Concupiscence

CONCUPISCENCE (from the Lat. Concupiscere, to desire intensely. In the KJV the word trs. the NT Greek ἐπιθυμέω, G2121, to desire, set one’s heart upon, covet, or lust after, a thing. The noun is ἐπιθυμία, G2123, a desire, craving, longing.)

The word ἐπιθυμία, G2123, may be used of good as well as of evil desires (cf. Luke 22:15). When it is used of evil desires it is in three instances rendered “concupiscence” in the KJV (Rom 7:8; Col 3:5; 1 Thess 4:5). In the ASV and RSV the word “concupiscence” does not appear at all. In the three passages indicated words like “coveting,” “(evil) desire,” and “lust” are used to give the sense of ἐπιθυμία, G2123.

In the Christian ethical tradition concupiscence is generally considered to be a sinful disposition, a desire which is inordinate either because it is too intense or (more often) because it is wrongly directed. Like “lust,” concupiscence frequently (though not always) connotes inordinate sexual desire.

Though what the word designates remains a feature of fallen man, the word itself has fallen into disuse.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Not used in the Revised Version (British and American), but in the King James Version, Ro 7:8; Col 3:5; 1Th 4:5. The Greek noun, like the verb from which it comes, meaning "to yearn," "to long," "to have the heart set upon a thing," is determined in its moral quality by the source whence it springs or the object toward which it is directed. Thus, our Lord uses it to express the intensest desire of His soul (Lu 22:15). As a rule, when the object is not expressed, it refers to longing for that which God has forbidden, namely, lust. It is not limited to sexual desire, but includes all going forth of heart and will toward what God would not have us to have or be, as its use in the Septuagint of the Ten Commandments clearly shows, for "Thou shalt not covet" (Ex 20:17).