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Experience

EXPERIENCE

eks-pe'-ri-ens:

This word is employed 3 times. In Genesis 30:27 the King James Version, Laban says, to Jacob, "I have learned by experience (the Revised Version (British and American) "divined") that Yahweh hath blessed me for thy sake." Here it translates the Hebrew nachash, "to observe diligently," as when one examines the entrails of a bird or animal for the purpose of divination. In Ecclesiastes 1:16, the writer says, "I have gotten me great wisdom ....; my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge." Here the Hebrew (ra'ah) means "hath seen abundantly," and the idea seems to be that of a wide outlook combined with actual trial of the things discovered or known.

In Romans 5:4 the King James Version, the Greek word dokime (the American Standard Revised Version more correctly "approvedness"), means the proof or testing of a thing. We rejoice in tribulation because it works out or produces patience, while the latter develops an experience of God, i.e. it brings out as a proved fact His power and love toward us in our preservation in and deliverance from trial.

Thus it is seen the Bible use of the word is not different from the ordinary, which means "the sum of practical wisdom taught by the events and observations of life," or, to go a little farther, the personal and practical acquaintance with what is so taught. Hebrews 5:13 gives a good practical example. the King James Version says, "Every one that useth milk is unskillful (apeiros) in the word of righteousness:

for he is a babe," while the Revised Version (British and American) renders "unskilful" by "without experience of." The thought is that he who fails to search out the deep things of the word of God is so lacking in the exercise of his spiritual senses as to be unable really to know truth from error.

James M. Gray


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'EXPERIENCE'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.