From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

‘Tribulation’ is used to translate θλῖψις, but not quite so frequently as ‘affliction,’ in both Authorized Versionand Revised Version. We have ‘tribulation’ in  Acts 11:19 and  1 Corinthians 7:28 (Revised Version; Authorized Version‘persecution,’ ‘trouble’). In  2 Corinthians 1:4;  2 Corinthians 7:4, where Authorized Versionhas ‘tribulation’ Revised Versionhas ‘affliction.’ In  2 Corinthians 1:4;  2 Corinthians 1:8, where Authorized Versionhas ‘trouble’ Revised Versionhas ‘affliction.’ θλίβω is translation‘afflict’ in Revised Versionin every passage in which it occurs except  2 Corinthians 4:8 (‘press’) and  1 Thessalonians 3:4 (pass. ‘suffer affliction’). The latter passage in Authorized Versionis translation‘suffer tribulation.’ In half of the passages, however, this Gr. verb is rendered ‘trouble’ in Authorized Version. The Vulg.[Note: Vulgate.]has tribulatio for θλῖψις very frequently. In 4 Ezr . ‘tribulation’ is the rendering of tribulatio in 15:19, 16:19 (Authorized Versionand Revised Version) and in 16:67, 74 (Revised Version; Authorized Version‘trouble’), and of pressura in 2:27 (Revised Version). In Ass. Mos . iii. 7 we find the transliteration thlibsis (cod. clibsis ).

Tribulation may affect either body or mind or both. Those who marry heedless of ‘the present distress’ ‘shall have tribulation in the flesh’ ( 1 Corinthians 7:28 Revised Version). St. Paul writes to the Corinthians ‘out of much tribulation and anguish of heart’ ( 2 Corinthians 2:4). Part of his tribulation in Macedonia consists of fears within, while his flesh had no relief ( 2 Corinthians 7:4f.). To him anxiety about the faithfulness of his converts and the progress of the gospel is a source of tribulation ( 1 Thessalonians 3:7,  Philippians 1:17).

Tribulation may be produced by various causes. The famine caused the inhabitants of Egypt and Canaan great tribulation ( Acts 7:11). The captured Joseph suffered tribulation in Egypt ( Acts 7:10). Part at least of the tribulation of the Corinthians was poverty ( 2 Corinthians 8:13). By ministering to St. Paul’s need the Philippians had fellowship with his tribulation ( Philippians 4:14). The lot of the fatherless and widows is tribulation ( James 1:27). Such tribulation may be relieved ( 1 Timothy 5:10). Sometimes tribulation is the punishment of sin. To those who trouble the Thessalonian Christians God will recompense tribulation ( 2 Thessalonians 1:6). There shall be ‘tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil’ ( Romans 2:9). God will cast the woman Jezebel out of the Church of Thyatira and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation ( Revelation 2:22). But it is the Christians who are specially subject to tribulation, and their tribulation consists largely of persecution and of the opposition which their religion meets in an unfriendly world. ‘The tribulation which arose about Stephen’ ( Acts 11:19 Revised Version) was of course ‘persecution’ (Authorized Version). St. Paul speaks of all the ‘persecutions and tribulations’ which the Thessalonians endure ( 2 Thessalonians 1:4). He says they received the word ‘with much tribulation,’ and entreats them not to ‘be moved by these tribulations’ ( 1 Thessalonians 1:6;  1 Thessalonians 3:3). In  2 Corinthians 8:2 we are told that the churches of Macedonia experienced much tribulation. St. Paul exhorts other converts to be ‘patient in tribulation,’ and to bless them that persecute them ( Romans 12:12;  Romans 12:14). In his work of evangelization the Apostle met with much tribulation. He told the elders of Ephesus that ‘bonds and tribulations’ awaited him ( Acts 20:23). He gloried in tribulations ( Romans 5:3), feeling that neither tribulation nor anguish nor persecution could separate him from the love of Christ ( Romans 8:35). There is little doubt that he is referring to the difficulties and the dangers which he met with in his proclamation of the gospel. Tribulations are mentioned in the list he gives of his trials in  2 Corinthians 6:4f. Bad news about certain Corinthians gives him tribulation ( 2 Corinthians 1:8;  2 Corinthians 2:4;  2 Corinthians 4:8). Tribulation, then, to the early Christians meant not so much ill-health, or poverty, or loss of friends, as the sacrifices they had to make and the perils they had to meet on account of their proclamation or profession of Christianity. In Hebrews the writer says that after his readers were converted, they ‘endured a great conflict of sufferings; partly, being made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, becoming partakers with them that were so used’ ( Hebrews 10:33; cf.  Hebrews 11:37). Tribulation is the appointed destiny of Christians. St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that both he and they were appointed unto tribulations, and that he had told them before that they were to suffer tribulation ( 1 Thessalonians 3:3f.). John is partaker ‘in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus’ ( Revelation 1:9); and he tells the church of Smyrna that they shall suffer tribulation ten days ( Revelation 2:10). ‘Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God’ ( Acts 14:22).

