As Christians, we believe that God is all-powerful and that He has given us access to His power through Jesus Christ. In the Bible, there are two Greek words used to describe the power of God: exousia and dunamis.
While these words may seem interchangeable, they actually have different meanings and implications for our lives as believers.
In this blog post, we will explore the differences between exousia and dunamis and how understanding these words can help us better understand the power of God in our lives.
What is Exousia?
Exousia is a Greek word used in the New Testament to describe authority, power, or the right to do something. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, “All authority (exousia) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
Here, Jesus is claiming that He has the right to rule over all things, both in heaven and on earth. Similarly, in Luke 4:36, we see that the people were amazed by Jesus’ teaching because “His word was with authority (exousia).”
In this context, the word exousia refers to the power and authority that Jesus had to teach and speak with great wisdom.
As believers, we have access to the same authority that Jesus had. In Luke 10:19, Jesus tells His disciples, “Behold, I give you the authority (exousia) to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Here, Jesus is giving His disciples the authority to overcome the power of the enemy and to walk in victory over all forms of evil. This same authority is available to us today as believers in Christ.
So, what does it mean for us to have exousia? It means that we have been given the right and authority to live in victory over sin, sickness, and death. It means that we have been empowered by God to overcome the enemy and to walk in the fullness of His plans and purposes for our lives.
As we exercise our exousia, we can expect to see God move in powerful ways, both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
What is Dunamis?
Dunamis is another Greek word used in the New Testament to describe power, but it has a slightly different connotation than exousia. Dunamis refers to inherent power or ability, rather than authority or the right to do something.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His disciples, “But you shall receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Here, Jesus is promising His disciples that they will receive the inherent power they need to be effective witnesses for Him through the Holy Spirit.
In this context, Paul is saying that his message was not just convincing because of his eloquence or wisdom, but because of the inherent power of the Holy Spirit that was at work in him and through him.
As believers, we also have access to dunamis power through the Holy Spirit. This power enables us to do things that are beyond our natural abilities, such as healing the sick, casting out demons, and proclaiming the gospel with boldness and effectiveness.
As we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work in us and through us, we can expect to see His dunamis power manifest in our lives in powerful ways.
Exousia and Dunamis in Action
While exousia and dunamis have different meanings, they often work together in the lives of believers. When we exercise our exousia, we are able to tap into the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit and do things that are beyond our natural abilities.
In Matthew 10:1, we see this interplay between exousia and dunamis when Jesus “called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power (dunamis) over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.”
Here, Jesus gave His disciples the inherent power they needed to do the work He had called them to do, but it was their exercise of His exousia authority that allowed them to effectively use that power.
The man asked Peter and John for money, but Peter responded, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6, NKJV).
Peter exercised his exousia authority in the name of Jesus, and the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit was released to heal the man’s legs, which had never before been able to support his weight.
As believers, we have been given the same authority and power to do the works of Jesus in the world around us. When we exercise our exousia authority in the name of Jesus, we can expect to see the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit released to bring healing, deliverance, and salvation to those around us.
The Importance of Understanding Exousia and Dunamis
Understanding the difference between exousia and dunamis is important for several reasons.
First, it helps us to better understand the nature and character of God. God is both all-powerful (dunamis) and all-authoritative (exousia), and understanding these aspects of His nature can deepen our relationship with Him and increase our faith in His ability to work in our lives.
Second, understanding exousia and dunamis can help us to better understand our own identity and authority as believers.
When we realize that we have been given the same authority and power as Jesus Himself, we can begin to walk in greater confidence and boldness, knowing that we have the ability to overcome any obstacle or challenge that comes our way.
Third, understanding exousia and dunamis can help us to better understand the nature and purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the source of dunamis power, and as we yield ourselves to Him, He enables us to exercise the exousia authority that God has given us.
As we walk in step with the Holy Spirit, we can expect to see His power and authority manifest in our lives in ways that bring glory to God and advance His kingdom in the world.
Fourth, understanding exousia and dunamis can help us to avoid confusion and misunderstandings about the nature of power in the Christian life.
Some people may believe that the power of God is something that we can manipulate or control for our own purposes, but understanding the difference between exousia and dunamis helps us to see that true power comes from God alone, and it is only available to those who submit themselves to His authority and purposes.
Walking in Exousia and Dunamis
To truly walk in the power of God, we need to understand how exousia and dunamis work together in our lives. As we have seen, exousia gives us the authority to use the power of God, while dunamis is the inherent power that comes from the Holy Spirit.
If we try to exercise power without authority, we may not see the results we are hoping for. Similarly, if we try to exercise authority without the power of the Holy Spirit, we may not have the ability to overcome the obstacles that we face.
To walk in exousia and dunamis, we need to be intentional about seeking God’s will and purposes for our lives. We need to be willing to submit ourselves to His authority and to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This requires a deepening of our relationship with God and a willingness to grow in faith and obedience.
One way to grow in exousia and dunamis is to spend time in prayer and worship, seeking God’s presence and power in our lives. We can also study the Word of God and meditate on its truths, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal its meaning and significance to us.
Finally, we can seek out opportunities to serve others and to use our gifts and talents to advance God’s kingdom in the world.
The Limits of Exousia and Dunamis
While exousia and dunamis are powerful tools for the believer, they do have their limits. We must remember that we are not God, and that our power and authority are limited by our human nature and our finite understanding.
We must also remember that God’s ways are not our ways, and that His purposes are often different than our own.
When we seek to exercise exousia and dunamis, we must do so with humility and a willingness to submit to God’s will and purposes. We must be careful not to use God’s power and authority for our own selfish desires or to manipulate others for our own gain.
Instead, we must seek to use our power and authority to bring glory to God and to advance His kingdom in the world.
Exousia and dunamis are two important Greek words used in the New Testament to describe the power and authority of God. While these words have different meanings, they often work together in the lives of believers to bring about the works of Jesus in the world around us.
As we exercise our exousia authority in the name of Jesus, we can expect to see the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit released to heal, deliver, and save those around us.
Understanding exousia and dunamis is important for deepening our relationship with God, increasing our faith in His power and authority, and walking in greater confidence and boldness as believers.
As we seek to exercise the power and authority that God has given us, let us do so with humility and a willingness to submit to His will and purposes. May we see His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.