Volume. XX, No. 32
Saturday, 04 February 2006

From the Pastors Heart: A Study of dorea Family Words- Part 1

There are twenty occurrences of dorea, dorean (noun accusative feminine singular), doreas (noun genitive feminine singular).  It is worth noting that there is no single instance of charisma family word used in the book of Acts.  In the meanwhile, dorea is used four times in the book (Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17).  Every single occurrence of dorea is translated as gift (John 4:10; Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17; Romans 5:15, 17; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 3:7; 4:7; Hebrews 6:4).  Doreas occurs three times (Romans 5:17; Ephesians 4:7; Hebrews 6:4) and is translated as gift.  Dorean occurs 9 times (six times translated as gift, and the remaining three occurrences as without a cause in John 15:25, as in vain in Galatians 2:21, and as for nought in 2 Thessalonians 3:8). 


The word, dorean, basically means “for nothing”, implies the free gift according to Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Geoffrey W. Bromiley.  It is the way that the word is used in Matthew 10:8; Romans 3:24; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Revelation 21:6. 

In Matthew 10:8, it is translated as freely (“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give”).

In John 15:25 as “without a cause” (But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause).

In Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely [dorean] by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 11:7, “Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely [dorean]?”

2 Thessalonians 3:8, “Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought [dorean]; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.”

Revelation 21:6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely [dorean].”

Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

If there is an exception to this rule, it may be found in John 4:10, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”  Some commentators will say that the gift of God here refers to Christ, or some to the everlasting life.  Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain [dorean].”  Dorean has never been translated as gift, but mostly as freely (6 times).


This particular word is found in Acts 2, 8, 10, and 11, which have events related to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  The most challenging passage is Acts 2:38.

Acts 2:38
It has been controversial whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 (“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”) are meant to be the miraculous gifts as in 1 Corinthians. 

Two Considerations
There are two things to be considered.  (1) As we have seen so far, the primary meaning of dorean does not refer to sign gifts.  (2) The phrase, “the gift of the Holy Ghost,” should be understood epexegetically.  It means that the gift that the people would receive when they repent is the Holy Spirit.  This point needs to be understood in the light of transitional nature of the book of Acts. 

The universal manifestation of the Spirit of God is finally revealed in Acts 2.  The Jewish audiences were still under the Old Testament law and did not realize that the promised messianic age had already come.  Therefore, the exhortation for repentance and the reception of the Holy Spirit do not appear to be a simultaneous act, but in two different stages.  It was because they lived in the transitional period moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament, from Judaism to Christian teaching.  It is also significant to know that, within this context, the gift of the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:38 does not have any direct relationship to any sign gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. 

There are two passages related to Acts 2:38: 1) Acts 8:20 (“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money”) and 2) Acts 10:45. 

We must be able to see at least six points:

  • The book of Acts and 1 Corinthians do not share the same Greek words referring to sign gifts, though they do share same phenomena. 
  • Acts 2 and 8, 10 are different.  In Acts 2:38, people listened to Peter.  Then, there is no record of any manifestation of supernatural sign gifts including tongue speaking or prophecy.  Instead, they received the word gladly and were baptized, which resulted in adding three thousand more souls to the church.  Their salvation was the gift of the Holy Spirit after all. 
  • However, Acts 8 and 10 are different.  For example, Acts 8:17 says, “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”  Some people may say that it must be some supernatural and sign gifts coming down to the Samaritans.  However, such view needs to be checked by verse 13, “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” 
  • This comparative study indicates:
  • There were miracles and signs performed by Philip even before Peter and his company came and laid their hands on the Samaritans.  Therefore, laying hands on someone does not necessarily mean to impart any sign gift to him.
  • They were believers of Jesus Christ because they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Acts 8:16.

I’ll continue on this word study next week.  Till then, God bless!

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 31: What is effectual calling? Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Joon Ho Lee, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Dn Edwin D’Mello’s parents, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, & Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei, & Auntie Sheila George, and others afflicted with illness. "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalm 136:1).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev George van Buuren as he ministers God’s Word to the Khmers (Sihanoukville); Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi & their ministry (Phnom Penh & Kandal Province); b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for health & God’s provision; c) Journey mercies - Sisters Nikki Ching, Gillian Ong, Bro Patrick Leong (Adl) & others who are travelling; d) Sketch N’ Tell ministry - Bro Hai Seng Lim, and for his next missions trip; e) Comfort & encouragement - Bro Tae-Yul Lee & family, & Sis Lydia Tan & family at this difficult time; f) YAF Outreach at The University of Adelaide on 21-22 Feb, during Orientation Week; g) Easter Family Bible Camp Speaker: Rev Colin Wong.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF/Teens Prayer & Share, BSAG Bible Study & Prayer Meeting, & Ladies Fellowship Prayer Meeting; b) Journey mercies - Ps Ki (Adl); Rev & Mrs Edward Paauwe (Adl & Perth); Bro Patrick Leong (Syd); Bro Steven & Sis Eileen Ee (S’pore); Sisters Nikki Ching & Marion Chang’s mother (Melb), Clara Sim & family, Yee Min Tee, the George & Sankey families, Elaine & Ethan Lov (Adl) & others who are travelling; c) Ministry in Kerala, and God’s blessings & protection - Ps Ki; d) God’s Guidance for Hope BPC whilst Ps Ki was away; e) Answered prayers -  cooler weather; f) New worshippers -  over the last weeks.

Greetings to Hopefuls from Mr Kurt Briels (Belgium).

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $19,465 for Pastor’s car by 31 Mar 06.

Looking Ahead: Basic Bible Knowledge (BBK) class starts on 6 Mar. Anyone seeking church membership/transfer or baptism is invited to attend. For details, please see Ps Ki or Elder Michael Lee.

Looking Ahead: Family Bible Camp at Easter, 14-17 April. Please plan to come.



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