The dictionary gives us at least three meanings of meekness.  One is humbly patient, another is overly submissive and the last is gentle and kind.  I suspect we have all known a friend or neighbor who fits one of those qualities while not necessarily being a Christian.  The NIV Study Bible calls the meek, “Those who acknowledge their dependence on the goodness and grace of God and betray no arrogance toward their fellowmen.” (p. 815) The Bible meaning then goes beyond the dictionary one.  The Apostle Paul appealed to the Corinthians by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.  He himself was called meek (“timid”) by his adversaries as an insult (1 Cor 10:1).

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he spoke what some call the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-11).  One of them has challenged and puzzled me for many years.  “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” David said something very similar while adding an additional blessing. “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Ps 37:11) It has always appeared just the opposite as I observed the rich and arrogant control and pass down to their heirs their wealth and power.  No meek need apply.

Moses was called the meekest man on the face of the earth by the Lord (Nu 12:3).  He gave up his probable inheritance as an adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter and was not able to enter and claim any of the promised land (Heb 11:24) (Deu 34:4).  Paul did not receive an earthly inheritance, rather often mentioned his heavenly home (2 Cor 5: 1-2).  It certainly seems logical that the earth is the NEW EARTH not the current one.  The Apostle John saw a new heaven and a NEW EARTH because the first earth had passed away (Rev 21:1).  The Apostle Peter agrees, “looking forward to a new heaven and a NEW EARTH, the home of righteousness.” (2 Pe 3:10-13)

Another view is sometimes presented.  Jesus “purchased men for God … (He) has made them to be kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.” (Rev 5: 9-10) Peter may have meant that the “holy and royal priesthood” are those Christians who are in Christ’s church and are receiving their inheritance now.  Either way, Christians who are truly meek have a win-win situation.

–Jim Bailey