From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. Human anger. -Except by the stoical mind which finds no place for strong emotion in a moral scheme, anger has been recognized as a quality which, under certain conditions and within certain limits, may not only be permissible but commendable. Its ready abuse has, however, led to its being commonly placed among the evils of human nature. The teaching of the early Christian Church recognizes both aspects. Condemnation of the abuse of anger is not wanting in the apostolic writings. Among the manifest works of the flesh are enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths (θυμοί), factions ( Galatians 5:20). St. Paul fears lest he shall find these evils in the Church when he comes to Corinth ( 2 Corinthians 12:20). One of the marks of the greatest of Christian virtues is that it ‘does not blaze forth in passionate anger’ (οὐ παροζύνεται [ 1 Corinthians 13:5]). In Christian circles, all bitterness and wrath and anger must be put away ( Ephesians 4:13; cf.  Colossians 3:8). The holy hands lifted up in prayer must be unstained with anger and strife ( 1 Timothy 2:8). The ‘bishop’ must be blameless, as God’s steward, not self-willed, not soon angry ( Titus 1:7). St. James bids his readers be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God ( James 1:19-20). ‘Be not prone to anger,’ says the Didache (iii. 2), ‘for anger leadeth to murder: nor a zealot, nor contentious, nor quick-tempered, for murder also is the outcome of those.’

On the other hand, Christian morality recognizes a righteous anger. The section of the Sermon on the Mount which teaches that whosoever is angry with his brother is in danger of the judgment ( Matthew 5:21 f.) is primarily aimed at something other than passion-it is an emphatic condemnation of the spirit which despises and seeks to injure a brother. The violation of the law of brotherly love, manifest in the anger of  Matthew 5:22, might, indeed, provoke a legitimate wrath, e.g. in the series of woes, terrible in intensity of language, pronounced by Jesus against the scribes and Pharisees ( Matthew 23:13 ff.). We should hesitate to acknowledge a man as morally and spiritually great who could remain unmoved in the presence of the world’s wrongs. The early preachers would have been poor souls had they been able to hide their indignation at the murderers of Jesus ( Acts 3:13-14;  Acts 5:30;  Acts 7:51 f.). Could Peter well have been calm with Ananias and Sapphira ( Acts 5:1), and later, with the commercially-minded, religious adventurer, Simon Magus ( Acts 8:20 f.)? A certain principle of discrimination seems, however, to have been observed. Anger at personal insult or persecution was discouraged. Anger provoked by personal injury may have a protective value in a lower stage of the world’s life, but the attitude of Christian ethics to this type is governed by the law of non-resistance laid down by the Sermon on the Mount. Man must return good for evil, show kindness to his enemy, leave retribution to God ( Romans 12:19-20). St. Paul claims that, ‘when reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we bear it patiently; when slandered, we try to conciliate’ ( 1 Corinthians 4:12), thus following the example of Jesus ( 1 Peter 2:23). One is tempted to regard the apology which followed the momentary outburst of St. Paul’s passion against the high priest ( Acts 23:3) as an expression of the Apostle’s principles of non-resistance rather than as an acknowledgment of priestly rights. But there is an altogether different attitude when that which is to be defended is a righteous principle, a weaker brother, or the faith or ethical standard of the Church. Elymas, the sorcerer, seeking to hinder a work of grace, provokes a vigorous anger ( Acts 13:10-11). On behalf of the purity of faith St. Paul resists St. Peter to the face ( Galatians 2:11). The Epistle to the Galatians is a piece of passionate writing, and a note of indignation runs through, the later chapters of 2 Cor. (cf.  1 Corinthians 1:14;  1 Corinthians 5:5, etc.). The man who does not love the Lord Jesus, or the one who preaches a false gospel, let him be accursed-ἀνάθεμα ( 1 Corinthians 16:22). The indignation (ἀγανάκτησις) of the Corinthian Church against the guilty person in the case of immorality, to which St. Paul has drawn attention, is commended by him ( 2 Corinthians 7:11). Similarly, the Church at Ephesus is congratulated on its hatred of the Nicolaitans ( Revelation 2:6). St. Paul ‘burns’ if another is ‘made to stumble’ ( 2 Corinthians 11:29). In these instances, anger seems to have been regarded as compatible with, and indeed expressive of, Christian character. The obvious danger of mistaken zeal for a cause or creed must, however, be kept in mind. The case of St. Paul’s early life provides an illustration ( Galatians 1:13,  Philippians 3:6). There may be a zeal for God, not according to knowledge ( Romans 10:2).

