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The Steps of the Biblical Higher Education: TEST

By Dr. Terry Smith, Vice President of Ministry Advancement

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, and for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

While studying 2 Timothy 3:16 a little while back, I decided to do word studies on the four key words Paul uses when he’s talking about the educational and spiritual “profit” of God‘s word. Not only was I intrigued by the acronym “TEST” that came from the four words, but I discovered the words were actually levels to learning, like climbing steps on the biblical higher education ladder.

The first step a student takes on their journey is learning from “teaching” or “instruction, conveying information” by speaking truth (didaskalos, from where we get the word “didactic”) (T). The second word “reproof “or “rebuke“ takes us up another step by commanding that we deal with error in our thinking as well. A good translation of this word is “to expose.” So we are not to only teach, but to expose error (TE).

The third Greek word has the root orthosis where we get the English transliteration “ortho” as in orthodontist or orthopedic, for “straightening” teeth and limbs. So should we as Bible teachers straighten a student's doctrine and worldview according to Scripture (TES).

The final word is “training” coming from the Greek word paideuo meaning “to train children, discipline, punish.” Those of us who have raised children know full well how much time, effort and other resources go into training them whether or not we are successful at it (TEST).





Teaching - Matthew 28:20 (NIV) “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Exposing - 1 Corinthians 11:31 "For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged."

Matthew 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” (NASB)

Straightening - 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” (NIV)

Training people in God's word to be active, faithful disciples of Christ! 1 Timothy 4:7 “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful (ôpheleô = profitable, beneficial)1 for Teaching (didaskalia = instruction, where we get the English word didactic= 1a : designed or intended to teach, b : intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment), rebuking (“reproof” in NASB, NRSV, ESV, NKJV, and KJV. elegmos, root elegchô = Exposing, convicting), correcting (all translations are the same here. ἐπανόρθωσις/epanorthôsis, root ἀνορθόω/anorthoô to set straight again, from orthoô = to set straight or Straightening) and Training (instruction in NKJV and KJV. παιδεία/paideia = lit. the rearing of a child, training, discipline, root παιδεύω/paideuô = to train children, to chasten, correct, discipline, punish [e.g. military training]) 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly (ἄρτιος/artios = fitted, complete, adequate) equipped (ἐξαρτίζω/exartizô = to complete, to equip fully, Root from αρτίζω/artizô = get ready, prepare) for every good work (ἔργον/ergon = action, behavior, deed).

1 All word studies unless specified are from the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

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