On November 1, 2020, Kamala Harris posted this video on Twitter discussing the difference between equity vs. equality.
The text of the ad reads as follows:
So there’s a big difference between equality and equity. Equality suggests, ‘Oh, everyone should get the same amount.’ The problem with that is that not everybody’s starting out from the same place. So if we’re all getting the same amount, but you started out back there and I started out over here, we could get the same amount, but you’re still going to be that far back behind me. It’s about giving people the resources and the support they need, so that everyone can be on equal footing and then compete on equal footing. Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.
Christians may hear the words equity and equality used a lot when discussing justice in society today. But how does the Bible define equity vs. equality? Is it similar to how Kamala Harris defines it? Should Christians strive for equity or equality as we pursue justice?
This subject is not simple or easy to address. It originally took me 3 articles to merely scratch the surface of the most fundamental claims of Harris’s 50-second ad. Discussing this, in essence, is tantamount to asking the question “What is Biblical Justice?” I obviously can’t delve into every aspect of such a big question in a blog post, lengthy as it is. If I learned nothing else while writing this, I learned that this subject is complex and nuanced. Nevertheless, I do hope that some of the topics covered will help my readers better think through, understand, and bring clarity to a Christian understanding of equity and equality.
What are Equity and Equality?
First, let’s make sure we have a proper understanding of the definitions of equity and equality. One definition given by Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina is as follows:
Equality is typically defined as treating everyone the same and giving everyone access to the same opportunities. Meanwhile, equity refers to proportional representation (by race, class, gender, etc.) in those same opportunities. To achieve equity, policies and procedures may result in an unequal distribution of resources. For example, need-based financial aid reserves money specifically for low-income students. Although unequal, this is considered equitable because it is necessary to provide access to higher education for low-income students.
You may also be familiar with this image depicting the commonly held view of equality (left) vs. equity (right).
While these definitions and illustrations are helpful to an extent, they are often vague or carry with them assumptions that go unchallenged.
One helpful distinction in thinking through the common uses of these words is to distinguish between treatment and outcomes. In treatment, equality refers to treating everyone the same regardless of their circumstances, whereas equity takes a person’s circumstances and needs into consideration. The Greek philosopher Aristotle articulated this fundamental principle of justice this way: “equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.” When discussing outcomes, equity and equality are often used interchangeably. To have an equitable outcome is usually defined as having equal outcomes, as Harris seems to articulate (“Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”). However, as the definition given by Winston-Salem State University indicates, equity can also mean proportional representation by race, class, gender, etc. For the purpose of this article, I will be focusing more on the aspect of equality of outcome rather than proportional representation, although there will be some overlap.
How Does the Bible Define Equity and Equality?
The Bible addresses both equity and equality as aspects of true justice.
The Bible uses the word “equity” a number of times in the Old Testament in many English translations. One example is in Psalm 99:4, which says,
The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. (Psalm 99:4)
Another example is 2 Samuel 8:15, which reads,
So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people. (2 Samuel 8:15)
Equity is an important part of biblical justice. However, it’s not given an exact definition in the Bible. The main Hebrew word for equity (mê·šā·rîm) conveys ideas like uprightness, straightness, levelness, fairness, truth, order, and integrity. Such definitions are very broad but seem to capture the underlying core principles of justice and how God would judge a situation. M. O. Evans defines equity as “the spirit of the law behind the letter; justice is the application of the spirit of equity.” In other words, equity looks towards what a law was intended to do and seeks to judge on that basis, not judge solely based on what the letter of the law says.
The word “equality” also appears a number of times throughout the Bible. It can denote equal amounts of something measurable like money, goods, or time (Exodus 30:34 and Ezekiel 4:5). It can also refer to using the same standard for everyone, such as weights and measures used in trade (Leviticus 19:35-36, Deuteronomy 25:13-16, Proverbs 20:10) or the same laws (Leviticus 24:22). Or, it can refer to comparing the qualitative attributes of two persons or things, like status or beauty (Isaiah 46:5, Ezekiel 31:8, Philippians 2:6).