But even legitimate anger may readily pass into a sin. Passions beyond the control of the rational self can hardly be justified, whatever the cause. Self-control is a cardinal Christian virtue. Hence the apostolic caution of  Ephesians 4:26, ‘Be ye angry and sin not,’ i.e. if angry, as one may rightly be, do not allow the passion to become an evil by its excess. The wrath against which the warning is given seems indicated by the following clause-‘let not the sun go down on your παροργισμός’ (‘a noun which differs from ὀργή in denoting, not the disposition of anger, or anger in a lasting mood, but exasperation, sudden violent anger’ [Salmond]). There is no reference to deliberate indignation on a matter of principle, such as the resentment which, the author of Ecce Homo claims, was felt by Jesus towards the Pharisees to the end of His life.

2. Divine anger. -Most minds must have felt the objection expressed by Origen, Augustine, and the Neo-Platonist theologians generally, that we cannot treat the Supreme as a magnified man and attribute to Him such perturbation of mind as is suggested to us by the term ‘anger.’ But we may allow-and must do so unless we are prepared to deny personality in God-that the quality, which we find expressed under human conditions as the righteous anger of a good man, must exist in God, although in a form which we cannot adequately conceive, owing to our inability to realize absolute conditions. We may be helped to some extent by recognizing that behind the human agitations of personality in love, pity, indignation, etc., there are certain principles and attitudes which no more depend for their quality on the element of agitation than the existence of steam depends upon the appearance of white vapour which we ordinarily associate with it. This underlying quality we may attribute to the Deity, in whom life and personality, here expressed only in finite and conditioned forms, have their perfect and unconditioned being (Lotze).

The objection that anger, unlike love, is unworthy of the highest moral personality (Marcion) may be met by the answer that Divine love and anger are not two opposing principles, but expressions of the one attitude towards contrary sets of human circumstances. The Divine anger is actually involved in the Divine love (Tertullian, Martensen, etc.). The one Lord whose name is Truth and Love is, because of this, a consuming flame to Wrong ( Hebrews 10:31;  Hebrews 12:29).

The idea of the ‘Divine anger’-this attitude of Deity towards certain courses of human life-is a justifiable inference from the intuitions of conscience, but another and an unsound argument played a part in the historical formation of the doctrine. In the early stages of religious thought the conception of the wrath of God would naturally come to men’s minds from contemplation of the ills of human life. The chieftain punished those with whom he was angry, either by direct action or by withholding his protection. Did not, then, physical calamities, pestilences, reverses of fortune, defeat in battle, indicate the displeasure of Deity (Joshua 7,  2 Samuel 21:1; 2 Samuel 24, etc.)? Such misfortune, when no ethical cause could be recognized, would encourage the doctrine of unwitting and non-ethical offences ( e.g. the violation of tabu) and of non-ethical propitiation. The ills of life-especially death-suggested later a world lying under a curse, due to Adam’s sin. Against the popular doctrine that misfortune indicated Divine displeasure, the Book of Job is a protest. Human suffering has educative values, and does not necessarily indicate the disapproval of God ( Hebrews 12:5 f.).

Yet even in early times the idea of the Divine anger did not rest wholly on the facts of human suffering. Men realized that the world, as they found it, was not in harmony with their conceptions of the Highest, and thus in times of prosperity, which, according to this theory, would indicate God’s contentment with His people, prophets such as Amos argued for coming doom. From the consciousness of the holiness of God it was inferred that there must be Divine displeasure.

The turning away of the Divine anger .-Two attitudes in regard to this problem appear among the Hebrews, even as early as the 8th cent. b.c. The prophets of that period ‘do not recognize the need of any means of reconciliation with God after estrangement by sin other than repentance’ ( Hosea 14:2,  Amos 5:22-24,  Isaiah 1:13;  Isaiah 1:17,  Micah 6:6-8). On the other hand, while repentance was always insisted upon by Israel’s religious teachers, there was a tendency to assert the need of supplementary means in order to bring about the reconciliation of God and man. The conception may have originated in the practice of offering a propitiatory gift or legal compensation to an outraged person ( Genesis 20:16;  Genesis 32:13; cf.  1 Samuel 26:19,  2 Samuel 24:18 f.), or in the primitive view of sin as having a material existence of its own which called for an appropriate ritual treatment beyond the mental change of repentance, or in the customs of Levitical ‘sin-offerings,’ which, although originally made in view of ceremonial faults, for which ethical repentance was strictly impossible, must have come to suggest that, in addition to repentance, a sacrificial operation was needful even in cases of moral transgression.

From the period of the Exile, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and especially the sufferings of the righteous, were regarded as substitutes for material sacrifices (see article‘Atonement’ in Jewish Encyclopedia ). Isa 53 is the ‘earliest expression of a conception [viz. the atoning value of the sufferings of pious men] which attained wide development in later times and constantly meets us in the teaching of the Jewish synagogues’ (O. Whitehouse). One of the seven brothers, during the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, prays that ‘in me and my brothers, the wrath of the Almighty may be appeased’ ( 2 Maccabees 7:38).  4 Maccabees 6:29 gives a prayer, ‘Let my blood serve for purification, and as an equivalent for their life (ἀντίψυχον) take my own’ (cf.  4 Maccabees 1:11;  4 Maccabees 9:24;  4 Maccabees 17:20-22;  4 Maccabees 18:4). These passages supply an interesting link between the old Leviticism and the NT doctrine of the sacrificial death of Jesus.

