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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Honour

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In the NT two Gr. words, in various forms, are thus translated: (1) δόξα, δοξάζειν, as in the phrases ‘by honour and dishonour’ (2 Corinthians 6:8), and ‘one member be honoured’ (Revised Version margin ‘glorified,’ 1 Corinthians 12:26); the words are derived from δοκεῖν, ‘to think,’ ‘hold an opinion,’ or ‘hold in repute or honour’; hence the noun has the significance of ‘good-repute,’ ‘honour,’ ‘glory’; (2) τιμή, τιμᾶν, τίμιος (from the root τίειν, ‘to pay a price’ and then ‘to pay honour’). τιμή is the most frequent word for ‘honour’ in the NT. Primarily it means the price which is paid or received for something, as in the phrase ‘the price of blood’ (Matthew 27:6, also Acts 4:34; Acts 5:2; Acts 19:19). The metaphorical sense, indicating something of price, worth, or value, naturally follows, like ‘dignity,’ ‘veneration,’ ‘honour,’ and ‘ornament,’ as in the expression ‘a vessel for honour’ (Romans 9:21), ‘in honour preferring one another’ (Romans 12:10), ‘honour to whom honour’ (Romans 13:7). The verb τιμᾶν is used in the sense of valuing, as ‘the price of him that was priced, whom certain of the children of Israel did price’ (Matthew 27:9); but elsewhere it has the meaning ‘to venerate,’ ‘hold in honour,’ as ‘Honour thy father and mother’ (Ephesians 6:2), ‘honoured us with many honours’ (Acts 28:10).

The words δόξα and τιμή and their verbal forms are employed in the Septuagint to translate הָדָר, כָּכוֹד and יְקָד. The two words ‘glory’ and ‘honour’ appear together in descriptions of the Exaltation of Christ-‘crowned with glory and honour’ (Hebrews 2:7; Hebrews 2:9, 2 Peter 1:17); of the bliss of the future world-‘glory, honour, and immortality’ (Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10); of what the kings are to bring into the heavenly Jerusalem-‘They shall bring the glory and honour of the Gentiles (ἔθνων) into it’ (Revelation 21:26). The two words are also used together in the description of the triumph of faith’s trial ‘that it might be found unto … glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 1:7), and in doxologies ascribing ‘praise, honour, and glory’ to Christ (Revelation 5:12-13), and to God (1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 4:9; Revelation 11; Revelation 7:12).

Three passages where τιμή occurs require separate treatment. In 1 Timothy 5:17, ‘Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and teaching’ (Revised Version ), the context plainly indicates that the ‘honour’ is to be taken as ‘honorarium’ or ‘stipend.’ The reason given for such treatment is expressed in the words which follow: ‘For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his hire’ (1 Timothy 5:18; cf. J. R. Dummelow, The One Volume Bible Commentary, p. 999; H. R. Reynolds, in Expositor, 1st ser. vol. iv. p. 47; see also Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) v. 441).

In 1 Peter 2:7 the phrase ὑμῖν οὖν ἡ τιμὴ τοῖς πιστεύουσιν is variously translated: ‘Unto you therefore which believe he is precious’ (Authorized Version ); ‘For you therefore which believe is the preciousness’ (Revised Version ); ‘in your sight … is the honour’ (Revised Version margin). In the preceding context reference is made to Christ as a ‘precious’ stone (1 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 2:6), and if that connexion is maintained in v. 7, the sense would be ‘unto you who believe Christ is all that God had declared; you have seen Him as precious, the preciousness.’ But it is possible to connect the words with the phrase immediately before them, and read them by way of amplification-‘He that believeth on Him shall not be put to shame; unto you therefore who believe he is the honour, or ornament,’ i.e. ‘instead of shame you find the honour or ornament of your life in Christ.’ Our opinion favours the latter rendering.

The other passage is in Colossians 2:23, οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινὶ πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός, which is translated, ‘not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh’ (Authorized Version ), ‘not of any value (honour, Revised Version margin) against the indulgence of the flesh’ (Revised Version ). Both translations are unsatisfactory: the Authorized Version because it does not give any clear or practical meaning, and the Revised Version because, though it gives a good sense, it gives a somewhat strained force to πρός. Eadie’s translation and interpretation seem to us the best: ‘Which things, having indeed a show of wisdom in superstition, humility, and corporeal austerity, not in anything of value, are for, or minister to, the gratification of the flesh.’ ‘The apostle means to condemn these precepts and teachings; his censure is that they produce an effect directly the opposite to their professed design’ (Com. in loco). Other commentaries on the passage may be consulted for the various interpretations which are attached to it. Westcott-Hort’s Greek Testament bracket the words along with the three which precede them, as indicating a doubtful text. It is possible that some word or particle has dropped out of the passage.

The man of the world’s conception of honour does not appear in the NT.

Literature.-Wilke-Grimm, Clavis Novi Testamenti, 1868, s.vv. δόξα, δοξάζω; Dict. of Christ and the Gospels i., article ‘Honour’; Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ii., article ‘Glory’; J. R. Dummelow, The One Volume Bible Commentary, 1909, p. 999; H. R. Reynolds in Expositor, 1st ser. vol. iv. p. 47; A. S. Peake, Expositor’s Greek Testament , ‘Colossians,’ 1903, p. 535; G. Jackson in Expositor, 6th ser. vol. xii. pp. 180-193.

John Reid.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Honour'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/h/honour.html. 1906-1918.

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