The front of the person’s head. In the Bible several words are translated as “face.” In the OT panim is the most common and has the actual meaning of “face.” Aph (nose) and ayin (eyes, aspect) are also at times translated as face. In the NT the words used are opsis and prosopon.

The word “face” has a variety of meanings. It is used literally to refer to the face of man or animls (Gen 30:40), seraphim (Isa 6:2), and the face of Christ (Matt 17:2). Figuratively, it is used in reference to the face of the earth (Gen 1:29), waters (Gen 1:2), sky (Matt 16:3), and moon (Job 26:9). Also, the word “face” is used theologically with regard to the “presence of God” (Gen 32:30). Face may be the physical “face” or the surface seen. Being “face to face” (literally, “eye to eye”) is being squared off with each other, front to front, and fully visibly (Num 14:14). The face (eye) of the earth is the visible surface of the earth (Exod 10:5, 15), and the face of the waters is that surface which is seen (Gen 1:2).

The Word “face” may stand for the entire countenance. It is the face that the emotions are expressed. The face of the sky expresses the weather, stormy and red, or fair (Matt 16:2-3). Bowing one’s face (nose or face) expresses reverence or awe (Num 22:31; Luke 5:12). Bowing one’s face (nose) toward the ground also includes the involvement of the entire person (1 Sam 20:41; Matt 26:39), indicating complete submission. When angry or sad, one’s countenance (face) will fall (Gen 4:5). “A joyful heart makes a face cheerful” (Prov 15:13 HCSB). To express displeasure or disgust, the face is averted or “hid” (Ezek 29:23; Ps 102:2); to “seek his face” is to desire an audience (Ps 105:4). To “set my face against” is to express hostility (Jer 21:10), while turning away the face shows rejection (Ps 132:10).

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