CSB News & Information

Greek Word Devos–prautēs

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. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we wanted to look at James 3:13.

Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom.

The following is an excerpt from the CSB Study Bible:


Greek pronunciation: prah OO tays

CSB translation: gentleness

Uses in James: 2

Uses in the NT: 11

Focus passage: James 3:13

Prautēs (gentleness, humility) always appears as a positive quality in the NT. Christians are encouraged to receive humbly the implanted word able to save their lives (Jms 1:21). This inward attitude of gentleness always manifests itself outwardly. There is no thing as a gentle attitude that does not express itself in gentleness with relation to others. Therefore, good conduct should operate in the gentleness that wisdom requires (Jms 3:13). Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gl 5:23). Christians are to clothe themselves with gentleness not only toward one another (Col 3:12) but also toward all people (Ti 3:2). The servant of God is not to quarrel even with his opponents. Rather, he is to instruct them in gentleness with a view to their repentance (2Tm 2:24-25; cp. 1Pt 3:16). 

Our culture tends to look down on gentleness. Gentleness is sacrificed on the altar of “strength,” as if gentleness is something that needs to be worked out of us. 

But as the article above mentions, gentleness is always a positive quality. Not only that, but it is borne out of wisdom and expressed only in relation to others. Being gentle is not weak–it is wise and active.

God exemplifies the “motherly qualities” of gentleness in some of our most well-known passages. In Psalm 23, God “presents a table” before us. In the time of writing, the preparation of a table would have fallen to the women of the household, yet God portrays his matronly love and care by preparing the table. David is intentionally comparing God the Father to the care of mothers. Because David knew that God’s heart was gentle. Furthermore, the table is prepared “in the presence of my enemies” (v. 5). As exercising gentleness in a moment of chaos or anger requires intention, so this deliberate rest on a potential battlefield demonstrates how God’s qualities perfectly intersect: the most powerful gentleness and the most nurturing strength. 

In what ways are we suppressing our gentle nature, despite the example that God himself provides? Let us lean into the gentleness of Christ, appreciating the ways God’s love is mirrored in motherhood, and humbly accepting the lessons.