The doctrine of propitiation receives no support from the teaching of Jesus as given in the Synoptics. Repentance and new life are the conditions of the restoration of the Divine favour. Jesus does not appear to have ever taught that reconciliation depended upon His own death as a propitiation (see Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , article‘Sacrifice’), although He did teach that the spiritual ministration involved suffering and sacrifice, so that the death of Jesus might be figuratively regarded as a ‘ransom for many’ ( Mark 10:35-45). Moreover, the teaching of Jesus is not favourable to the view that legal right claims a compensation beyond repentance, before the Father will forgive. The moral of the parables of the Prodigal and the Labourers (cf.  Luke 23:43) is that forensic conceptions are altogether inappropriate in the religions sphere. Harmony with God is a matter of altitude, not of purchase or compensation.

The teaching of the Acts of the Apostles agrees with that of the Synoptics. There is no hint in the early preaching of the Church, as recorded in this work, of a propitiatory value in the death of Jesus. Jesus is, indeed, described as a ‘Saviour,’ but in the sense that He gives ‘repentance to Israel and remission of sins’ ( Acts 5:31), i.e. He is able to bring about a change in the hearts of men, and, in accordance with prophetic teaching, pardon follows repentance (cf. the description of the preaching of the Baptist, as that of ‘repentance unto remission of sins,’  Mark 1:4).

But, with the exception of the authors of the Synoptics, the Acts, and the Epistle of James, the writers of the NT are strongly influenced by the propitiatory theory of the death of Jesus. The passage of the ‘Suffering Servant’ ( Isaiah 53:4 f.,  Isaiah 53:10 f.) suggested a doctrine which seemed to throw light upon the ignominious death of Jesus upon the Cross. The ‘stumbling-block’ to the Jewish mind became the Christian’s boast. How the sacrifice was regarded as operating is not clear-the analogy of Levitical blood sacrifices was evidently sometimes in the mind of the writers ( Romans 3:25,  1 Peter 1:19,  John 1:29, etc.). St. Paul also holds the idea that the death of Jesus is a sign of His human submission to the elemental world-powers of darkness, who, since Adam, have held the world under their grievous rule ( Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , article‘Elements’; also Wrede, Paul , Eng. translation, 1907, p. 95). But, being more than man, He rises from the dead. The Resurrection is a sign that Death-one of the elemental principalities and powers, and representative of the rest-has no longer dominion over Him ( Romans 6:9), or over those in ‘faith’ union with Him. But these ‘world-powers of darkness,’ whose dues the death of Jesus was conceived as satisfying, are but a thinly disguised form of God’s retribution for Adam’s sin. Ultimately the propitiation is still made to God, although the emphasis is drawn from the wrath of God to the love which inspired the propitiatory action (cf.  John 3:16,  Romans 3:25;  Romans 5:8, etc.). From this point, St. Paul follows the anti-legal teaching of Jesus in asserting that ‘justification’-right relations with God-depends on the new attitude of ‘faith,’ not on ‘works’; but legalism with St. Paul must be satisfied by the prior transaction of Jesus on the Cross.

The difficulty in the doctrine of propitiation does not lie in the fact that no ultimate distinction can be made between the Power to whom propitiation is offered and the God of love who offers it. Independently of the interests of this particular doctrine, we must accept the paradox that the same God who works under the limitation of law ordains the law which limits Him. But we cannot accept the interpretation of the death of Jesus as an exalted Levitical blood sacrifice, or as a transaction with the ‘world-powers of darkness,’ nor can we be satisfied with a presentation of an angry God, who needs compensation or some mollifying gift before He will turn away the fierceness of His wrath. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart He will not despise ( Psalms 51:17). It would seem more satisfactory to follow the suggestions of the Synoptics and the Acts, and find the reconciling work of Jesus, as directed not towards God, but towards men, bringing about in them a repentance which makes possible their harmonious relations with the Father.

The death of Jesus may be regarded partly as a vicarious sacrifice of the order recognized in the Synoptic-suffering and self-denial for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for conscience, and men’s uplifting. The justification of this law of sacrifice (‘Ever by losses the right must gain, Every good have its birth of pain’ [Whittier, The Preacher ]) is that it makes possible the expression of moral qualities. In order that love may have significance, it must pay a price-must be written upon a hard resisting world, as labour and self-denial. This demand of law is obviously not indicative of Divine displeasure or opposition.

