Kecharitomene Questions

by Jimmy Akin

in Greek

A reader writes:

I was watching EWTN earlier and it was mentioned that only two people in the New Testament are referred to as “full of grace” – Jesus (John 1:14) and Mary (Luke 1:28). Of course I thought this would be a really neat thing to mention to my Protestant friends (especially if we’re talking about Jesus and Mary being the New Adam and New Eve).

BUT I wanted to go beyond the English and examine the original Greek – but I don’t know a lot about Greek! So I have two twofold questions:

(1) does John 1:14 use kecharitomene as fully (pardon the pun) as Luke’s usage in 1:28 or does John 1:14 follow more closely to Acts 6:8 when Stephen is referred to as “full of grace and power”?

John 1:14 says that Jesus was plErEs charitos, which literally means "full of grace." (Those capital Es arepresent etas, so pronounce them like the e in "they"; the word is thus pronounced PLAY-RACE).

Luke 1:28 uses kecharitomene, which literally means "one who has been graced" or "woman who has been graced" (since the gender is female). It doesn’t literally mean "full of grace," though that is defensible as a free translation.

Acts 6:8 refers to Stephen as plErEs charitos, so again it’s literally "full of grace" and just the same as the description used of Jesus in John 1:14.

If it is the latter, (2) does that mean there really isn’t a literal “full of grace” parallel between Luke 1:28 and John 1:14 or can I find that literal parallel somewhere else in the New Testament?

Not that I’m aware of, and I’d almost certainly be aware of it if there were.

I’m afraid that in establishing Jesus and Mary as the New Adam and Eve, you’ll need to appeal to other considerations. You might try those mentioned HERE and HERE.


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Christopher October 14, 2005 at 12:49 pm

Just a typographical note: with these spelling conventions, it should be kecharitomenE (eta at the end).

Jimmy Akin October 14, 2005 at 12:53 pm

You’re correct. Was typing from memory for that word and forgot the final eta.

Pseudomodo October 14, 2005 at 1:38 pm


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