Inner Burning (ἐνθύμησις)

Luther Walker

Enthumesis (ἐνθύμησις) comes from a word that means inner burning (thumos – θυμος). By adding the preposition in (ἐν), it describes the burning within a person while not retaining the aspect of anger that thumos expresses.

During Christ’s ministry to Israel, a paralyzed man was brought to him. Seeing the man’s faith, Jesus told him to be of good cheer because He has forgiven his sins, Matthew 9:2. Immediately, some of the scribes said among themselves this was blasphemy. However, Jesus intuitively knew their inner burnings and asked them, “Why do you burn malignant evil in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4. Answering the inner burnings of their hearts Jesus states, “Is it easier to say your sins are forgiven you or to say rise and walk?” Christ stated that this man’s sins were sent away so they would know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sin, Matthew 9:6.

The Pharisees were firmly against Jesus and took every opportunity they could to speak against Him. After Jesus released a man who was possessed by a demon that was causing him to be blind and mute, the multitude was amazed and questioned if Jesus could be the son of David. The Pharisees responded by claiming that Christ cast out this demon by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Jesus, being aware of their inner burnings, calls them out for their sons’ actions, who were casting out demons. If He is doing it by the authority of Beelzebub, by whose authority are their sons casting them out? However, the reality is that a house that stands against itself falls; therefore, since a demon was cast out, the Kingdom of God is at hand, Matthew 12:22-28.

After hearing that his wife-to-be was pregnant and considering how he was going to respond to this revelation, as Jospeh was burning within himself concerning this matter, an angel appeared to him in a dream. Joseph is informed that he should not fear to take Mary as his wife, for she is pregnant with a child from the Holy Spirit and will bring forth a son, who they will call Jesus. This one will fulfill the words spoken to the prophet, “Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and his name will be called Immanuel.” Matthew 1:20-23.

The Word of God is able to discern between the inner burning (ἐνθύμησις) and intent (ἔννοια) of the heart, Hebrews 4:12. There is nothing within us, even our formulated plans, that is hidden from God. The intent of the mind is different from the inner burnings of the heart. Although inner burning (ἐνθύμησις) is often translated as thoughts, it is not a term that relates to the mind; instead, it is the burning within the heart. This burning is not bad by nature; however, it can produce malignant evil, Matthew 9:4, or cause a person to think that the Divine Nature is likened to silver and gold or some shape or inner burning of men, Acts 17:29. God’s Word is able to discern between what is burning within us and the intent within our minds. When inner burnings are malignantly evil, they do not work out their intent when we are applying the truth. Our High Priest understands our struggle; therefore, we can enter into His rest and come to the throne of grace with confidence. Entering His rest is when we are in a state of ceasing from working for salvation. God’s attitude towards us is that we have a benefit without consideration of merit and, therefore, can come before Him to find mercy when the inner burnings become the intent because we did not apply a proper defense.

Enthumesis (ἐνθύμησις) is not referring to the thoughts or desires within a person; instead, it expresses an inner burning and, therefore, conveys the driving factor for what a person thinks and does.