The death of Jesus may also be regarded as part of the penalty of human sin. If men had not been selfish, hypocritical, apathetic to goodness and justice, there would not have been the tragedy on Calvary. In virtue of race solidarity, the sins of an evil and adulterous generation fell upon Him. This dark law-that the innocent must suffer the results of transgression along with the guilty-has an educative value in demonstrating the evil and disastrous nature of sin, which is doubly terrible since the suffering which it creates falls upon the just as well as upon the unjust, sometimes even more upon the former than upon the latter. The penalty of sin indicates the Divine displeasure towards sin, but not necessarily towards those who pay the penalty, for obviously God cannot be conceived as being angry with innocent sufferers, involved in the results of others’ sins. Neither must we regard God as angry with a repentant sinner because he continues to reap what he has sown. The forgiveness of sin is distinct from the cancelling of its results, which, in accordance with educative moral law, must run their course.

One’s trust in the forgiveness of God rests upon the sense of the divinity of human forgiveness-‘By all that He requires of me, I know what God Himself most be’ (Whittier, Revelation ). If we must judge the anger of God from the righteous indignation of a good man, we cannot think of His cherishing any vindictiveness, or needing any propitiation to induce Him to forgive, when the sinner seeks His face. Nor can a view of reconciliation held by the most sternly ethical of the OT prophets, and by the purest soul of the NT, be considered as weakening the sense of sin, and minimizing the grace of pardon.

The Day of Wrath .-From the time of Amos, OT prophetism had conceived a darker side to Israel’s still more ancient conception of the Day of the Lord. It would be a time when human wrongdoing, much of which was apparently overlooked in this age, would receive its sure reward, although genuine repentance would apparently avert the coming anger (Joel 2,  Amos 5:4 ff.,  Jeremiah 18:8). That ‘great and notable Day’ ( Acts 2:20), with its darker aspects, entered largely into NT thought ( Matthew 3:7;  Matthew 7:22,  Luke 10:12,  2 Thessalonians 1:8 f., etc.). It is to this coming Dies Irae that the actual term ‘wrath of God’ (ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ) is almost uniformly applied by NT writers. Some of the Divine indignation may be manifested in the present operation of moral law-the penalties experienced by the ungodly heathen seem to be part of the Divine wrath which ‘is being revealed’ (ἀποκαλύπτεται) from heaven ( Romans 1:18 f.); and, according to  Romans 13:4, the temporal ruler punishing evil-doers is ‘a minister of God, an avenger for (Divine) wrath,’ i.e. a human instrument carrying out in this age the Divine retribution. But the emphasis is upon ‘the wrath to come.’ In the present age, moral law only imperfectly operates. The sinner is treasuring up for himself ‘wrath in the day of wrath’ ( Romans 2:5), when upon every soul that worketh evil shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish ( Romans 2:9; cf.  Revelation 11:18;  Revelation 6:16-17, where the Divine anger is spoken of as ‘the wrath of the Lamb’). Repentance before the Day of Wrath will save one from the coming doom ( Acts 2:21;  Acts 2:38;  Acts 2:40,  Ephesians 2:3), and the provision of these days of grace modifies the conception of the Divine sternness ( Romans 9:22). The ‘Law,’ in making transgression possible, ‘worketh wrath’ ( Romans 4:15), but Christ, by His reconciliation of man and God, delivers the believer from the ‘wrath to come’ ( 1 Thessalonians 1:10;  1 Thessalonians 5:9). The NT significance of ὀργὴ θεοῦ is illustrated in  Romans 5:9, where St. Paul argues from the fact of present reconciliation with God that the saints will be delivered from the ‘wrath of God.’ Even where the Divine anger is described as having already had its manifestation, the reference may really be eschatological (Ritschl). The aorist of  1 Thessalonians 2:16 (ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος) seems to indicate that, in the Apostle’s judgment, some historical manifestation or God’s wrath upon the Jews has already taken place, but St. Paul may regard such an indication of the Divine anger as the preliminary movements of the Day of Wrath. The clouds were already gathering for that consummation which the Apostle was expecting in his own lifetime ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15).

Literature.-A. Ritschl, de Ira Dei , Bonn, 1859, Justification and Atonement , Eng. translation, Edinburgh, 1900; R. W. Dale, The Atonement 7, London, 1878; D. W. Simon, Redemption of  Prayer of Manasseh 1:2, do. 1906; O. Lodge, Man and the Universe , do. 1908. chs. 7 and 8; P. Gardner, Exploratio Evangelica , do. 1899, chs. 29, 31. For human anger: J. Butler’s Sermons , 8 and 9; J. R. Seeley, Ecce Homo , 1866, pp. 21-23; Tolstoi, Essays and Letters , ch. 12.

