Monday, April 2, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: bo-ay-THAY-oh
Strong's Number: 997
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 1070
Key Verse: “Help my unbelief.” -- Mark 9:24

Boetheo means “to run to the cry of those in danger and bring them aid.”

The noun, boetheia, is found in Acts 27:17, regarding “supporting cables” in undergirding a ship, with ropes or chains passed under the hull, then tightened with levers, and in Hebrews 4:16, where we are to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This is a part of our liberty or boldness, that we come up to the throne and call aloud for mercy. God hears and dispenses the blessing we need. The adjective, boethos, is found in Hebrews 13:6 (quoting Psalm 118:6), “The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid.” We need have no fear if we have the assurance that the Lord is on our side, as our protector and Helper. This is very common in the Septuagint, in that true help is to be sought in Yahweh, Who is our Helper.

The verb, boetheo, is found 8 times. In Acts 16:9, Paul had a vision of a man asking him to “come to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 21:28 tells of the Asian Jews calling to the “men of Israel, come to our aid” in regard to Paul’s preaching. In Revelation 12:16, “the earth helped the woman.” God uses the earth to protect His people, just as He supernaturally intervened in the Old Testament. In 2 Corinthians 6:2 (quoting Isaiah 49:8), God says, “on the day of salvation, I helped you.” Hebrews 2:18 says that Jesus “is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” In all temptations, Jesus stands ready to give aid to the sorely-tried saint. He always stands ready, eager to run to our cry and bring us aid. In the gospels, He is asked for help in regard to demon-possessed children -- once in Matthew 15:25, and in Mark 9:22 and 9:24.

In the key verse of MARK 9:24, the father’s plea for Jesus is to “help my unbelief.” The verb is in the present tense, indicating that continuous help is asked for -- “be constantly helping my unbelief.” His weak faith brings out an essential element of Christian faith. It is possible only with the help of the One who is its object.

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