EVERYTHING: panta de dokimazete (2PPAM):
(Isa 8:20; Mt 7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Mk 7:14, 15, 16; Lk 12:57;
Acts 17:11; Ro 12:2; 1Co 2:11,14,15; 14:28; Eph 5:10; Php 1:10:; 1Jn
4:1; Re 2:2)
Young's Literal preserves
the original Greek word order...
all things prove; that which is
good hold fast
But (de) introduces a
contrasting command which serves to counterbalance the preceding
As Hiebert says...
The missionaries are not advocating
credulity toward all that claim to be a message from the Spirit. They
need to realize that a false supernatural report may mimic the true.
"The simple fact of a supernatural inspiration is not enough to
establish the claims of a spirit to be heard. There are inspirations
from below as well as from above." (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
Milligan comments that
the whole clause stands in a
certain limiting relation to the foregoing precepts: important as
‘gifts’ and ‘prophesyings’ are, they cannot be accepted
unhesitatingly, but must be put to the test (cf. 1 Jo. 4:1). Nothing
is said as to how this diakrisis pneumaton (1 Cor. 12:10,
14:29) is to be effected, but it can only be by a ‘spiritual’ standard
(cf. 1 Cor. 2:13) (St. Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians. 1908.
London: Macmillan and Co., limited
Everything (pas) in
context refers primarily to the prophetic utterances just
mentioned. On the other hand, this command clearly has a general
application, extending in principle to all things that impact our
spiritual life (which in fact is everything!).
from dokimos =
tested, proved or approved, tried as metals by fire and thus purified
from dechomai = to accept, receive) means to assay,
to test, to prove, to put to the test, to make a trial of, to verify,
to discern to approve. It means to test in order to verify the
character of something. John uses the same verb to inform his
readers that they should put the content of prophetic speech to the
Spiritual discernment is the
ability to distinguish divine truth from error and half-truth, right
from wrong or good from bad, an ability which is vital to assure a
healthy Christian life. Test everything to see if it is the "real
thing"... to see if it is authentic Christianity.
is in the
denotes that the testing demanded is not an isolated action, but is
rather to be the settled rule and continuing practice. Williams
but continue to approve all things
until you can approve them
Dokimazo involves not only testing but
determining the genuineness or value of an event or object. That which
has been tested is demonstrated to be genuine and trustworthy. Dokimazo was used in
classic Greek to describe the assaying of precious metals (especially
gold or silver coins), usually by fire, to prove the whether they were
authentic and whether they measured up to the stated worth. That which
endures the test was called dokimos and that which fails is
Dokimazo - 22x in 20v - Luke
12:56; 14:19; Rom 1:28; 2:18; 12:2; 14:22; 1 Cor 3:13; 11:28; 16:3; 2
Cor 8:8, 22; 13:5; Gal 6:4; Eph 5:10; Phil 1:10; 1 Thess 2:4; 5:21; 1
Tim 3:10; 1 Pet 1:7; 1 John 4:1. NAS = analyze(2),
approve(3), approved(1), approves(1), examine(4), examines(1),
prove(1), proving(1), see fit(1), test(2), tested(3), try(1), trying
C H Spurgeon adds a note of caution on the command to
examine everything carefully...
"Oh," says a man "but you must
prove all things." Yes, bo I will; but if one should set a joint of
meat on his table, and it smell rather high, I would cut a slice, and
if I put one bit of it in my mouth, and found it far gone, I should
not feel it necessary to eat the whole round of beef to test its
sweetness. Some people seem to think that they must read a bad book
through; and they must go and hear a bad preacher often before they
can be sure of his quality. Why, you can judge many teachings in five
minutes. You say to yourself, "No, sir, no, no, no, this is good
meat—for dogs. Let them have it, but it is not good meat for me, and I
do not intend to poison myself with it." (Barbed Arrows from the
Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon)
Dokimazo means to put to
the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the person
tested meets the specifications prescribed, to put one’s approval upon
him. For example Paul writes that unregenerate mankind "did not
approve (dokimazo) of having God in knowledge, God gave them up to
a disapproved mind, to do the things not seemly." (Young's literal
translation see note
In this incredible verse fallen men presumptuously put God to the test
for the purpose of approving Him to see He if He would meet the
specifications which they laid down for a God who would be to their
liking! But sinful man did not stop there, for finding that He did not
meet their specifications, they refused to approve (dokimazo)
Him as the God to be worshipped or have Him in its knowledge! They
tested the infinitely precious God as they would a mere coin, and
chose to turn aside from Him!