H. Bulcock.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

Strong emotional reaction of displeasure, often leading to plans for revenge or punishment. There are many words for anger in Hebrew; in Greek orge [Ὀργή] and thumos [Θυμός] are used more or less interchangeably.

The Anger of God Unlike pagan gods, whose tirades reflect the fickleness of their human creators, Yahweh "expresses his wrath every day" because he is a righteous judge (  Psalm 7:11 ). At the same time, God is merciful and not easily provoked to anger ( Exodus 34:6;  Psalm 103:8-9 ).

God may choose to display his wrath within historical events, as in Israel's wilderness wanderings ( Psalm 95:10-11 ) or the Babylonian exile ( Lamentations 2:21-22 ). But his wrath will be fully expressed on the dies irae, the day of wrath at the end of the age, when all wrongs will be punished ( Zephaniah 1:14-18 ).

John the Baptist warns of God's fiery judgment ( Matthew 3:7 ). Jesus will execute God's wrath at his second coming ( Revelation 6:15-17 ). While the wicked already stand under God's condemnation ( John 3:36;  Ephesians 2:3 ), by sinning, they continue to store up wrath ( Romans 2:5;  9:22 ). But God in his mercy sent Jesus to turn away his anger by a sacrifice of propitiation ( Romans 3:25;  5:9;  1 John 2:2;  4:10 ).

Some have doubted whether a God of love can experience anger toward his creatures. The Jewish philosopher Philo championed the Stoic idea that a perfect being by definition could not become angry. In the twentieth century, C. H. Dodd held that "wrath of God" is merely symbolic of the fact that sin has consequences. But such viewpoints reveal more about the writers' theological assumptions than the consistent teaching of the Bible.

Human Anger The Bible usually portrays human anger as sinful. Cain's ire would have been turned to good if he had repented and offered an acceptable sacrifice. But by nursing his wrath against a holy God and the righteous Abel, he ends up committing murder (  Genesis 4:3-8 ).

"Refrain from anger and turn from wrath"—so warns  Psalm 37:8 . In contrast with our modern emphasis on the constructive uses of anger, Proverbs urges us to think carefully before expressing anger (12:16; 14:29; 19:11), to be patient (16:32), and to show restraint (29:11). Angry people cause conflicts (29:22; 30:33) and continually get themselves into trouble (19:19); they should be avoided (22:24-25). In biblical history, Saul stands out as the embodiment of sinful rage (see  1 Samuel 19:9-10;  20:30-34 ). On the other hand, Job and many psalmists display anger and frustration with their situationand at times even with God himself. In the end Job is rebuked because he has doubted God's justice (chaps. 35-36), but the psalmists' prayers are acceptable apparently because they are viewing the world from God's perspective; since God knows the heart, it is better for them to voice their anger than it is to deny it.

Jesus warns that angry people will face God's judgment ( Matthew 5:22; cf.  Galatians 5:20;  Colossians 3:6-8 ). James reflects the wisdom of the Old Testament when he tells his readers to "be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (1:9). According to  Ephesians 4:25-27 , people should speak truthfully, but their anger should be restrained, short-lived, and used for righteous ends. Provoking another person to anger without reason is in itself a sin ( Ephesians 6:4 ). Anger can divide a church ( 2 Corinthians 12:20 ) and frustrate prayer ( 1 Timothy 2:8 ); an elder must not be "quick-tempered" ( Titus 1:7 ).

People may, however, react to sin in the way that God doesin holiness and without desire for personal vengeance ( Romans 12:19-21 ). Moses was therefore justly angry with Pharaoh ( Exodus 11:8 ). But Jesus the God-Man gives us the best example of how to express righteous anger ( Matthew 23:1-36;  Mark 3:5;  11:15-17;  John 2:13-17 ).

At the same time, people may believe that their anger is warranted when it is not; such anger is usually rooted in a desire to justify oneself. Simeon and Levi's slaughter of the Shechemites goes well beyond righteous anger ( Genesis 34:1-31;  49:5-7 ). Jonah believes that he is right to be angry when God spares the wicked (chap. 4). Those who angrily oppose Jesus think that God is on their side ( Matthew 21:15-16 ). Even the disciples are self-righteously angry with James and John ( Matthew 20:24 ) and with the woman who anointed Jesus with costly ointment ( Mark 14:4-5 ).

