The Nature of Chastening (I)

Mike Grushon
Lebanon, Tennessee

Hebrews 12:1-11 is the source of the majority of New Testament teaching on the subject of chastening. In these articles we will attempt to define and discuss the nature of chastening as revealed in this passage. First, the actual root words will be defined and their derivatives discussed, then a study of the context of the passage will be made, and the third segment will consult parallel passages in an attempt to broaden the perspective of our understanding of the term's application.

The English word chastisement is translated in Old Testament texts from the Hebrew word musar or from the verb form yasar. When translated into English these Words connote discipline (of the moral nature), chastening, admonition, or correction. However in some instances the words are used to mean physical punishment,l The Hebrew word yakach is used in 2 Samuel 7:14 and Job 33:19 as "to make manifest or to convict." Another Hebrew word which implies chastisement is tokachath, which when used in Psalms 73:14 means reproof or conviction.

In the New Testament two related words are translated by the English words "chastening" and "chastisement." Paideua, the verb form means to train, such as the training or rearing of children; hence to educate. In Titus 2:12 it is translated "instructing," which implies training, gracious and firm, which brings salvation. Paideua also carries the meaning of correcting with words, reproving, and admonishing. This application is made in 2 Timothy 2:25. Yet another application of this word is found in I Corinthians 11:32 and Hebrews 12:6, 7, 10, where it refers to chastening by the inflictions of evil and calamities. The second Greek word is the noun, Paideia, which also denotes training a child. From this definition, discipline, particularly the Christian discipline that regulates character can be inferred. In 2 Timothy 3:16, the word is translated "instruction."

It is obvious that all the various translations and applications of these words are very closely related. Webster defines chastisement as punishment, especially by beating, and chastening as punishment inflicted to make an individual better. We must consider the nature of chastening in the light of the text of the book of Hebrews in the next article.


March 5, 1970