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I view anger as a temptation we all sometimes face. As with any temptation it should resisted. I've never known anything good resulting from anger. The exception is when God is angry. His anger and resulting wrath, is holy. God is the only One justified to be angry. Paul wrote "sin not" as an imperative, joined with the conjuction Kai to another imperative,"be angry". Could the word order be reversed when translating into english so that it would read, "Do not sin and be angry," ? Then further refined with, "Do not sin by being angry,". This translation would be an imperative but the individual imperative to be angry, would not stand out as a stand alone imperative and would blend in with sin not. Was Paul using imperative to show the grammatical relationships of the words forming his statement, or was he making two individual statements?

In either the Ephesians or the Psalm, there is no context we can rely on to decide what this short proverb-like saying tries to tell us.

What if I read it this way.

[At falsehood] you should get angered [at such falsehood]! [When you do,] be sure that it is not in itself you are sinning.

I was quite angry that you left us hanging... ;)

What about, "Be angry and sin not?!" as if that is not possible. Probably not, especially with the reference to not letting the sun go down on your anger. And your reference to James indicates that it is possible to be angry and not sin. I am interested to see the answers to the questions you pose in the last paragraph.

I agree that it takes more than 24 hours to get rid of anger. But I wonder if what Paul is demanding here is not to get rid of it entirely, but to make choice not to continue to hold on to and nurse the anger, but to begin the process of putting it aside and forgiving. I believe God is not so much interested in how we feel but what we choose and if we make and preserve in the right choice, the feelings will eventually follow.

On second thought, it would be an error to reverse the word order. Paul is telling the Church to be angry----with their own sin, with themselves, and with the sin of anger. In doing so he is turning things around so that in our minds we must apply our own anger towards ourselve, then realize that anger is not good. We do not want to hurt ourselve, so we ought not to hurt someone else by being angry toward them. Be very passionate about ridding ourselve of anger. The sun going down is not a 24 hour grace period, but simply, one day. Do not be angry any day. Eph 4:31 rules out Paul saying it is ok to be angry for 24 hours.

cliffhanger - I've also been chewing on that. I see myself leaning towards your counselor friend.

If you take ὀργίζεσθε as imperative, how do you understand the καὶ? "You are angry *and* you must not sin." In English if it was left as "You are angry and do not sin" both would be taken as indicative. The imperative allows one to translate the καὶ as 'and'. "Be angry and do not sin."

Funnily enough the meaning does not seem to change. The imperative could be a concessive imperative: "Go ahead and be angry" with the warning "don't sin." Likewise the indicative would give the same force. "Are you angry? Do not sin."

In fact, that leads to a further possibility of translation if the text is repunctuated: ὀργίζεσθε; καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτανετε "Are you angry? Do not also sin."

Whatever the translation, however, the concept seems pretty clear.

Some important notes, though. καί cannot be taken as being the word "and". καί is a connector that can be translated in various contexts differently. In contexts like this it does seem equivalent to "but" or "yet". "Be angry, yet do not sin." The "yet" is not a mistranslation, but a way of construing the idea of "in addition": "Be angry; do not in addition sin." Or, pragmatically, especially in an aphoristic statement the "yet" is implied: "Be angry and [yet] do not sin." This applies whether ὀργίζεσθε is imperative or indicative ("you are angry; don't also sin" or "you are angry, but don't sin". (This is similar to translation a resumptive δὲ as "now" though most vocabulary lists would only put "but" or "and" as definitions.")

A similar argument from pragmatics can be given for taking the first half conditionally. The conditionality may be implied in Greek just as easily as in English. A case in point can be made regarding the beatitudes: "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." While the beatitude is not conditional, the implication is "if you are poor in spirit, you will inherit the kingdom."

Theologically, of course, I go with James' statement: "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." It is all to easy to indulge our anger and sin. So, while we do not need to dread our anger, we need to become like Jesus and submit ourselves to all kinds of abuse. Jesus' righteous anger seems not to be directed at those who attack *him* but those who attack God, who blaspheme God or cause others to blaspheme God when they see their lives. Our hatred of evil should not lead us into hatred of the person. "For the battle is not against flesh and blood . . . "


Evil justifies God's anger. Evil is harming one of His creatures, often another human being. When I know someone is harming another human being am I sinning when I get angry or when I fail to get angry? I believe that anger is an essential tool in our bag of emotions that must be used carefully and wisely.

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