Providence – The Beginner’s Theological Vocabularium

Providence

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28

The Latin suffix, pro is used to denote “on behalf of, in place of, before, for, in exchange for, just as”. In Greek the suffix means “before, in front of, sooner”. The Proto-Indo-European root, weid, means, to see. We understand the word provide as a verb, meaning to make available or to supply. Providence in the noun form meaning the act or surety of making available or supplying.

When it comes to God, the word providence takes on a much deeper meaning. It speaks of God’s omniscience in knowing what we need (as opposed to merely what we want) and His omnipotence is supplying those needs.

The late R.C. Sproul explains it this way…

Everything in creation is under the providing care of God. Not only does God supply all things, He arranges them according to His plan for His glory. For Christians, this ought to produce peace and comfort even when it appears that all is against them.

In Matthew chapter 17, Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Yet, what some miss in that text is that it’s not the faith that’s the key, but what the faith is placed in. Minimal faith in a strong bridge will get you across a stormy river, strong faith in a weak bridge may well land you in the torrent. While faith is important, what we have faith in is even more important. It’s not our faith that does the work, but what we place that faith in.

The Providence of God is that Strong Bridge where even weak (mustard seed) faith (just enough to allow us to walk, even if timidly, across that strong bridge) can get us across safely.