There are two other words with "eklegomai" that pertain to election: "eklogē" and "eklektos". What do
they mean and how are they used? What do they tell us about the concept of God’s act of choosing? Does
God elect whom He will save? This article will examine the Greek term "eklogē" and the seven times it is
used in the New Testament.
This feminine noun exclusively refers to God’s act of election, picking out or choosing.
God’s reveals to Ananias His election of Saul to be His instrument of witness:
But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen (eklogē) instrument of
Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
In Romans, Paul uses "eklogē", God’s election, in reference to an appointed position
and historical task. Romans 9:11 refers to the choice
of Jacob instead of the older brother Edom (Mal 1:2-5)
for the line of promise. By divine grace and in consideration of the Patriarchs,
Romans 11:5, 7, 28 refer to God’s choice of the nation
of Israel, "if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession
among all the peoples" (Ex 19:5). The remnant was those
who obeyed and kept His covenant; they "obtained it" and were the chosen ones. The Jews who failed to have
faith were still loved "for the sake of their fathers."
for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's
purpose according to His choice (eklogē) would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,
In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to
God's gracious choice (eklogē). (Rom 11:5)
What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen (eklogē)
obtained it, and the rest were hardened; (Rom 11:7)
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of
God's choice (eklogē) they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
In 1 Thessalonians 1:4, "eklogē"
is used to indicate God’s choice of the universal Christian church, because of His love; God’s election
of the church is the basis of its existence and for the purpose of being His witnesses
(1 Thess 1:5-10).
knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice (eklogē) of you;
(1 Thess 1:4)
The context of 2 Peter 1:10
suggests that some aspect of election is established by obedience. "Be all the more diligent to make certain
about His calling" indicates that God’s supernatural call is somehow made sure by human effort and responsibility.
Exodus 19:5 indicates that faith makes certain one's election in
the Old Testament; thus, in the New Testament, it would be faith in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and
choosing (eklogē) you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
(2 Pet 1:10)
In the seven uses of "eklogē", none are in reference to salvation. The intentional use of this term
seems to be for the designation of a person or group of people for a divine purpose, and in one instance
obedience seems to be a criterion for some aspect of election. Yet that divine election does not carry with it
any implication, sense of elitism or superiority of character.
While the biblical use of the term "eklogē" seems more purpose driven, the context of the biblical passages
appears to provide a depth and complexity to include the idea of salvation.
For example, while Romans 9:7-8 indicates
election as God’s choice of using the nation of Israel to make available salvation to the whole world, Paul is
making the argument that election is not restricted to the nation of Israel, and that His choice is not based on
any good works.
Romans 9:17-23 paints an image of a potter
and His clay that does have implications regarding individual salvation. Paul begins the imagery by
explicitly stating God’s right to mold clay for His purposes: an honorable or common use; each vessel represents
one human being.
It may be significant to note that there is no mention that clay was molded for evil or
In Romans 9:22-23, some take the passage
literally that God prepares some for eternal doom. But when examining the grammatical structure of the phrases
"prepared for destruction" and its parallel "prepared beforehand for glory," a notable difference is observed.
The first "prepared" (prepared for destruction) can be understood as a reflexive as in "prepared
themselves," or as a passive as in "were prepared." In the latter thought is that they unsaved have been and are in
the state of readiness or ripeness to receive God’s wrath. God has patiently endured the antagonism of the unsaved
and their judgment is coming. Those who oppose God or refuse Him are then "prepared" by Him for condemnation
The second "prepared" (prepared beforehand for glory) means "which He prepared." Those who have
faith in Jesus Christ are "prepared" for glory. Through faith in Jesus Christ, God bestows salvation.
Paul’s use of the imagery the Potter and the clay is not the first time it was used in the Bible.
Jeremiah 18 uses this same imagery and a study of this chapter can
provide clarity to Paul’s use of the imagery and a clearer understanding of the term "eklogē."
In contrast to Paul’s use of the imagery,
Jeremiah 18:6 indicates that the clay represents the nation of
Israel, "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" Through Jeremiah
(Jer 18:7-10), God illustrates His sovereignty by revealing how He
need only speak to effect a nation.
Jeremiah 18:10 provides the pivotal concept,
"if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had
promised to bless it." Here salvation, God’s blessings, is conditioned on a human beings response in obeying
God’s voice and not doing evil in His sight.
Just as Jeremiah speaks of the human response of fidelity to the Mosaic Covenant, Paul speaks
of salvation conditioned by the human response of faith in Christ
Consistent with this context are the consequences of unbelief found in
Jeremiah 19:10-11: "Then you are to break the jar in sight of the
men who accompany you and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Just so will I break this people and this
city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired."
When both Greek terms, "eklegomai" and "eklogē," are used within the context of both the saved
and unsaved, there is considerable confusion in understanding how election works with salvation. In the last
article of this series, the Greek term "eklektos" will be examined to see what light its understanding may shed
on the relationship between election and salvation.
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,