Saturday, March 31, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: paro-XU-no
Strong’s Number: 3947
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 4236
Key Verse: “Love is patient, love is kind, ... is not provoked …” -- 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Paroxuno primarily means “to sharpen” and was applied to the sharpening a knife or sword; then to sharpen the mind or temper of anyone; to excite, impel; then to spur on, to stimulate, to provoke. It is the root of the English word “paroxysm,” which refers to a sudden outburst of angry emotion. This word is used only 4 times in the New Testament -- twice as a noun and twice as a verb.

In Acts 15:39, “there occurred such a sharp disagreement” between Paul and Barnabas that they separated from one another, although from this dissension, God doubled the missionary effort.

Hebrews 10:24 uses this word in a positive manner: “let us consider how to stimulate (a noun, literally “a stirring up”) one another to love and good deeds.” The members of the Body must stir up each other’s religious affections and ministries. Christian living is directly related to the appreciation and encouragement of the faith of one’s fellow Christians.

In Acts 17:16, Paul’s spirit was “being provoked within him” as he observed the godless idolatry in Athens in the form of art and architecture.

Finally, in 1 CORINTHIANS 13:5, “love is patient, love is kind ... is not provoked …” This verb is in present tense, indicating that a believer is not continually irritable or easily angered. Paul uses this expression with a conscious eye on the tensions in the Corinthian church, where there had been a good deal of provocation. Matthew Henry says, “Where the fire of love is kept in, the flames of wrath will not easily kindle, nor long keep burning. Charity will never be angry without a cause. ... Anger cannot rest in the bosom where love reigns.”

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