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philologos
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 Word Study: adokimos

I thought a separate thread might be a good place to gather these occasional contributions.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/30 8:39Profile
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 Re: adokimos

Once or twice I have received a request to examine the word ‘adokimos’. (thanks RobertW). Usually the request has come in the midst of a complicated discussion and they was not sufficient time available to examine the word and its cognates.

The Greek adjective [i]adokimos[/i] (Strongs G96) is used eight times in the NT. Rom 1:28; 1Co 9:27; 2Co 13:5; 2Co 13:6; 2Co 13:7; 2Ti 3:8; Tit_1:16; Heb 6:8; This little list and the spread of the references shows it to be a key concept in Paul’s thinking especially. It is variously translated in the KJV

KJV-reprobate 6, castaway 1, rejected 1; Its meaning is given as
1) not standing the test, not approved
1a) properly used of metals and coins
2) that which does not prove itself such as it ought
2a) unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate
The word is made by adding the letter ‘a’ to ‘dokimos’. The prefix ‘a’ in Greek usually signifies ‘without’. So [i]adokimos[/i] means ‘without dokimos’. So let’s look at [i]dokimos[/i]. My apologies but tracing Greek words is often a Sherlock Holmes process. BTW There is a Sherlock Holmes story in which Holmes explains his method to Dr Watson. Dr Watson asks “What do you imagine that it means?” Holmes answer should be printed at the front of every study of this kind…he replies.
[i]”I have no idea yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts”.[/i] Students turning to the scripture to proof their theories will always be subject to this ‘insensible’ urge to twist facts to suit theories. Anyway, on with our Sherlock Holmes process. It adjective ‘dokimos’ itself comes from a Greek verb ‘dokeO’ which is translated by many different English words in the KJV. (think 33, seem 13, suppose 7, seem good 3, please 2, misc 5;)

dokeO AV 63

1) to be of opinion, think, suppose
2) to seem, to be accounted, reputed
3) it seems to me
3a) I think, judge: thus in question
3b) it seems good to, pleased me, I determined

The underlying sense of the word is to consider something, weigh the facts, and come to a settled decision. Vine’s expository dictionary has the following comment; [i] Think [i]dokeo[/i] "to suppose, to think, to form an opinion," which may be either right or wrong, is sometimes rendered "to think," e.g., Matt_3:9; Matt_6:7; see dokeo_under_ACCOUNT, dokeo_under_SUPPOSE. The key thought here is the forming of an opinion as a result of considering something.
The adjective [i]dokimos[/i] then is applied to things which have undergone a process of assessment or approval. The implication, however, is that the thing tested has passed the test and is genuine.

In classical Greek the word is used in a variety of ways.
adokim-os , on,
A. not legal tender, not current, of coin, Pl.Lg.742a; not approved, of horses, Arist.Ath.49.1.
2. unsatisfactory, unconvincing, of a statement, Ph.Bel.76.47, Alex.Aphr.in Top.576.14.
3. disreputable, lakismat' adokim' olbiois echein E.Tr.497 ; mousa Pl.Lg.829d , cf. D. 25.36,Ep.Rom.1.28. Adv. -môs Poll.5.160 .
4. of persons, Pl.R.618b; discredited, reprobate, X.Lac.3.3, 2 Ep.Tim.3.8, etc.

