St. Peter Preaching,
 Little Hours of the Duke of Berry




General Reflections on the Terms



1) FOR the Christian there is only one “teacher” [διδάσκαλος /didaskalos; ῥαββί / רַבִּי /rabbi] in the full sense of the word, Christ.  He is not the founder of a philosophical school of thought: instead, through his own Person he offers his followers forgiveness of sins and a new relationship with the Father.  Christ’s death, resurrection, and unique relationship with the Father comprise his principal “teachings”.

2) THE Christian “disciple” or “pupil” [μαθητής /mathētēs תַּלְמִיד /talmid] is primarily a witness to the saving events of Christ’s death and resurrection: secondarily, discipleship entails transmitting Christ’s teachings. The Apostle Paul, for example, constantly expounds the Paschal Mystery, but very seldom quotes Christ’s moral teachings. Thus, for the Christian disciple a living relationship with the Risen Christ is paramount: knowledge of His teachings, although important, is secondary.

3) IN the scriptures the concepts of “education” [παιδεία /paideia] and “chastisement” are very closely linked.  In union with Christ, who suffered, the Christian is able to discover in suffering the hidden purposes of God and opportunities to make spiritual progress.


SOURCES:  Kittel, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, (Eerdmans, 2000, c1964).
 2 ) H.G.Liddell, R. Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. rev. H.S.Jones & R.McKenzie, (Oxford, 1940).



1. T
διδάσκαλος / didaskalos
 רַבִּי / ῥαββί / rabbi







1.1.1 [In classical antiquity] didaskalos/διδάσκαλος is attested in the sense of “teacher” from the time of the Homeric hymns and Aeschylus.

[a.] On the one side, this may be the one who imparts instruction, esp. the “schoolmaster” to whom the young are entrusted for elementary teaching, e.g., in reading and writing.

[b]. On the other side, in the pre-Alexandrine period it may also denote the “chorus-master,” i.e., the one who has charge of the practice of choral poetry for public performance, and who is responsible for its correct performance. Both branches of the usage show clearly how strong the technical and rational element was from the very first, and how it came to the fore with the development of the term.

The didaskalos/διδάσκαλος is not just a teacher in general, but one who teaches definite skills like reading, fighting or music, developing the aptitudes already present. The decisive point is that systematic instruction is given.


1.1.2 [According to Plato] Socrates [not only] refused to found a school or to gather disciples,

but no less sharply [claimed] that he is completely misunderstood if a binding system is made of his statements. Socrates was never a teacher in the sense of trying to instruct and educate the young like the sophistic teachers, or in the sense of advocating an ideal, or particularly in the sense of making himself an example. He never pretended to be a teacher of moral virtue. This would have involved only the contacting and developing of certain impulses.

Socrates wanted more; his aim was to draw the whole man out of an existence which was primarily intellectual and to prepare him for consciously moral action. This did not imply any depreciation of the intellectual. The ratio of Sophistry was not constricted by him and his ethos. It was clarified and deepened, as we can see from the philosophy of Plato. He rejects only the merely intellectual, within which ἀρετή becomes one element among others, as with the Sophists. In contrast,

Socrates brought back the ethical and the political into essential connection with the intellectual. It was for this reason that he called his activity ōphelein / ὠφελεῖν [“to help, benefit, be of service” ] rather than didaskein /διδάσκειν. Furthermore, he sought to render this service to all his fellow-citizens.
In this respect, too, his dialectic was opposed to the mere intellectualism of his day, which naturally tended towards the formation of schools and sects. Socrates was differentiating himself at all these points when he refused to be called διδάσκαλος or to allow his methods to be described as διδάσκειν.

On the other hand, Epictetus was proud of the titles διδάσκαλος and παιδευτής in relation to his followers (Diss., I, 9, 12). This shows how different he is from Socrates in spite of all the attempts to establish similarity. For him the διδάσκαλος is the most important personage for those who seek perfection, and everything depends on their readiness to take full advantage of what he offers (Diss., II, 21, 10). Already the use of διδάσκαλος shows how strongly schema and system and method replace the living ethos in Epict., as easily confirmed at other points






1.2.1. That Jesus is addressed as “Teacher” [didaskale/ διδάσκαλε/ רַבִּי / ῥαββί / rabbi] presupposes the fact that He outwardly conforms to the Jewish picture of the “teacher” didaskalos/ διδάσκαλος.

