Who Are Gentiles In The Bible

Definition of Gentiles

Gentiles are non-Jewish people and are referred to as a people group in the Bible. In the Old and New Testaments, Gentiles are referred to as “the nations.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word “goy” is used to refer to Gentiles. The word “Gentile” can be translated as nation or people, but is usually “taken to refer to those who were not members of the covenant people, Israel” (Harrison,p. 274).A contrast is made between “the people of God” (the nation of Israel) and the Gentiles; Gentiles were, and are, as much a part of God’s plan as Jews. Specific passages in the Bible set Jews apart from Gentiles without suggesting that Jews are in any way superior, and there is no indication of a social hierarchy based on the distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

The Bible records the fact that the Gentiles are lost in sin and in need of redemption. Jews are also lost in sin and in need of redemption just as much as the Gentiles. They, like the Gentiles, need a Savior, though for the Jews, faith is to be directed to Jesus as the promised Messiah, “for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek” (Romans 10:12). This verse reminds us that within the kingdom of God, there is no politically-based hierarchy nor are any people group more favored than others.

Gentiles in the Old Testament

Gentiles were universally hated and despised in the Old Testament. In this hatred, Gentiles were viewed as another form of “goat” or “dog”, and were considered to be inferior to Jews. However, the Bible also portrays that God’s plan was not to exclude Gentiles, but to bring them into his kingdom. In the Old Testament, there are examples of Gentiles who were welcomed into the church and treated with respect. For example, Rahab was a Canaanite woman who helped the Israelites. She was welcomed into the church and praised for her courage and faith. In Esther 8:17, Esther pleads with King Xerxes to “grant assurance of safety to the Jewish people of Susa…and to their children and all the Jews who live in the kingdom of Persia”. This shows that even in the Old Testament, Jews could accept and include Gentiles.

Gentiles in the New Testament

In the New Testament, the roles of Jews and Gentiles become more defined. Jews still had a special position among the peoples of God; they were the chosen people and were still seen as having a higher status. However, Gentiles were no longer seen as outsiders. They were accepted and included in God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ ministry was to “all people” (Matthew 4:23) and he accepted and treated Gentiles with respect. In addition, the New Testament gives us the idea that Gentiles are no longer in need of a savior, for Jesus had already died for them (Romans 5:8). The New Testament also says that Jews and Gentiles are no longer two separate peoples, but instead they are united under one faith and one Lord, Jesus Christ.

Gentiles in Christianity Today

In Christianity today, Gentiles are fully included and accepted as part of the body of Christ. They are not seen as inferior to any other group or race. All are deemed equal before God and are invited to come to him through Jesus Christ. Gentiles, like Jews, are offered the opportunity to repent and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and receive the gift of salvation. So the Church at large is made up of Jews and Gentiles, standing together for the glory of God.


Gentiles play an important role in the plan of God from the Old Testament to the New Testament. They are no longer strangers but are accepted and included in God’s plan of redemption and are considered to be part of the body of Christ.

Bible Examples of Gentiles

The Bible gives us examples of Gentiles who have made an impact and are worth noting. Theophilus, a Greek court official, is mentioned in Acts 18:17. He was among the first Gentiles to accept Jesus as the Messiah and this is mentioned in the New Testament. Another example is Cornelius, mentioned in Acts 10:1-48. He was a Roman centurion who was the first Gentile to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Lydia, a seller of purple cloth in Thyatira, is also mentioned in Acts 16:14-15. She and her household accepted Jesus as the Messiah and were baptized. All of these examples serve as a reminder that God’s plan was not just to reach out to the Jewish people, but to include Gentiles in his family, no matter their background.

Gentiles and the Church

Many churches will welcome Gentiles, as well as Jews. Some churches will have multiple services and/or programs dedicated to reaching out to Gentiles and bringing them in. Gentiles are welcomed as any other member of the church and are seen as equals. This is an important perspective in Christianity that helps to underline the point that God’s love and redemption is offered to all.

Gentiles in Culture

Gentiles have historically been marginalized in many cultures, particularly in the Middle East. This attitude is nonetheless slowly, but surely changing. More and more people from different walks of life are increasingly seen as equals, even within the Church. This can in part be attributed to a greater understanding and acceptance of different faiths and belief systems.

Gentiles in the Media

Gentiles are often represented in popular culture as outsiders who are dismissive of the established standards of the majority. These stereotypes often foster divisions between groups and do not accurately reflect the true diversity of people, both within and outside of the Church. Therefore, it is important to recognize and counteract this type of representation and encourage accurate portrayals of Gentiles, Jews, and all people.

Gentiles in Modern Society

Gentiles continue to play an integral role in our modern world. They come from different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs, yet they are all members of the same human family. In society, Gentiles are as essential to our collective welfare as any other group, and their presence and contributions should be acknowledged, respected, and celebrated.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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