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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Carnal

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kar´nal : In the Old Testament there is an expression which indicates sexual intercourse שׁכבת זרע , shikhebhath zera‛ , "lying of seed," Leviticus 18:20 ; Leviticus 19:20 ; Numbers 5:13 ). In the New Testament the words rendered "carnal" are derived from σάρξ , sárks , "flesh." This refers to the flesh as opposed to the pneúma , "spirit," and denotes, in an ethical sense, mere human nature, the lower side of man as apart from the Divine influence, and therefore estranged from God and prone to sin; whatever in the soul is weak and tends toward ungodliness (see FLESH ). Thus one may be carnal (σάρκινος , sárkinos ), sold under sin (Romans 7:14 ). Christians may be carnal (sarkinos , 1 Corinthians 3:1 ; sarkikós , 1 Corinthians 3:3 ); the lower side of their being is dominant and not the spirit, hence, they fall into sins of envy and strife. The weapons of the Christian warfare are not carnal, not merely human (of the flesh the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version), but spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:4 ); "not after the law of a carnal commandment" (Hebrews 7:16 ); "The carnal mind is enmity against God" ("mind of the flesh" the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, Romans 8:7 ). So, "to be carnally minded is death" ("mind of the flesh" the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version, Romans 8:6 ). There are "carnal ordinances," in contrast to the spiritual ones of the gospel (Hebrews 9:10 ); "Minister unto them in carnal things," those that pertain to the body in contrast to spiritual things (Romans 15:27 ; 1 Corinthians 9:11 ). The same expressions are elsewhere rendered "fleshly" (2 Corinthians 1:12 ; 2 Corinthians 3:3 the Revised Version (British and American) "hearts of flesh"; 1 Peter 2:11 ).

Is there any difference between sarkinos and sarkikos ̌ ? The former more definitely denotes the material of which an object is made. It may express with emphasis the idea of sarkikos , the spiritual given up as it were to the flesh. See MAN (THE NATURAL ).


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Carnal'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/c/carnal.html. 1915.

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