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The meaning of Affect; Affection in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

a-fekt', a-fek'-shun: The literal meaning of "affect" is to act upon (Latin ad, "to," "upon," facio, "to do"). It has various shades of meaning, and occurs in the following senses in the English Bible: (1) In its literal sense: Lamentations 3:51, "Mine eye affecteth my soul" (2) In the sense of "to endeavor after" desire," "court": Galatians 4:17, "They zealously affect (the Revised Version (British and American) "seek") you .... that ye may affect (the Revised Version (British and American) "seek") them," i.e. they earnestly court your favor, that you may court theirs. Paul means that the proselytizing zeal of the Judaizers was rooted in personal ambition. The past part. "affected" (the Revised Version (British and American) "sought") has the same meaning in Galatians 4:18. The same Greek word (zeloo) is translated "desire earnestly" in the Revised Version (British and American) (I Corinthians 12:31; I Corinthians 14:1, I Corinthians 14:39). "Affect" has a similar meaning in Ecclesiasticus 13:11. (3) In the passive, it occurs in the sense of "to be disposed," in a neutral sense, with an adverb to characterize the nature of the disposition: Acts 14:2, "evil affected against the brethren" So also 2 Macc 4:21; 13:26.

"Affection" occurs in the following senses: (1) In the literal sense: the state of having one's feelings acted upon or affected in some way; bent or disposition of mind, in a neutral sense (the nature of the affection, whether good or bad, needing further description in the context). So Colossians 3:2, "Set your affection (the Revised Version (British and American) "mind") on things above"; Colossians 3:5, "inordinate affection" (here "affection" by itself is neutral; the addition of the adjective makes it equivalent to "passion' in an evil sense, as in the Revised Version (British and American)). (2) In a good sense: tender feeling, warm attachment, good will; the word in itself carrying a good meaning apart from the context. I Chronicles 29:3, "because I have set my affection on the house of my God"; Romans 1:31; II Timothy 3:3, "without natural affection", II Corinthians 6:12 "Ye are straitened in your own affections" (lit. "bowels," regarded as the seat of kindly feelings, compare Eng "heart' ) So II Corinthians 7:15. (3) In an evil sense in the plural = passions. Galatians 5:24, the flesh, with the affections (the Revised Version (British and American) "passions") and lusts"; Romans 1:26, "God gave them unto vile affections" (the Revised Version (British and American) "passions").

"Affectioned" occurs once, in a neutral sense: Romans 12:10, "affectioned (i.e. "disposed") one to another" In I Thessalonians 2:8, we have "affectionately," in a good sense.

D. Miall Edwards


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