In typical fashion, they quote a scholar, with no reference provided for the quote.
word for “undeserved kindness,” which
is translated “grace” in many Bible versions,
one scholar wrote: “The whole
basic idea of the word is that of a free
and undeserved gift, of something given
to a man unearned and unmerited.” Watchtower Ju;ly 2016 study edition page 22.
This quote is from New Testament Words, by William Barclay. The quote in full is:
“The whole basic idea of the word is that of a free and undeserved gift, of something given to a man unearned and unmerited, something which comes from God's grace and which could never have been achieved or attained or possessed by a man's own efforts." New Testament Words William Barclay 1964 page 63
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Barclay_(theologian) states that:
Barclay's personal views, expressed in his own A Spiritual Autobiography (1977) and Clive L. Rawlins' William Barclay: prophet of goodwill: the authorised biography (1998) included:
- scepticism concerning the Trinity: for example "Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus with God."
- belief in universal salvation: in his autobiography he wrote, "I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God."
- pacifism: "war is mass murder".
- evolution: "We believe in evolution, the slow climb upwards of man from the level of the beasts. Jesus is the end and climax of the evolutionary process because in Him men met God. The danger of the Christian faith is that we set up Jesus as a kind of secondary God. The Bible never, as it were, makes a second God of Jesus. Rather, it stresses the utter dependence of Jesus on God."
It is interesting that they quote Barclay as the expert on the word charis, yet would regard his other views as heretical.
The Greek word charis can be translated grace or kindness, but there is no justification for including the word "undeserved." Charis is 5485 in Strong's http://biblehub.com/greek/5485.htm which defines Charis as kindness or grace.
Of the 7602 occurrences of "kindness" in the Watchtower Library 2003 CD, it is preceded by the word "undeserved" 2296 times; 30% of the time.
This is demeaning and misses the point. When I give my child a birthday present, it is out of my love and kindness, not because he necessarily deserves or earned the gift. Yet I would never tell him that he did not deserve it, and it was only out of my underserved kindness that I gave it. Watchtower uses this Scripture in a manner that belittles humans, rather than the intention of glorifying God.