Dokimazo means to make a
critical examination of something to determine its genuineness.
Dokimazo was used in a manuscript of 140AD which contains a plea
for the exemption of physicians, and especially of those who have
passed the examination (dokimazo). Dokimazo was thus used
as a technical expression referring to the action of an examining
board putting its approval upon those who had successfully passed the
examinations for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Dokimazo
was also used to describe the passing of a candidate as fit for
election to public office.
On the basis of the truth in
Romans 1-11, in
"not be conformed (assuming an
outward expression not reflective of Christ Who is really inside you)
to this world (the beliefs, values, moral atmosphere, etc of this
present evil age which is ruled by Satan), but be transformed (daily,
continually be undergoing a metamorphosis or change in your outward
appearance which manifests your new, inner redeemed nature) by the
renewing (re-programming your mind, as the Spirit changes your
thinking as you saturate your mind with Scripture allowing it to
control and guide your steps) of your mind, that you may prove
(dokimazo) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable
and perfect." (see note
In a similar exhortation to the
Ephesians who were formerly in spiritual darkness but now were
light in the Lord, because of who they were in Christ, they should
walk as children of light continually
trying to learn (dokimazo -
continually putting every thought, word and deed to the test in order
to prove) what is pleasing to the Lord (The one point of all moral
is, does it please God?). (see note
Walking in the light, in the
Spirit (see note
Galatians 5:16), according to the Word and the revealed will of God is a sure
way to test and approve what pleases our Lord. To be sure Paul says
that certain individuals in the body did have the special Spirit
giftedness to allow them to discern the spirits (cf, 1Cor 12:10 "the
distinguishing of spirits" - i.e., ability to distinguish between
what came from the Holy Spirit, what was a satanic counterfeit, and/or
what was simply of the
- not physical flesh but our
Nevertheless, it is clear that every saint has the responsibility and
the ability (the indwelling Holy Spirit) to be discerning in all
matters that affect their spiritual life.
MacDonald says that one
way to examine everything carefully is to ask...
What does the Lord think about
this? How does it appear in His presence? Every area of life
under the searchlight (what a picture of "dokimazo"!)—conversation,
standard of living, clothes, books, business, pleasures,
entertainments, furniture, friendships, vacations, cars, and sports. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
Paul prays for the saints
at Philippi (and a good model prayer for us today)
"that your love may abound still
more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you
may approve (dokimazo) (continually like a "spiritual
metallurgist" assaying the things in their lives that were of real
value, as to discern
that which was true and genuine) the things that are excellent
(some things are good and others are better - the good is often the
enemy of the best. Dokimazo speaks of investigating to determine which
is the best), in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of
Christ." (see notes
Note that in context we are to sift
and test prophetic utterances. Dokimazo conveys the idea of proving a
thing whether it is worthy or not, whether genuine or not. In the
present context all prophetic utterances need to be tested to avoid
erroneous teaching or false doctrine from entering into the assembly.
In the church, one of the chief
functions of the elders or overseers is to be continually...
holding fast (present
= continually holding himself
face to face as it were with the trustworthy Word of God!) the
faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be
able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who
contradict. (see note
If you are an elder, you will be
held accountable for whether or not you fulfilled this function and
examined everything (every Sunday School teacher, every video series
no matter whose ministry it is from, every seminar speaker, every
Bible study, every song the worship leader holds forth as Scripturally
sound and edifying, etc) carefully, for as Paul warned the Ephesian
elders (truth practical to all elders) "savage wolves will come in
among you, not sparing the flock and from among your own selves men
will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after
them. (Acts 20:29-20).
Holding fast the faithful word is
vital if one is going to be equipped to test everything carefully!
Isaiah speaks to the
importance of the plumbline of God's Word declaring...
To the law and to the testimony!
