A Milder Type Of Rebuking Or Warning


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1 Thessalonians 5:12 reveals church leaders must be willing to admonish those believers in their care: “And we urge you, brethren, to recognise those who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.” The verb “admonish” here in the original Greek New Testament is a form of the word “noutheteo”.

The word “noutheteo” means “to admonish someone for having done something wrong…to advise someone concerning the dangerous consequences of some happening or action”. [1] Vine makes the following comments about “noutheteo” or “admonish”: “It is used, (a) of instruction, (b) of warning. It is thus distinguished from ‘paideuo’, ‘to correct by discipline, to train by act,’ Hebrews 12:6; cf. Ephesians 6:4. The difference between ‘admonish’ and ‘teach’ seems to be that, whereas the former has mainly in view the things that are wrong and call for warning, the latter has to do chiefly with the impartation of positive truth.” [2]

We can debate whether teaching mainly relates to positive truth or whether it equally involves distinguishing positive truth from error. But whatever the case, admonishment involves more warning than does teaching. Admonishing involves more than saying something is wrong. Admonishment also includes warning or cautioning about the bad consequences of such wrong.

Forms of the Greek word “noutheteo” are used in Romans 15:14, Colossians 1:28, 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and 2 Thessalonians 3:15.

Romans 15:14 refers to all believers admonishing, warning or reproving other believers gently: “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another.”

The associated noun “nouthesia” means “a putting in mind, the training by word whether of encouragement or if necessary reproof…” [3] or “admonition, instruction, warning”.[4] Forms of “nouthesia” are used in 1 Corinthians 10:11, Ephesians 6:4 and Titus 3:10. Ephesians 6:4 states: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Admonition includes a milder type of rebuking. But not all rebuking is mild as Titus 1:13 shows.

Colossians 1:28 reveals all of Paul’s admonishment and accompanying teaching aimed at seeing every believer mature in Christ.


Bible Study Questions


1.       Explain what the word “admonish” means in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and Romans 15:14.






[1] Louw and Nida, pages 436-437.

[2] Vine, page 13.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Bauer, page 544.

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