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Difference Between Evil And Wicked

Is there a difference between evil and wicked?

There are 2 main Greek words that are translated as evil in the N.T.

1 – "kakia" – simply means evil, bad, depravity.

Denotes a broad range of badness. If there an emphasis for this word it would be in the quality of badness, and the lack of goodness – that is to say someone or something is really bad.

1 Thess. 5:15 - "make sure nobody pays back wrong (evil) for wrong (evil)…"

2 Thess. 3:2 "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men". – evil is "kakia"


2 – "poneros" – evil or badness that results in pain and sorrow. The result of the evil is the emphasis of this word that differs from the above.

1 Thes.. 3:2 - "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men". – wicked is "poneros"


"kakia" is translated as evil.
"poneros" is translated as both evil and wicked.

So what is the difference between "kakia" (evil) and "poneros" (evil or wicked)? Both mean evil, bad, depraved... "Kakia" emphasized the quality of badness and the lack of goodness in a person or thing. "Poneros" emphasizes the result or consequences of the badness.

So in 2 Thess. 3:2 when Paul prays for deliverance from "evil and wicked men". Evil men are lacking in good character and wicked men are out to get Paul because of their wickedness. ( evil men are bad guys, wicked men are bad guys out to get you)

Concerning the English words "evil" and "wicked", according to Webster’s Dictionary, there does not seem to be much difference in meaning, both being used somewhat interchangeably.

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