This is indeed the case. […] Jesus may be basically associated with the scribes as regards both the form and content of His teaching. […] That the address διδάσκαλε actually has this significance is proved by Jn. 1:38, where Jesus is addressed as rabbi [ῥαββί] by the disciples of Jn., and this is rendered διδάσκαλε for readers not familiar with this form of address (cf. also rabbouni /ῥαββουνί in Jn. 20:16). Jesus is also addressed as rabbi/ ῥαββί by His disciples in Mt. 26:25; Mk. 9:5; 11:21; Jn. 4:31; 9:2; 11:8; by Nicodemus in Jn. 3:2; by the disciples of John in Jn. 1:49; by the enthusiastic crowd in Jn. 6:25; and by Judas at the arrest in Mt. 26:49; Mk. 14:45. […] The Gospels make it clear point by point that the relation between Jesus and the disciples corresponds to that of Rabbinic pupils to their masters and that the crowd treated Him with the respect accorded to teachers. […] Mention should also be made of the honoring of the mother of Jesus, for which there are Rabbinic parallels in the case of great rabbis. Along these lines, too, the picture of Jesus the διδάσκαλος conforms to the practice of His day, and the word didaskalos/διδάσκαλος as applied to Jesus in the NT is undeniably linked with the later Jewish רַבִּי /rabbi.

1.2.2. Jesus […] associates Himself directly with God, […] as the responsible Bearer of His will who is one with Him. In this sense He may describe Himself as the One who fulfils the first direct revelation of God’s will in the law both by bringing out the full extent of its claims and also by transcending it to the degree that He offers Himself as the way to the fulfilment of the will of God (Mt. 5:17, 20). Because He is the Son, as John would say, His teaching is different from that of the scribes and others, from what theirs could ever be, even though there is a similarity of form and matter.

1.2.3. […] When the word “teacher” [didaskalos/διδάσκαλος] is used of Jesus, His person gives it a tremendous weight which it can never have elsewhere. We might almost dare to say that it stamps Jesus as the new Moses who frees the law from national limitation and offers it to all men. It thus indicates both His authority and His dignity. We may thus understand why the formula the teacher says [ διδάσκαλος λέγει], with no more precise indication who the didaskalos/διδάσκαλος is, is sufficient in the Synoptics to procure the room needed for the Last Supper (Mt. 26:18).

We may also understand why the disciples did not appropriate the name teacher/ didaskalos/ διδάσκαλος after the death of Jesus, although it must have seemed strange that the new leader of a Jewish group so occupied with the study of Scripture as the early Christians should not have been called rabbi/didaskalos [רַבִּי/διδάσκαλος]. Yet the term is never used even of James, the Lord’s brother; and if Polycarp later uses  didaskalos/διδάσκαλος with a religious accent (Mart.Pol., 12, 2; 16, 2; 19, 1), there is an obvious difference between the teachers of his day and those of the first period.

1.2.4. Hence the only possibility for the man who seeks salvation is to become a hearer and disciple [mathetes /μαθητής ] of the teacher [/disaskalos /διδάσκαλος] Jesus.






1.3.1. IN 1 Cor. 12:28 f. the “teachers” [διδάσκαλοι/didaskaloi] come after the “apostles” [ἀπόστολοι/apostoloi] and “prophets” [προφῆται/prophētai] in a list of those who discharge specific functions in the community;

in Eph. 4:11 they come fourth in a similar list after the apostles, prophets, and preachers of the gospel [εὐαγγελισταί/evangelistai], being classified with the “shepherds” [ποιμένες/poimenes]; in Ac. 13:1 they are mentioned together with the prophets. It should be noted that the men mentioned in Ac. 13:1 are all of Jewish origin, and are thus closely connected with the Law.

1.3.2. Since the “prophets” and “teachers” obviously not identical, and since the prophets are “pneumatics” (1 Cor. 14:29 ff.), it is likely that the teachers are “non-pneumatics” who edify the congregation by means of their own clearer understanding.

1.3.3. This leaves us with the same Jewish and early Christian usage as we have also in the teaching of the epistles. The same is true as regards 1 Cor. 12:28 f. And if in Eph. 4:11 the common article makes it plain that the “teachers” [διδάσκαλοι/didaskaloi] are identical with the “prophets” [προφῆται/prophētai], this lies in the nature of the case; for the “shepherd” [ποιμήν/poimēn] is the one who is responsible for the life of the community, and therefore “teaching” [διδάσκειν/didaskein] in the widest sense is part of his office. This is in agreement with Didache., 15, 1, where the congregation is summoned to appoint “worthy bishops and deacons for the Lord” (ἐπισκόπους καὶ διακόνους ἀξίους τοῦ κυρίου) that these may discharge the “service of the prophets and deacons” (λειτουργία τῶν προφητῶν καὶ διδασκάλων); the function of the teacher is here, too, a function of divine service. It is self-evident, therefore, that in the first instance the “teacher” [διδάσκαλος /didaskalos] does what he teaches (Didache., 11, 10; cf. Rev. 2:21).





