January 1, 2016 Matt Pennock

The Fury (θυμός) of God

Thumos is the Greek word meaning furyspiritedness, wrath, glow, or ardor. In the New Testament it is often translated as rage or wrath but there is more to it than that.

Rather than reducing the meaning to merely wrath, the book of Revelation uses the word as a qualifier for wrath:

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury [thumou] of the wrath of God the Almighty. Revelation 19:15

And as a qualifier for sexual immorality:

For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion [thumou] of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living. Revelation 18:3

“Wrath” in Rev. 19:15 is the Greek orgé which refers to “settled indignation”.

Biblical Context

2372 thymós (from thyō, “rush along, getting heated up, breathing violently,” cf. J. Thayer) – properly, passion-driven behavior, i.e. actions emerging out of strong impulses (intense emotion).

When 2372 /thymós (“expressed passion”) is used of people it indicates rage (personal venting of anger, worth). This flaw is completely absent of the Lord expressing (inspiring) intense anger. Accordingly, 2372 (thymós) is used of God’s perfect, holy wrath in Revelation (Rev 14:10,19,15:1, etc.). This anger is directed against sin with intense opposition and without sin.

[Only the Lord exercises righteous wrath, so we must depend solely on Him as we experience (express) anger.]

HELPS Word Studies

Plato writes,

And θυμός [thumos] has its name from the raging (θύσις) [thusis] and boiling of the soul.

Plat. Crat. 419e

Ancient Context


the soul:
I. like Lat. anima, the soul, breath, life, θυμὸν ἀπαυρᾶν, ἀφελέσθαι, ἐξελέσθαι, ἐξαίνυσθαι, ὀλέσαι to take away life, Hom.; θυμὸν ἀποπνείειν to expire, Il.; θυμὸν ἀγείρειν to collect oneself, id=Il., etc.; θυμὸς τείρετο καμάτῳ his spirit was wearied by toil, id=Il.
II. like Lat. animus, the soul, heart; and so,
1. of desire for meat and drink, ἔπιον θ᾽ ὅσον ἤθελε θυμός id=Il.:—c. inf., βαλέειν δέ θυμὸς ἀνώγει his heart bade him shoot, id=Il.;ἤθελε θυμῷ he wished in his heart or with all his heart, id=Il.; θυμῷ βουλόμενος wishing with all one’s heart, Hdt.; so, ἐκ θυμοῦ φιλέειν Il.:—θυμός ἐστί μοι, θ. γίγνεταί μοι, c. inf., I have a mind to do . . , id=Il., Xen., etc.:—also as the seat of sorrow or joy, χαῖρε δὲ θυμῷ Il.; ἄχνυτοθυμός id=Il., etc.
2. mind, temper, will, θ. πρόφρων, νηλεής, σιδήρεος Hom.; ἕνα θυμὸν ἔχειν to be of one mind, Il.; δόκησε δ᾽ ἄρα σφίσι θυμὸς ὣς ἔμεν it pleased them to be of this mind, Od.; ἐδαΐζετο θωμός their mind was divided, Il.
3. spirit, courage, μένος καὶ θυμός id=Il.; θυμὸν λαμβάνειν to take heart, Od.; παραὶ ποσὶ κάππεσε θυμός Il., etc.
4. as the seat of anger, νεμεσίζεσθαι ἐνὶ θυμῷ id=Il.:—hence, anger, wrath, δάμασον θυμόν id=Il.; θυμὸς μέγας ἐστὶ βασιλῆος id=Il.
5. the soul as the agent of thought, ᾔδεε γὰρ κατὰ θυμόν id=Il.; φράζετο θυμῷ id=Il.

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