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Tov (Goodness)

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What does it mean to truly be good? So often we reduce goodness to following rules or checking off boxes, but the Hebrew word “tov” points to a richer concept of goodness – something beautiful, well crafted, and working as designed.

Jesus calls his followers to embody this quality of “tov” in a world marked by so much “ra” or evil. Today we’ll explore how rediscovering biblical goodness can transform our lives and communities for God’s glory.

  1. The Hebrew word “tov” means goodness. It refers to something that is well crafted, beautiful, and works the way it was designed.
  2. God is the source of all goodness. Everything God creates is “tov.” The Bible could be called “a book of tov.”
  3. Goodness should be visible. “Tov” is meant to be embodied and tangible, not just an invisible trait.
  4. Goodness involves resisting evil. “Tov” exists in opposition to “ra” (evil).
  5. Some misunderstandings about “tov” are:
    • thinking only God can do good. But the Bible repeatedly calls Christians to “do good.”
    • seeing good works as opposed to faith. But the Bible says we’re saved “to good works.” Faith and good works go together.
    • avoiding being known as “do-gooders.” But Jesus wants us to “let our light shine” through our good deeds for God’s glory.

When we embrace God’s call to “tov”, it reorients our entire lives. No longer distracted by superficial “goodness”, we seek to visibly resist evil through generosity, justice, and compassion – embodying the gospel through both word and deed.

The world desperately needs communities of “tov” – groups of people committed to “doing good” , not for their own glory, but to introduce a broken world to the ultimate source of all goodness: God himself. Christ invites each of us to join this story of redemptive “tov” working itself out in the world.

Answer his call. Choose “tov”, living each moment with an eye to God’s glory and the needs of those around you? The Spirit of Jesus will empower us all to do just that – for such “tov” rarely remains invisible for long.


Matthew 5:16, 1 Peter 2:9-12

All content is property of John Rosensteel and New Hope Church.