“Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort” by Phil Johnson
“Paul’s instructions to Timothy (in 2 Timothy 4) include these imperatives: ‘reprove, rebuke . . . exhort‘ (2 Timothy 4:2). That’s three successive words in the Greek text, each with a slightly different nuance.
The first, translated ‘reprove,’ carries the connotation of telling people that they are wrong, or that they have done something wrong. It has the idea of ‘reproach,’ ‘a rebuke,’ or the refutation of falsehood. As such it’s a negative idea—and it’s an idea that is definitely ‘out of season’ in these postmodern times. But it’s one of the key aspects of every elder’s duty. If you try never to tell people they are wrong, you are not fulfilling the responsibility Paul names here.
Then there’s the verb ‘rebuke.’ This is a stronger word yet. It denotes an expression of strong disapproval—a denunciation, or even a formal censure. Paul regards it as Timothy’s bounden duty not only to expose and refute error, sin, and false teaching, but also to denounce each appearance of those things clearly, identifying it as the evil that it truly is……[Read entire article at the Pyromaniacs blog]
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Phil Johnson is the Executive Director of Grace to You, and an elder at Grace Community Church. He also pastors the GraceLife fellowship group, blogs regularly at the Pyromaniacs blog, and runs The Spurgeon Archive, The Hall of Church History, and Phil Johnson’s Bookmarks. All wonderful sites.