πάντα δὲ δοκιμάζετε, τὸ καλὸν κατέχετε – Prove All Things, Hold Fast That Which is Good: Refutation of a Popular Atheist Credo, Part 2
Kerry A. Shirts. MM, 32°, CM, RAM, KT
Eagle Rock Lodge # 19
Idaho Falls, Idaho
December 28, 2010
By doing a little browsing through the Bible, we can find all sorts of ideas which sometimes take us by complete surprise. A popularized Atheist Credo I have been told by atheists is that we Bible believers are taught not to think, but simply accept what we are told. I simply do not find that concept in the Bible. The exact opposite intellectual paradigm is actually presented to us to consider.
πάντα δὲ δοκιμάζετε, τὸ καλὸν κατέχετε – Prove All Things, Hold Fast That Which is Good is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. This entire discourse is given by Paul to keep the people in readiness and not get caught off guard. The exhortation to be sober in vss. 6 and 8 is the Greek word νήφω nēphō having the sense of sober watchfulness, while at 2 Timothy 4:5 we read: σὺ δὲ νῆφε ἐν πᾶσιν, “you, however, show sound judgment in all things.” Actually, the verb is always found with exhortations. Verse 11 reads, in part, the necessity of “edifying” one another. The Greek verb here is οἰκοδομέω (oikodomeō) which is used of building houses, with the idea of “building up” or “to make more able.” Paul, when talking to the Ephesians declared they were to be δοκιμάζοντες τί ἐστιν εὐάρεστον τῷ κυρίῳ - “proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” The verb δοκιμάζω (dokimazō) is in the present active meaning there is no assessment of the action’s completion. It means to regard something as genuine or worthy on the basis of testing—to judge to be genuine, to judge as good, to approve. δοκιμάζοντες is the plural because it is spoken to the entire group of the Ephesians. Larkin notes that “the participle could indicate the process of critical examination to determine genuineness, (Philippians 1:10) but more likely points to a response to the result of the investigation” – ‘to draw a conclusion about worth on the basis of testing, prove, approve.’