Re: PEIRAZW again

From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (
Date: Thu Sep 30 1999 - 10:31:37 EDT

"Carl W. Conrad" wrote:

> At 3:28 PM -0600 9/29/99, Dmitriy Reznik wrote:
> >Dear Carl,
> >
> >Some time ago we discussed the meaning of PEIRAZW. Most of the opinions were
> >that this word meant "to test" and not "to entice to sin". Now I wonder how it
> >can work for example with Gal 6:1:
> >SKOPWN SEAUTON MH KAI SU PEIRASQHS (...considering thyself, lest thou also be
> >tempted). If "tempted" here is not "tempted" but "tested", how can it be
> >understood? Maybe this word can mean "to fail the test"?
> Yes, if "test" is the sense here, then MH ... PEIRASQHiS might mean "put to
> a test (so severe that you cannot withstand the challenge)." That would be
> tantamount to, "lest you fail the test."
> Jeffrey Gibson has done quite a bit of research on NT usage of PEIRAZW in
> different contexts, arguing, if I understand rightly what he's saying, that
> it usually involves a notion of believers testing God. Might I suggest that
> you put this question about this particular text to Jeffrey? In fact, I'm
> going to send a copy of this response to him and ask what you'd say,
> Jeffrey, about this particular passage?

An off the cuff response:

I'd say that to understand the meaning the noun bears here we need to understand
what, within the presupposition pool in which Paul operates, the experience
denoted by the term PEIRASMOS was thought TO DO with respect to the one subjected
to it. And this, whether the one tested is God or human beings, always seems to be
the revelation of how much integrity one really has or how reliable and/or faithful
one really is. So I would argue, much as Carl has done, that in Gal 6:1 PEIRASMOS
means "a test or trial of one's faithfulness" and that the sense of the expression
in Galatians in which the term appears has the **outcome** of the testing in view,
and therefore should be rendered something like "Lest you in your actions be
proven/be shown to be less than faithful".

The confrontation of the "stronger" Galatians with the behaviour of the "weaker"
Galatians" is a situation which reveals how committed they are to their new
(divinely ordained) way of life. And it has the potential to show that their
commitment is not very deep. No enticement here, just a forced situation in which
the Galatians cannot help but show who and what they really are.

Hope this helps.



Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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