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Why Paul Greets Readers with "Grace and Peace"

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Paul wrote 13 books that are in the New Testament. They are in the Bible from the longest to the shortest instead of in the order they were written. In every one of the books written to churches, Paul used this same greeting in the first few verses:

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

There is a valid reason Paul used those two keywords in his letters to the churches. It is also a reason he used them in that specific order.

When writing to individuals, such as Timothy and Titus, he added, "mercy" to "grace" and "peace."

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul's Greeting

Paul's greeting is inclusive.

  • To the Greeks, he used the word "grace."
  • To the Hebrews, he used the word "peace."

He used both words so no group would be excluded.

"Grace to You"

The traditional greeting in the Hellenistic world was chairein which simply meant "Greetings!" which all the Greeks knew. Paul used chairs, a form of the word that means "grace." In other words, Paul added "grace to you" to the familiar Greek greeting. That went beyond the traditional greeting to one that was for his Christian Greek audience.

Grace, as Paul stated, came from God the Father and Jesus Christ to let his audience know in his greeting exactly where grace was coming from before he told them what he had to tell them.

"Peace From God . . ."

Just as grace was to the Greek listeners, Paul added to the traditional Jewish greeting, "shalom" which means "peace"

Paul was Jewish. Therefore, he was very familiar with the Hebrew greeting of just the word shalom, but he added more to it to keep it from being just a vague greeting. The peace Paul referred to was "inner peace" instead of merely saying "hello" to someone. The peace in Paul's greeting came “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He added "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" at the end of the greeting to the Greek and Hebrew Christians. That went beyond the traditional greeting.


Why Grace is Mentioned First?

Have you ever blessed anyone by saying, "Peace and grace be unto you"? If so, the next time, use Paul's habit of being careful to say, "Grace and peace" in that order.

Paul mentions grace first, and then peace because peace flows from grace. Without grace, there can be no peace. We receive peace only after we have received grace from God. After all, we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8) and everything that happens to us is because of God's grace. Even our inner peace comes because of the overflow of God's grace.

Notice that Paul was careful to say in every letter: "grace to you" and "peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." We should use those words in that order.

Paul’s repeated greeting directed to the recipients indicates that the source of both grace and peace is God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The same greeting in every one of Paul's letters is unlike other greetings of his day that were sent in the names of pagan gods and goddesses. Paul assured Christian believers that true grace and peace come only from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

List of Paul's Saluations to the Churches

Paul used the same exact words in all his greetings in the opening of every one of his letters. Notice that the greeting comes within the first three verses except it comes in Romans 1:7. Don't take my word for it. Use the links before to see for yourself.


Paul Adds "Mercy" to His Greeting in the Pastoral Letters

In addition to the keywords grace and mercy, Paul used in his salutation to the churches, he adds “mercy” to the recipients of three of his letters to young pastors Timothy and Titus. Notice that the greeting begins with grace, God's unmerited favor, then mercy, and ends with peace. The order was important to Paul, and it should be important to us as well.

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Proof That Paul Did Not Write the Book of Hebrews

Many people believe Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews. However, that particular book does not follow the format, greetings, closing, and so many other things used by Paul in his 13 books of the New Testament.

Hebrews is a general epistle written not to a church or to an individual as Paul's books are. There is no salutation that includes the words grace and peace or grace, mercy, and peace.

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