TRANCE (תַּרְדֵּמָה, H9554, deep sleep; רָדַם, H8101, fast asleep; ἔκστασις, G1749, out of normal, displacement, confusion of mind.) That extreme form of confusion or displacement of mind wherein the person, who by some sudden emotion is transported as it were out of himself. In this rapt condition, although he is apparently otherwise awake, his mind is drawn off from all surrounding objects and available stimuli. Apparent external stimuli are entirely unnoticed as the person becomes wholly and obsessively fixed on things invisible (divine, hallucinatory, or unconscious). The person in such a condition may think and report that he perceives with his natural senses (visual and auditory, in particular) realities shown him by God or other supernatural forces. Religious or emotionally marked trances are described as “ecstasy,” an overwhelming joy or rapture, drawn from the same word, ekstasis. In extreme form, trance resembles or is coma.

New Testament usage of the term (trance) is always in connection with directives from the Spirit of God. As in the case of Peter (Acts 10:10), the context, the attendant circumstances and consequences, suggest that it was furnished or at least allowed and/or used by the Spirit of God (Acts 11:12, 15, 18). And the same is clearly stated by Paul (Acts 22:17). (See also: Astonishment; Dream; Vision.)

  • Of divine visitation and moment.
  • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

    The border line between trance and dream is indefinite: the former occurs while one is, in a sense, awake; the latter takes place in the passage from sleep to wakefulness. The dream as well as the vision were supposed of old to be channels of revelation (Job 33:15). In Shakespearean English, "trance" means a dream (Taming of the Shrew, I, i, 182), or simply a bewilderment (Lucrece, 1595).

    In the phenomena of hypnotic suggestion, sometimes affecting a number of persons simultaneously we have conditions closely allied to trance, and doubtless some of the well-authenticated phantom appearances are similar subjective projections from the mind affecting the visual and auditory centers of the brain.

    Alex. Macalister