Vol.VI No.XII Pg.7
February 1970

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

What is meant by the providence of God, and how or by what means does this operate? TF


The expression providence of God does not occur in the scriptures, and the word providence is found only once (Acts 24:2 KJ) where it refers to the forethought of Gov. Felix — real or flattery — in correcting certain national problems or evils. We do not mean to suggest there is no providence of God but would caution those who glibly assign all sorts of specifics to Gods intervention.

Arndt and Gingrich (Lexicon) indicate the word pronoia (forethought) was used frequently among the Greeks with reference to the planning and concern of the gods; and translate the word in Acts 24:2 as meaning, foresight, care; make provision for something, be concerned for or about something. Its only other use in the N. T. is in Rom. 13:14, .....make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.

A kindred word, pronoeo is used three times in the N. P.: 1 Tim. 5:8 If any provideth not for his own... Rom. 12: 17 Provide things honest.. (Take thought for things honorable R.V.) and 2 Cor. 8: 21 For we take thought for things honorable... (RV) In Heb. 11:40 God having provided... the word provided is from problepo and means to foresee. It should be obvious that providence refers primarily to looking ahead planning forethought rather than to some spur of the moment intervention to alter the chain or natural events.

God thought ahead in arranging natural and spiritual laws, so as to show His care for us. (1 Pet 5:7) The evil—doers are punished (Rom. 12:19) in Gods own good way and time (Rom. 13: 3—4), and this was true in the days of Roman persecution of Christians, as today. God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear, but makes the way of escape. (1 Cor. 10: 13 RV) Viewing this as the providence of God, we must consider it as a part of Gods forethought or advance planning in the very nature of things, rather than a last minute door opening, by some supernatural intervention.

God chastens His children, for their good (Heb. 12:6-f), directs our life-span (Jas. 4:13-16); in the light of which we are urged to be humble. I pray for wisdom (Jas. 1:5....8) not knowing how such wisdom will be given me, but believing that God has looked- ahead and provided such benefits for his children.

Did God simply make some laws and is now doing nothing? Such questions betray our failure to grasp the timeless nature of God. When we say God thought ahead we are using accommodative language — God IS — and there is no past, present, future with Him. What God provided (our past) He provides (our present) and will provide (our future). There is no separating the laws or provisions of God, from God Himself. I know nothing of the modus operandi of God, except as revealed in His word, whereby I believe, or TRUST, in Him.