gra'-shus (chanan; charis):

In general, the word means "to favor," "to show kindness" to an inferior and "to be compassionate." All Old Testament passages are derived from the same root, and yet there are two evident shades of meaning derived from it. (1) As above, "favorable" or, causative, "to cause to be gracious," as "Yahweh make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee" (Numbers 6:25); "And the Lord was gracious unto them" (2 Kings 13:23 the King James Version); "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion" (Psalms 145:8 the King James Version). (2) In a modified sense, "graceful," "winsome" or "attractive," as applied particularly to persons and things. Used thus 3 times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. "A gracious woman retaineth honor" (Proverbs 11:16 the King James Version; compare Ecclesiastes 10:12; Luke 4:22).

The word is used once in the New Testament from root of Greek word chrestos, meaning "useful" as a benefit:

"if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:3).

In the main, however, the adjective is applied in the Old Testament to Yahweh, as indicative of His favor and mercy, His long-suffering and general inclination of favor and kindness.

Walter G. Clippinger

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

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