Throughout the Bible, the principle of equality is plainly seen in other ways. Humans share a fundamental equality with one another, being created equally in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27, Proverbs 22:2, Job 31:15), having all committed sin (Romans 3:23) and all needing redemption through Jesus Christ (Acts 15:11, Romans 10:12). When discussing justice and the law, there were instances where strict equality was required and everyone was treated similarly (Exodus 30:15, Leviticus 19:15) and instances where that was not the case (Leviticus 5:7, 5:11, 14:21).
An Illustration of Biblical Equity vs. Equality
All of this can sound fairly abstract, so let’s use a real-life example to help illustrate some of the differences between equity and equality.
Imagine a situation where you have two individuals who are standing before a court because they got a parking ticket and, due to financial hardship, are pleading their case as to why they can’t pay it. With the first person, they parked in this space in order to help a friend move. This is the first time they have gotten a parking ticket and insist they did not see a sign indicating that they couldn’t park there. However, with the second individual, they have had three previous tickets dismissed and this is the fourth time they have received a parking ticket at the same location.
If you were the judge, would you dismiss the ticket for both individuals, for only one, or for neither? If you were to apply the law equally, both individuals would have to pay the fine because “those are the rules” and they apply equally to everyone. Similarly, one could also argue from a principle of equality that if you are going to let the first person off the hook, then you should let the second off the hook as well. Mercy should be shown equally to all. There isn’t any quality about either individual as to why you might treat them differently. However, If you took their unique circumstances into consideration, this would be the principle of equity at work. The first individual has not had previous offenses and seemed to violate the law without intending to, while the second individual has already violated this law three times. This would seem to indicate that they might not obey the law in the future if their ticket were dismissed again. Thus, you might dismiss the ticket for the first person but uphold it for the second individual, in hopes that it will deter them from future violations.
In this example, we can see both the principles of equity and equality at work. On one hand, some might be tempted to treat both individuals equally and give them the same ruling regardless of their circumstances. On the other hand, equity would say that their differing circumstances should factor into how the law is applied. In some ways, this parallels the struggle between applying the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law, or between showing grace versus truth. All three options could be considered just for different reasons, yet most people would probably lean towards showing a balance of equality (by not showing partiality on the basis of something like race or gender) and equity (taking their various circumstances into consideration).
As we can see, biblical equity and equality are not at odds but can be given different weight. Both are integral to God’s vision of justice, and it takes a lot of wisdom to weigh the various considerations involved.
Differences Between Biblical and Modern Usage of Equity vs. Equality
It’s important to note that the biblical terms equity and equality don’t always match the way they are used in current discussions on justice.
On one hand, the biblical usage of equity and equality are similar to modern usage in discussions of how we treat one another. Biblical equity roughly corresponds to what people would call “fairness” today. This involves taking people’s needs and circumstances into consideration when they are relevant as well as remaining impartial when people’s needs and circumstances are irrelevant. Likewise, biblical equality speaks to people’s fundamental sameness as image-bearers of God as well as ensuring that uniform standards, rules, and laws are used for everyone.
On the other hand, biblical equity and equality are much more holistic in nature and do not lead to the simplistic outcome-driven political solutions like modern critics seem to imply. Unlike Harris’s definition of equity, biblical equity does not necessarily entail equality of outcome but seems to place greater emphasis on equal and equitable treatment. The emphasis on equitable treatment rather than equitable outcomes is a significant difference between the two views. This will be explored in greater detail below, but for now, the takeaway for Christians is that they should not assume that modern conversations about justice use the words equity and equality in exactly the same way that the Bible does. Therefore, we should not be quick to assume that the Bible supports our preferred political solutions simply because it uses similar language.
Equity and Equality in God’s Character
The Bible’s vision of justice largely follows a pattern of striving towards both equity and equality. In Luke 12:42-48, Jesus told a parable to his disciples about a master and two servants. One servant was knowingly disobedient of his master’s will and received a “severe beating” whereas the other unknowingly disobeyed his master’s will and received a “light beating.” This is the principle of equity at work. Likewise, we can look at the fundamental equality of humanity in God’s creation as image-bearers and in his plan of salvation. Apart from Christ, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are condemned (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Yet, in Christ, anyone can equally come and receive him and the forgiveness he offers (Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 1:7), regardless of any other defining characteristic (Galatians 3:28).