(that is, the written Word of God, the only absolute and
trustworthy standard which provides all the counsel and guidance we
need) If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they
have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20)
John MacArthur writes
It is failure in the area of
holding fast the faithful word that is largely responsible for the
superficial, self-elevating preaching and teaching in many evangelical
churches...the weak, shallow, insipid sermonettes for Christianettes”
Here is the real villain that has led so many to be converted to what
they consider relevancy and therefore to preach a pampering psychology
or become standup comics, storytellers, clever speechmakers or
entertainers who turn churches into what John Piper in his most
The Supremacy of God in Preaching
has called “the slapstick of evangelical worship” (Baker, 1990, p 21).
Preaching and teaching are the primary responsibilities of elders. (MacArthur.
Titus: Moody Press)
Paul's point in his injunction to
the Thessalonian church (the command to examine is plural) is for all
the saints to exercise discernment. So also in our day, when "new"
teachings are being proposed (even if they are popular and widely
accepted by other churches), believers must continually test them to
determine whether or not they have their origin in God and have as
their chief goal to edify the body, make disciples like Christ and
glorify God their Father. There is a caution needed here for this
command does not mean we are to invoke rationalism (or pragmatism -
the philosophical system that assumes that every truth or idea has
practical consequences and that these practical consequences are a
critical test of its truthfulness) as the criterion by which we test
spiritual realties. Such reasoning might go something like this - "If
it 'works', it must be of God so let's adopt it into our church's
programs". In the arena of spiritual truth, mere intellectual
acumen is simply not able to make this test. The corollary is that if
we rely on our intellect to "discern" the spiritual efficacy or
veracity of a new program or method (e.g., "all the churches in
California are doing it and their memberships are growing") we are
entertaining a prescription which will quite likely lead to spiritual
frustration and give no supernatural sense of God's "seal of
Howard Marshall (in the New
Century Commentary) writes that...
It is spiritual discernment rather
than intellectual sagacity that is required.
Hiebert adds that...
The Thessalonians are not told how
this testing is to be effected, but dearly it must proceed upon a
spiritual standard. The Bereans tested the apostolic teaching on the
basis of its agreement with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11-note).
The Scriptures are our sole and sufficient criterion for the testing
of all teachings that claim to have divine origin and authority. It is
the function of the Holy Spirit to quicken the spiritual perception of
the believer so that he is enabled to detect spiritual error in the
light of the Word of God (see John 14:26; 16:13; 1Jn 2:20, 21, 22, 23,
24, 25, 26, 27).
The acuteness of the believer's spiritual perception is dependent upon
the spirituality of his daily walk (2Pe 1:8, 9-note,
2Pe 1:10, 11-note). (Ibid)
feels that in light of possible problems with prophetic utterances Paul
adds another command to...
test it. It is easy to imitate this.
Anyone can stand up and say in a deep tone of voice, "This is the word
of the Lord." We must learn to test what is said from what has already
been revealed. Paul commended the Bereans for this, saying they were
more noble than those in Thessalonica because they
received the word with all readiness
of heart and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so
Test it, is what Paul is saying. F.
F. Bruce says there was a saying attributed to Jesus that was often
quoted by early Christian writers. It is not in the gospels, but it was
a commonly attributed saying that urged, "become approved
money-changers." The money-changers in the temple were occupied in
changing various currencies and were constantly looking out for
counterfeit coins. That is what Paul tells us to do about prophesyings.
People on every side are telling us what God wants us to do, but there
is much that is counterfeit in that today. Become approved
money-changers. Test what is said. (Loving
Barnes writes that the idea of
examine everything is to...
Subject everything submitted to you
to be believed to the proper test. The word here used (dokimazo)
is one that is properly applicable to metals, referring to the art of
the assayer by which the true nature and value of the metal is tested.
See [1Cor 3:13]. This trial was usually made by fire.
The meaning here is, that they were
carefully to examine everything proposed for their belief. They were not
to receive it on trust; to take it on assertion; to believe it because
it was urged with vehemence, zeal, or plausibility. In the various
opinions and doctrines which were submitted to them for adoption, they
were to apply the appropriate tests from reason and the word of God; and
what they found to be true they were to embrace; what was false they
were to reject.
Christianity does not require men to
disregard their reason, or to be credulous. It does not expect them to
believe anything because others say it is so. It does not make it a duty
to receive as undoubted truth all that synods and councils have decreed;
or all that is advanced by the ministers of religion. It is, more than
any other form of religion, the friend of free inquiry, and would lead
men everywhere to understand the reason of the opinions which they
entertain. Cp. Ac 17:11,12; 1Pe 3:15-note. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT
Calvin writes that...
