SPECIAL TOPIC: GREEK TERMS FOR TESTING AND THEIR CONNOTATIONS

There are two Greek terms which have the connotation of testing someone for a purpose.

1. Dokimazō, Dokimion, Dokimasia

This term is a metalurgist term for testing the genuineness of something (i.e., metaphorically someone) by fire (see Special Topc: Fire). The fire reveals the true metal and burns off (i.e., purifies) the dross. This physical process became a powerful idiom for God and/or Satan and/or humans testing others. This term is only used in a positive sense of testing with a view towards acceptance (see Special Topic: God Tests His People [OT]).

It is used in the NT of testing

a. oxen – Luke 14:19

b. ourselves – 1 Cor. 11:28

c. our faith – James. 1:3

d. even God – Heb. 3:9

The outcomes of these tests were assumed to be positive (cf. Rom. 2:18; 14:22; 16:10; 2 Cor. 10:18; 13:3,7; Phil. 2:27; 1 Pet. 1:7), therefore, the term conveys the idea of someone examined and approved

a. to be worthwhile

b. to be good

c. to be genuine

d. to be valuable

e. to be honored

2. Peirazō, Peirasmus

This term often has the connotation of examination for the purpose of fault finding or rejection. It is used in connection to Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. 

a. It conveys the attempt to trap Jesus (cf. Matt. 4:1; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18, 35; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2; Heb. 2:18).

b. This term (peirazōn) is used as a title for Satan in Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5 (i.e., "the tempter").

c. Usage

(1) It was used by Jesus warning humans not to test God (cf. Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12, [or Christ cf. 1 Cor 10:9]).

(2) It also denotes the attempt to do something that has failed (cf. Heb.11:29). 

(3) It is used in connection with the temptation and trials of believers (cf. 1 Cor. 7:5; 10:9, 13; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 3:5; Heb. 2:18; James. 1:2, 13, 14; 1 Pet. 4:12; 2 Pet 2:9).

 

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