With God, because he is unequalled and unparalleled in all ways (Isaiah 46:9, Jeremiah 10:6), he is able to treat all humanity with perfect equality. At the same time, because God is all-knowing and knows our hearts (Proverbs 15:3, Jeremiah 17:10 Hebrews 4:13), he is also able to take people’s specific circumstances into consideration perfectly. Thus, he is able to render perfect justice and can judge with perfect equity and equality, for both are derived from his character (Psalm 98:9, Deuteronomy 32:4).
However, with humanity, when we judge our fellow human beings, we are judging our fellow equals, for we are all made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). At the same time, we cannot possibly know all of the details and circumstances of other people’s lives, and we especially cannot know a person’s heart (1 Corinthians 2:11). (We sometimes don’t understand our own hearts! (Jeremiah 17:9)) Because we are imperfect and finite, this means that the justice we render will also be imperfect. Instead of equity and equality working perfectly together as it does with God, we will find ourselves struggling between these two principles, trying to find the right balance. Thus, we can only approximate God’s perfect standards. Despite this, God still calls us to pursue justice on earth through both biblical equity and equality (Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 2:9, 20:10).
The Origins of Inequity
An important underlying assumption of Harris’s video is that inequity (differences in outcome) are bad. These inequities are the result of injustices (unequal treatment) past and present. Thus, we should strive towards equity and equality of outcome so that we “all end up at the same place.” But is this true? Is all inequity bad? Does all inequity come from sin or injustice?
Without question, unequal treatment of the past has led to inequity today. To acknowledge this simply recognizes the pervasiveness of sin on the human condition and in earthly social structures. But from a biblical perspective, while we can acknowledge the effects of past sin on present disparities, it would be false to say that all inequity can be accounted for in this way. The Bible does not support the idea that all differences in outcome are the result of injustice and sin.
The simple reason is this: not all inequity is created equal. While much of the inequity we see today is the result of sin, some is not. Even if sin had never entered into the world, our created differences and desires would still lead to different outcomes. In order for total uniformity of results to be achieved, there would have to be a uniformity of our characteristics and desires. In other words, true equality of outcome could only result if there were no meaningful differences among human beings or the choices we would make, which seems to go completely contrary to the diversity which God intended in creation. Clearly, on some level, God created us with these diverse characteristics and desires expecting different outcomes.
However, we can also see that sin leads to inequities. If someone is lazy whereas another person is hard-working, this will lead to unequal outcomes. Likewise, if someone steals from another person, this will lead to unequal outcomes. Or, if a law discriminates against a group of people, that would lead to inequities in between those groups.
Given these complexities, it becomes necessary to look at where inequity comes from so that we might be able to address it properly.
Sinful Sources of Inequity
I have broadly categorized both sinful and non-sinful sources of inequity into individual, cultural, and creational sources of inequity. These will need to be addressed in turn.
Among sinful sources on inequity, we will first look at the inequity which results from other individuals. We can see this in the story of Jacob, who showed partiality towards his wife Rachel over Leah (Genesis 29:30), and then showed favor to Rachel’s son Joseph over his other brothers (Genesis 37:3). This led to inequities of treatment among Jacob’s wives and children and to jealousy and strife among the family. This is an example of injustice resulting from the individual sin of another person. One other common example would be someone who cheats their neighbor out of money. This could lead to that person losing their home or other valuable goods. Depending on the situation and the amount stolen, this effect could carry on to subsequent generations if this injustice is left unaddressed.
Among individual sources of inequity, there is also inequity which results from our own sin. Proverbs 6:9-11 tells how laziness and sluggishness can result in poverty.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11)
Other Scriptures speak to how our foolishness leads to our destruction and affliction (Psalm 107:17, Proverbs 1:32). Even those who are companions of fools suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20). Conversely, there are inequities which result from people making wiser decisions than others. Proverbs 10:4 declares,
A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
Thus, individual differences can lead to inequity.
