Especially, Foremost, pre-eminently, MOST OF ALL
“Especially” is a fairly common word, but an important adverb used 12 times in the New Testament. It means chiefly, above all, or most of all. “Especially” qualifies the thought in the sentence by highlighting its superlative nature, often in contrast to something or someone else. Some matters require more attention than others! These we must attended to. Here are the 12 places it’s found in the New Testament, each followed by a brief explanation of what the word “especially” is stressing :
Acts 20:38, being saddened most of all because of the word he had spoken, that no longer were they going see his face. And they escorted him to the ship. The main reason they were saddened.
Acts 25:26-27, But I do not have anything definite about him to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, when the examination has been conducted, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” Paul was brought by Festus especially before king Agrippa so that the governor would have something substantial to write to his emperor about. (As a significant aside here, note how Governor Festus refers to the Emperor as “my lord”!!)
Acts 26:2-3 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defence today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 especially because you are well acquainted with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently. There would be a number of reasons Paul is fortunate he has opportunity to defend himself before king Agrippa, but especially because the king is familiar with all the issues and can judge fairly.
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those of the family of faith. We are to do good to everyone, but we must regard our fellow-Christians as our number one priority. they are especially special!!
Philippians 4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. Even though everyone sent greetings, Paul especially mentions the greetings sent by Caesar’s household, probably because they became converts during Paul’s imprisonment. See 1:12-13
1 Timothy 4:10 we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, particularly of those who believe. Jesus is the Saviour of everyone, but especially believers. We are special to him!
1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not care for his own, especially his household members, he has
disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Especially care for widows who live in your home.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who have been serving well be considered worthy of double honour,
especially those who are labouring hard at preaching and teaching. We honour all elders who serve well, but especially those elders who labour at preaching and teaching.
2 Timothy 4:13 Bring the cloak that I left in Troas with Carpus when you come and the books, especially the parchments. It was especially important that Timothy brought the parchments when he came.
Titus 1:10 For there are many rebellious people, senseless babblers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision. Titus was to warn especially of Jewish deceivers and babblers.
Philemon 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a dear brother. He is especially so to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. Onesimus became a brother to those in the church, but especially to Paul, and even more so to Philemon.
2 Peter 2:9-10 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. The Lord knows how to punish unrighteous people and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion, and who despise authority.
This 2 Peter 2 use of “especially” raises the question of different degrees of punishment for different sins – especially those God regarded as most heinous. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:13b-20, where fornication is distinguished from other sins in that it is a sin against one’s own body, which is for God and not a harlot. For a Christian, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and not a vehicle for wanton immorality. Luke 12:42-49 also speaks of degrees of punishment, although this passage is referring to some who are more ignorant of the light than others.
Several years ago I received a series of lessons from a Melbourne church on the problem of sins against one’s body, and especially sexual sins, as taught in 1 Corinthians 6. Here is a quote from that:
1 Corinthians 6 & 15 teaches us that our understanding of God’s plan for our bodies is imperative and fundamental to understanding the problem of porneia and combating the proliferation of sexual immorality and abuses. We must guard against the notion that the gospel is about the salvation of souls only ... and not about the resurrection of your body. The sexual activity that your body participates in now matters! Death does not terminate God’s plan for your body … your current body is the raw material of a more glorious existence and reality.
We must take 2 Peter 2:9-10 very seriously, as it relates immorality to judgment. Compare Matthew 5:27-30; Romans 13:12-14; Ephesians 5:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8. And let us be careful, as Christians, to note other areas above where we are to be especially diligent – particularly Galatians 6:10, and the many passages in the New Testament, such as Romans 12:9-10; Philippians 1:9-11 and 1 John 2:7-11, which show the priority of loving your brothers and sisters in the household of God.
The following Scripture is a good one to reinforce the “especially” important virtues of our Christian faith:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. 2 Peter 1:3-15
Having spent just three verses, 5,6,7, listing the virtues to be added to our faith, Peter then takes eight verses: 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 -- to stress why he is at pains to keep reminding them!! Clearly, they are an especially high priority to be never neglected. Go and read the whole section again.