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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Multiplication or growth. In the Old Testament, increase often refers to the reproduction of livestock and to the harvest (Leviticus 26:3-4 ; Deuteronomy 7:12-13 ). The promise of increase is contingent on Israel's fulfilling its covenant commitments. Increase is used figuratively for Israel as the firstfruits of God's increase (KJV) or harvest. Isaiah 9:7 promises the increase of the government and peace of the coming Messiah. Isaiah 29:19 promises an increase in joy (KJV; fresh joy, NRSV; compare Isaiah 9:3 ). Isaiah 40:29 promises increased strength to the powerless.

The increase of the word of God (Acts 6:7 ) refers to the spread of the gospel message. Increase is used both for the numerical growth of the church (Acts 16:5 ) and for maturation (Ephesians 4:16 ; Colossians 2:19 ). Christian maturity is evidenced by an increase in love (1 Thessalonians 3:12 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:10 ) and knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10 ). Boasting in the results of one's work for God is without a basis since God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6 , Colossians 2:19 ).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Increase'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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