Next, let’s look at cultural sources of sinful inequity. This includes injustices which are systemic in nature. Because of the pervasiveness of sin, we should expect that when sinful individuals create and inhabit earthly systems and cultures, this can lead to systemic injustices. We see an example of this in Acts 6:1-7. It was brought to the disciples’ attention that in the Jerusalem church, Greek widows were being neglected in the daily distribution while Hebrew ones were not. This may not have even been done maliciously, but it resulted in unfair treatment of the Greek widows. As a result, they appointed trustworthy men to oversee the distribution and the injustice was corrected. There are other examples in the Old Testament where Israel is collectively condemned for patterns of injustices (Amos 2:4-8, Isaiah 5:8-25). These patterns could also lead to inequities among vulnerable groups like the poor, the fatherless, the widow, the foreigner, etc.
Lastly, there are creational sources of sinful inequity. By this, I mean the effects of sin on nature (Genesis 3:14-19, Romans 8:20-22). Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanos, floods, etc. can suddenly wipe out the home of one family or village but not another. In this category are also things like genetic defects, diseases, and numerous other health-related issues outside our control. Some people are born with debilitating genetic illnesses while many others are healthy. Because of the effect of the Fall on creation, this will lead to disparities and inequities.
Non-Sinful Sources of Inequity
We now turn to sources of inequity which are not the result of sin, and in some cases are superintended by God himself.
Again, let us first address individual inequities. There are inequities which result from our individual strengths and interests. Some people are smarter than others; some are stronger; some are taller; some want to be doctors and lawyers while others thrive in doing manual labor or manufacturing. Our many unique traits are not the result of sin. On the contrary, it is our individual uniqueness that displays God’s glory of diversity in creation (Psalm 139:13-16). No person is completely alike. Yet, these differences will lead to some having advantages that others don’t, which will inevitably result in some kind of inequity.
There are also cultural sources of inequity that are not sinful. Just like individuals, different cultures have different values. The way some cultures view time as a commodity (like the United States & Germany) will lead them to utilize their resources in such a way for maximum efficiency and productivity. Other cultures have a more relaxed view of time and don’t feel the need to squeeze every bit of productivity out of their time. This difference will inevitably lead to global inequities of wealth. Yet, those other cultures, while they might not be as rich monetarily, would likely argue that they are richer in other ways, such as in being more relational.
Lastly, there are creational sources of inequity that aren’t the result of sin. This can involve disparities based on what seems like happenstance, such as one’s place of birth, family, country, etc. Stanford Economist Thomas Sowell argues that geography has historically been one of the greatest contributors to global inequality. If a tribe lives in an isolated region of an Amazon jungle, high in the mountains, or in the middle of a desert, the chances are much greater that they will have a lower standard of living than people who live on the coast or in a mediterranean climate.
In addition to these, in Scripture, we can also recognize that there are spiritual inequities which are God-ordained! For example, God distributes the Holy Spirit to all believers (1 Corinthians 12:11) but does not give everyone the same giftings (1 Corinthians 12:28-30), even calling some giftings greater and higher than others (1 Corinthians 12:31, 14:5; 1 Timothy 5:17). While we are told to seek the higher gifts, we are by no means guaranteed an equal distribution of giftings.
We also see that in the final judgment, while all Christians will equally obtain salvation, we will also be rewarded differently according to our faithfulness (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Matthew 25:14-30).
Thus, while a great deal of inequity does result from sin, not all differences in outcome are the result of sin or are necessarily bad. A good portion does result from the sin of others (both individual and systemic, past and present). Some inequities result from our own sin. Others are the result of God’s sovereignty displayed in our individual created abilities and circumstances and are even approved of by God! We cannot reshape the earth nor remake every human to be exactly alike so that no inequity would ever exist, nor should we wish to do so. God often uses our various strengths, weaknesses, and natural resources to be a means of blessing others, as a way to foster growth in our own lives, and in order to display his glory. To try and eliminate all these inequities is, in essence, trying to play God. For those inequities which do result from injustices, Christians should debate how best to address them, and it is to this topic we will turn now turn.
Is Equality of Outcome Just?
