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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Emotional, mental, or physical pain or stress. Hebrew does not have a general word for sorrow. Rather it uses about fifteen different words to express the different dimensions of sorrow. Some speak to emotional pain (Psalm 13:2 ). Trouble and sorrow were not meant to be part of the human experience. Humanity's sin brought sorrow to them (Genesis 3:16-19 ). Sometimes God was seen as chastising His people for their sin (Amos 4:6-12 ). To remove sorrow, the prophets urged repentance that led to obedience (Joel 2:12-13 ; Hosea 6:6 ).

The Greek word for sorrow is usually lupe. It means “grief, sorrow, pain of mind or spirit, affliction.” Paul distinguished between godly and worldly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:8-11 ). Sorrow can lead a person to a deeper faith in God; or it can cause a person to live with regret, centered on the experience that caused the sorrow. Jesus gave believers words of hope to overcome trouble, distress, and sorrow: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Sorrow'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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