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Recently Added
to Exposition of Romans:


9:19–23—The triumph of God’s mercy through his forbearance of wrath
(November 17th 2017)

Bible Verses on Reckoning

The Greek verb logizomai appears 40 times in the New Testament, and 34 of those uses are by Paul. Its Hebrew equivalent occurs dozens of times in the Old Testament. I have selected from both Testaments a variety of verses that demonstrate the word’s significance, diverse contexts, and varieties of translation. To understand the importance of this word for the biblical concept of justification by grace through faith, be sure to read my exposition of Romans 4.

See Definition of Reckoning for background information on the meaning of logizomai.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word ḥāšaḇ (to “think” or “account”) is closest in meaning to logizomai and is chiefly translated as such in the Septuagint (the Greek OT). According to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Eichler), “The other terms which it translates are found only rarely: hāyâh, to be (2 Sam. 19:44 [43]); mānâh in the niphal, to count (Isa. 53:12); qārā’, niphal, call (Deut. 3:13); and šûḇh, return, consider (Isa. 44:19).”

Unless otherwise noted, Bible verses are from the English Standard Version, which instead of reckon uses such terms as count, credit, hold, take, esteem, impute, or regard.

Word study is only one part of proper interpretation. Context is a critically important factor Bible translators must weigh when selecting an appropriate English word for the parent Greek or Hebrew term. As evidenced by the numerous words English translators have used for logizomai, it has a fairly wide semantic range. Nevertheless, as you can understand from its definition, the word possesses important meanings some English translations may not fully convey.

As you read these verses, I’m not suggesting that you substitute “reckon” or “reckoned” for each boldfaced term. Rather, apply your new understanding of logizomai and see if you come away with a richer understanding of the passage. Let’s look at a couple examples.

Numbered or reckoned?

Look below for Isaiah 53:12, where the Servant of the Lord was “numbered with the transgressors.” In Luke 22:37 Jesus applies this verse to himself. Now read this passage as Keil and Delitzsch rendered it in their Old Testament commentary: “He has suffered Himself to be reckoned with transgressors.” Matthew Henry and John Calvin used the term “ranked.” Ask yourself this: Who did the numbering or reckoning or ranking? You can find clues in Isaiah 53:3 and 4, which have two more uses of logizomai.

The verb “number” has a static connotation in comparison with the more dynamic “reckon.” It’s the difference between merely counting objects and moving objects from one category to another as we form judgments about them in our mind. In reckoning Jesus a transgressor, “we” (see verse 4) regarded our holy Redeemer as a violator of God’s law. Of course, there is great irony here. God in a sense also reckoned Jesus a transgressor, as he placed our transgressions on the Redeemer so he could in turn reckon us righteous.

Esteemed or reckoned?

Now look again at Isaiah 53:3 and 4, where ESV and most translations have “esteemed” for logizomai (Septuagint translation of the Hebrew verb ḥāšaḇ). Here is what Keil and Delitzsch say about this phrase in verse 3:

He was despised, and we did not think Him dear and worthy, but rather “esteemed Him not,” or rather did not estimate Him at all, or as Luther expresses it, “estimated Him at nothing” (châshabh, to reckon, value, esteem…).

Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 7, p. 507). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Logos edition.

The phrase “esteemed him not” might be better rendered “regarded him as nothing” (following Luther). Turning to verse 4, here “esteemed” is quite awkward, and “reckoned” or “regarded” would be much clearer. NIV, alone among translations, gives the best sense of both verses:

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

Old Testament

Genesis 15:4–6
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Leviticus 7:18
18 If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third day, he who offers it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be credited to him. It is tainted, and he who eats of it shall bear his iniquity.

Leviticus 17:3–4
3 If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people.

Numbers 18:25–30
25 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.
27 And your contribution shall be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress.
28 So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the Lord’s contribution to Aaron the priest.
29 Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated.’
30 Therefore you shall say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and as produce of the winepress.

2 Samuel 19:18–19
18 And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan,
19 and said to the king, “Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Do not let the king take it to heart.

Psalm 32:1–2
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Psalm 44:22
22 Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

Psalm 106:30–31
30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed.
31 And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.

Isaiah 29:16
16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Isaiah 53:3–4
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

Isaiah 53:12
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Lamentations 4:2
2 The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold, how they are regarded as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands!

New Testament

Luke 22:37
37 “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”

Romans 2:26
26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Romans 3:28
28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Romans 4:3–11, 22–25
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
….

22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,
24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Romans 5:13
13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. (The Greek verb here is ἐλλογέω, which transliterates as ellogeó and has the same root as logizomai and similar meaning. It is found only here and in Philemon 18.)

Romans 6:11
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:36
36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 9:8
8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Romans 14:14
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

1 Corinthians 4:1
4:1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 13:4–5 (NASB)
4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

2 Corinthians 3:5
5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God

2 Co 5:18–19
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 10:2
2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 11:5
5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.

Galatians 3:6
6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Philippians 3:12–13
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

2 Timothy 4:16
16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!

Philemon 18
If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. (This is translated not from logizomai, but the related verb ellogeó—see Romans 5:13.)

Hebrews 11:19
19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

James 2:23
23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.

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