  St, Stephen preaching,






2.1.1. IN classical antiquity “teaching” [διδάσκειν/didaskein] is commonly attested from the time of Homer. It derives from the root δα(ς)/da(s), meaning “to teach” (διδασ-σκω =  διδάσκω/didas-skō = didaskō) It denotes “teaching” or “instructing” in the widest sense, whether the point at issue is the imparting of information, the passing on of knowledge, or the acquiring of skills.

especially when it is a question of practical arts and crafts, the example of the teacher forms a bridge to the knowledge and ability of the pupil. Thus “teaching” [διδάσκειν/didaskein] is the word used more especially for the impartation of practical or theoretical knowledge when there is continued activity with a view to gradual, systematic and therefore all the more fundamental assimilation.

2.1.2. IN the Old Testament there emerges a distinction between the secular use and that of the Jewish Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament). The idea of a total claim is not to be detected in secular Greek, where the aim is to develop talents and potentialities. In the Septuagint, on the other hand, the concern is with the whole man and his education in the deepest sense.






2.2.1. IN the New Testament, the term has the unambiguous sense of “to teach,” “to instruct. [...] The whole teaching of Jesus is with a view to the ordering of life with reference to God and one’s neighbour

(Mt. 22:37 ff. and par.; cf. 19:16ff. and par.). Thus His teaching constantly appeals to the will, calling for a practical decision either for the will of God or against it. He finds a common basis with the Rabbis and the Pharisaic community in the fact that He sees a revelation of the will of God in Scripture and especially in the Law (νόμος/nomos), so that it is quite impossible for Him to surrender even a single letter (Mt. 5:17 f.).

2.2.2. For Him the Law and Scripture are rather a confirmation of His own relationship to the Father. Thus the gap between Jesus and the Rabbis in respect of the subject of teaching is to be found, not in the matter itself, but in His own person, i.e., in the fact of His self-awareness as the Son.

This is why His teaching, whether in the form of exposition or otherwise, causes astonishment among His hearers (Mt. 7:28; 13:53 and par. etc.): “for He teaches as one with authority, and not as the scribes.” [ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων, καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν] (Mt. 7:29; Mk. 1:22).

[…]  His teaching was for it teaching in the absolute because with every word He brought His hearers into direct confrontation with the will of God as it is revealed in His Word and as it is constantly revealed in history.

2.2.3. [In the Johannine writings] a characteristic of the use of διδάσκειν in Jn. 8:28; 14:26; 1 Jn. 2:27 is that it suggests in the first instance the presence of a direct inspiration or revelation. In Jn. 8:28 Jesus says with reference to His statements concerning Himself: “I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me” [ἀλλὰ καθὼς ἐδίδαξέν με ὁ πατήρ, ταῦτα λαλῶ]. In Jn. 14:26 Jesus holds out to the disciples the prospect of the “advocate/paraclete, the Holy Spirit [παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον], and promises: “he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you,”. In 1 Jn. 2:27 the writer denies that his readers should need anyone to instruct them, because the anointing [χρῖσμα/chrisma] which they have received teaches [διδάσκει/didaskei]  them … “about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him”. The anointing [χρῖσμα/chrisma] here is undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, so that this passage should be linked with Jn. 14:26. In any case it denotes the endowment with doctrine [διδαχή/didachē] from another world.






2.3.1. […] The content of “teaching” [διδάσκειν/didaskein] is πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν [“everything I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:20)], and therefore the proclamation of Jesus, His doctrine [διδαχή/didachē] , rather than proclamation concerning Him. This line is pursued in the early Church: the Teaching [διδάσκειν/didaskein] of the disciples, naturally “concerning the name of Jesus” (Ac. 4:18; cf. 5:28, and their proclamation [καταγγέλλειν/katangelein]  of the resurrection of Jesus accompany one another and are not just identical. This does not mean that “teaching” [διδάσκειν/didaskein] is restricted to exegesis of the OT or to instruction in the new interpretation given by Jesus to the Law. Here again the whole complex of Scripture is only a starting-point and background. In the light of it the teaching of the early Church culminates in the call to repentance which is accompanied in the kerygma about Jesus by the offer of remission of sins (cf. Ac. 5:31, but also 20:21). It is thus understandable why offence was given not merely to the Sadducees, who disliked particularly the witness to the resurrection and who included the most prominent priestly families, but also to more popular religious circles (Ac. 5:34 ff.). This was a call to repentance which demanded justification before it could be accepted.

2.3.2. When Paul in Rom. 12:7 summons the teachers [διδάσκων/didaskōn] to serve in the teaching [ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ/ en tē didaskalia]  of the community, he is not thinking of men who apply the Scriptures to Jesus, but of those who give from Scripture directions for Christian living, and he admonishes them to place their better knowledge wholly in the service of the congregation. This is the same kind of διδάσκειν with a view to the distinction between good and evil as we have learned to know from the synagogue and the usage of the Gospels.

