|Vol. 16 No. 6 June 2014||
T. Pierce Brown (deceased)
Every parent and teacher should learn the distinction between the various words that are translated “teach” in the Bible. The word “didasko” has the basic meaning “to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them.” A good concordance such as Young’s or Strong’s should enable one to find the places where such a word is used. It has to do with explaining, expounding or enjoining others to observe or obey some precept or come to some conclusion about a matter.
On the other hand, “paideuo” has to do with training another, which involves not only imparting information to him, but also causing him to learn. This is why it is sometimes translated “chastise,” for it involves correction, even punishment, if necessary, in order to mold the character properly. The expression in Luke 23:16, “I will therefore chastise him, and release him,” gives some indication of this meaning.
The word “katacheo” is translated “teach” in various places, and seems to differ only slightly from “didasko.” The primary difference is probably in the fact that “katacheo” points in the direction of teaching with words that charm and delight the listener, whereas “didasko” simply refers to the imparting of information, in whatever fashion it may be done.
However, “matheteuo,” which is translated “instruct” in Matthew 13:52 and “teach” in Matthew 28:19, involves something that no commentator of which I know deals with in an adequate manner. Most persons seem to think that it means “make disciples or learners by telling them certain facts.” It does not! It does mean, “make disciples,” but contrary to what you may have heard from even learned men, a disciple is not merely “a learner.” A disciple is one who has learned to be a disciplined follower. If you read carefully Matthew 28:19-20, you will notice that it reads like this: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples [mathateusate] of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching [didaskontes] them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” A disciple is made, according to the grammar of that text, not merely by telling him facts about Christ, but by causing him to become a disciplined follower of Christ. He becomes that disciplined follower by being baptized and being taught to observe all that Christ commanded.
To translate it more literally, it could be read, “As you go, make disciplined followers of those who hear you by baptizing [a participle phrase which indicates part of the process by which one is determined to be a follower of Christ] and by teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.” If a person is not taught to observe all things authorized and commanded of Christ, then he is not a disciple, no matter what he may have been told or taught.
Solomon said in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The Masoretic Text says, “chanoth lannaar al pic darc,” which, loosely translated means, “Initiate (train, discipline) the child at the opening of his way.” That does not clarify much, but when I check every similar expression in the Old Testament, I am persuaded that the hint that Barnes gives points toward the proper meaning. Barnes says, “according to the tenor of his way, i.e. the path especially belonging to, specially fitted for the individual’s character. The proverb enjoins the closest possible study of each child’s temperament and the adaptation of ‘his way of life’ to it.”
The general truths that most commentators and preachers make about the values of training and disciplining a child in accordance with God’s Word (the way he should go) are good and proper. However, the other truth that I think Solomon is pointing out is that the training should conform to the “way of the child” – his nature, qualities and gifts. A person fitted to be a musician or a poet or artist should not be forced to learn to be proficient at football simply because his father was a famous quarterback, or to be a great lawyer because his father failed to be one! Do you imagine Beethoven would depart from the way he was trained, as he might have if he had been trained to be a jockey or a hockey player?
If this encourages you to continue your study with a more intensive examination of “mueo,” “probibazo” and “sumbibazo,” which are translated into various forms of “instruct,” I shall be glad, for the length of this article forbids extensive examination here.
A quick summary may be in order. Our teaching should include: 1. The imparting of correct information. 2. The imparting of that information in such a charming or delightful or appealing way that it is easier to learn and remember the facts. 3. The practical application of the information so presented that the one being taught is able to practice it as a disciplined, trained follower. 4. The realization fully grasped by the learner that he cannot be a disciple of Christ by picking and choosing what commands he wants to obey, but he must abide by the authority of Christ in all things.
Donald R. Fox
I have been looking for a book in my library for months. Did I lose it or did I loan it to a friend a long time ago? The book is titled Broken Homes and Handicapped Children by V. E. Howard, published in 1972. Fortunately, I found it on my bookshelf. I don’t know how I missed finding it for such a long time. It can’t be age!
The theme of the book was basically about alcohol and drug abuse has destroyed many homes, thus handicapping innocent children. The book was the product of a series of lessons presented by V. E. Howard over the radio. In the foreword of the book V.E. Howard wrote:
This series of discussions on the theme, “Broken Homes and Handicapped Children,” has been presented over more than 100 stations of the World Radio Gospel Hour network. Because of the vital nature of the material, it is also being published in the hope that thousands will be stimulated to re-examine their own homes and lives.
Being fully aware that many of the matters are controversial and even frightening, I pray that you will sincerely study the problems and solutions that are detailed and documented in these pages. The menace to the modern home has never been greater than it is today. We must open our eyes to the graphic danger signals all around us and seek God and His help while there is still hope. As Hosea, God’s prophet of old, exhorted: “Break up your fellow ground; for it is time to seek Jehovah” (Hosea 10:12).
On page 61 the following is noted:
Tom Tiede, newswriter (NEA), New York, wrote, “You may be killed by the only guy in your town who can get away with murder. …Drunk drivers rank among American’s most vicious criminals… Last year drunk drivers killed twice as many citizens – 30,000 – as did rapists, robbers, arsonists and thieves combined. They destroy six times as much property as was stolen in the entire nation. In short, as one Department of Transportation official observed, “They are probably the No. 1 crime problem in the nation today.”
Friends, let us understand that the above was written in 1972. Presently, the public is bombarded with advertisements on TV concerning alcohol consumption. Hollywood movies and sitcoms continue to glorify negative lifestyles. We ask, what are the statistics and problems today with alcohol and drugs? Mind-boggling, is it not?
My growing-up years were bittersweet because of the constant drinking by my father. He had many good traits, but he became Mr. Hyde too many times. Too often I feared him. No, he terrified me. Getting on a bus on a cold March morning to enter the Regular Army in 1951 became one of the happiest days of my life. To remember this bitter time brings tears to my eyes even to this day.
I am thankful I met my future wife while serving in the Army overseas. We vowed in marriage that if we were blessed with children, they would not suffer the bitterness of a broken home. As Shirley and I approach our sixty-year of marriage in April 2013, alcohol was not part of our life, thank God. The home is of divine origin. “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:23-25 KJV).