there is a related verb to go with the process
doki^mazô , A. assay, test, porphuran kai chruson Isoc.12.39 ; tous oinous Arist.EN1118a28 ; ta nomismata Id.HA491a21 :--Med., prove for oneself, choose, chôran X.Oec.8.10 , cf. Men.532.11 (dub.):-- Pass., epeidan to ergon . . dokimasthêi CIG2266.15 (Delos).
II. approve, sanction, meta dedokimasmenou [logou] mê xunepesthai Th.3.38 ; epsêphisasthe dokimasantes tous nomous, eit' anagrapsai toutous hoi an dokimasthôsi And.1.82 ; arrenas erôtas Plu.2.11e ; hopêi tautêi aretê dokimazetai Pl.R.407c : c. inf., ekponein edokimaze he approved of their working, X.Mem.1.2.4; epeidê . . edokimasthê tauta kalôs echein Th.2.35 .
2. as a political term,
a. approve after scrutiny as fit for an office, Lys.16.3, Pl.Lg.759d, Arist.Ath.45.3:--Pass., to be approved as fit, Lys.15.6, etc.; dokimastheis archetô Pl.Lg.765b ; mou dokimazomenou when I was undergoing a scrutiny, D.21.111; dedokimasmenos [iatros] PFay.106.24 (ii A. D.), cf. PGnom.201 (ii A. D.): metaph., hon ho Hêphaistos edokimasen OGI90.3 (ii B. C.); huper tou stephanôthênai dokimazomai D.18.266 .
b. pass as fit to serve, hippeuein dedokimasmenos Lys.14.22 , cf. X.An.3.3.20, IG22.1126.15, 1369.
c. examine and admit boys to the class of ephêboi or ephêboi to the rights of manhood, Ar.V.578 (Pass.), Arist.Ath.42.2, etc.; heôs egô anêr einai dokimastheiên D.27.5 ; eis andras dedokimasmenoi Isoc.12.28 .
d. test an orator's right to speak (cf. dokimasia 4 ), AB310.
3. c. inf., think fit to do, Luc. Bis Acc.31, J.AJ2.7.4, etc.: with neg., refuse to do, Ep.Rom.1.28: abs., BGU248.19 (i A. D.), etc

Let me illustrate. For some years I worked as a labourer at the Wedgwoods pottery factory in Stoke on Trent. They had Quality Control system which finally placed the ‘Wedgwood’ mark prior to the last glazing. This mark meant that the process had been ‘looked over’ at every stage and found satisfactory. It had been tested and tried and fully ‘came up to Wedgwood standard’. Wedgwood was happy to have it reputation riding on this piece of china and so ‘stamped it Wedgwood’.

Some china didn’t get through all the processes satisfactorily. To most people this china looked fine but not to the Wedgwood ‘lookers-over’ (the technical term!) They scrutineers would then refuse the Wedgwood mark. These cups and saucers might still be sold in local markets as ‘seconds’ but they did not carry the Wedgwood mark. That mark not only said ‘we made it’ but also ‘this is satisfactory’ to the makers.

The same process has operated with gold and silver smiths for generations in the UK. They would add another stamp to declare the percentage of precious metal in the article.

The Wedgwoods ‘lookers-over’, my mother-in-law did this job at one time, looked, and considered, and came to a settled conviction, and put their stamp of approval on the china. (Later standards dropped and even ‘seconds’ would bear the stamp.) If they had been Greek they would have used the verb ‘dokimazO’ to describe this whole process, including the stamp of approval. The cup with the Wedgwood mark would be ‘[i]dokimos[/i]’, the cup without the mark would be ‘[i]a-dokimos[/i]’. ‘a-dokimos’ would thus mean ‘not having stood the test’, and hence very possible substandard or a fake.

The first use of ‘adokimos’ is very illustrative. [b] (Rom 1:28 KJV) And even as they did not [u]like[/u] to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a [u]reprobate[/u] mind, to do those things which are not convenient;[/b] The word ‘reprobate’ here is ‘[i]adokimos[/i]’. Youngs Literal translation has [b] (Rom 1:28 YLT) And, according as they did not [i]approve[/i] of having God in knowledge, God gave them up to a [u]disapproved[/u] mind, to do the things not seemly; [/b] We can see that Youngs is picking up the sense of something ‘not approved’ here, if other words it has failed the test. It is sub-standard and fake.