As rash men and deceiving spirits
frequently pass off their trifles under the name of prophecy, prophecy
might by this means be rendered suspicious or even odious, just as many
in the present day feel almost disgusted with the very name of
preaching, as there are so many foolish and ignorant persons that from
the pulpit blab out their worthless contrivances, while there are
others, also, that are wicked and sacrilegious persons, who babble forth
execrable blasphemies. (1 Thessalonians 5)
Vine explains that...
While “discerning” or “proving” is
itself a “spiritual gift,” 1 Corinthians 12:10, all spiritual persons
are responsible to form judgments on spiritual things, see note at v.
11, and for this provision is made in the “anointing from the Holy One”
which is given to the children in the family of God, 1Jn 2:18, 20,
27, cp. 2Ti 2:7-note.
Spiritual perception, however, like spiritual power, depends on the walk
of the believer, the slothful and evildoers are blind, only the godly
have discernment in the truth, Proverbs 28:5; Daniel 9:13; 2Pe 1:9-note.
Moreover, the desire to be impressed, to have the feelings wrought upon,
rather than to be instructed in the ways of the Lord, is a common snare
to the saints, (see 2Ti 3:6, 7-note,
2Ti 4:3, 4-note).
The completed Scriptures, i.e., the
Old Testament and New Testament, became later the sole and sufficient
standard by which all teaching, oral or written, could be tested, but
long before that time, believers and churches had multiplied widely.
During the intervening period, in the case of revelations for the
testing of which the Old Testament was not available, such as that
referred to in Colossians 1:26
e.g., believers were encouraged by the promised guidance of the Holy
Spirit, Jn 16:13, to compare utterances claiming to be spiritual, 1Corinthians 2:13, and so to test the prophecy and the spirit that
prompted it, 1Corinthians 14:29; 1John 4:6; Revelation 2:2
In early days a saying “be ye tried
money changers” (which means “accustom yourselves to distinguish between the true
and false” cp. Php 1:10-note,
was commonly connected with these words (cp. 1Kings 3:9; Jer
15:19; He 5:14-note).
(Ed Note: The phrase "be ye tried money changers" depicts a
moneychanger testing the genuineness of a coin - remembering that the
verb dokimazo means to test something to determine its
By some ancient writers this saying (“be ye tried
money changers”) was credited to the apostle Paul, by others
to the Lord Himself but it does not occur in the New Testament. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
James Denney adds that...
When the Apostle Paul claimed respect
for the Christian preacher, he did not claim infallibility. That is
plain from what follows, for all the words are connected. Despise not
prophesyings, but put all things to the test, that is, all
the contents of the prophesying, all the utterances of the Christian man
whose spiritual ardour has urged him to speak.
We may remark in passing that this
injunction prohibits all passive listening to the word. Many people
prefer this. They come to church, not to be taught, not to exercise any
faculty of discernment or testing at all, but to be impressed. They like
to be played upon, and to have their feelings moved by a tender or
vehement address; it is an easy way of coming into apparent contact with
good. But the Apostle here counsels a different attitude. We are to put
to the proof all that the preacher says...
No man is perfect, not the most
devout and enthusiastic of Christians. In his most spiritual utterances
something of himself will very naturally mingle; there will be chaff
among the wheat; wood, hay, and stubble in the material he brings to
build up the Church, as well as gold, silver, and precious stones. That
is not a reason for refusing to listen; it is a reason for listening
earnestly, conscientiously, and with much forbearance. There is a
responsibility laid upon each of us, a responsibility laid upon the
Christian conscience of every congregation and of the Church at large,
to put prophesyings to the proof. Words that are spiritually unsound,
that are out of tune with the revelation of God in Christ Jesus, ought
to be discovered when they are spoken in the Church. No man with any
idea of modesty, to say nothing of humility, could wish it otherwise.
And here, again, we have to regret the quenching of the Spirit. We have
all heard the sermon criticized when the preacher could not get the
benefit; but have we often heard it spiritually judged, so that he, as
well as those who listened to him, is edified, comforted, and
encouraged? The preacher has as much need of the word as his hearers; if
there is a service which God enables him to do for them, in enlightening
their minds or fortifying their wills, there is a corresponding service
when they can do for him. An open meeting, a liberty of prophesying, a
gathering in which any one could speak as the Spirit gave him utterance,
is one of the crying needs of the modern Church.
