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Greek Word Study - Reckon

In honor of the April income tax deadline, let’s talk about logizomai (log GIDZ oh my). This is the word used by Aristotle to describe the ancient equivalent of conducting an audit. It was a common accounting term with all kinds of applications.

To begin with, logizomai meant to count the value of something, or to calculate the interest on a loan. Then, it meant to make an entry of that amount into a ledger. A debt would be charged against a person, while an amount received would be credited to his account. If they had only had computers back then, we could just translate the term compute.

Now, where does all this tie in with the New Testament? First of all, we find out that God is willing not to count our transgressions and not to charge them against us. “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin” (Rom 4:8). This was made possible because Jesus was willing to be charged with our guilt, and was then himself “reckoned with transgressors” (Luke 22:37). “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor 5:19).

The generosity of the heavenly bookkeeping system seems to surprise some people, but God’s calculations are not some kind of “new math.” In fact, the divine approach to accounting was demonstrated as far back as Abraham. Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Rom 4:3).

Isn’t it good news that “God reckons righteousness apart from works” (Rom 4:6)? It’s even better than being audited by the I.R.S., and finding out they owe you money!