I read my New Testament volume of Bibliotheca every morning with breakfast. For those unaware, Bibliotheca is a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901 that updates all its “ests, ” “eths,” “thous,” etc. The ASV was a more literal translation than any current one, but its readability was hampered by its inauthentic attempt to be Shakespearean like the KJV. Bibliotheca also leaves out all chapter and verse numbers so one reads it in the same form as the original readers. (If you are interested, look it up on Wikipedia, I ordered on Kickstarter.)
At some point, I decided that since the gospel is Jesus I would read the four gospels exclusively at this breakfast reading, so I start over with Matthew when I reach the end of John. Recently, I noticed a wording in a passage I had not noticed in the 5-6 (?) previous readings. Of course, I had to stop and get a Bible with numbers to learn that my passage was Lk 6:32-36, “And if you love those who love you, what grace have you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what grace have you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those of whom you hope to receive, what grace have you? Even sinners lend to sinners to receive again as much. But love your enemies and do good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great and you shall be sons of the Most High, for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Did you notice? Instead of saying “What thank (KJV) have you?” Jesus asked, “What GRACE have you?” (ESV—“benefit,” NASV, NET & CSB—“credit.” We normally think of God only as the one who gives grace. In the other translations, Jesus clearly tells the audience that if they will behave the right way, they will have a reward. In the above, he is telling them that if they behave the correct way they will be showing grace, they will be dispensers of grace.
So, which translation is correct? Bibliotheca is definitely in the minority, but the word being translated is charis, so “grace” is the more exact translation. But, since “thank” is a valid translation for charis (though a distinct minority), we should let the context determine.
The context can go either way. Jesus’ next words are, “and your reward shall be great” where reward definitely means payment for a service as in Mt 5:46. But then, Jesus wraps up, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” right after he said, “He is kind toward the unthankful and evil.” This urges us to give grace like the Father does.
I tend toward the concept of us as children of the Father passing on grace just as he has shown us grace. As Jesus said, it is normal to be good to those who have done good to us or whom we like. And, if I paid you enough, you would even do good to people who are mean to you or those you do not like. But, offering grace simply because we are God’s is a greater calling and in line with the teaching of those who heard Jesus, "And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good? But, even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, blessed are you” (1Pet 3:13-13).
What grace have you when you get behind the wheel of your car? When you don’t feel well and it was a bad day at work and the kids are acting up? What grace have you when “he” gets exactly what he deserved? What grace have you toward someone unliked? Someone ugly? Someone socially ostracized?
And, above all, what is our attitude when we (rarely?) do these things? Self-satisfaction? A looking to the time you will be paid back for this distasteful behavior? Or is it as Jesus said, “never despairing?”
"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. " (2Cor 3:18).