In the Old Testament the translation of three Hebrew substantives, betsa`, "unjust gain," "any gain" (Judges 5:19; Job 22:3; Proverbs 1:19; 15:27; Isaiah 33:15; 56:11; Ezekiel 22:13,17; Micah 4:13); mechir, "price" for which a thing is sold (Daniel 11:39, the only place where the Hebrew word is translated "gain" in the King James Version, though it occurs in other places translated "price"); tebhu'ah, "produce," "profits," "fruit" (Proverbs 3:14). It is the translation of one Hebrew verb, batsa`, "to gain dishonestly" (Job 27:8); of one Aramaic verb, zebhan, "to buy," "procure for oneself" (Daniel 2:8, here used of buying time, i.e. "seeking delay" (Gesenius)).

In the New Testament, the translation of three Greek substantives, ergasia, "gain gotten by work," "profit" (Acts 16:16,19; 19:24 (the King James Version)); kerdos, "gain," "advantage" (Philippians 2:1; 3:7, in the former, Paul asserting that to him to die was a personal advantage, because then he would "be with Christ"; in the latter, he counts as "loss" his personal privileges in the flesh, when compared with "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ"); porismos, "gain," "a source of gain" (1 Timothy 6:5,6, where the apostle asserts, not "gain" (earthly) is godliness, but godliness is "gain" (real, abiding)).

It is the translation of three Greek vbs., kerdaino, "to gain," "acquire," in Matthew 16:26, where Jesus teaches that the soul, or life in its highest sense ("his own self," Luke 9:25), is worth more than the "gaining" of the whole (material) world; Matthew 18:15, concerning the winning of a sinning brother by private interview; Matthew 25:17,22, the parable of the Talents; Acts 27:21 the King James Version, injury "gained," sustained, by sailing from Crete; 1 Corinthians 9:19,20 bis, 21,22, all referring to Paul's life-principle of accommodation to others to "gain," win, them to Christ; in James 4:13 used in a commercial sense; poieo, "to make," "make gain" (Luke 19:18 the King James Version, the parable of the Pounds); prosergazomai, "to gain by trading" (Luke 19:16, commercial use, in the same parallel).

Charles B. Williams

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'GAIN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.