Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
Travail (or a version of this word) is found 40 times in the KJV Bible. It means that an
person is faced with or going through a very painful ordeal or a very painful experience. In
natural things it means that a person is experiencing pain.
Often Scripture uses travail to describe the “labor pain” a woman experiences when she
bears a child. “O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious
shalt thou be when pangs [waves of pain] come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in
travail!” (Jer. 22:23) is one example of a verse that uses travail in this way.
The most precious and heart searching use of travail for those who know the Lord Jesus
Christ as Saviour are when Scripture refers to the awful pain and anguish He went through
when He bore our sins and was crucified for our sins on Calvary’s cross.
This verse speaks prophetically of the Lord Jesus suffering: “He shall see of the travail of
His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall my Righteous Servant justify many;
for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11).
The Apostles of our Lord also travailed or went through sorrow and mental anguish for the
gospel’s sake and for the sake of Christians who suffered because of their faith.
“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we
would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God” (1 Thess.2:9).
“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night
and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you” (2 Thess.3:8).