Gary Steven Shogren

See also Wrath Of God

Bibliography . G. C. Berkhouwer, Studies in Dogmatics: Sin  ; F. Büchsel, TDNT, 3:167-68; H. C. Hahn, NIDNTT, 1:105-13; H. Kleinknecht et al., TDNT, 5:382-447.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [3]

A violent passion of the mind, arising from the receipt, or supposed receipt, of any injury, with a present purpose of revenge. All anger is by no means sinful; it was designed by the Author of our nature for self-defense; nor is it altogether a selfish passion, since it is excited by injuries offered to others as well as ourselves, and sometimes prompts us to reclaim offenders from sin and danger,  Ephesians 4:26; but it becomes sinful when conceived upon trivial occasions or inadequate provocations; when it breaks forth into outrageous actions; vents itself in reviling language, or is concealed in our thoughts to the degree of hatred. To suppress this passion the following reflections of arch-deacon Paley, may not be unsuitable: "We should consider the possibility of mistaking the motives from which the conduct that offends us proceeded; how often our offences have been the effect of inadvertency, when they were construed into indications of malice; the inducement which prompted our adversary to act as he did, and how powerfully the same inducement has, at one time or other, operated upon ourselves; that he is suffering, perhaps, under a contrition, which he is ashamed or wants opportunity to confess; and how ungenerous it is to triumph by coldness or insult over a spirit already humbled in secret; that the returns of kindness are sweet, and that there is neither honor, nor virtue, nor use, in resisting them; for some persons think themselves bound to cherish and keep alive their indignation, when they find it dying away of itself.

We may remember that others have their passions, their prejudices, their favorite aims, their fears, their caution, their interests , their sudden impulses, their varieties of apprehension, as well as we: we may recollect what hath sometimes passed in our own minds when we have got on the wrong side of a quarrel, and imagine the same to be passing in our adversary's mind now: when we became sensible of our misbehavior, what palliations we perceived in it, and expected others to perceive; how we were affected by the kindness, and felt the superiority of a generous reception, and ready forgiveness; how persecution revived our spirits with our enmity, and seemed to justify the conduct in ourselves, which we before blamed. Add to this the indecency of extravagant anger; how it renders us while it lasts, the scorn and sport of all about us, of which it leaves us, when it ceases, sensible and ashamed; the inconveniences and irretrievable misconduct into which our irascibility has sometimes betrayed us; the friendships it has lost us; the distresses and embarrassments in which we have been involved by it; and the repentance which, on one account or other, it always costs us.

But the reflection calculated above all others to allay that haughtiness of temper which is ever finding out provocations, and which renders anger so impetuous, is, that which the Gospel proposes; namely, that we ourselves are, or shortly shall be, suppliants for mercy and pardon at the judgment seat of God. Imagine our secret sins all disclosed and brought to light; imagine us thus humbled and exposed; trembling under the hand of God; casting ourselves on his compassion; crying out for mercy; imagine such a creature to talk of satisfaction and revenge; refusing to be entreated, disdaining to forgive; extreme to mark and to resent what is done amiss; imagine, I say, this, and you can hardly feign to yourself an instance of more impious and unnatural arrogance." Paley's Mor. Phil. ch.7. vol 1:; Fawcett's excellent Treatise on Anger;

Seed's Posth. Ser. ser.11.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

ANGER . In OT ‘anger’ represents about a dozen Heb. roots, which occur as nouns, vbs. (once ‘angered’ is used transitively,   Psalms 106:32 ), and adjs. By far the most frequent words are anaph (lit. ‘to snort’) and its deriv. noun aph , which is used of the anger both of men (  Genesis 27:45;   Genesis 30:2 ,   Exodus 11:8;   Exodus 32:19; etc.) and God (  Exodus 4:14;   Exodus 32:22 ,   Psalms 6:1;   Psalms 7:6 etc.). In NT ‘anger’ is of much less frequent occurrence, and represents only 2 roots: (1) the noun orgç (wh., however, is usually tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘wrath’), the vb. orgizomai , the adj. orgÄ­los (only in   Titus 1:7 ), and the trans. vb. parorgizô (  Romans 10:19 , the only case of a trans, use of ‘anger’ in NT); (2) the vb. cholaô (lit. ‘to be full of bile,’ fr. cholç , ‘bile’), used only in   John 7:23 to express the bitter anger of ‘the Jews’ against Jesus. With regard to the distinction between orgç and the synon. thumos , it is to be noted that while orgç is very often tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘wrath,’ thumos is never tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘anger,’ and when the two words occur together, thumos in each case is ‘wrath’ (  Romans 2:8 ,   Ephesians 4:31 ,   Colossians 3:8 ) and orgç ‘anger’ (  Ephesians 4:31 ,   Colossians 3:8 ) or ‘indignation’ (  Romans 2:8 ). Thumos is the more violent word, denoting anger as a strong passion or emotion, while orgç points rather to a settled moral indignation. Thus orgç is used of the sorrowful anger of Jesus (  Mark 3:5 ); thumos of the rage of His enemies (  Luke 4:28; cf.   Acts 19:28 ). And, outside of the Apocalypse, thumos is applied almost exclusively to the wrath of men (the only exception being   Romans 2:8 ), while orgç in the great majority of cases (  Matthew 3:7 ,   John 3:36 ,   Romans 1:18 etc.) denotes the righteous indignation of God.