(1 Thessalonians 5
Two good tests to enable the exercise
of spiritual discernment are
(1). Will it make you or others
stumble? (Mk 9:42, 43, 45, 47; Lk 17:2)
(2) Will I be ashamed if Jesus
should return? (1Jn 2:28, 1Jn 3:2-note,
1Jn 3:21; 4:17)
Clarke offers this
Whatever in these prophesyings has
a tendency to increase your faith, love, holiness, and usefulness,
that receive and hold fast. (Clarke's Commentary: First Thessalonians)
Another way, and ultimately the
best way, to test prophetic utterances is by comparing the
utterances with the standard of previously given divine revelation, in
the first century church the most readily available revelation being
the Old Testament Scriptures. For example, Moses called for a similar
"testing" writing to Israel that...
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams
arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or
the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let
us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve
them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that
dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if
you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 "You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep
His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5
"But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death,
because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who
brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of
slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God
commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.
(Deut. 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Later Moses added that...
the prophet who shall speak a word
presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or
which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall
die. (Deut 18:20)
John gave similar advice in
the New Testament ...
Beloved, do not believe every
(same verb dokimazo,
here in the
= issued almost like a military
command - do this now, don't delay, do it effectively) the spirits to see whether they are from God; because
many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know
the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not
confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the
antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is
already in the world. (1John 4:1, 2, 3).
In John's gospel Jesus
gave an excellent principle which will increase one's ability to
discern truth from error...
"If any man is willing to do His
will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether
I speak from Myself. (Comment: A Spirit inspired willingness
and enablement to carry out God's will is the first prerequisite
to ascertaining God's leading in some matter or the truth about some
Matthew Henry adds that...
Corrupt affections indulged in the
heart, and evil practices allowed in the life, will greatly tend to
promote fatal errors in the mind; whereas purity of heart, and
integrity of life, will dispose men to receive the truth in the love
In short, believers should retain
everything that passes the test of Scripture. And
what does not pass the test is to be rejected along with all other
kinds of evil.
About fifty years after Paul's
letter, in one of the writings of apostolic fathers the Didache (The
Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) instructed the church to evaluate the
character of those who put themselves forward as prophets within the
church writing that...
not everyone who speaks in a spirit
is a prophet, except he have the behavior of the Lord (Did. 11.8 and
In another place in Didache we read
My child, flee from evil of every
kind, and from everything resembling it. (Didache 3.1)
The charge to
examine...carefully both the character and content of prophetic
utterances resonates in the stern warning by Jesus in His Sermon on
= continually guard against)
of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits.
Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are
they? 17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad
tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor
can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear
good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will
know them by their fruits. (See notes
Ben Patterson wrote that
The American Banking Association
once sponsored a two-week training program to help tellers detect
counterfeit bills. The program was unique--never during the two-week
training did the tellers even look at a counterfeit bill, not did they
listen to any lectures concerning the characteristics of counterfeit
bills....All they did for two weeks was handle authentic currency,
hour after hour and day after day, until they were so familiar with
the true that they could not possibly be fooled by the false." (Ben
Patterson, Waiting: InterVarsity Press, 1989)
To avoid being
pulled into error,
keep a firm grip on the truth.
Today we have a veritable plethora of "Christianized" literature and
music and Paul would echo Jesus' words that we be shrewd as serpents
and innocent as doves (Mt 10:16), that we be like Bereans (Acts 17:11-note)
who daily went to the Scriptures to check out whether Paul was
proclaiming Truth! Why is this so critical in these last days when
even Christianity has for most part succumbed to the deceptive,
numbing, dumbing down intoxications of this futile world system which
is passing away? Because ONLY God's pure unadulterated Truth will
achieve eternal results (cp Acts 17:12, Col 1:5-note,
1Pe 1:23; 24-note
TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD:
to kalon katechete (2PPAM):
(Deuteronomy 11:6, 7, 8, 9; 32:46,47; Pr 3:1,21, 22, 23, 24; 4:13;
6:21, 22, 23; 23:23; Song 3:4; Jn 8:31; 15:4; Acts 11:23; 14:22; Ro
12:9; 1Co 15:58; Php 3:16; 4:8; 2Th 2:15; 2Ti 1:15; 3:6; 4:14; He
10:23; Re 2:25; 3:3,11)
To avoid being pulled into error
Keep a firm grip on the truth
(2722)(katecho from katá
= intensifies or gives added force to the compound verb; kata
also means "down" + écho = have, hold) means to hold firmly, to
hold fast or to hold down (to suppress). Katecho means to hold
so as to avoid relinquishing something.
is in the
denotes that the holding fast Paul commands is not an isolated action,
but is rather to be the believer's settled rule and continuing
practice. Keep clinging to what is good! Embrace it wholeheartedly.
