Offence - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ A-1,Noun,G4625, skandalon ]
originally was the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in Romans 11:9, RV, 'stumblingblock,' quoted from Psalms 69:22, and in Revelation 2:14, for Balaam's device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in Matthew 16:23, for in Peter's words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan.

"In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way. Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are the wicked."

Thus it is used
(a) of Christ in Romans 9:33, "(a rock) of offense;" so 1 Peter 2:8; 1 Corinthians 1:23 (AV and RV, "stumblingblock"), and of His CROSS, Galatians 5:11 (RV, ditto); of the "table" provided by God for Israel, Romans 11:9 (See above);
(b) of that which is evil, e.g., Matthew 13:41, RV, "things that cause stumbling" (AV, "things that offend"), lit., "all stumblingblocks;" Matthew 18:7, RV, "occasions of stumbling" and "occasion;" Luke 17:1 (ditto); Romans 14:13, RV, "an occasion of falling" (AV, "an occasion to fall"), said of such a use of Christian liberty as proves a hindrance to another; Romans 16:17, RV, "occasions of stumbling," said of the teaching of things contrary to sound doctrine; 1 John 2:10, "occasion of stumbling," of the absence of this in the case of one who loves his brother and thereby abides in the light. Love, then, is the best safeguard against the woes pronounced by the Lord upon those who cause others to stumble. See FALL, B, Note
(3). Cp. the Sept. in Hosea 4:17, "Ephraim partaking with idols hath laid stumblingblocks in his own path."

[ A-2,Noun,G4348, proskomma ]
"an obstacle against which one may dash his foot" (akin to proskopto, "to stumble" or "cause to stumble;" pros, "to or against," kopto, "to strike"), is translated "offense" in Romans 14:20, in Romans 14:13, "a stumblingblock," of the spiritual hindrance to another by a selfish use of liberty (cp. No. 1 in the same verse); so in 1 Corinthians 8:9. It is used of Christ, in Romans 9:32-Romans 9:33, RV, "(a stone) of stumbling," and 1 Peter 2:8, where the AV also has this rendering. Cp. the Sept. in Exodus 23:33, "these (the gods of the Canaanites) will be an offense (stumblingblock) unto thee."

[ A-3,Noun,G4349, proskope ]
like No. 2, and formed from the same combination, occurs in 2 Corinthians 6:3, RV, "occasion of stumbling" (AV, "offense"), something which leads others into error or sin. Cp. the Sept. in Proverbs 16:18, "a haughty spirit (becomes) a stumblingblock" (i.e., to oneself).


(1) In the AV of Romans 4:25; Romans 5:15 (twice), Romans 5:16-Romans 5:18, Romans 5:20, paraptoma, "a trepass," is translated "offense." See TRESPASS.

(2) In 2 Corinthians 11:7, AV, hamartia, a sin, is translated "an offense." See SIN.

[ B-1,Adjective,G677, aproskopos ]
akin to A, No. 3, with a, negative, prefixed, is used
(a) in the Active sense, "not causing to stumble," in 1 Corinthians 10:32, metaphorically of "refraining from doing anything to lead astray" either Jews or Greeks or the church of God (i.e., the local church), RV, "no occasion of stumbling" (AV, "none offense");
(b) in the Passive sense, "blameless, without stumbling;" Acts 24:16, "(a conscience) void of offense;" Philippians 1:10, "void of (AV, without) offense." The adjective is found occasionally in the papyri writings.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words