J. C. Lambert.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

Sudden outbursts of temper are one fruit of sinful human nature. The Bible therefore repeatedly pictures the evils of such behaviour and warns God’s people to avoid it ( Genesis 49:6-7;  Psalms 37:8;  Galatians 5:19-20;  Ephesians 4:31-32;  Colossians 3:8). Uncontrolled anger can have far-reaching consequences, producing violence and even murder ( Matthew 5:21-22;  Luke 4:28-29;  Acts 7:54;  Acts 7:57-58;  Acts 21:27-36). It is important that a person in a position of responsibility in the church not be quick tempered ( Titus 1:7).

Yet there may be cases where it is right to be angry. Those who are faithful to God should be angry at all forms of sin, whether that sin be rebellion against God or wrongdoing against other people ( Exodus 16:20;  Exodus 32:19;  2 Samuel 12:5;  Nehemiah 5:6-7;  Matthew 18:32-34). But because human nature is affected by sin, people find it difficult to be angry and at the same time not go beyond the limits that God allows ( Psalms 4:4;  Psalms 106:32-33;  Ephesians 4:26).

Certainly it is wrong for people to be so angry that they try to take personal revenge. God’s people must be forgiving, and leave God to deal with those who do them wrong ( Leviticus 19:18;  Romans 12:19-21; see Hatred ; Revenge ). If, in resisting wrongdoing, they are guilty of bad temper, they should not try to excuse their behaviour by claiming they are carrying out God’s righteous purposes ( James 1:19-20). God’s anger is always pure, always just, always righteous ( Exodus 34:6-7;  Romans 2:4-6; see Wrath ).

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [6]

a resentful emotion of the mind, arising upon the receipt, or supposed receipt, of an affront or injury; and also simple feeling of strong displacency at that which is in itself evil, or base, or injurious to others. In the latter sense it is not only innocent but commendable. Strong displeasure against evil doers, provided it be free from hatred and malice, and interferes not with a just placableness, is also blameless,  Ephesians 4:26 . When it is vindictive against the person of our neighbour, or against the innocent creatures of God, it is wicked,  Matthew 5:22 . When anger, hatred, wrath, and fury, are ascribed to God, they denote no tumultuous passion, but merely his holy and just displeasure with sin and sinners and the evidence of it in his terrible threatenings, or righteous judgments,  Psalms 6:1;  Psalms 7:11 . We must, however, take care that we refine not too much. These are Scriptural terms, and are often used of God; and though they express not a tumultuous, much less an unjust, passion, there is something in God which answers to them. In him they are principles arising out of his holy and just nature; and for this reason they are more steady and uniform, and more terrible, than if they were emotions, or as we say, passions. Nor can we rightly regard the seventy of the judgments which God has so often executed upon sin without standing in awe of him, "as a consuming fire" to the ungodly.

King James Dictionary [7]

AN'GER, n. ang'ger. L. ango, to choke strangle, vex whence angor, vexation, anguish, the quinsy, angina. Gr. to strangle, to strain or draw together to vex. The primary sense is to press, squeeze, make narrow Heb. to strangle.

1. A violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and in ingenuous minds, may be attended only with a desire to reprove or chide the offender.

Anger is also excited by an injury offered to a relation, friend or party to which one is attached and some degrees of it may be excited by cruelty, injustice or oppression offered to those with whom one has no immediate connection, or even to the community of which one is a member. Nor is it unusual to see something of this passion roused by gross absurdities in others, especially in controversy or discussion. Anger may be inflamed till it rises to rage and a temporary delirium.

2. Paint smart of a sore or swelling the literal sense of the word, but little used.

AN'GER, ang'ger.

1. To excite anger to provoke to rouse resentment. 2. To make painful to cause to smart to inflame as, to anger an ulcer.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

A violent emotion of a painful nature, sometimes arising spontaneously upon just occasion, but usually characterized in the Bible as a great sin,  Matthew 5:22   Ephesians 4:31   Colossians 3:8 . Even when just, our anger should be mitigated by a due consideration of the circumstances of the offence and the state of mind of the offender; of the folly and ill-results of this passion; of the claims of the gospel, and of our own need of forgiveness from others, but especially from God,  Matthew 6:15 . Anger is in Scripture frequently attributed to God,  Matthew 7:11   28:20; not that he is liable to those violent emotions which this passion produces, but figuratively speaking, that is, after the manner of men; and because he punishes the wicked with severity of a superior provoked to anger.

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): (v. t.) To make painful; to cause to smart; to inflame.

(2): (n.) Trouble; vexation; also, physical pain or smart of a sore, etc.

(3): (n.) A strong passion or emotion of displeasure or antagonism, excited by a real or supposed injury or insult to one's self or others, or by the intent to do such injury.

