The etymology of a rebuke

One of the words that I hadn’t examined as closely in the Scriptures was the word for rebuke.

G2008 — ἐπιτιμάω — epitimaō — ep-ee-tee-mah’-o

From G1909 and G5091; to tax upon, that is, censure or admonish; by implication forbid: – (straitly) charge, rebuke.

You’ll notice that it’s a conjunction of two words, epi and timao.

G1909 — ἐπί — epi — ep-ee’

A primary preposition properly meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], that is, over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dative case) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.: – about (the times), above, after, against, among, as long as (touching), at, beside, X have charge of, (be-, [where-]) fore, in (a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of, (up-) on (behalf of) over, (by, for) the space of, through (-out), (un-) to (-ward), with. In compounds it retains essentially the same import, at, upon, etc. (literally or figuratively).

G5091 — τιμάω — timaō — tim-ah’-o

From G5093; to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere: – honour, value.

Typically, when the prefix epi- is used, it signifies the fullness of, perhaps completeness, or something that is upon or higher than. For example, gnosis and epignosis are used many times in the Scriptures to refer to knowledge, but epignosis refers to the abudance/fullness of knowledge in Christ.

G1108 — γνῶσις — gnōsis — gno’-sis

From G1097; knowing (the act), that is, (by implication) knowledge: – knowledge, science.

G1922 — ἐπίγνωσις — epignōsis — ip-ig’-no-sis

From G1921; recognition, that is, (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: – (ac-) knowledge (-ing, -ment).

I’ve written on the difference timao before on this blog in Fear, respect, honor, timao, (phobeo and timao) and compared and contrasted respect/reverence/fear and valuation in why I don’t respect women. The Scriptures use timao in terms of valuation that is given to all humanity as creations of God.

Thus, the conjunction of epi-timao as a “rebuke” is to literally call someone to reconsider the valuation of their behavior. If their behavior is not in alignment with Christ then it is to call them out to the standard of who they are in Christ. To show them that you care about them and want to help them live in the fullness of their worth as a creation of God.

Calling other Christians out in rebuke in conflict is hard, but it’s not that we are to be mean to them but to show them that they are not their behavior and guide them back onto the path of Christ. This is useful for understanding rebuke in the context of women as I wrote in Jesus and the Church is husbands and wives.

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3 Responses to The etymology of a rebuke

  1. Looking Glass says:

    Good post.

  2. Patrick Pedat Ebediyah Golston says:

    Outstanding work, sir.

    It happened to me recently by one of my Messianic teachers.

    “A Servant of Yahweh does not do such things…examine yourself in light of His instructions to you in the Word”.

  3. Pingback: Identity Part 2 | Reflections on Christianity and the manosphere

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