But Youngs has done something else here; it has picked up Paul’s play on words in this verse. The KJV ‘like’ is the word ‘[i]dokimazO[/i]’ Paul is describing, and he uses Aorist tenses throughout, man’s rejection of the knowledge of the true God. God has revealed Himself and mankind is without excuse, but mankind chose to withhold the stamp of approval. To use John’s language ‘they would not add their seal of approval to the witness of God.’ (John 3:33) The china passed all the tests but the factory still refused to authenticate it as ‘bona fide’ Wedgwood. Man’s state is one of wilful ignorance; he has rejected the witness of God to Himself. To have accepted it would to have brought man under its legitimate obligations of creature to Creator. Our race said ‘we will not have this man to reign over us’, even though we know Him to be the rightful Creator, we will not accept His rule. We will not add our signature to this proposal.

We see now the pertinence of the judgment to the crime. They refused to ‘authenticate’ the revelation of God, and God abandoned them to a mind that was without His ‘authentication’. A sub-standard, counterfeit mind, unfit for the purpose for which it was intended and utterly unreliable. It is only as we respond in faith to God’s revelation of Himself to us that this process begins to be reversed. We see/hear the revelation, we put to it our seal that God is true, and our mind, now submitting to revelation begins to work as it was intended.

So all these ideas of failing the test, being sub-standard, not fit for the use for which it was intended, without God’s seal of approval, counterfeit, spurious, are lurking in the word ‘[i]adokimos[/i]’.

Perhaps now we can look at the way the Bible uses it.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a [u]reprobate[/u] mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Rom 1:28 KJV)

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a [u]castaway[/u]. (1Co 9:27 KJV)

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be [u]reprobates[/u]? (2Co 13:5 KJV)

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not [u]reprobates[/u]. (2Co 13:6 KJV)

Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved (dokimos), but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as [u]reprobates[/u](adokimos). (2Co 13:7 KJV)

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, [u]reprobate[/u] concerning the faith. (2Ti 3:8 KJV)

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work [u]reprobate[/u]. (Tit 1:16 KJV)

But that which beareth thorns and briers is [u]rejected[/u], and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Heb 6:8 KJV)


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/30 8:47Profile
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 Re:

This is very good. Can we look a little more at the process of refining before we tackle the passages. I recall a passage in the Old Testament when God said that the 'bellows' was burned and the smelter smelts in vain; reprobate silver they are to be called because God has rejected them.

What is the 'dross' that is being refined out of the person's mind and heart in order to attain the 'Wedgwood' seal of approval (as it were)? I think this one puzzle piece will help us also understand what is going on in the passages. The 'Smelter' has burned up His bellows because He got the fire so hot trying to bring the person from reprobation. The bellows burst into flames? What would not be refined?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/30 9:28Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
What is the 'dross' that is being refined out of the person's mind and heart in order to attain the 'Wedgwood' seal of approval (as it were)? I think this one puzzle piece will help us also understand what is going on in the passages. The 'Smelter' has burned up His bellows because He got the fire so hot trying to bring the person from reprobation. The bellows burst into flames? What would not be refined?


This is . (Jer 6:29-30 KJV) [b]The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.[/b] I think before we do the exposition we need to do the exogesis.

There are some dreadfully final judgments in Jeremiah, but the sparkles of hope keep shining through too. One of the things that Jeremiah was commissioned to do was to root out, and to pull down, and destroy, and to throw down… to build, and to plant. The emphasis, however, is on demolition. The problem with Judah is that they healed too quickly before the word had done its work among them. The prophets were partly to blame in this. No doubt when there were signs of improvement they immediately switched to the brighter shinings of the promises.

In your passage the emphasis is on the hopelessness of the situation. Judah and Jerusalem is beyond help. There is, in them, no good thing. The fires that burn do not smelt away the dross to release the pure silver. It is all dross, there is no silver. In that sense this refining process is pointless. The condition of Judah and Jerusalem is beyond remedy. When the smelting, purifying process was accomplished there was no silver residue. Sometimes the paraphrases of the CEV and the Message get the mood very clearly. [b] but my people are too wicked to be made pure, and so I have rejected them. (Jer 6:30 CEV)[/b] and [b] Men will give up and call them 'slag,' thrown on the slag heap by me, their GOD."(Jer 6:30 MSG)[/b] These are hopeless as translations but they have nevertheless touched the heart of Jeremiah’s prophecy here.

