A note in Vine’s Expository Dictionary got me to searching.
The text of Galatians 5:24 says: “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
The term “passions” is pathema; “desires” is translated from epithumia. The phrase is translated consistently in most versions as “passions and desires.”
Of the terms Vine wrote:
Epithumia is combined with pathema, in Ga. 5:24; for the AV, “affections and lusts,” the RV has “passions, and the lusts thereof.” Epithumia is the more comprehensive term, including all manner of “lusts and desires;” pathema denotes suffering; in the passage in Ga. (l.c.) the sufferings are those produced by yielding to the flesh; pathos points more to the evil state from which “lusts” spring.
Unless Vine means to further describe the word “passions” by his last phrase about pathos, the next-to-last seems to suggest that in Gal. 5:24 he understands passions to carry its normal meaning of sufferings and to indicate the consequences of the evil desires.
The meaning would then be something like this: “Those belonging to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh — that source of evil within us — along with the horrible consequences of suffering caused by its desires.”
From what I can tell of the Portuguese translation of Unger and White’s update of Vine’s,Â their edition doesn’t tinker with the citation above.
None of the Bible versions seems inclined that direction, and commentators among my limited supply, save one, say nothing on this point.
The TDNT brings us a perspective here, fortunately.
But this means that, if we rule out the sense of “passions” (as in Gl. 5:24), we can hardly construe pathemata as “sufferings,” or “sufferings which results from hamartia [sin].” For this would mean that sins have pathemata as their results, and that only their operation brings to maturity the fruit of death. (V:931).
So my questioning of Vine’s idea, as I understood it, has good company.
Now, a final note of curiosity.
I mentioned that commentators save one did not touch on this. The one who does references pages 930-31 of the TDNT article I quoted from above when he writes of pathema: “In this sense it describes the inner lusts that drive a man, without completely leaving behind the notion that man is an unfortunate victim of the situation” (K.L. Boles, Galatians & Ephesians, College Press NIV Commentary, 1993, p. 156). How Boles got that from the TDNT article, I have no idea.
I suspect the phrase is what we now call a hendiadys (have a good Bible link here?), a Hebrew habit that still influenced the Jews of Jesus’ day, so that we could translate the two nouns as “passionate longings,” as per Alan Cole’s suggestion in his Galatians commentary in the old standby Tyndale series.