My son and I were watching an old 1950s era episode of “Denise the Menace”. Denise’s Mom said to his Dad, “If you’re too meek and mild to stand up for what is right, I will”. The Bible called Jesus’ mother Mary, “meek and mild”. I always assumed by the way it was used with the word “mild” that meek meant weak. Then I heard somewhere that the word “meek” meant “great strength under control”. To find out what “meek” really means I looked in: online dictionaries, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias and Googled “What is the Biblical definition of meek?”
Some online dictionaries define “meek” as “weak” using its current common use as the definition. W. L. Walker in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says that: “[‘Meekness’] presupposes humility, flows from it, and finds expression in moderation.” However the most help I received was from Mr. Grady Scott and his explanation of Matthew 5:5 found at the following URL:
Mr. Scott describes Moses as standing up to the most powerful man on earth at that time (Pharaoh Ramses) and yet describing himself as the most meek of men. Jesus controlled nature (stilled the wind and waves), demons (cast them out of their victims) and the elements (turned water into wine) and yet describes Himself as “meek and lowly of heart”.
Mr Scott describes the origin of the word “meek”:
An understanding of the root definition of meek in the original language and how it was used will help us in understanding what Jesus meant.
1. Greek word praus
a. Used to describe a soothing medicine.
b. Used by sailors to describe a gentle breeze.
c. Used by farmers to describe a broken colt.
2. What do all these definitions have in common? They all describe great power under control.
So “meek” does not mean “weak”, rather it means having your strength under control. When someone wrongs you, you don’t lose your temper. You don’t seek revenge. You do what Jesus did and entrust all things to your Father in Heaven and do exactly what He says to do. To those who don’t know Jesus that may appear to be weak – forgiveness, grace, longsuffering, putting others ahead of yourself – can be misinterpreted by the masses. But to the person whom you forgive, give undeserved favor, endure without retaliation, and put before yourself, you convey the unmistakable love of Jesus.