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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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The subject of reproof, i.e. the refutation of error, the discovery of sin, the convincing and convicting of the wrongdcer (ἐλεγμός, ἔλεγχος, ἐλέγχω: Septuagint for. תּוֹבַחָה, תּוֹבַחַת, הוֹבִיחַ), is mentioned frequently in the Bible. Reproof is used generally in the sense of rebuke. Rules are laid down for its administration, and advice given as to its reception. It is necessary, beneficial, and not to be despised. The great and constant dangers to be avoided are these-reproving unskilfully, withholding reproof unfaithfully, and resenting reproof administered in love. Christians in general are exhorted to reprove ‘the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Ephesians 5:11; Ephesians 5:13; cf. Matthew 18:15-18), and Christian ministers in particular must regard reproof as an important duty of their office (1 Timothy 5:20, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15).

Reproof may be administered (a) by word, in which case there is the underlying idea of severe rebuke and admonition. The offender must be called upon to give an explanation of his conduct and his fault must be made plain to him (1 Timothy 5:20, 2 Timothy 4:2, Judges 1:15; cf. Matthew 18:15, Luke 3:19); (b) by deed, in a two-fold sense: (i.) by deeds of light being manifested in a way that will be a virtual reproof of deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:13; cf. John 3:19-21); (ii.) by chastening or punishment (Hebrews 12:5; cf. Psalms 37:2; Psalms 94:12; Psalms 119:67; Psalms 119:75, Proverbs 3:11, Jeremiah 31:18-19, Revelation 3:19, Wisdom of Solomon 12:2, Tobit 11:15; Tobit 13:5; Tobit 13:9, Judith 8:27); (c) by the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16). Behind the censure lies the fundamental idea of the conviction of sin, The verb ἐλέγχω signifies ‘prove, refute, expose, convict.’ It is used with these meanings in classical writers from the time of Euripides. Many scholars hold the opinion that it means rather more than ‘reprove’ and rather less than ‘convince.’ For ‘reprove’ in the sense of ‘bring to the proof’ see 2 Timothy 4:2 Revised Version margin; cf. Psalms 38:14 Revised Version margin. For reproof in relation to sin, see 1 Corinthians 14:24, James 2:9, Judges 1:15; cf. John 8:9; John 8:46; John 16:8; Aristoph. Plut. 574. For reproof of false teachers, see Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15.

H. Cariss J. Sidnell.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Reproof'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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