[B-Greek] Jam 1:13 APEIRASTOS 'unable to' or 'unable to be ~'

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri Jul 6 03:19:13 EDT 2007

>>     Similarly to the vbs., the noun PEIRA means attempt, trial, test,
>> attempt at, attack, risk, experience, knowledge. PEIRASMOS means a medical
>> test (first used by Dioscorides, De Materia Medica, Preface 5, in the 1st
>> cent. A.D.). EKPEIRAZW, to tempt,
> Again, I'd like to know what instance of the use of EKPEIRAZW the author has 
> in mind when he claims
> that it means "to tempt".
> It is not (to my knowledge)) attested in "secular" Greek.  It appears in the 
> Septuagint version of
> the Hebrew Scriptures only in the book of Deuteronomy and in the Book of 
> Psalms. In these instances
> the verb is used only with reference either to God (Deut. 6:16, twice; Ps. 
> 77[78]:18) or to men
> (8:2, 16) and it does not mean "tempt".  In the New Testament and early 
> Christian literature  it
> appears at Matt. 4:7; Lk. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:9 -- where God is its object and at 
> Hermas, Vis. 5.3;
> Man. 12.5.4 where its object is men.  And again, it never means "tempt"
> Jeffrey

Even if we may not agree on the semantic range of PEIRAZW in the GNT, I do agree 
that EKPEIRAZW is not used with the sense of "tempt" in the four instances found 
in the GNT, which are the three you mention plus Lk 10:25. However, in these 
contexts it is also clear that this is something which should not be done, so it 
does have a negative ring to it. How much this ring comes from context and how 
much may be from the word itself, I cannot tell. (Has the English language 
changed? I noticed that the KJV translated all four occurrences by "tempt", but 
this has been abandoned by all modern versions.)

Iver Larsen 

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