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Paul mentions debate twice in his Epistles:

  • Romans 1:29 "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,"

Here we see the word debate listed between envy, murder and deceit, malignity on the other.

We also see the word linked with other conditions Paul condemns in:

  • 2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

But the word in the Greek is eris [1] is not always translated debate. It is defined as "contention, strife, wrangling".

It is translated strife in four verses and always listed with the word for envy.

  • Romans 13:13 "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife[1] and envying."
  • 1 Corinthians 3:3 "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strifee[1], and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
  • Philippians 1:15 "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife[1]; and some also of good will:"
  • 1 Timothy 6:4 "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife[1], railings, evil surmisings,"

It also appear as contentious twice in:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:11 "For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions[1] among you."
  • Titus 3:9 "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions[1], and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."

On His letter to the Galatians it is translated "variance" and listed between Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, and emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, on the other:

  • Galatians 5:20 "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,"

It appears in a long list of those who "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" that begins in Galatians 5:19 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness," and ends in Galatians 5:21 "Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Old Debate

s In the Old Testament there are two very different words translated debate.

In Isaiah we see the word matstsah MemTzadikHey[2] translated debate but also translate contention and strife. It is from the word natsah[3] composed of the Hebrew letters NunTzadikHey which is said to be defined as "to fly", "to struggle", even "to strip off, make desolate, fall in ruins". One letter in matstsah was changed from the Nun equated with the fish in the sea to the Mem which often has to do with water in motion. The more commonly used NunTzadikHey translate strive or strive together can shift to MemTzadikHey

  • Isaiah 58:4 "Behold, ye fast for strife[4] and debate[5], and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high."

In the same verse we see the word strife which is from the Hebrew word riyb[4]. Those same Hebrew letters ReishYodBeit[5]produce the word debate in:

  • Proverbs 25:9 "Debate[5] thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:"
  • Isaiah 27:8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate[5] with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 2054 ~ἔρις~ eris \@er’-is\@ of uncertain affinity; ; n f AV-strife 4, debate 2, contention 2, variance 1; 9
    1) contention, strife, wrangling
  2. 04683 ^הצמ^ matstsah \@mats-tsaw’\@ from 05327; n f; AV-contention 1, strife 1, debate 1; 3
    1) strife, contention
  3. 05327 ^הצנ^ natsah \@naw-tsaw’\@ a primitive root; v; AV-strive 4, strive together 4, laid waste 1, misc 2; 11
    1) (Qal) to fly
    2) to struggle
    2a) (Niphal) to struggle
    2b) (Hiphil) to struggle
    3) to strip off, make desolate, fall in ruins
    3a) (Qal) to fall in ruins
    3b) (Niphal) desolated, ruined heaps (participle)
  4. 4.0 4.1 07379 ^ביר^ ReishYodBeit (rîḇ רִיב֙) riyb \@reeb\@ or ^בר^ rib \@reeb\@ from 07378; n m; AV-cause 24, strife 16, controversy 13, contention 2, misc 7; 62
    1) strife, controversy, dispute
    1a) strife, quarrel
    1b) dispute, controversy, case at law
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 07378 ^ביר^ ReishYodBeit riyb \@reeb\@ or ^בור^ ruwb \@roob\@ a primitive root; v; AV-plead 27, strive 13, contend 12, chide 6, debate 2, misc 7; 67
    1) to strive, contend
    1a) (Qal)
    1a1) to strive
    1a1a) physically
    1a1b) with words
    1a2) to conduct a case or suit (legal), sue
    1a3) to make complaint
    1a4) to quarrel
    1b) (Hiphil) to contend against