In this final section, we will be addressing the primary proposal of Harris’s video that we should advocate for “equitable treatment,” which, in her words, means that “we all end up at the same place.” This has often been phrased as equality of outcome. Does the Bible promote equality of outcome? Should Christians advocate for solutions that strive toward this goal? Based on the principles we’ve already established, true equality of outcome becomes untenable for several reasons.
First, to reiterate what was just said, not all inequity is the result of sin. While there are certainly many differences in outcome which result from the sinful choices of individuals, systemic injustices in culture, or the effect of sin on creation, this is not always the case. There are other differences in outcome which result from our individuality and diversity, such as innate characteristics, various preferences, different choices we make, cultural differences, geographical differences, etc. Differences in outcome which do not result from sin should not be corrected. These are a result of God’s good creation. To try and end all of these differences would be to play the role of God or to eliminate the diversity and individuality which God has superintended in our lives.
This leads to the second reason. Because there are both sinful and non-sinful sources of inequity, it can become exceedingly difficult in many situations to determine how much inequity is the result of sinful inequity and how much is the result of non-sinful inequity. Our world is complex, and many inequities we might observe are a combination of both good and bad sources of inequity. Even among sinful sources of inequity, who can know how much of the inequity is caused by individual sin (like laziness) and how much is caused by cultural sin (such as unjust laws or attitudes)? Interestingly enough, we can observe a partisan divide on this account, with Republicans being more likely than Democrats to point to personal factors as major contributors to inequality. Christians should not be quick to assume one way or the other but should use wisdom and discernment in evaluating each situation.
Third, due to the complexity surrounding the sources of inequity, it makes little sense to start with equality of outcome as the predetermined goal of justice. In fact, starting with any predetermined outcome can be a sign of injustice. Imagine if a judge approaches a case with a predetermined outcome in mind before hearing any of the facts or circumstances of the case. Could such a trial like that be fair? Proverbs 18:13 says, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Justice that is based on predetermined outcomes is not really justice. In instances where a predetermined outcome is present, there is usually injustice involved such as bribery or partiality (Deuteronomy 16:19-20).
A final challenge to equality of outcome can be seen in a simple thought experiment. Imagine that all wealth on earth was equalized such that everyone had an equal amount (in other words, equality of outcome in money). How long do you think everyone would still have equal amounts of money? One can envision that it would not take long for new inequity to develop. Some people would save the money, some would invest it, some would spend it in various ways (both wisely and unwisely). Very soon, we would once again live in a society with unequal outcomes. This seems to go along with the Bible’s affirmation that there will always be poor among us (Deuteronomy 15:11, Matthew 26:11). How then would equality of outcome have to be maintained? Thaddeus Williams, a professor at Biola University, points out that we would need some kind of totalitarian government to enforce sameness and uniformity. Otherwise, inequalities would continue to develop.
To summarize, advocating for complete and total equality of outcome could only be imaginable if all differences in outcome resulted from sin and injustice. However, even if we lived in a sinless world, we can see that natural differences would have arisen. The case could certainly be made that there would be less inequity because all sinful sources of inequity would be eliminated. Nevertheless, true equality of outcome is impossible and trying to enforce it would be unethical.
Addressing Inequities Which Resulted From Sin
While we can see that pure equality of outcome should not be our goal, this does not mean that Christians should not care about inequities. As this article has been saying, there are many inequities which do result from sin and injustice. Christians should be the first to stand up for biblical justice, equity, and equality (Psalms 99:4, Proverbs 2:9-10). Yet, we must do so in a wise and discerning way, not looking for simplistic solutions to complicated problems.
To this end, let us think through how to address the various forms of sinful inequity. This will by no means be exhaustive, and it should be remembered that most injustices are not one-dimensional in nature. Nevertheless, there are some general principles we can use in thinking through these tough issues.