This terminal condition is reflected in the verse [b] The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9 KJV)[/b] Young’s says [b] Crooked is the heart above all things, And it is incurable--who doth know it? (Jer 17:9 YLT)[/b] The word ‘crooked’ is the word we get Jacob from. Judah was incurably ‘jacob’, with no Israel in it. Judah was 100% there was nothing redeemable in it; it is all rejected.

These are terrifying prophecies for God’s own people, and this is why Jeremiah was largely rejected. They would not accept his witness.

Now where do we start the exposition? For myself, I would have to start with the promise not of a cured old heart, but of a new one. Not a repaired covenant but a new one. (seems we’ve been here before. ;-)) I think the metaphor of producing saints in the crucible is biblical but I think we have to think through its implications. There is a tendency to think that the work of purifying goes on throughout the whole of life. This is not the bible metaphor. Biblically, this kind of purifying was the work of an intense hour, not a lifetime.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/30 11:24Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
The problem with Judah is that they healed too quickly before the word had done its work among them. The prophets were partly to blame in this. No doubt when there were signs of improvement they immediately switched to the brighter shinings of the promises.



So we see then that they were brought to the place of repentance over and over again- yeilding only 'improvement'; but improvement is not repentance. This tells me we must keep the fire hot until the fire does the work. The bellows at this point almost seems metaphorically to be the preacher (prophet) himself flowing with the Pneuma of God. The wind of a fresh word kindling the fire that both lights and heats. As Finney would put it they were "convicted" or "anxious" sinners who would never repent. I keep coming back to his progression as I believe it fits so well:

1) Careless Sinners
2) Awakened Sinners
3) Convicted Sinners

See if I have this right?-

If they will submit to the hand of the 'Smelter' who works for but 'one hour' they will be gloriously regenerated and transformed from dross to silver. If they will not submit to what the Holy Spirit is doing they remain as dross.

Quote:
here is a tendency to think that the work of purifying goes on throughout the whole of life. This is not the bible metaphor. Biblically, this kind of purifying was the work of an intense hour, not a lifetime.



Do you think though that there is a 'fine tuning' and 'refinement' that must carry on after that crisis event? Or are the trials that come merely to authenticate the silver?

Thanks,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/30 11:47Profile
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 Re:

Hi Robert

Quote:
So we see then that they were brought to the place of repentance over and over again- yeilding only 'improvement'; but improvement is not repentance. This tells me we must keep the fire hot until the fire does the work. The bellows at this point almost seems metaphorically to be the preacher (prophet) himself flowing with the Pneuma of God. The wind of a fresh word kindling the fire that both lights and heats. As Finney would put it they were "convicted" or "anxious" sinners who would never repent. I keep coming back to his progression as I believe it fits so well:

I think Jeremiah’s point here is that no amount of heat is going to purify non-existent silver. I think these people will have to come to utter helplessness and desperation. I think my understanding of prophecy and of Jeremiah in particular is heavily dependent on Jeremiah 18 If we put this no-hope death sentence into the scenario of Jeremiah 18what do we get?

The vessel of the nation is ‘ruined’ in the hands of the potter. There is no silver in this ore. Is that the end the story? No!!! The potter re-made his vessel, again, another vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it. My time at Wedgwood was with a ‘china-thrower’ a man who made vessels on the throwers wheel. When it goes wrong, it cannot be mended. The potter will lean all his weight on the clay and flatten it to utter shapelessness; all trace of the former vessel has gone. Now he will lift it, gently nursing the clay up and out to give it carrying capacity again. He has made it again, another vessel.

