2nd Corinthians 5:10

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Thu Mar 28 06:28:38 EST 2002

> My question deals with the final phrase, which reads
> Some translations seem to translate this word KAKON as
> "worthless" or "bad" rather than "evil."
> I think this word elsewhere, correct me if I am wrong,
> has the meaning of "evil." So, what would be the basis
> upon which one should understand KAKON as worthless or
> bad, rather than evil? And by "evil," I really mean
> that which is none other than "sinful."
> Does it have anything to do with the fact it is being
> compared with AGAQON?

Words don't have exact equivalents from one language to another. I
understand KAKOS as corresponding more closely to "wrong" in apposition to
"right". Pilate complained to the accusers of Jesus that he could find
nothing wrong that Jesus had done. KAKOS is used.
KAKOS can also mean "bad" as opposed to "good", e.g. the good slave and the
bad slave.
ATOPOS is very simliar to KAKOS, but a more rare word for "wrong, bad".
FAULOS seems to be a stronger word, more like English "evil".
Then there is PONHROS, somewhat like "wicked" as in the wicked slave, but we
also know "the evil one" who is as evil and wicked as they come.
There is, of course, a considerable semantic overlap between KAKOS, ATOPOS,
PONHROS and FAULOS as there is between "bad", "wrong", "wicked" and "evil",
so the context helps to clarify the nuances intended.

Iver Larsen

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