The Greek term "eklektos" is a participle of the verb "eklegomai" which can be used as a noun (i.e. elect) or as an
adjective that means "picked out" or "chosen" by someone. With regard to divine choice, who and what makes God's elect? Is
God's elect a reference to a group or individual? Does God's elect indicate whether one receives salvation or not? Because
the theological topic of "election" has been difficult to fully understand, these types of questions swirl about and
ultimately reflect the tension between the sovereignty of God and the free will of human beings.
The New Testament uses "eklektos" in the singular or in the plural. When used in the plural, it is used in the same
sense as the Hebrew language intended: the object of election is a body of people even though it is spoken of as many
individuals. Except in one instance, when used in the Gospels, "eklektos" is used in the context of eschatology (the end
When used in the last verse of the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt 22:14),
"eklektos" provides a deeper meaning and context to the trilogy of parables presented in Matthew
(Parable of the Two Sons:
Parable of the Landowner:
Matt 21:33-44 and
Parable of the Wedding Feast:
Matt 22:1-14). Speaking to religious Jewish leaders, Jesus tells the story
of a man who was invited to the Wedding Feast but not wearing wedding clothes. He was in effect disobedient and did not have
the clothing that entitled him to the wedding; in essence, "eklektos" was fulfilled only in obedience. In this commentary of
Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ, to be "eklektos" seems predicated on human decision. The invited are not coerced to come;
they have the choice to come freely or not. But if they come, they must put on the proper clothing. The Parable of the
Wedding Feast indicates that those who believe and obey are of the "elect".
"For many are called, but few are chosen (eklektos)." (Matt 22:14)
In telling the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8),
Jesus tells the disciples that God would answer the persistent prayers of the elect. Jesus is referring to Believers, and His
parable reveals what the attitude of the elect should be. In ending the parable with a rhetorical question (when the Son of
Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?) (Rev 8:1-5),
Jesus seeks to encourage the disciples towards faithfulness and persistent prayer.
now, will not God bring about justice for His elect (eklektos) who cry to Him day and night,
and will He delay long over them? (Luke 18:7)
When Jesus shares his view of the coming apocalypse as a warning to Peter, James, John and Andrew, He uses
the term "elect" to describe the world wide community of Believers. Despite the tribulation, the gospel must continually be
preached, and by divine mercy, the days of turmoil will be shortened to preserve the "eklektos".
"Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect
(eklektos) those days will be cut short. (Matt 24:22)
"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead,
if possible, even the elect (eklektos). (Matt 24:24)
"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect
(eklektos) from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matt 24:31)
"Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect
(eklektos), whom He chose, He shortened the days. (Mark 13:20)
For false Christs prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if
possible, the elect (eklektos). (Mark 13:22)
And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect (eklektos) from the four
winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. (Mark 13:27)
When the singular use of eklektos is applied to Jesus Christ, it conveys a sense of quality to the
object chosen. Luke 23:35 is a contemptuous doubting of Jesus' claim of
deity; His enemies scorn the perceived quality of His Kingship for the failure to assert Himself. In other examples
(1 Peter 2:4, 6), there is a sense that quality is because of the divine
appointment. Jesus Christ is "choice" or "select", because He was appointed to atone for the sins of humanity.
And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others;
let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen (eklektos) One." (Luke 23:35)
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been ejected by men, but is choice (eklektos) and
precious in the sight of God, (1 Pet 2:4)
For this is contained in Scripture: BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE (eklektos) STONE, A PRECIOUS
CORNER STONE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." (1 Pet 2:6)
Paul's uses the noun "eklektos" to encourage Christians to live as a new creation as a consequence of God's pre-temporal
appointment and gracious love through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of God love, Believers should pursue godliness
and love others. Scholars have wondered if Paul intentionally avoided frequent use of the term "eklektos" because of pride
and elitism which Judaism exhibited.
Who will bring a charge against God's elect (eklektos)? God is the one who justifies;
So, as those who have been chosen (eklektos) of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; (Col 3:12)
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen (eklektos) angels,
to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
(1 Tim 5:21)
For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen (eklektos), so that they
also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (2 Tim 2:10)
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen (eklektos)
of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, (Tit 1:1)
Peter's use of the noun "eklektos" involves the explicit inclusion of Gentiles in the community of the elect
(1 Pet 1:1). Originally made with the nation of Israel, the Old Testament
promises now apply to the universal Christian church (1 Pet 2:10-11).
This inclusion is based on faith in Jesus Christ, and this is readily seen in
1 Peter 2:6-9 where the unbelieving is contrasted with the believing and
obedience with disobedience. Being part of the "eklektos" depends on whether one believes in Jesus Christ or not and obeys
Him. This apparent freedom to choose to believe places responsibility on each human being the eternal consequences of God's
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice (eklektos) and
precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to
offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: BEHOLD, I
LAY IN ZION A CHOICE (eklektos) STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
(1 Pet 2:4-6)
But you are A CHOSEN (eklektos) RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD'S OWN
POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
(1 Pet 2:9)
When referring to Believers, the New Testament use of God's chosen (eklektos) never engenders pride. Instead, to
be "eklektos" reflects faith in the atoning work of Jesus, a recognition of divine grace and grateful obedience in service
to Christ. This inclusion is dependent upon one's decision to believe in Jesus. And it appears that each person bears a
responsibility for the consequences of their decision.
The New Testament concept of "eklektos" is rooted in God's introduction of the elect in the Old Testament:
'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles' wings, and brought
you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among
all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the
words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel." (Ex 19:4-6)
1. Brown C, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 3, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, (1979).
2. Harris RL, Archer Jr GL, and Waltke BK., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Chicago: Moody Press, (1980).
3. Mounce MD, ed., Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, (2006).
4. Brand C, Draper C and England A, eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, (1998).
5. Walvoord JF and Zuck, RB, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Wheaton: Victor Books, (1983).
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