(4): (v. t.) To excite to anger; to enrage; to provoke.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Matthew 5:22 Ephesians 4:26 Colossians 3:8 Psalm 7:11

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

(usually אִ Š , Aph, Ὀργή ) , the emotion of instant displeasure, which arises from the feeling of injury done, or the discovery of injury intended, or, in many cases, from the discovery of the omission of good offices to which we supposed ourselves entitled; or, it is simply the emotion of displeasure itself, independent of its cause or its consequences. "Like most other emotions, it is accompanied by effects on the body, and in this case they are of a very marked kind. The arterial blood-vessels are highly excited; the pulse, during the paroxysm, is strong and hard, the face becomes red and swollen, the brow wrinkled, the eyes protrude, the whole body is put into commotion. The secretion of bile is excessive, and it seems to assume a morbid consistency. In cases of violent passion, and especially in nervous persons, this excitement of the organs soon passes to the other extreme of depression; generally, this does not take place till the anger has subsided, when there follows a period of general relaxation. The original tendency to anger differs much in individuals according to temperament; but frequent giving way to it begets a habit, and increases the natural tendency. From the nature of anger, it is easy to see that it must be often at least prejudicial to health. It frequently gives rise to bile, fever, inflammation of the liver, heart, or brain, or even to mania. These effects follow immediately a fit of the passion; other evil effects come on, after a time, as the consequence of repeated paroxysms, such as paralysis, jaundice, consumption, and nervous fever. The milk of a mother or nurse in a fit of passion will cause convulsions in the child that sucks; it has been known even to occasion instant death, like a strong poison. The controlling of anger is a part of moral discipline. In a rudimentary state of society, its active exercise would seem to be a necessity; by imposing some restraint on the selfish aggressions of one individual upon another, it renders the beginnings of social co-operation and intercourse possible. This is its use, or, as it is sometimes called, its final cause. But the more social intercourse comes to be regulated by customs and laws, the less need is there for the vindictive expression of anger. It seems an error, however, to suppose that the emotion ever will beor that it ought to be extirpated. Laws themselves lose their efficacy when they have not this feeling for a background; and it remains as a last resource for man, when society as it does every now and then resolves itself into its elements. Even in the most artificial and refined states of society, those minor moralities on which half the happiness of social intercourse depends, are imposed upon the selfish, in great measure, by that latent fund of anger which every man is known to carry about with him." Chambers, Encyclopxdia, s.v.

Anger is not evil per se. The mind is formed to be angry as well as to love. Both are original susceptiIilities of our nature. If anger were in itself sinful, how could God himself be angry? How could He, who was separate from sin and sinners, have looked round upon men with anger? An essentially immoral character cannot attach to it if it be the mere emotion of displeasure on the infliction of any evil upon us. Anger may be sinful, when it arises too soon, without reflection, when the injury which awakens it is only apparent, and was designed to do good. The disposition which becomes speedily angry we call passionate. When it is disproportionate to the offense; when it is transferred from the guilty to the innocent; when it is too long protracted; it then becomes revengeful ( Ephesians 4:26;  Matthew 5:22;  Colossians 3:8). When anger, hatred, wrath, are ascribed to God, they denote his holy and just displeasure with sin and sinners. In him they are principles arising out of his holy and just nature, and are, therefore, steady and uniform, and more terrible than if mere emotions or passions. See Paley, Mor. Fhil. ch. 7, vol. 1; Secker, Sermons, serm. 28; Fawcett, Essay on Anger; Seed, Posth. Serm. 11; Buck, Dict. s.v.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

an´gẽr  : In the Old Testament, the translation of several Hebrew words, especially of אף , 'aph (lit. "nostril," "countenance"), which is used some 45 times of human, 177 times of Divine, anger ( OHL ). The word occurs rarely in the New Testament ( Mark 3:5;  Ephesians 4:31;  Colossians 3:8;  Revelation 14:10 ), its place being taken by the word "wrath" (see Wrath ). As a translation of words denoting God's "anger," the English word is unfortunate so far as it may seem to imply selfish, malicious or vindictive personal feeling. The anger of God is the response of His holiness to outbreaking sin. Particularly when it culminates in action is it rightly called Has "wrath." The Old Testament doctrine of God's anger is contained in many passages in the Pentateuch, Psalms and the Prophets. In Proverbs men are dissuaded from anger ( Proverbs 15:1;  Proverbs 27:4 ), and the "slow to anger" is commended ( Proverbs 15:18;  Proverbs 16:32;  Proverbs 19:11 ). Christians axe enjoined to put away the feeling of self-regarding, vindictive anger ( Ephesians 4:31;  Colossians 3:8 ), and to cherish no desire of personal revenge ( Ephesians 4:26 ).