Take possession of it! And keep doing this all your Christian life.
In some contexts katecho
means to prevent the doing of something or cause to be ineffective.
The idea can be to hold back, suppress or restrain as in (Ro
In 2Th 2:6, 7 the Antichrist is actively being prevented from
exercising power and so he is restrained or checked.
Katecho can mean to keep in
one’s possession and so to possess (1Cor 7:30, 2Cor 6:10) Katecho
was legal jargon for “taking possession of property”.
Katecho is used in nautical
circles with the meaning of “holding one’s course toward” as in Acts
27:40 where the storm-tossed ship held its course toward shore.
Katecho mean to keep within
limits in a confining manner (Genesis 39:20, Romans 7:6-note)
Katecho was a
technical term used to emphasize the necessity of adhering or holding
firmly to beliefs, convictions, tradition or sound doctrine (See these uses
below - Luke 8.15 [seed = word], 1 Cor. 11.2, 1Cor 15.2 [the gospel];
Heb 3:6, 3:14; 10:23-see notes
Katecho is used 17 times in the
Luke 4:42 And when day
came, He departed and went to a lonely place; and the multitudes were
searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep (to
detain, to hold Him back, to retain) Him from going
away from them.
Luke 8:15 "And the seed in
the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest
and good heart, and hold it fast, (present
continually) and bear fruit with perseverance.
Luke 14:9 and he who invited
you both shall come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then
in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. (Comment:
Here katecho means to have a place as one’s own, to take
into one’s possession, or to occupy.)
Acts 27:40 And casting off
the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they
were loosening the ropes of the rudders, and hoisting the foresail to
the wind, they were heading for the beach. (Comment:
Here katecho is used by Luke as a nautical technical term to
hold one's course toward, to head for, or to steer for - "they began
to hold the ship steadily for the beach" )
Romans 1:18 (note)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men (unrighteous men restrain the spread of
truth by their unrighteousness), who suppress (present
continually) the truth in unrighteousness (Comment:
Unregenerate men, at enmity with God, always going astray from His
will, actively suppress the fact that there is a supreme Being
with divine attributes to Whom worship and obedience are due, truth
which all men can discern by observing Creation, which demands a
Creator to answer for its existence. They continually hold this
truth down in the sense that they refuse to acknowledge its
moral implications, and consequently continue on in their sin.)
Romans 7:6 (note)
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by
which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the
Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
1 Corinthians 7:30 and those who
weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though
they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not
possess; (Comment: What the believer owns is a trust,
not a property.)
1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise
you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the
traditions (paradosis = a giving over came to refer to the content of
instruction which was handed down), just as I delivered them to you.
1Corinthians 15:2 (note)
by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word
which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:10 as sorrowful yet
always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet
possessing all things. (Though materially Paul had nothing, in
spiritual terms he was possessing everything - a good perspective for
all of us alien believers and short timers to have!)
1Thessalonians 5:21 (note)
to that which is good;
2 Thessalonians 2:6 And you know
what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is
already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is
taken out of the way.
Philemon 1:13 whom I wished to
with me, that in your behalf he might minister to me in my
imprisonment for the gospel;
Hebrews 3:6 (note)
but Christ was faithful as a Son
over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our
confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
Hebrews 3:14 (note)
For we have become partakers of
Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm
until the end (Comment: The nautical use of holding fast to
one's course gives us a vivid picture of what the writer of Hebrews is
saying in Heb 3:6 and this passage. The point is that If the Hebrews
would hold their course "like a ship", steadfastly along the lines of
their present profession, that would demonstrate that they were saved.
If they veered away from that course, that would show that they never
had been saved, but that their profession of Messiah had been, not one
of the heart but of the head. Be careful! This does not in any way say
they merited or earned their salvation by their own efforts to hold
fast. True believers hold fast only because of the One Who holds them
on course! It is all of grace!)
