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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Care, Careful

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The English word ‘care’ is used in two senses: (a) attention to something or someone, not necessarily painful (Lat. cura); and (b) anxiety, painful attention. This sense was due to the A. S. [Note: Anglo-Saxon.] caru, ‘sorrow,’ becoming confounded with the Latin cura, ‘attention’ (see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , article ‘Care’). This confusion was not unnatural, since excessive attention, or conflicting attention (cf. μέριμνα ‘drawing in different directions,’ or Eng. ‘distraction’), readily becomes painful. The sense of distress is not conveyed by the adjectival and adverbial forms-careful and carefully, careless and carelessly.

(a) Instances of commendable human care are to be found in concern for personal righteousness (Hebrews 12:15, Titus 3:8); zeal (σπουδή) for correcting a wrong (2 Corinthians 7:11); interest in the welfare of one’s fellows, especially those who are of the household of faith (1 Corinthians 12:25, 2 Corinthians 7:12; 2 Corinthians 8:16, Philippians 2:20; Philippians 4:10); anxiety for the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28). (b) Care is condemned when it has an unworthy object, e.g. forethought (πρόνοια) for the flesh to fulfil its lusts (Romans 13:14); the worship of mammon (1 Timothy 6:9-10, Hebrews 13:5); or when it is purely selfish (Philippians 2:21). (c) Care which distracts from the love and service of God becomes an evil. Marriage was regarded as legitimate and honourable in the early Church, but St. Paul saw in the cares of married life a menace to spiritual zeal and labour (1 Corinthians 7:32). A lawful temporal care was recognized. He who made no provision (προνοεῖ) for those dependent upon him, and especially for his own family, had denied the faith and was worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, Romans 12:11). But how readily the cares of the world crushed out the love of God! (2 Timothy 4:10, Hebrews 13:5, etc.). (d) Human care has its remedy in the spirit which puts first of all the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, The secret of St. Paul’s indifference to human loss (Philippians 3:7 f.), and his contentment in whatsoever condition of life he happened to be (Philippians 4:11), lay in the fact that the ordinary human interests or life had become utterly subordinate to the interests of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:21, ‘Were you a slave when God called you? Let not that weigh on your mind’). (e) Again, ‘the strain of toil, the fret of care, is relieved in the thought of God’s providence (Philippians 4:6, ‘in nothing be anxious’; 1 Peter 5:7 ‘casting all your anxiety upon God, because he careth for you’; cf. Hebrews 13:5). Providence does not guarantee freedom from human pain, sorrow and persecution (2 Corinthians 4:6 f.; 2 Corinthians 11:23 f. etc.), but embraces these and all things, in a wide scheme of goodness (Romans 8:28; Romans 8:35-37; cf. Matthew 10:28-29, God cares for the sparrows that fall to the ground). Care is relieved for the Christian, not so much by the hope of a change of human circumstances, as by his changed estimate of human values. Temporal things ‘shall vanish all-the city of God remained’ (2 Corinthians 4:16 f.). See also article Comfort.

Literature.-Article ‘Care’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Dict. of Christ and the Gospels ; R. W. Dale, Laws of Christ for Common Life, London, 1899; T. C. Upham, Life and Religious Opinions of Madame Guyon, New York, 1877; W. C. E. Newbolt, Counsels of Faith and Practice, 1894, p. 161; H. Black, Christ’s Service of Love, 1907, p. 42.

H. Bulcock.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Care, Careful'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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