[b-greek] Re: the intent of Mark 14:38

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Fri Jun 01 2001 - 04:37:20 EDT

From: Iver Larsen
To: Jeffrey
> > What is explicit in the text is that Satan is
> > presented as the agent of PEIRAZAMENOS (hUPO SATANA), and from Matthew and
> > Luke we learn that the PEIRASMOS involved enticement to do evil. That seems
> > to me to be the definition of "temptation."
> >
> It may be what the definition of temptation is. But the question is whether or not
> "temptation" is an adequate or justified translation of PEIRASMOS!

It seems to me that there are a number of clear parallels to the testing of Israel's faith
during the wilderness experience as well as the earlier testing of the faith of Abraham.
Thank you for clarifying that. However, if you limit it to our testing of God's
faithfulness and exclude God's testing of our faithfulness, then I cannot agree. I am not
sure if you do that.

The testing of our faithfulness and obedience to God is a key concept of Scripture that
goes back all the way to when Adam and Eve were tested - and failed the test, because they
listened to Satan's tempting words as he twisted the words and will of God.

PEIRASMOS in these contexts are not the general enticements to do evil that we may often
think of, but the question of commitment to obedience to the LORD in difficult
circumstances and in the midst of tempting words from Satan, who often speaks through and
uses "the flesh" to his own advantage. "Evil" in the Bible is basically that with is not
according to the will of God, or in other words, rebellion against God. Because of human
rebellion, God was several times "tempted" to destroy his own people (Ex 32:10), not to
mention the whole human race (Gen 6:7). But he always allowed a remnant to live.

But, if PEIRASMOS should never be translated "temptation" as you seem to suggest, what
then is the Greek word for temptation? Is there no such concept in the Greek NT? Or are
you only suggesting that in this verse and context, PEIRASMOS should not be translated as

How then would you translate Mk 14:58? Would you say "Watch and pray (so) that you do not
test the faithfulness of God." Or would you do as the NRSV and say "pray (so) that you may
not come into the time of trial"?
Or can we say "pray (so) that you will not be tempted to unfaithfulness"?

Thanks from someone who is working daily on translating the Bible,
Iver Larsen

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