Anger and wrath are listed separately in a list in Colossians 3:8, and Ephesians 4:26 might indicate that there is some difference in Paul’s mind between the term anger and the term wrath.

Col 3:8 - But now you also put off all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, foul language out of your mouth.

Eph 4:26 - Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

My question is this: is there a difference in Paul’s mind between anger and wrath?

  • The same as between gladness and joy Mar 11, 2023 at 19:52
  • Do you mean Ephesians 4: 26?
    – agarza
    Mar 11, 2023 at 20:06
  • Yes, pardon I did mean 4:26
    – Dave
    Mar 11, 2023 at 20:13
  • ChatGPT says that "Overall, while both words refer to anger or wrath, "parorgismos" emphasizes a state or condition, while "orgizō" emphasizes the action or expression of anger.", but it could be making that up just to humour me. Mar 11, 2023 at 20:21
  • @ray be encouraged - Chat GPT is trinitarian. Go figure.
    – Steve
    Mar 13, 2023 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


Actually, four different words are involved as follows. The words in Eph 4:26 and Col 3:8 are different.

Eph 4:26 "Be angry, and yet do not sin." Let not the sun set upon your wrath

In this verse the two words are:

  • ὀργίζω (orgizó = [verb] irritate, provoke, anger), eg, Matt 5:22, 18:34, 22:7, Luke 1:21, 15:28, etc
  • παροργισμός (parorgismos = [noun] exasperation, wrath, irritation, indignation), only found in Eph 4:26. Both words come from the same cognate root with παροργισμός being a strengthened, more intense form.

Note that Paul is not condemning anger as such; indeed, the "Be angry" is actually in the imperative case - a command to be angry. However, Paul is saying we should be angry about righteous causes and not loose control - we should be angry at some things but he provides important caveats:

  • do not let you anger develop into wrath, ie, loose control, and,
  • do not let your anger last after sunset

Col 3:8 But now you also put off all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, foul language out of your mouth.

In this verse the two words are:

  • ὀργή (orgé = [noun] anger, wrath, passion; punishment, vengeance), eg, Matt 3:7, Mark 3:5, Luke 3:7, 21:23, John 3:36, etc. It is the cognate noun with the same root as ὀργίζω as listed above.
  • θυμός (thumos = [noun] an outburst of passion, wrath, rage), eg, Luke 4:28, Acts 19:28, Rom 2:8, 2 Cor 12:20, Gal 5:20, etc. In English a person in such a state much be described as in a blind rage; ie, acting irrationally angry.

Here Paul is condemning uncontrolled outburst of anger and rage, quite correctly.

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