Tribulation thus leading to the Kingdom, joy in tribulation is a phenomenon that can be understood. In much proof of affliction the churches of Macedonia had abundance of joy ( 2 Corinthians 8:2). The Thessalonians received the word with much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost ( 1 Thessalonians 1:6). In the case of the Christian, tribulation results in increased energy and blessedness of the spiritual life. ‘Our light tribulation, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory’ ( 2 Corinthians 4:17). ‘Tribulation worketh patience’ ( Romans 5:3; cf.  Revelation 1:9). God comforts the faithful in tribulation ( 2 Corinthians 1:4;  2 Corinthians 7:6), and the comfort thus given enables them to comfort others ( 2 Corinthians 1:4). His judgment will put an end to their tribulation, and they will be rewarded with rest ( 2 Thessalonians 1:5ff.; cf.  Revelation 2:10).

It was a common eschatological idea that before the Judgment could come evils of all kinds would greatly increase. This idea is found, e.g. , in the Apocalyptic Discourse, and the coming of great tribulation is predicted ( Mark 13:19; cf.  Zephaniah 1:15,  Daniel 12:1). ‘The inhabitants of the earth … shall fall into many tribulations.… And it will come to pass when they will say in their thoughts by reason of their much tribulation: “The Mighty One doth no longer remember the earth”-yea, it will come to pass when they abandon hope, that the time will then awake’ ( Apoc. Bar . xxv. 3, 4). The faithful martyrs who have come out of the great tribulation will receive the highest place of honour in heaven ( Revelation 7:14). To the wicked the Judgment is ‘the day of tribulation’ ( 4  Ezra 2:27 Revised Version; cf. 1 En . i. 1, xcvi. 2), when they shall be recompensed for the tribulation which they have inflicted on the righteous ( 2 Thessalonians 1:6f.).

Literature.-J. Weiss, Die Schriften des NT , Göttingen, 1907, s.v. ‘Trübsal’ in Index; P. Volz, Jüdische Eschatologie , Tübingen, 1903, § 31; Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , s.v.  ; John Foster, Lectures , London, 1853, lect. xli.

William Watson.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Θλῖψις (Strong'S #2347 — Noun Feminine — thlipsis — thlip'-sis )

for which see Afflication, B No. 4, is translated "tribulation" in the RV (for AV, "affiction") in  Mark 4:17;  13:19; plural in  2—Thessalonians 1:4 , AV, "tribulations," RV, "afflictions;" in  Acts 14:22 "many tribulations" (AV, "much tribulation"); in   Matthew 24:9 , "unto tribulation" (AV, "to be afflicted"); in  2—Corinthians 1:4;  7:4;  2—Thessalonians 1:6 , AV, "tribulation" for RV, "affliction;" RV and AV, "tribulation(-s)," e.g., in  Romans 2:9;  5:3 (twice); 8:35; 12:12;   Ephesians 3:13;  Revelation 1:9;  2:9,10,22 .

 Revelation 7:14 Matthew 24:21,29 Mark 13:19,24 2—Thessalonians 2:10-12 Revelation 12:13-17 Revelation 7:9 Jeremiah 30:7 Matthew 24:15 Mark 13:14 Daniel 11:31 12:11 1—Thessalonians 3:4Afflict

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 Matthew 24:21

Such a reference to “the great tribulation” as  Revelation 7:14 (NIV) is seen by some (amillennialism) to refer historically to persecution faced by Christians of the latter part of the first century, but also symbolic of tribulation that occurs periodically throughout history. Others (premillennialism) take such a reference to the great tribulation to refer to an end time period. Dispensational premillennialism connects such a seven-year tribulation with the seventieth week of a prophetic framework taken from   Daniel 9:24-27 . A distinction is usually made between the two halves of the seven years. The last half, often called the Great Tribulation, is measured variously as three and a half years ( Daniel 9:27 ), forty-two months ( Revelation 11:2;  Revelation 13:5 ),  1,260 days (  Revelation 11:3;  Revelation 12:6 ), or “a time, and times, and half a time” ( Revelation 12:14 ). Distinctive to this view is the teaching the church will be raptured at the beginning of the tribulation period.

