What is Mercy?

What is Mercy?

What is mercy? There are several Hebrew words that are associated with God's mercy:
    Kapporeth – means "ransom," "propitiatory," or "the mercy seat."

    Racham – means "to love," "to have compassion," or "to show mercy."

    Chesed – means "goodness," "kindness," "mercifulness," or "loving-kindness."1

These Greek words are associated with mercy in the New Testament:
    Eleemon – means "to show mercy," "to pity," "to have compassion," or "to be merciful."

    Oiktirmos – carries the concept of "compassion" or "pity." 1
What is Mercy – A Theologians Description
What is mercy? Theologians have described mercy this way:

"God's mercy is his tenderhearted, loving compassion for his people. It is his tenderness of heart toward the needy. If grace contemplates humans as sinful, guilty, and condemned, mercy sees them as miserable and needy." – Millard Erickson2

"This is the first work of God—that He is merciful to all who are ready to do without their own opinion, right, wisdom, and all spiritual goods, and willing to be poor in spirit." – Martin Luther3

"God is pleased to show mercy to his enemies, according to his own sovereign pleasure. Though he is infinitely above all, and stands in no need of creatures; yet he is graciously pleased to take a merciful notice of poor worms in the dust." – Jonathan Edwards4

"Mercy is kindness exercised toward the miserable, and includes pity, compassion, forbearance, and gentleness, which the Scriptures so abundantly ascribe to God." – Charles Hodge5

1 Greek and Hebrew word definitions come from Systematic Theology by Geisler, Dr. Norman, 385.
2 Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. 322.
3 Luther, Martin. What Luther Says.3.176.
4 Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. 2.110
5 Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. 471.

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