Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 30, 2012 0 comments

The word of the week this week is gentile... that means soft and kind, right? Nope - that’s gentle! This weeks’ word is gentile, which refers to a group of people. Are you a gentile? Maybe - keep reading to find out!

The word gentile itself is from the Latin gentilis, which means a member of a people. The short and sweet definition for gentile is anyone who is not a Jew as their racial origin. In the Old Testament Hebrew, the word used for this was goyim (pronounced goy-EEM). Goyim means “the nations,” meaning all of the other nations except the Jewish nation. So are you a gentile? Unless your ethnicity is Jewish, then the answer is yes.

Why is the distinction between Jew and gentile important? In the Old Testament, the Jews were God’s chosen people. They were really the only monotheistic people - they were the only ones who worshipped only one God. The gentiles back then mostly polytheistic and worshipped multiple gods. Jews followed God’s laws given to them through Moses and the books of the law, whereas gentiles followed their own rules that may or may not line up with God’s law.

Early in the first century A.D., there was still a distinction between Jews and gentiles. The Roman political government, made up of gentiles, ruled over the Jews, although the Jews did have their own religious leaders in authority. Jesus was born a Jew, and His 12 disciples were Jews as well.

But, after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the distinction between Jew and gentile got blurry. Jesus died for everyone - both Jews and gentiles! In Acts 11:1-18, Peter (a Jew) explains this to the rest of the Jewish believers. They were shocked that those filthy gentiles were saved, too! But in the end, they agreed that salvation is for everyone, regardless of race. This fulfilled the prophecy given in Isaiah 49:6, which says, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

This unification of Jews and gentiles is explained further in 1 Corinthians 12:13, where it says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Similarly, Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This same idea is expressed in many other passages, including Ephesians 3:6 and Colossians 3:11.

So, are you a Jew or a gentile? Does it matter? Not to Jesus.