Almost all Bible scholars think it would be better for English Bibles to use the phrase “reign of God” or “rule of God” rather than kingdom of God. The Greek word (basilea) that gets translated “kingdom” in our bibles describes an action: the act of someone ruling or reigning over someone else. A kingdom is not an action. We may say “God reigns” or “God rules” but it makes no sense to say, “God kingdoms.”
People who rely on English Bibles may get the impression that the “kingdom of God” Jesus speaks about is a location – a place where Jesus lives with all the angels and where people get to live with God after they die. This is not completely wrong; sometimes, the Bible does talk about a place in heaven or in the future where God is completely in charge. While we may associate that reality with some otherworldly realm, Jesus insists that it can also be found on earth, in everyday lives, here and now.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “The kingdom of God: Beautiful feet” by Mark Allan Powell in the January/February 2022 Gather magazine.
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