Heb 2:10 and Heb 5:8 translate both of these words as a form of suffering. What significance is there between these two words? Are they differing types of suffering, such as physical vs emotional? Or some other nuance? In comparing them, what is being said that may be being lost in translation?

1 Answer 1


πάθημα is a noun, while πάσχω is a verb. Because of the presence of -θ- in πάθημα and -σχ- in πάσχω, one might assume that the words are unrelated in Greek, but they actually share the same root.

For example, the aorist tense, active voice, infinitive conjugation of πάσχω is παθεῖν. Then there are the aorist tense, active voice, participles:

Case & Number Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative, Singular παθών παθοῦσα παθόν
Genitive, Singular παθόντος παθούσης παθόντος
Dative, Singular παθόντι παθούσῃ παθόντι
Accusative, Singular παθόντα παθοῦσαν παθόν
Nominative, Plural παθόντες παθοῦσαι παθόντα
Genitive, Plural παθόντων παθουσῶν παθόντων
Dative, Plural παθοῦσιν παθούσαις παθοῦσιν
Accusative, Plural παθόντας παθούσας παθόντα

As you can see, the -θ- is as much of a part of the lemma πάσχω as the -σχ- is. πάθημα is to πάσχω as the noun “suffering” is to the verb “suffer”. Just as there is no intrinsic indication of emotional or physical in the English words “suffering” or “suffer”, neither is there an instrinsic indication of such in the Greek words πάθημα or πάσχω. Whether they refer to emotional or physical is entirely dependent on the context itself.

  • 1
    I meant to thank you! Your intricate answer is very helpful and much appreciated.
    – Rachel
    Jan 17 at 22:30

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