ע
ABARIM
Publications
Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: μακαριος

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/m/m-a-k-a-r-i-o-sfin.html

μακαριος

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

μακαριος

The adjective μακαριος (makarios) is in translations of the New Testament commonly translated with "blessed" but "blessed" doesn't really mean anything. "Blessed" is a pagan term that stemmed from the Germanic word for some bloody ritual and which was adopted into Christianese where it came to denote something specifically religious. Unlike this English null-word "blessed," our Greek word μακαριος (makarios) means something very real and quite practical.

What our word literally meant to the Greeks isn't wholly clear at this remove, but judging from the usages in the classics, it described a state of safety and security: untouchability, in a MC Hammer sort of way. It applied to men of substance, the untouchables of society, but also to dead people, who were obviously equally untouchable. Our adjective's parent noun, namely μακαρ (makar), described gods — the ultimate untouchables — or wealthy and prosperous men. Where these words ultimately stem from is also not clear, but here at Abarim Publications we suspect that they share a root with the familiar word adjective μακρος (makros), meaning long or distant: again reflecting a sense of untouchability.

Somehow, this same root appears to have attached itself to a kind of meal called μακαρια (makaria), which may have been considered either very happy-making or so perfect that it was untouchable, or perhaps because it was considered a rich man's meal. Whatever its reason, the name stuck and the meal is now known as "macaroni". The name also became a feminine personal name, namely Macarena (hence the song), and in the Christian age the word μακαριος (makarios) became both a title (the "blessed" such and such) and a masculine personal name: Macarios. Popular onomasticons will interpret this name as "Blessed" or "Happy" but here at Abarim Publications we surmise it means "Can't Touch This." It originally referred to untouchability because of distantiation or power but may owe its later Christian popularity to an intermediate association with Stoic indifference.

Our adjective is used 50 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:

  • The verb μακαριζω (makarizo), meaning to happify: to make, reckon or declare untouchable (Luke 1:48 and James 5:11 only). This verb originally had a congratulatory ring to it but later morphed into the idiotic principle of formal beatification, which was and still is more a publicity stunt than anything pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Bible, all people who "believe in Christ" — which in turn are not people who subscribe to some religion but people who study creation in order to learn about the Creator; see Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:3, Hebrews 1:3; also see 1 Kings 4:33-34 — are called saints. From this verb in turn comes:
    • The noun μακαρισμος (makarismos), meaning untouchability (Romans 4:6, 4:9 and Galatians 4:15 only). Contrary to what the church later imagined, someone's "untouchability" is never formally declared but always blatantly demonstrated, and particularly demonstrated by this person's untouchability pouring over onto the people surrounding him or her: they become untouchable as well (1 Kings 4:25). True untouchability depends entirely on one's understanding of the Creator's creation, not on the procedures and imaginations of men.