Lust is a world that’s closely linked and associated with sexual desires, usually those that are not godly. While that remains true today, there are some other meanings for this word found in the ancient languages. Therefore, I wanted to look up what the word lust means in Hebrew and Greek.

All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”

– 1 John 2:16

What Does The Word ‘Lust’ Mean In Hebrew?

chamud- to delight in; lust for.

nephesh- life; breathe; soul; wind.

This word is translated into ‘soul’ 475 times.

Its basic meaning refers to the essence of life or the act of breathing.

The best biblical definition is found in Psalm 103:1. It’s defined as “all that is within” a person.

sheriyruwth- obstinacy.

ta’avah- longing; delight.

This word is translated into ‘desire’ 13 times and ‘lust’ one time.

Related: What Does The Word ‘Fornication’ Mean In Hebrew and Greek?

What Does The Word ‘Lust’ Mean In Greek?

Colossians 3:5

epithumeo- to long for.

This word is made of two separate words:

  • epi (upon)
  • thumos (passion)

It’s translated into the following:

  • desire (Matthew 13:17)
  • covet (Acts 20:33)
  • lust (Galatians 5:17)
  • lust after (Matthew 5:28)
  • fain (Luke 15:16)

epithumia- longing.

This word stresses the longing, craving, lust, or desire for what is forbidden or evil. However, it can be used in a good sense. For example, it’s used for:

  • the Lord’s wish concerning the last Passover (Luke 22:15)
  • Paul’s desire to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23)
  • Paul’s desire to see the saints at Thessalonica again (1 Thessalonians 2:17)

In a bad sense, it means concupiscence (strong sexual desire).

“But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.”

– Romans 7:8

In Romans 6:12, Paul warns us against letting sin reign in our bodies. He tells us to not obey these lusts.

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”

– Romans 6:12

The term ‘the lusts of the flesh’ is a phrase that describes the emotions of the soul, the natural tendency toward evil things.

Here are other descriptions of the word lust:

  • evil desire (Colossians 3:5)
  • lusts of the mind (Ephesians 2:3)
  • foolish and hurtful (1 Timothy 6:9)
  • the passion of (1 Thessalonians 4:5)
  • youthful (2 Timothy 2:22)
  • worldly (Titus 2:12)
  • your former (1 Peter 1:14)
  • lust of defilement ( 2 Petter 2:10)
  • fleshly (1 Peter 2:11)
  • lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16)
  • lust of the world (John 2:17)

orexis- longing after, lust, desire.

This term is used for every kind of desire.

“Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

– Romans 1:17

pathos- passion.

Pathos is an affection of the mind which produces a passionate desire. It’s usually used in a bad sense. For example, it’s translated in the following ways:

  • vile affections (Romans 1:26)
  • inordinate affection (Colossians 3:5)
  • lust (1 Thessalonians 4:5)


All in all, the word lust can accurately be used to describe the human nature that’s contrasted to the Holy Spirit. A person who is ruled by their lusts is someone who is out of the Will of God in that area of life. Therefore, by growing in the Holy Spirit, a person can overcome the lusts of the flesh.

Anyway, that’s what the word lust means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!

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