Hebrews 10:23 (note)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful (Comment: Katecho speaks
here of a firm hold which masters that which is held)
Katecho - 53x
in the non-apocryphal
- Ge 22:13; 24:56; 39:20; 42:19; Ex
32:13; Jos. 1:11; Jdg. 13:15f; 19:4; Ruth 1:13; 2 Sam. 1:9; 2:21;
4:10; 6:6; 1 Ki. 1:51; 2:28f; 2 Ki. 12:12; 1 Chr. 13:9; 2 Chr. 15:8;
Neh. 3:4f; Job 15:24; 23:9; 27:17; 34:14; Ps. 69:36; 73:12; 119:53;
139:10; Prov. 18:22; 19:15; Song 3:8; Isa. 40:22; Jer. 6:24; 13:21;
30:6; 50:16; Ezek. 33:24; Dan. 7:18, 22
Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham
raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught
(Hebrew = 'achaz = take hold, caught; Lxx = katecho) in the thicket by
his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a
burnt offering in the place of his son.
Genesis 39:20 So Joseph's
master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's
prisoners were confined (Hebrew = asar = tie, bind, imprison;
Lxx = katecho); and he was there in the jail.
Joshua 1:11 "Pass through
the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare
provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this
Jordan, to go in to possess (Hebrew = yarash; = to take
possession of, inherit, dispossess; Lxx = katecho) the land which the
LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.'"
Judges 13:15 Then Manoah
said to the
Angel of the LORD,
"Please let us detain (Hebrew = 'atsar; = to restrain,
retain; Lxx = katecho) you so that we may prepare a kid for
Psalm 119:53 Burning
indignation has seized (Hebrew = achaz = take hold, grasp, taken
possession; Lxx = katecho) me because of the wicked, Who forsake Thy
In this passage Paul is saying
"keep on laying hold of, holding
fast to, taking possession of the beautiful (noble, morally
Barnes comments hold fast to
Which is in accordance with reason
and the word of God; which is adapted to promote the salvation of the
soul and the welfare of society. This is just as much a duty as it is
to "prove all things."
A man who has applied the proper
tests, and has found out what is truth, is bound to embrace it and to
hold it fast. He is not at liberty to throw it away, as if it were
valueless; or to treat truth and falsehood alike. It is a duty which
he owes to himself and to God, to adhere to it firmly, and to suffer
the loss of all things rather than to abandon it.
There are few more important rules
in the New Testament than the one in this passage. It shows what is
the true nature of Christianity, and it is a rule whose practical
value cannot but be felt constantly in our lives.
Other religions require their
votaries to receive everything upon trust; Christianity asks us to
examine everything. Error, superstition, bigotry, and fanaticism
attempt to repress free discussion, by saying that there are certain
things which are too sacred in their nature, or which have been too
long held, or which are sanctioned by too many great and holy names,
to permit their being subjected to the scrutiny of common eyes, or to
be handled by common hands.
In opposition to all this,
Christianity requires us to examine everything--no matter by
whom held; by what councils ordained; by what venerableness of
antiquity sustained; or by what sacredness it may be invested. We are
to receive no opinion: until we are convinced that it is true; we are
to be subjected to no pains or penalties for not believing what we do
not perceive to be true; we are to be prohibited from examining no
opinion which our fellow-men regard as true, and which they seek to
make others believe. No popular current in favour of any doctrine; no
influence which name and rank and learning can give it, is to commend
it to us as certainly worthy of our belief. By whomsoever held, we are
to examine it freely before we embrace it; but when we are convinced
that it is true, it is to be held, no matter what current or popular
opinion or prejudice may be against it; no matter what ridicule may be
poured upon it; and no matter though the belief of it may require us
to die a martyr's death. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
That which is good -
Henry Morris comments that...
The Christian's faith is not based
on credulity, but on sound evidence (see note
1 Peter 3:15).
This exhortation applies to both doctrine and practice, especially as
taught and tested by Scripture.
Good (2570) (kalos) does not refer to that which
is superficial or cosmetic but to what is genuinely and inherently
good, righteous, noble, and excellent.
Kalos then describes that which is
inherently excellent or
intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit.
