The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 227 of 243
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2: 12. Live soberly.
2: 6. Sober minded.
2: 4. Young women to be sober.
Sophron comes from two words, sos `sound' and allied to `salvation', and
phren `mind' and means of a sound mind as opposed to madness or even perhaps
`salvation-minded'. Sophronismos occurs in II Tim. 1: 7, "God hath not given us the
spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". This surely is one of the
greatest of God's gifts to His redeemed children. Of what use can we be to Him or to our
fellow creatures, apart from a healthy balanced mind?  We walk with our minds
primarily, not our feet, and every conscious action is directed by the mind. Salvation
starts internally with the mind and the Greek sophron describes this mind and its effects
in action. It is difficult to find one word in English that will adequately carry its meaning
over. Perhaps `discreet' and `discretion' come nearest.
Dr. E. W. Bullinger says of sophroneo in his Lexicon `to be of sound mind; think and
act discreetly, to use sound judgment and moderation'. The rendering of the A.V. `sober'
is not good, as it is likely to be restricted in meaning to restraint in respect of wine, or to
going about with a long face, a feature which some Christians seem to think glorifies the
It was essential that one who was called to be an overseer or bishop should practically
exhibit this healthy, balanced and controlled outlook in word and action.  This is
attractive and would have a beneficial effect in every way on those who were in his
charge. It is none the less essential today. If Christian beliefs do not lead to a wholesome
sanity and balance, then they are of little use however high sounding they may appear.
A man truthfully so described would be a `lover of good, just, holy and temperate'
(Titus 1: 8). He is called upon to `hold fast the faithful word' and according to the
instruction (didachen) in order that he may be able both to encourage with healthy
teaching and to reprove (or convict) the gainsayers'. We give here a rendering that is
nearer the original. The instruction referred to, was that pattern of truth given to Paul by
the ascended Christ and now passed on to Timothy and Titus and all those who were
called of God to take the lead in witness. Anything else would not be `truth for the
times'. Such were reminded that they were `stewards of God' (verse 7). Oikonomos
translated steward, is allied to oikonomia, dispensation, which is not so much a period of
time, but a stewardship committed, that is, truth that had been entrusted by God to use
and proclaim faithfully and live out in practice. All members of the Body are in some
measure dispensers of a dispensation. They must do it in view of God's reckoning day
when all will be asked by Him to `give an account of their stewardship'. Only two
classes will exist at that time, good (just) stewards, and bad (unjust) stewards. How we
should covet to be in the former class! Of what use will be any material or worldly gains
then? Or the approval of men whether Christian or otherwise?