First, let’s address individual sin. In such cases, you often have one of two scenarios. We have inequity resulting from the sin of another (such as theft). In such a situation, you have a clear victim and a clear perpetrator, and restitution or punishment should be given depending on the circumstances (Exodus 22:1-31, Leviticus 6:1-7). However, we also have the situation with inequity resulting from one’s own sin. On one hand, we want to acknowledge the fact that no one is perfect (Romans 3:23) and that all of our sins could lead to different inequities in our own lives. Thus, we should honor the image of God in every individual and show mercy and grace by desiring to offer some kind of help. This is a good impulse. Ultimately, though, as Christians, we should strive towards a balance of grace and truth (John 1:17). It is not always the wisest or most loving thing to offer unlimited resources to undo the negative outcomes of someone’s personal choices. Sometimes, people need to be allowed to suffer the consequences of their own decisions so that they can learn from them. In the end, these kinds of decisions are a matter of discernment and leading by the Holy Spirit. One consideration in trying to achieve this balance would be to make such help contingent on genuine repentance from that personal sin. Where repentance is not shown, it becomes difficult to justify offering the same level of assistance in addressing the inequity created by your own hand (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Next is inequity arising from cultural sins. This is without doubt the most complicated to address, one on which many Christians will disagree. In large part, this is because either the victims or the perpetrators or both cannot be as clearly defined. It’s one thing to say that an unjust law exists and should be changed. It’s another to say that a culture exhibits sinful patterns of behavior or attitudes. To many, cultural sin seems vague. Do cultures sin or do individuals? If a culture is the sum total of the individuals who comprise it, is it just to punish an entire culture if only part of it was responsible for the injustice? How are we to address cultural sins of the past? This article cannot begin to answer all of these different facets but they are worth considering.
Lastly, we have inequity resulting from the effect of sin on creation. Like cultural sin, this is difficult to address. If an earthquake results in your house collapsing, you cannot bring the earth into court and seek restitution. Neither can you seek restitution from your parents if you happen to be born by chance with a genetic defect. In such cases, there is no person who can be held responsible for these tragedies. Nevertheless, Christians can seek to alleviate the suffering that such a person may have to endure in life as they themselves take responsibility for what is in their control.
Unfortunately, addressing sinful sources of inequity is not cut and dry. There is often a combination of individual, cultural, and creational sources at play in any particular injustice. Most of the time, they cannot easily be separated into their particular sources and addressed in isolation. Nevertheless, at a very basic level, we should all agree that injustices which can be justly corrected should be corrected and that those responsible for injustices should be held accountable.
Addressing People’s Needs Rather Than Inequity
While the Bible does seem to acknowledge that there will always be inequities, both good and bad, it also places great emphasis on generosity in meeting people’s needs. In Deuteronomy 15:11, it says,
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.' (Deuteronomy 15:11)
Even though it acknowledges that poverty will continue to exist, that is the very reason given to be generous toward our neighbor (Acts 20:33-35, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Ephesians 4:28). It doesn’t emphasize generosity and meeting people’s needs with the goal of creating equal outcomes, but out of a desire to love one’s neighbor and see them flourish. God knows that we live in a fallen world, in a fallen culture, and with fallen individuals. There will never be pure equity, but we can work towards meeting people’s needs out of a desire to be generous with others as God has been generous towards us.
To make this point, we can perhaps look to the illustrations in Kamala Harris’s video. If you watched it, you should recall that it showed the ground being leveled so that both individuals could climb the mountain and reach the top. Addressing people’s needs very well could look like leveling the ground to give people equal opportunities to flourish. But addressing needs does not mean holding to an expectation that everyone will reach the top of the mountain. This is something we can neither force nor guarantee.
Based on the principles established in Scripture, pure equality of outcome is impossible and not how God intended this world to be. Thus, we should reject Harris’s assertion that we should “all end up at the same place.” God created us with diversity and uniqueness that would lead to different outcomes. Nevertheless, many of the different outcomes and inequities that we do see are the result of sin. Where we are able, Christians must strive towards combating sin and injustice and the inequity which often results. Simultaneously, even though we live in a fallen world and cannot fix all the ills of society, we are called towards generosity in meeting people’s needs, not because we desire equal outcomes but because we love our neighbor. How that will look like on both an individual and societal level can be debated, but Christians must seek the wisdom of God as we strive towards these goals (James 1:5).
**This content was originally published in 3 parts on Advocates for Truth. I have made some changes to make a more cohesive whole.
 M. O. Evans, “Equity,” ed. James Orr et al., The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company, 1915), 968.