of another," Luke 6:9,33,35; in Mark 3:4 the parts of the word are separated in some mss. Some mss. have it in Acts 14:17, for No. 2. Cp. the noun agathopoiia, "well-doing," 1 Peter 4:19, and the adjective agathopoios, "doing well," 1 Peter 2:14.

[ D-2,Verb,G14, agathourgeo ]
for agathoergeo, "to do good" (from A, No. 1, and ergon, "a work"), is used in Acts 14:17 (in the best mss.; See No. 1), where it is said of God's beneficence towards man, and 1 Timothy 6:18, where it is enjoined upon the rich.

[ D-3,Verb,G2109, euergeteo ]
"to bestow a benefit, to do good" (eu, "well," and a verbal form akin to ergon), is used in Acts 10:38.


(1) The verb ischuo, "to be strong" (ischus, "strength"), "to have efficacy, force or value," is said of salt in Matthew 5:13, negatively, "it is good for nothing."

(2) In Matthew 19:10, AV, sumphero, "to be profitable, expedient" (sun, "together," phero, "to bring"); is rendered with a negative "it is not good" (RV, "it is not expedient").

(3) In Mark 14:7, the two words eu, "well," and poieo, "to do," are in some mss. treated as one verb eupoieo, "to do good."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words