Historic premillennialism sees the period as a future time of intense trouble on earth prior to Christ's return, but holds the church will go through the tribulation. The church must endure the tribulation, but not God's wrath. See Dispensation; Eschatology; Future Hope; Millennium; Rapture; Revelation, Book of; Seventy Weeks .

Jerry W. Batson

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

Besides the application of this term to any time of distress, and its special reference to this dispensation, respecting which it is said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation,"  John 16:33 — the Lord spoke of a distinct period of distress, such as never had been, or should be again.   Matthew 24:21-29 . These verses refer to a great tribulation that shall fall upon the Jews in a future day: cf.  Jeremiah 30:7 and   Daniel 12:1 . In  Revelation 7:14 a great multitude is referred to that have come out of the great tribulation, but these are from the nations, hence this tribulation is not the same as that which will fall specially on the Jews, though both may take place at the same time. In   Revelation 2:22 a 'great tribulation' is spoken of, but it is doubtless general, and not the same as the above.

King James Dictionary [5]

TRIBULA'TION, n. L. tribulo, to thrash, to beat. Severe affliction distresses of life vexations. In Scripture, it often denotes the troubles and distresses which proceed from persecution.

When tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, he is offended.  Matthew 13

In the world ye shall have tribulation.  John 16 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Deuteronomy 4:30 Matthew 13:21 2 7:4 Romans 2:9  Matthew 24:21,29

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [7]

See Persecution; Suffering

Webster's Dictionary [8]

(n.) That which occasions distress, trouble, or vexation; severe affliction.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [9]

trib - ū́ - lā´shun ( צר , car , צר , cār , "staid," "narrow," "pent up"; compare   Numbers 22:26 ):

1. In the Old Testament:

Closely pressed, as of seals ( Job 41:15 (7)); of streams pent up (  Isaiah 59:9 margin); of strength limited (  Proverbs 24:10 , "small"). Hence, figuratively , of straitened circumstances; variously rendered "affliction," "tribulation," "distress" ( Deuteronomy 4:30;  Job 15:24;  Job 30:12;  Psalm 4:2;  Psalm 18:7;  Psalm 32:7;  Psalm 44:11 , etc.;  Psalm 78:42;  Psalm 102:3;  Psalm 106:44;  Psalm 119:143;  Isaiah 26:16;  Isaiah 30:20;  Hosea 5:15;  Ezekiel 30:16 ). Frequently, the feminine form (צרה , cārāh ) is similarly rendered "tribulation" ( Judges 10:14 the King James Version;   1 Samuel 10:19 the King James Version;   1 Samuel 26:24 ); in other places "distress," "affliction" ( Genesis 42:21;  Psalm 120:1;  Proverbs 11:8;  2 Chronicles 20:9;  Isaiah 63:9;  Jeremiah 15:11;  Jonah 2:2;  Nahum 1:9;  Zechariah 10:11 ).

2. In the New Testament:

The Greek is θλίψις , thlı́psis , a "pressing together" (as of grapes), squeezing or pinching (from verb θλίβω , thlı́bō ); used figuratively for "distress," "tribulation"; Septuagint for car and cārāh  ; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) tribulatio pressura (from tribulum , "a threshing sledge"). The verb form is rendered "suffer tribulation" (  1 Thessalonians 3:4 the King James Version, "suffer affliction" the Revised Version (British and American)); "trouble" (  2 Thessalonians 1:6 the King James Version, "afflict" the Revised Version (British and American); compare   2 Corinthians 1:6;  2 Corinthians 4:8;  2 Corinthians 7:5;  1 Timothy 5:10;  Hebrews 11:37 ). The noun form is rendered in the King James Version variously as "tribulation," "affliction," "persecution," though more uniformly "tribulation" in the Revised Version (British and American). The word is used generally of the hardships which Christ's followers would suffer ( Matthew 13:21;  Matthew 24:9 ,  Matthew 24:21 ,  Matthew 24:29;  Mark 4:17;  Mark 13:19 ,  Mark 13:24;  John 16:33;  1 Corinthians 7:28 ); or which they are now passing through ( Romans 5:3;  Romans 12:12;  2 Corinthians 4:17;  Philippians 4:14 ); or through which they have already come ( Acts 11:19;  2 Corinthians 2:4;  Revelation 7:14 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

( צָר , Θλίψις , both literally signifying. Pressure or straits) expresses in the A. V. much the same as Trouble or Trial, importing afflictive dispensations to which a person is subjected either by way of punishment (see  Judges 10:14;  Matthew 24:21;  Matthew 24:29;  Romans 2:9  2 Thessalonians 1:6) or by way of trial (see  John 16:33;  Romans 5:3;  2 Thessalonians 1:4).