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Bible Lexicons

Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament

Punishment

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timoria (Strong's #5098) Punishment

kolasis (Strong's #2851) Torment

Timoria occurs once in the New Testament ( Hebrews 10:29; cf. Acts 22:5; Acts 26:11), and kolasis occurs twice ( Matthew 25:46; 1 John 4:18). The verb timorein (Strong's #5097) appears twice ( Acts 22:5; Acts 26:11), as does kolazein (Strong's #2849) ( Acts 4:21; 2 Peter 2:9). The classical use of timoria emphasizes the vindictive character of punishment. It was punishment that satisfied the inflicter's sense of outraged justice and that defended his own honor or that of the violated law. The meaning of timoria, then, agrees with its etymology.

Kolasis refers to punishment that is designed to correct and better the offender. Thus Plato uses kolaseis and noutheteseis together. Several times in one passage in the Protagoras, Plato's use illustrates the distinction we have drawn.

For nobody punishes wrongdoers... because one has done wrong in the past (unless he is taking blind vengeance like a beast)... but for the sake of the future, in order that one may not do wrong again.

Plato's use of the terms may be compared with Clement of Alexandria's, who defined kolaseis as "particular instructions" and timoria as "retaliation for evil." Aristotle distinguished the terms this way: "Timoria [vengeance] and kolasis [corrective punishment] differ, for corrective punishment is on account of the one suffering wrong, but vengeance is on account of the one doing wrong, that there may be satisfaction." Aulus Gellius referred to these and similar definitions.

It has been thought that there should be three reasons for punishing wrongs. One reason is what in Greek is called nouthesia [Strong's #3559, rebuke] or kolasis [punishment] or parainesis [L-S1310, admonition]. It is punishment applied for the sake of correcting or reforming in order that one who has erred accidentally may become more attentive and improved. Another reason is what those who have differentiated these words more exactly call timoria [vengeance]. This is the reason for punishing when the dignity and prestige of the person wronged must be protected in order that an omission of punishment may not make him despised and diminish his honor. For that reason people think that this word was derived from the preservation of honor [time, Strong's #5092].

It would be quite erroneous, however, to transfer that distinction in its entirety to the New Testament use of timoria and kolasis.The kolasis aionios (everlasting punishment) of Matthew 25:46 is not merely corrective and therefore temporary discipline but rather the athanatos timoria (eternal vengeance), the aidioi timoriai (everlasting vengeance) with which the Lord elsewhere threatens finally impenitent men ( Mark 9:43-48).

Part of Aristotle's distinction is reflected in the scriptural usage of the words. In kolasis the relation of the punishment to the punished is predominant, while in timoria the punisher is emphasized.


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Bibliography Information
Trench, Richard C. Entry for 'Punishment'. Synonyms of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/trench/69. 1854.

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Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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