Re: PEIRASMOS - the meaning of the word

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Thu Jun 17 1999 - 15:45:30 EDT

At 12:57 17/06/99, "Dmitriy Reznik" <> wrote:
>Dear friends,
>Could you please help me to understand the usage of PEIRASMOS (and
>PEIRAZW)in James? In Ja 1:1-2 and 1:12 it seems to be a positive thing and
>is usually translated as "trial". But in Ja 1:13-14 it becomes something
>bad and is translated as "temptation". How can it be that the same word in
>the same context has different meanings and is translated with different

Here are a few extracts from the entry for PEIRASMOS in :
Turner, Nigel. Christian Words . Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1980.
which may be of help:

To some extent the meaning of PEIRASMOS, and PEIRAZW and EK- is
foreshadowed in secular Greek, but in the Biblical language they carry much
stronger moral connotations than the words, 'trial' and ttempt' can suggest.
'persecution' is one very important meaning of peirasmos in Christian
Greek, but the persecution should be understood to lclude temptation to sin.
The verb PEIRAZW follows the same pattern as the noun: first, the putting
of God or His Son to the test; then the testing of disciples,
Like the noun, the verb includes the meaning of temptation to sln, whether
of believers tempted both by Satan and their own lust ( Ga. 6:1; 1Co. 7:5;
1 Th. 3:5; Ja. 1:13f ) or of Jesus.

Hope this is of some help.


Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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