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Bible Encyclopedias
Damn; Damnation; Damnable

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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dam , dam -nā´shun , dam´na -b 'l : These words have undergone a change of meaning since the King James Version was made. They are derived from Latin damnare = "to inflict a loss," "to condemn," and that was their original meaning in English Now they denote exclusively the idea of everlasting punishment in hell. It is often difficult to determine which meaning was intended by the translators in the King James Version. They have been excluded altogether from the Revised Version (British and American). The words for which they stand in the King James Version are:

(1) ἀπώλεια , apō̇leia , "destruction," translated "damnable" and "damnation" only in 2 Peter 2:1-3 (the Revised Version (British and American) "destructive," "destruction"). False prophets taught doctrines calculated to destroy others, and themselves incurred the sentence of destruction such as overtook the fallen angels, the world in the Deluge, and the cities of the Plain. Apōleia occurs otherwise 16 times in the New Testament, and is always translated in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) by either "perdition" or "destruction": twice of waste of treasure (Matthew 26:8 = Mark 14:4 ); twice of the beast that comes out of the abyss and goes into perdition (Revelation 17:8 , Revelation 17:11 ). In all other cases, it refers to men, and defines the destiny that befalls them as the result of sin: Judas is the "son of perdition" (John 17:12 ). Peter consigns Simon Magus and his money to perdition (Acts 8:20 ). Some men are "vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction" (Romans 9:22 ), and others, their "end is perdition" (Philippians 3:19 ). It is the antithesis of salvation (Hebrews 10:39; Philippians 1:28 ). Of the two ways of life, one leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13 ). Whether it is utter, final and irretrievable destruction is not stated.

(2) κρίνω , krı́nō , translated "damned" only in the King James Version of 2 Thessalonians 2:12 (the Revised Version (British and American) "judged") means "to judge" in the widest sense, "to form an opinion" ( Luke 7:43 ), and forensically "to test and try" an accused person. It can only acquire the sense of "judging guilty" or "condemning" from the context.

(3) κατακρίνω , katakrı́nō , translated "damned" only in the King James Version of Mark 16:16; Romans 14:23 ("condemned" in the Revised Version (British and American)), means properly "to give judgment against" or "to condemn" and is so translated 17 times in the King James Version and always in the Revised Version (British and American).

(4) κρίσις , krı́sis , translated "damnation" in the King James Version of Matthew 23:33; Mark 3:29; John 5:29 (the Revised Version (British and American) "judgment," but in Mark 3:29 , "sin" for ἁμάρτημα , hamártēma ), means (a ) judgment in general like krinō , and is so used about 17 times, besides 14 times in the phrase "day of judgment"; (b ) "condemnation," like katakrinō , about 14 times.

(5) κρίμα , krı́ma , translated in the King James Version "damnation" 7 times (Matthew 23:14 = Mark 12:40 = Luke 20:47; Romans 3:8; Romans 13:2; 1 Corinthians 11:29; 1 Timothy 5:12 ), "condemnation" 6 times, "judgment" 13 times, "law" and "avenged" once each; in the Revised Version (British and American) "condemnation" 9 t (Matthew 23:14 only inserted in margin), "judgment" 17 times, and once in margin, "lawsuit" and "sentence" once each. "Judgment" may be neutral, an impartial act of the judge weighing the evidence (so in Matthew 7:2; Acts 24:25; Romans 11:33; Hebrews 6:2; 1 Peter 4:17; Revelation 20:4 ) and "lawsuit" (1 Corinthians 6:7 ); or it may be inferred from the context that judgment is unto condemnation (so in Romans 2:2 , Romans 2:3; Romans 5:16; Galatians 5:10; 2 Peter 2:3; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 18:20 , and the Revised Version (British and American) Romans 13:2; 1 Corinthians 11:29 ). In places where krima and krisis are rightly translated "condemnation," and where "judgment" regarded as an accomplished fact involves a sentence of guilt, they together with katakrinō define the relation of a person to the supreme authority, as that of a criminal, found and held guilty, and liable to punishment. So the Roman empire regarded Jesus Christ, and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:40; Luke 24:20 ). But generally these words refer to man as a sinner against God, judged guilty by Him, and liable to the just penalty of sin. They imply nothing further as to the nature of the penalty or the state of man undergoing it, nor as to its duration. Nor does the word "eternal" (ρ Ο2 αἰώνπ ,αἰώνιος , aiō̇n , aiō̇nios , often wrongly translated "everlasting" in the King James Version) when added to them, determine the question of duration. Condemnation is an act in the moral universe, which cannot be determined under categories of time.

These terms define the action of God in relation to man's conduct, as that of the Supreme Judge, but they express only one aspect of that relation which is only fully conceived, when coördinated with the more fundamental idea of God's Fatherhood. See ESCHATOLOGY; JUDGMENT .


Salmond, Christian Doctrine of Immortality; Charles, Eschatology .

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Damn; Damnation; Damnable'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​d/damn-damnation-damnable.html. 1915.
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