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Perplexed (639)(aporeo/aporeomai - the latter = always used in the middle voice in NT) means literally to be without a way or path (Vine - "a" = negative + "poros" = a way, a transit, a ford, revenue, resource). Thus not to know which way to turn, to be at a loss, to be uncertain, to be "dazed and confused", to be in doubt, to be disturbed. To be without resources, to be embarrassed, to be in perplexity. The idea is that they were often in situations not knowing which way to go and/or seeing no way open them. Vine says aporeomai is literally... “to be without a way in which to go,” and so to be puzzled, to be at a loss as to what to think or what to do as Jacob was about his brother Esau (Genesis 32:7 = Lxx use of aporeomai which renders "distressed") The noun aporia is used once in the NT in the context of perplexity of the signs in the sky in the days preceding the return of the Messiah (Lk 21:25). Aporeo - 6x in 6v in the NAS - am perplexed(1), being at a loss(1), loss(1), perplexed(3). Mark 6:20 for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. Comment: Herod’s interaction with John left him in great internal conflict because he had a moral struggle between his strong (evil) desire for Herodias and the pricking of his guilty conscience. Luke 24:4 While they were perplexed about this (absence of Jesus' body from the tomb - Lk 24:1, 2, 3), behold, two men (angelic beings) suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; John 13:22 (Context = Jn 13:21 when Jesus predicts His betrayal) The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. Acts 25:20 (Festus - this narrative begins in Acts 25:1-19) Being at a loss how to investigate such matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these matters. Comment: Festus was a pagan Roman ruler and was new in Judea, explaining why he was "at a loss" to understand the differences between Judaism and Christianity> 2 Corinthians 4:8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; Galatians 4:20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed (at wits end) about you. Vine comments: Apostle though he was, Paul was not exempt from the trials that attend the servants of Christ, and this was equally true of external experiences, persecutions and the like, and of experiences of the mind and heart, perplexities included; see 2Co 11:28. Paul was perplexed because he felt their spiritual development was being arrested. He had a deep desire to be with them so that he could speak with them personally (and with a gentler tone) regarding his concerns over their spiritual well being. John MacArthur: This verb (aporeomai) means to be at one’s wits’ end. He could not understand how they could have been taught the gospel so well, believed it so genuinely, and then appeared to have forsaken it so quickly (cf. Gal 1:6). Every Christian worker experiences times when he comes to an impasse and finds his own resources are completely exhausted. After saying and doing everything he knows to say and do, those he is trying to help-sometimes unbelievers, sometimes believers-remain completely out of reach and even turn against him. (MacArthur, J. Galatians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch) Wuest has an additional thought: The verb is in the middle voice, which fact speaks of the inward distress of a mind tossed to and fro by conflicting doubts and fears. The Greek has it, “I am perplexed in you.” Paul’s perplexity is conceived as being in the Galatians. He says in effect, “I am puzzled how to deal with you, how to find an entrance into your hearts.” Aporeo - 8x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 32:7; Lev 25:47; Pr 31:11; Isa 9:1; 24:19; 51:20; Jer 8:18; Hos 13:8 Alfred Plummer renders this antithetical set "in despondency yet not in despair" Rob Morgan has the following humorous illustration to encourage us to emulate Paul and "never despair"... I read about a man whose route to work every day took him through a particular park in the city, and every day he saw an old fellow sitting on the park bench. This fellow was an illegal bookie, but the businessman didn’t know that. The old fellow always looked forlorn, and the businessman thought he was homeless. One day en route to work, the businessman felt a surge of compassion for the fellow and as he passed by he handed him an envelope containing ten dollars and a note saying “Never Despair.” The next as he passed by the old man handed the businessman an envelope containing sixty dollars. The old codger explained: “Never Despair was in the money paying six to one in the second race.” Well, we always win when we make up our minds to Never Despair. That was Paul’s attitude. He rode that horse in every race, and it never failed him. And it’s a message that we still need in life and in our labor for the Lord. (Jars of Clay) Spurgeon's exposition... We are perplexed, but not in despair;- We scarcely know what to do, but we have not given way to despair. We are perplexed, but hope has not gone from us. Dum spiro spero, was the old Latin proverb,-”While I live I hope;” but the Christian proverb is a still better one, Dum expiro spero,- “Even while I die I still have hope,” for “the righteous hath hope in his death.” Hodge... Constantly doubtful what way to take, and yet always finding some way open. The root of the Greek word translated perplexed means, “to be at a loss as to what to say or do”; the intensive used here (exaporeomai) means to be absolutely shut up so as to have no way or means available. "Copy and paste the address below into your web browser in order to go to the original page which will allow you to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion."

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