God then applies this to his people. God has passed sentence against them. They are silver-less ore, they are stone hearted and incurable, rotten figs unfit for human consumption, no longer fit for divine consumption. So the judgments are set in process. It’s all over now isn’t it? No!!! [b] At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. (Jer 18:7-8 KJV)[/b] Really? For this hopeless, useless, valueless, refuse of a nation? Yes, He can start again.

The folly of the nation was that they refused this last chance too. [b] Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. (Jer 18:11-12 KJV)[/b] To say ‘there is no hope’ when God has just said ‘there is hope’ is a form of defiance. The nation went into bondage.

But while today if we hear His voice, harden not your hearts… While it is called ‘today’ there is hope. But the change begins where Jeremiah said it must; [b]if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent…[/b] There is a hopelessness which drives people to God, and another which drives them away. [b] Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2Co 7:9-10 KJV)[/b]


Quote:
Do you think though that there is a 'fine tuning' and 'refinement' that must carry on after that crisis event? Or are the trials that come merely to authenticate the silver?

When the silver is purified where would the impurities come from? They must have been ‘added’. In fact, I think the only way we can ‘corrupt’ gold and silver is to add other things to it. Silver and gold may oxidise slightly in air but they don’t corrupt naturally. (any scientists? please challenge or tweak this point)

Many ‘other things’ do get added to the gold of God’s work in His saints. Lots of rubbish gets dumped in the Temple that should never have been there. When we become aware of such things we must call on Him who purifies the sons of Levi, and cooperate with him in cleansing the temple.

One of the messages that Greg has on SI is called Hezekiah; not a very exciting title but it deals with getting the Temple fit for God again when it has become polluted. It might be something the Lord might use at end of year. It meanders a bit at the beginning but settles down to its topic ultimately. It has a follow-on called David and Goliath which will explain my phrase in another thread “the expulsive power of a new affection”.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/30 13:36Profile
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 Re:

Thanks Bro. Ron,

Say can you begin dealing with the verses that deal with the adokimos passages containing the word the 'mind'? I will be listening to the sermons in the mean while.

You have done much already today so I will not ask for it today; just as you get time. I appreciate all your help!


God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/30 13:47Profile
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 Re:

Very helpful, thank you for the word study. It is interesting that I come upon this after having gone through Jeremiah 42 mere moments ago. I won't go into the details, but obviously the theme of God dealing with a totally-corrupt remnant is prevalent. At the end, when Jeremiah says:

Jeremiah 42
20 For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.
21 And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you.
22 Now therefore [b]know certainly[/b] that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn.

Reading it, I almost tremble now, even though the word was given unto a different people thousands of years ago.

My thoughts were along the lines of "for there was no repentance in the heart of the remnant of Judah." Not "a little repentance, needing to be coaxed out by crisis," but [i]none[/i], there was nothing left, and only selfish desire that it be well with them (v.6) drove them to seek Jeremiah about the LORD's will in the first place.

This is very interesting, I had never thought of "reprobate silver" as meaning "not silver at all," is that the sense you get from it? It would make a good way of understanding the Biblical concept of total depravity, I think.

 2004/12/30 14:39Profile
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 Re:

Hi Keith

Quote:
This is very interesting, I had never thought of "reprobate silver" as meaning "not silver at all," is that the sense you get from it? It would make a good way of understanding the Biblical concept of total depravity, I think.


Yes, that's the sense I get from it. No silver at all.
and Yes, very much my way of thinking about 'total depravity'.

Hey, Keith, that's two 'yes-es' from me in one posting. You might want to print this one out and save it. :-D


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/30 14:44Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Hey, Keith, that's two 'yes-es' from me in one posting. You might want to print this one out and save it. :-D

I should put it on my refigerator! ;-)

A question about one of the N.T. instances of the word: was Paul saying that it was genuinely possible for him to transition from where he was into a state of "no silver at all" in the "castaway" verse?

 2004/12/30 14:50Profile





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