Chastening - Trench's New Testament Synonyms


paideia (G3809) Chastening
nouthesia (G3559) Admonition
Although paideia and nouthesia occur; together in Ephesians 6:4, either they are not distinguished in our English translations, or they are distinguished incorrectly. Thus it is worthwhile to attempt to discriminate between these two words.
Paideia is one of those words to which Christianity gave a deeper meaning (the new wine made new even the old vessel into which it was poured). For the Greek, paideia simply meant "education." But those who had learned that "foolishness is bound up in the heart" both "of a child" and of man and that "the rod of correction will drive it far from him" (Prov. 22:15) gave paideia an additional meaning. All effectual instruction for sinful mankind includes and implies chastening, or "correction," in which there must be epanorthosis (G1882), or "rectification." Epanorthosis, which occurs only once in the New Testament, is closely related to paideia in 2 Timothy 3:16.
We shall compare two definitions of paideia:one by a great secular philosopher, the other by a great Christian theologian. On the one hand, Plato definespaideia this way: "Education [paideia] is the drawing and guiding of children toward reason as stated correctly by the law." On the other hand, Basil the Great defined paideia thusly: "Education [paideia] is a guidance beneficial to the soul, frequently cleansing it painfully of its defilements from evil." Basil asserted that paideia was not simply eruditio (instruction). Augustine, who noticed the new Christian use of the word, defined it as "instruction through vexations." And this is the predominant meaning of paideia and paideuein in the Septuagint, Apocrypha, and New Testament. The only occasion in the New Testament where paideuein occurs in the old Greek sense is Acts 7:22. In Ephesians 6:4 "discipline" might be a better word than "nurture," which is too weak a translation of paideia. The transgression of the laws and ordinances of the Christian household will induce the correction that paideia indicates.
Nouthesia is more successfully translated as "admonition" in the English versions. In defining nouthesia,Cicero said: "Admonition is, at it were, a milder rebuke." Nouthesia is training by wordeither of encouragement, when this is sufficient, or of remonstrance, reproof, or blame, where required. Thus nouthesia is distinguished from paideia, which is training by act and by discipline. There are many examples in Greek literature that illustrate the distinctive meaning of nouthesia as training by the spoken word. Nouthesia is a milder term than paideia.
Nouthesia's association with paideia teaches us that nouthesia is a necessary element of Christian education. Without it, the paideia would be incomplete. In fact, when childhood is over, paideia is swallowed up in nouthesia. Where necessary, the nouthesia will be earnest and severe. Nouthesia is much more than a feeble Eli-like remonstrance"No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear" (1 Sam 2:24). With respect to these sons, Eli "did not restrain [ouk enouthetei] them" (3:13). Nouthetein predominantly has the sense of admonishing with blame. Jerome was only partially correct when he desired to get rid of the Vulgate's correptio in Ephesians 6:4 and Titus 3:10. Jerome argued that nouthesia does not imply a rebuke or austerity, as does correptio, and that therefore correptio is not the best translation for nouthesia. Nouthesia, however, does not exclude a rebuke but implies that whatever is needed to cause the admonition to be heeded, to be taken to heart, will be said.
The predominant sense of nouthesia in our English versions is admonition by word, as distinguished from paideia, although both paideia and nouthetein are sometimes used to refer to correction by deed. The primary use of both words is the appeal to the reasonable faculties. In phrases like "admonition [nouthetesis] of a rod" and "to admonish [nouthetein] with blows," the words are used in a secondary but more emphatic sense. The same emphasis lies in the statement that Gideon "took thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth" (Judg. 8:16). The primary idea of "to teach" is the oral communicating of knowledge.

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