Why Not “Good-Bye”?
WELL-MEANING persons have been heard to say: “I don’t want to say good-bye. It sounds so final—almost depressing!”
True, a person often says good-bye when he sadly feels that he might never see a loved one or a dear friend again. Nevertheless, it is still an appropriate term to use, not only on such occasions but at other times as well. Why? The answer is found in its origin.
“Good-bye” is a present-day contraction of the 16th-century English “God be with you.” This remark, when parting, was a warm way of wishing God’s blessing to go with the individual. It expressed interest and concern for the well-being of another, a form of love for fellowman. “Farewell” is also a term that expresses “a wish of well-being at parting.” Other languages use similar expressions. Adieu in French and adiós in Spanish both have the basic idea of committing the other person to God.
True, these remarks may be used unthinkingly by some, with no purpose other than to say the customary thing. But that should not discourage the informed person from using them in a sincere and meaningful way to express his honest feelings.
The Bible itself has devout persons appropriately using good-bye. Jesus said good-bye to a crowd of people he had been teaching when it came time to dismiss them, so that he might devote time to private prayer. (Mark 6:46) “Paul said good-bye to the brothers” when he “proceeded to sail away for Syria.” (Acts 18:18) At Ephesus he also said good-bye when departing from his brothers there, even though he told them: “I will return to you again, if Jehovah is willing.” (Acts 18:21) Thus, it is not always used with a sense of finality.—See also Acts 21:6 and; 2 Corinthians 2:13.