Jealousy vs Envy: how does the Bible differentiate between them?

Jealousy vs Envy: how does the Bible differentiate between them?

Jealousy vs envy are considered synonyms yet they actually differ from Biblical, psychological, and philosophical perspectives. If you are wondering, "What is worse jealousy or envy?" This article will provide useful information about jealousy vs envy and how the Bible differentiates them.

Jealousy vs Envy
Cheerful woman looking at pregnancy test with her female friends while one of them is feeling jealous. Photo: Stock photo
Source: Getty Images

To fully grasp the difference between envy vs jealousy, there is a need to grasp the concept of the origin of sin. The first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, introduces Adam and Eve, creations made in God's image. The pair go against God's will and eat the forbidden fruit.

Envy vs Jealousy
Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life. Drawing. Photo: DEA Picture Library
Source: Getty Images

The Christian doctrine, which has its basis from the Bible, teaches that man commits his first sin by eating the forbidden fruit. The act of eating the forbidden fruit gives man knowledge of good and evil, and it is this knowledge that governs man to do good or bad.

What does jealousy mean in the Bible?

Read also

Gumi finally reveals his method of engaging bandits in forests

Jealousy definition Bible is not always a sin, but most of the time it is. It generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern over relative lack of possessions, status, or something of great personal value. The Bible defines it in both a positive and a negative way.

What does jealousy mean in the Bible
Woman jealous of a coupe in love. Photo: Stock photo
Source: Getty Images

There are instances where God is portrayed as a jealous God. This insecurity is not a sin when you are insecure of something that belongs to you.

This is affirmed by Proverbs 6:34, which tries to warn man against adultery. In this scripture, mistrust arouses a husband's fury when he sees his wife hanging around another men and he shows no mercy when he takes revenge against his wife.

The Bible also warns against this vice. David and King Saul's story serves as a good example of how resentment can consume one to the point of madness and a thirst for revenge.

Read also

6-year-old mathematics genius receives educational sponsorship from US

After King Saul lost his throne due to his disobedience to God, God anointed David to be the next king, but Saul wanted to make sure David never sat on the throne, and so he chased him down like an animal, trying to kill him. His ultimate punishment was when God rejected him as the king of His people.

What does jealousy mean in the Bible
Saul attempts to take the life of David. Photo: Stock illustration
Source: Getty Images

One has to ask, is it bad to be insecure and what does jealous mean in the Bible? Being jealous is close to coveting what someone else has or a position that someone holds.

This is illustrated by how Joseph’s brothers were filled with jealousy over him to the point of selling him and by Saul being jealous of David. A little bit of jealousy can do a lot of harm to others and even to one’s self.

What is the definition of envy in the Bible?

Read also

Iconic Scarface quotes every fan of the movie knows by heart

The Biblical definition of envy is the sin of desire over others' blessings and achievements, especially the spiritual enjoyment and advance of the kingdom of Christ freely and graciously bestowed upon the people of God.

Envy definition Bible in Galatians 5:19-26 does warn those who practice envy and strife that they will be barred from the kingdom of heaven.

Envy is a complex and puzzling emotion commonly charged with being unreasonable, irrational, imprudent, vicious, or wrong to feel. It is also a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to someone ‘s advantages, possessions, or traits such as beauty, success, or talent.

It’s also a common defense to shame when we feel less than another in some respect. When the defense is working, we’re not aware of feeling inadequate.

Both in the Old and New Testament, there are mentions of envy and stories associated with it, often with a dramatic consequence.

Read also

Lil Baby net worth: how has the rapper earned all his riches?

Then what does envy mean in the Bible? Using the book of Genesis, envy is declared to be the motivation behind Cain murdering his brother, Abel, as Cain envied Abel because God favored Abel's sacrifice.

In one of the first stories of the Bible, we are informed of the destructive power and wickedness that envy can cause.

Jealousy vs envy Bible: What's worse?

Jealousy and envy are different feelings. Jealousy can be defined as the feeling or desire to keep for yourself what rightfully belongs to you. Like when a husband doesn’t want his wife to sleep with somebody else’s husband.

Envy, on the other hand, is the desire to have for yourself what rightfully belongs to another, like when a husband wants to sleep with somebody else’s wife.

what is worse jealousy or envy
Young couple sitting on the bed. Photo: Stock photo
Source: Getty Images

To answer what is worse jealousy or envy from the Bible's perspective, we have to look at the scriptures.

Read also

Cool Walt Whitman quotes on love, nature and the meaning of life

God himself is said to be jealous on numerous occasions in the Scriptures. Exodus 20:5 describes how God warns His people from worshiping other gods. The verse describes how God is a jealous God, and this is emphasized in Exodus 34:14, which claims that His name is Jealous.

It would be wrong for one to claim that God is an envious God as this would imply that there is something he wants that he does not have. To say that he is jealous, on the other hand, is to say that there is something he has—Israel—that he does not want to lose.

How does envy and jealousy affect us?

Jealousy and envy, just like anger, are ugly emotions that, like happiness, can sometimes blind you, altering your perception of reality.

But even though they feel like normal and human emotions that either come and go without a thought, they can spiral out of control into a full-blown state of mind that can affect us both physically and mentally.

Read also

Zen quotes that will keep you calm and peaceful

How does envy and jealousy affect us
Women gossiping about another. Photo: Stock vector
Source: Getty Images

From a behavioral perspective, both envy and jealousy affect one emotion negatively, not only for the person who feels envious but also for those around them. These characteristics can negatively affect how we feel toward others and how we treat them.

How does envy and jealousy affect us
I hope she doesn't find out. Photo: Stock photo
Source: Getty Images

How do we overcome envy and jealousy Bible?

Teachings from the Bible encourage people to break free from envy and jealousy as they are destructive emotions that can cause us to do things we would not normally do.

Here are some words from James 3:14-16 about this state of mind:

But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil.

There are two things underneath our envy and jealousy. They are fear and rejection. Because those things are in our hearts, we anxiously struggle to feel as good as everyone else.

Read also

Hamlet quotes on revenge,love, and madness themes

Countless scriptures in the Bible, such as Jeremiah 29:11, have advised that by embracing and accepting the Lord's steadfast love, we cease worrying about what others are doing or if they are better off than us and concentrate more on what we are doing.

How do we overcome envy and jealousy Bible
Silhouette of unrecognizable man praying outside. Photo: Stock photo
Source: Getty Images

We spend way too much time comparing ourselves to others. Out of this activity comes torment and sometimes some horrible decisions. The best insurance against this is to increase your self-esteem.

Now that you know the difference between jealousy vs envy and how the Bible views these emotions, you know how to act whenever you find yourself experiencing the emotions.

READ ALSO: How long does it take to walk a mile at an average walking speed?

Ever wondered how long it takes to walk a mile at an average walking speed? got you covered.

There are many reasons people want to learn how long it takes to walk for a specific distance. Walking at a specific time and distance helps improve your fitness and gives one a lot of health benefits, including improvement in breathing, heart rate, coordination, and balance.

Read also

The most famous Frederick Douglass quotes on education, power and slavery


Online view pixel