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Dictionaries :: Fain

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International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


fan (advb.): Occurs twice in English Versions of the Bible, in the sense of "gladly":

(1) in Job 27:22 as the rendering of barach, "to flee with haste" (from anything), "He would fain flee out of his hand," literally, as in in of the King James Version, "in fleeing he would flee";

(2) in Lu 15:16, as the translation of epithumeo, "to fix the mind or desire on," "He would fain have filled his belly with the husks which the swine did eat." the Revised Version (British and American) adds two instances:

(1) Lu 13:31, "Herod would fain kill thee";

(2) Ac 26:28, "Thou wouldest fain make me a Christian."


King James Dictionary

Fain: To Desire Earnestly; Long For.

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would FAIN have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. (Luke 15:13-16)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g1014 Greek: boulomai


"to will deliberately, wish, desire, be minded," implying the deliberate exercise of volition (contrast No. 3), is translated "would fain" in Phm 1:13 (in the best mss.).

2 Strong's Number: g1937 Greek: epithumeo


"to set one's heart upon, desire," is translated "would fain" in Luk 15:16, of the Prodigal Son.

3 Strong's Number: g2309 Greek: thelo


"to wish, to design to do anything," expresses the impulse of the will rather than the intention (see No. 1); the RV translates it "would fain" in Luk 13:31, of Herod's desire to kill Christ, AV, "will (kill);" in 1Th 2:18, of the desire of the missionaries to return to the church in Thessalonica.

Note: In Act 26:28, in Agrippa's statement to Paul, the RV rendering is "with but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian." The lit. rendering is "with (or in) little (labor or time) thou art persuading me so as to make (me) a Christian." There is no verb for "wouldest" in the original, but it brings out the sense.

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