Kalos is good
with emphasis on that which is beautiful, handsome, excellent,
surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable.
Milligan writes that kalos
is used of genuine as opposed to
counterfeit coin "and is very appropriate here to denote the goodness
which passes muster in view of the testing process just spoken of".
The idea of good is that it denotes the intrinsic value of what has
been tested and is to be accepted like a coin that is found to be
In classical Greek kalos was originally used to describe that
which outwardly beautiful. Other secular uses of kalos referred
to the usefulness of something such as a fair haven, a fair
wind or that which was auspicious such as sacrifices. Kalos
referred to that which was "morally beautiful" or noble and hence
virtue was called "the good" (to kalon).
The New Testament uses of kalos are similar to the secular
Greek -- outwardly fair, as the stones of the temple (Lk 21:5); well
adapted to its purpose, as salt ("salt is good" Mk 9:50);
competent for an office, as deacons ("good servant of Christ
Jesus" 1Ti 4:6); a steward ("serving one another, as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God", 1Peter 4:10-note);
a good soldier (2Ti 2:3-note);
expedient, wholesome ("it is better for you to enter life
crippled" Mk 9:43, 45, 47); morally good, noble, as works ("Let your
light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good
works" Mt 5:16-note);
conscience ("we are sure that we have a good conscience",
The phrase it is good, i.e., a good or proper thing ("It is
good not to eat meat or to drink wine", Ro 14:21-note).
is the most commonly used
word for good as opposed to evil (e.g., see Ge 2:17;
24:50; Isa 5:20). Kalos describes good fruit (Mt 3:10),
a good tree
(Mt 12:33) and good ground (Mt 13:8).
This command to examine and hold
fast to the good is in the context of not despising prophetic
utterances. One is never to downgrade the proclamation of God’s Word,
but to examine the preached word carefully (cf. Acts 17:11-note).
What is found to be “good” is to be wholeheartedly embraced. What is
“evil”or unbiblical is to be shunned.
In Romans 12 Paul charges
Let love be without hypocrisy.
tense - as your
habitual practice) what is evil; cling (present
tense - as your
habitual practice) to what is good. (see note
In the context of Romans 12, the
key to finding and following what is good is in not being...
this world, but [being]
the renewing of [our] mind, that [we] may prove (dokimazo)
what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and
perfect” (see note
As we separate ourselves from the
things of the world and saturate ourselves with the Word of God, the
things that are good will more and more replace the things that
are evil. This is same principle the writer of Hebrews alluded
to when he wrote that...
solid food (.the equivalent of
Biblical ''health'' food which builds strong, healthy believers -
Sermons are good, but they are not to be compared with personal Spirit
illuminated Bible study as soul food. Songs and hymns are excellent,
but let us not become "songbook Christians". Men wrote the songs but
God wrote the Bible. A maturing Christian must be a Biblically
saturated Christian.) is for the mature, who because of practice have
their senses trained to discern good and evil. (see note
Comment: To avoid being
pulled into error, keep a firm grip on the truth.
G. K. Chesterton wisely
Merely having an open mind is
nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is
to shut it again on something solid.
Spurgeon added that
believers are to...
Beware! Error often rides to its
deadly work on the back of truth!
><> ><> ><>
Our Daily Bread - Part of
the training to be a US Secret Service agent includes learning to
detect counterfeit money. Agents-in-training make a thorough study of
the genuine bills--not the phonies--so that they can spot the fake
currency immediately because of its contrast to the real thing. The
child of God can learn a lesson from this. While it is helpful to
study false religions and be fully aware of their dangerous dogmas,
the best defense against such error is to be so familiar with God's
Word that whenever we encounter error, we will spot it at once and
won't fall for it. Today many are being led astray because they don't
recognize how they are being deceived. For example, if a person isn't
solidly grounded in the teaching of salvation by grace, he may swallow
the line of the legalists who inject human works into the matter of
being saved. If he is not well instructed about the person of Christ,
he might accept the error of those who deny the Savior's deity. A
thorough knowledge of essential biblical doctrines is the only way to
detect counterfeits. Let's be diligent in our study of the Word of
God. Then, instead of falling into error, we will stand firmly on the
truth. --R W De Haan
Lord, grant us wisdom to discern
The truth You have made known,
And may we not believe one word
Beyond what You have shown. --DJD