What does “concupiscence” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

What a strange word!

Romans chapter 7: “[7] What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. [8] But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” Did you see how verse 7 defined concupiscence? There is the connection to lusting and coveting.

Colossians 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:….” We can thus see that lusting can be good or bad, concupiscence can be good or evil. Here, it is qualified as evil.” (One type of good concupiscence is the attraction between a husband and his wife. Another good lusting is a strong desire to eat physical food.)

First Thessalonians 4:5: “Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:….” In this case, lust and concupiscence are separate. “Concupiscence” here refers to intense sexual desires with respect to “fornication” (habitual sexual behavior outside of marriage). Read the verse with its context: “[3] For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: [4] That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; [5] Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: [6] That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”

“Concupiscence,” therefore, is lusting, having a strong desire. (It is derived from the Latin word meaning, “beginning to desire.”) It may or may not be sexual. It may or may not be evil. The context sets the tone.

Also see:
» What is “chambering?”
» What is “shamefacedness?”
» What is “wantonness?”