Summary: Should the word(s) luck, fortunate, or chance, be they good or bad, be included in a Christian's vocabulary? Or do the facts that God is all knowing and in sovereign control of our lives and of everything in our world negate their use entirely?
Should the word(s) luck, fortunate, or chance, be they good or bad, be included in a Christian's vocabulary? Or do the facts that God is all knowing and in sovereign control of our lives and of everything in our world negate their use entirely?
The word “Luck” does not have many direct synonyms, with “Fortune” and “Chance” being the nearest approximates, in my mind.
While there are many derivatives and subtleties among the usage of “Luck”, here is but one definition; Luck is the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities. “With my luck, I'll probably get pneumonia” or “With any luck, she'll kiss me on prom night.”
The word “Chance” is defined as; the absence of any known cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled. As is with luck, chance can be personified as a positive, negative or neutral factor like “The chance that he fell allowed me to win the race” or “I took my chance passing the GED without studying but I flunked” or “That it was just a chance meeting, neither one of us had planned on going to the beach that day.”
The word “Fortune” can be defined as wealth as in, “I made a fortune in the stock market”. But another dictionary definition involves; chance or luck, as in “Due only to bad fortune, each married the wrong person. It can also be used as luck; “Once I found that four leaf clover, my fortune changed.
So we see those three words, “Luck, Chance, and Fortunately” certainly have overlapping meanings and all can be associated with good or bad. But do those three words have any biblical references, good or bad themselves? To find out more on all things good and/or evil we should turn to the Bible. But which Bible? The Internet biblical resource “BibleGateway.com” offers Fifty (50) authorized English translations of the Bible.
Most older translations, like the 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) and the King James Bible, refrain from using the word “Luck.” The same can be said of the New International Version (NIV). All three versions shy away from using the word.
So, not being able to read the original scrolls in any of the three original languages, most of us are left to review and study what is offered in the English language, modern or not. To be fair, let's specifically research some translations while comparing all fifty versions in general. Does that sound fair?
The easy to read (ERV) version of the bible translates with simpler vocabulary and shorter sentences to make it simpler to understand. The ERV uses Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1984) as its Old Testament text with some readings from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also, it follows the Septuagint, ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, when its readings are considered more accurate. For the New Testament, the ERV uses the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (revised, 1993) and Nestle-Aland Novum Testament Graece (revised, 1993). The ERV offers thought-for-thought or a functional equivalence method of translation. It is very useful for people who struggle with reading.
The Geneva Bible (GNV) is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James translation by more than fifty years. It was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower. It was the primary Bible of 16th century Protestantism and was the Bible used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, and a host of other famous persons. This version of the Bible is significant because, for the very first time, it was mass-produced from one of the earliest printing presses and was made available directly to the general public. It offered scriptural study guides and aids, which allow the reader to cross-reference one verse with numerous relevant verses.
The New International Version (NIV) was originally published in the 1970s. The NIV was updated in 1984 and 2011. The core translation group consisted of fifteen Biblical scholars using Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts whose goal was to produce a more modern English language text than the King James Version. The translation took ten years and involved a team of over 100 scholars. from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included many different denominations such as Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Lutheran, and Presbyterian. The NIV seeks a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought or literal phrase by phrase translations. Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding passages that have traditionally been difficult to translate.
So, with our baselines explained, let's begin our studies.
ERV Leah said, “I am lucky.” So she named her son Gad. [a] (Gad can mean good fortune, luck or a troop cometh)