What is Meekness?

That’s not a characteristic we talk about too much. In fact, I’m not exactly sure what it means, but I was curious about it since lots of newer translations don’t even translate the beatitude “Blessed are the meek” any more. Instead, they translate it as “humble” or “patient.” But I think there is something essential about the word meek that isn’t included in those other terms.

To discover what it means, it might be helpful to know that in Greek, the word “meek” is also used to describe animals on occasion, but animals that have been tamed. So meekness isn’t weakness; it isn’t loss of strength. A tame animal retains all of the strength that it’s ever had, but it has learned to harness that strength. To keep it under control. 

Maybe “meekness” has fallen on hard times because we have equated it with weakness. But there is nothing weak about harnessed power. And that, ultimately, is what we find in Christ.

He was described as meek. But his meekness wasn’t from lack of power. Jesus was meek not because He was incapable, but because He voluntarily harnessed His power. No one was taking His life from Him; out of His meekness He was allowing it to be taken.

So what does meekness look like lived out as a Christian virtue? Love to know your thoughts.

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  • Zach Nielsen says:

    I’ll take a stab –

    Meekness is a gospel informed humility. Brokenhearted joy at Piper would say. Keeping a firm eye to on the already and not yet of the gospel. Hope filled tension.


  • Michael K. says:

    I figured Piper would know what it meant.

  • Megs says:

    Perhaps our living out meekness includes:

    -Learning to harness the strength of our emotions. Not reacting out of anger. Being slow to anger. Acting consciously out of love.
    -Learning to harness the power of our words. Being quick to listen and slow to speak.

    Those were my initial responses anyway. . .

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