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 ); 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:
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:
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 TestamentGenesis 15:4–6
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.
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
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.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
31 And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
New TestamentLuke 22:37
Romans 4:3–11, 22–25
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.
1 Corinthians 4:1
1 Corinthians 13:4–5 (NASB)
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
2 Co 5:18–19
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 Corinthians 11:5
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