In our Greek Word Devotional series, we discuss some of our favorite passages in the Bible, focusing on the specific use of certain Greek words. As we look to pick up our Bible and rest, let’s turn our attention to boulē and how God’s plans ultimately bring us comfort. Acts 20:27 says:
“…because I did not avoid declaring to you the whole plan of God.”
The following is an excerpt from the CSB Study Bible:
Greek pronunciation: boo LAY
CSB translation: plan
Uses in Acts: 7
Uses in the NT: 12
Focus passage: Acts 20:27
The Greek noun boulē can mean counsel, will, plan, or purpose. The related verb boulomai occurs thirty-seven times in the NT (14 in Acts) and can mean to will, purpose, plan, or come to a decision. In Greek religion, the term boulē often referred to the will or plan of the gods.
In the Greek OT, boulē normally refers to human plans or desires that may or may not occur and is often advice given to royalty (2Sm 15:31,34; 16:20,23; 1Kg 12:8; 2Ch 22:5). But it can also refer to God’s purpose that cannot be thwarted (Jb 12:13; Ps 33:11; Pr 19:21; Is 19:17; 46:10; Jr 50:45; see Pr 21:30) and that guides his people (Ps 73:24).
The NT usage of boulē is very similar to that of the Greek OT. Humans may or may not see their plans realized (Lk 7:30; 23:51; Ac 5:38; 27:12,42), but God’s plans and purposes will not fail (Ac 2:23; 4:28; 13:36; Eph 1:11; Heb 6:17).
Reflections on the excerpt
In the above excerpt, it’s the final paragraph that ties into our monthly theme of being comforted. “Humans may or may not see their plans realized, but God’s plans and purposes will not fail.” How often is our discomfort rooted in our uncertainty about the future? Our anxieties of the unknown lead us to make decisions that aren’t tied to our own interests but rather short-term, temporary relief from discomfort.
But God’s plans for us always bring us comfort. When we lean into his will, trust his designs, and follow his Word, we find peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. And the “solution” will be different from person to person. But perhaps even noticing the ways in which we are following our own plans instead of God’s will be the first step onto the right path.