Concupiscence [Word Study]


A Word Study


Whenever I read this word from the Holy Writ I get somewhat of an interesting look or chuckle from the flock. What does this word mean, why does it sound so funny and O that’s how you pronounce it are some of the things I imagine are going through their minds. I usually take a minute to explain what it means and then move on.

While an interesting word and to some archaic to study out its roots and meaning makes it even more interesting, significant and less archaic. While I have not checked all modern translations some of the research showed that the word was all but removed in many of them. In my opinion the word should be left alone like many others.

So in beginning this word study project I decided to start with this word because of its moral implications.

Without needing a degree in sociology one can easily discern that the spirit of the times is waning heavily in the direction of evil concupiscence. Marriages are a shambles; divorce numbers and adultery are high. Sodomy, fornication and other morally deviant behaviors are front and center in nearly every aspect of our culture and now creeping into mainline denominations as well.

The sexual boundaries between men and women are being smashed and our kids are coming face to face with this everywhere they turn. Computers, phones and the market place are Petri dishes cultivating an atmosphere of concupiscence. When inordinate lusts or other deviant sexual behaviors increase, worse behaviors will also increase thus producing a morally bankrupt culture whose only standard of morality will be the whims of the flesh.


The Greek
The word for Concupiscence is epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah) It means to yearn or long for. To have a heart set upon a thing and intense desire of the soul a longing for which God has forbidden. While not limited to sexual desire it include an intense longing of the heart for something God doesn’t want us to have.

The Latin
Concupiscentia, concupiscent, concupiscens meaning to desire ardently

“The name for the Roman god of love – Cupid – is also derived from this Latin root” – Vance

• Eros, physical attraction, sexual desire
• nymphomania – abnormally intense sexual desire in women
• satyriasis – abnormally intense sexual desire in men
• aphrodisia – a desire for heterosexual intimacy
• the hots – intense sexual desire

Scriptural References

With these and many other verses for support we know from a biblical standpoint that the people of God are called to cleanness and holiness. Moral purity is expected with the people of God. This is repeated throughout the New Testament. Contrary to the libs there is no give in this area.

Below are the three references found in the Bible with a simple explanatory note.

1) Romans 7:8
2) Colossians 3:5
3) 1 Thessalonians 4:5

Romans 7:8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. “

A. The law revealed to Paul – as it does to us – his sin, in particular here all manner (not just one desire but all unlawful desires) of concupiscence. The law isn’t the problem, what the law reveals about us and our fallen nature is the problem. It goes a long way in helping us understand the backlash from the world when the whole counsel of God’s word is preached. Many loved [their] darkness because their deeds are evil.

Colossians 3:5-6 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: “

A. Mortify the members that is subdue, put under, starve out the sinful inclinations or lusts that plague man. The list includes evil concupiscence, which means a strong desire. Attaching the word evil to signifies the intensity of its wickedness.

1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: “

A. While the law reveals sin, and we are to mortify our members, we see here a charge to posses our vessels (bodies) in a right manner, a manner that brings glory to God – SANCTIFICATION AND HONOUR