Inherit, Inheritance - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Inherit, Inheritance

[ A-1,Verb,G2816, kleronomeo ]
strictly means to receive by lot" (kleros, "a lot," nemomai, "to possess"); then, in a more general sense, "to possess oneself of, to receive as one's own, to obtain." The following list shows how in the NT the idea of inheriting broadens out to include all spiritual good provided through and in Christ, and particularly all that is contained in the hope grounded on the promises of God. The verb is used of the following objects:

(a) birthright, that into the possession of which one enters in virtue of sonship, not because of a price paid or of a task accomplished, Galatians 4:30; Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 12:17.

(b) that which is received as a gift, in contrast with that which is received as the reward of law-keeping, Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 6:12 ('through,' i.e., 'through experiences that called for the exercise of faith and patience,' but not 'on the ground of the exercise of faith and patience.').

(c) that which is received on condition of obedience to certain precepts, 1 Peter 3:9, and of faithfulness to God amidst opposition, Revelation 21:7.

(d) the reward of that condition of soul which forbears retaliation and self-vindication, and expresses itself in gentleness of behavior ..., Matthew 5:5. The phrase "inherit the earth," or "land," occur several times in OT. See especially Psalms 37:11, Psalms 37:22.

(e) the reward (in the coming age, Mark 10:30) of the acknowledgment of the paramountcy of the claims of Christ, Matthew 19:29. In the three accounts given of this incident, See Mark 10:17-Mark 10:31, Luke 18:18-Luke 18:30, the words of the question put to the Lord are, in Matthew, "that I may have," in Mark and Luke, "that I may inherit." In the report of the Lord's word to Peter in reply to his subsequent question, Matthew has "inherit eternal life," while Mark and Luke have "receive eternal life." It seems to follow that the meaning of the word "inherit" is here ruled by the words "receive" and "have," with which it is interchanged in each of the three Gospels, i.e., the less common word "inherit" is to be regarded as equivalent to the more common words "receive" and "have." Cp. Luke 10:25.

(f) the reward of those who have shown kindness to the "brethren" of the Lord in their distres, Matthew 25:34.

(g) the kingdom of God, which the morally corrupt cannot "inherit," 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the "inheritance" of which is likewise impossible to the present physical constitution of man, 1 Corinthians 15:50.

(h) incorruption, impossible of "inheritance" by corruption, 1 Corinthians 15:50." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 286-289.]


Note: In regard to
(e), the word clearly signifies entrance into eternal life without any previous title; it will not bear the implication that a child of God may be divested of his "inheritance" by the loss of his right of succession.

[ A-2,Verb,G2820, kleroo ]
is used in the Passive Voice in Ephesians 1:11, AV, "we have obtained an inheritance;" RV, "we were made a heritage." See HERITAGE.

[ B-1,Noun,G2817, kleronomia ]
"a lot" (See A), properly "an inherited property, an inheritance." "It is always rendered inheritance in NT, but only in a few cases in the Gospels has it the meaning ordinarily attached to that word in English, i.e., that into possession of which the heir enters only on the death of an ancestor. The NT usage may be set out as follows:
(a) that property in real estate which in ordinary course passes from father to son on the death of the former, Matthew 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 12:13; Luke 20:14;
(b) a portion of an estate made the substance of a gift, Acts 7:5; Galatians 3:18, which also is to be included under
(c) the prospective condition and possessions of the believer in the new order of things to be ushered in at the return of Christ, Acts 20:32; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4;
(d) what the believer will be to God in that age, Ephesians 1:18." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 146-147.]

Note: In Galatians 3:18, "if the inheritance is of the Law," the word "inheritance" stands for "the title to the inheritance."

[ B-2,Noun,G2819, kleros ]
(whence Eng., "clergy"), denotes
(a) "a lot," given or cast (the latter as a means of obtaining Divine direction), Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:24; John 19:24; Acts 1:26;
(b) "a person's share" in anything, Acts 1:17, RV, "portion" (AV, "part"); Acts 8:21, "lot;"
(c) "a charge" (lit., "charges") "allotted," to elders, 1 Peter 5:3, RV (AV, "(God's) heritage"); the figure is from portions of lands allotted to be cultivated;
(d) "an inheritance," as in No. 1
(c); Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12. See CHARGE, A, No. 4, LOT

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words