2.3.3. In 1 Tm. 4:11 “teaching” [διδάσκειν/didaskein]is linked with “direct/instruct” [παραγγέλλειν/parangelein], and in 1 Tm. 6:2 with “console/comfort” [παρακαλεῖν/parakalein], on both occasions as the privilege and responsibility of Timothy; in 2 Tm. 2:2 it is the task of those who have the necessary personal qualifications




3. D
μαθητής / mathētēs
תַּלְמִיד / talmid

 Sts. Gervase and Protase,






3.1.1. IN the Greek World from μαθ—, μαθητής [math-mathetēs] denotes the person who directs his mind to something. In its earliest literary use it takes on the sense of pupil in analogy to “learn” μανθάνω/manthanō] . […] there is no derogatory sense[:] […t]he emphasis is not so much on the incompleteness or even deficiency of education as on the fact that the one thus designated is engaged in learning, that his education consists in the appropriation or adoption of specific knowledge or conduct, and that it proceeds deliberately and according to a set plan. There is thus no “disciple” [μαθητής/mathetēs] without a “teacher” [διδάσκαλος/didaskalos]. The process involves a corresponding personal relation[ship].

Finally, μαθητής is used in a broader sense when the reference is to an intellectual link between those who are considerably removed in time. In this connection we should mention especially the widespread view that Socrates is the true μαθητής of Homer because he is his ζηλωτής and imitates him.

3.1.2. The significant thing here is the way in which mathetēs/μαθητής is expounded in terms of μῑμέομαι/mimeomai, “to imitate The centre of gravity is thus removed from the formal side of the relation between disciple/μαθητής and teacher/διδάσκαλος to the inner fellowship between the two and its practical effects, and this to such a degree that the latter is basic to the whole relationship. This is not without considerable significance in relation to the development of the Christian use of disciple/μαθητής.

[..] The reference is not merely to an external connection with the goal of picking up certain information or aptitudes under expert direction, but to a materially grounded fellowship which arises under a goal which is certainly directed by an individual, but towards which all who participate are equally striving. This explains the aversion of Socrates and his circle to this word, an aversion whose effects may be seen throughout the history of its use on Greek soil. The desire is to have disciples, not pupils.

3.1.3. It is in keeping that Socrates, when he refused to allow the relation between himself and his listeners to be described in terms of διδάσκαλοσ/μαθητής should also reject any compensation or payment: (Plat. Ap., 33, a-b). The basis of the relation is Socrates himself rather than the knowledge at his disposal. He is the master around whom disciples gather. Young and old become his disciples because he grants to them his fellowship, allowing them a share in his intellectual life. He did not in fact found a school. The same is true of Plato, his greatest disciple, and the academy founded by him. In this there was a fellowship of life as well as intellect, so that the picture resembles that of the Pythagorean circle.

3.1.4. [An exception to personal relationship:] The Mystery Religions. The mystery religions are another area where one finds the specific master-disciple relation. The initiate needs the master to introduce him to the mysteries of the god and the cultus in order that he may become a member of the society gathered around the god. Thus the mystagogue is the master for the adept. By the very nature of the case this is true here only in so far and so long as the initiate stands under the direction of the expert. The latter has significance for him only in the discharge of his function. For this reason he remains in the sphere of anonymity and never becomes personal.


3.1.5. THE FELLOWSHIP of DISCIPLES. The groups which assembled around the great philosophical teachers of antiquity were much too solidly established to disintegrate when the teachers died. This was not just because of the personal regard which the masters enjoyed and which gave them influence even after death. The true presupposition for the continuation of groups of disciples is to be found, not merely at the personal level, but in the cause advocated and presented by the teachers. In the last resort these groups were formed by common acknowledgement of insights peculiar to the masters concerned. The groups regarded these as truth which they could not give up but had to propagate with all their power. The death of the teachers could not alter this. On the contrary, it increased responsibility for the work and strengthened commitment to it. This sense of responsibility in the groups of disciples went hand in hand with the natural desire of the teachers to know that their cause would be represented with true dedication after their death. The suprapersonal interest on both sides led to the formation of communities of disciples out of the original groups of students.

3.1.6. THE PRINCIPLE of TRADITION. In keeping with the origin of the fellowships in the work of the master is the fact they remained inwardly committed to him, and were aware of this. Outward expression of it is to be found in a principle which controlled the whole life and work of the fellowships. This can best be called the principle of tradition. At issue here is that the intentions of the master should be cultivated, and his sayings carefully preserved and transmitted. The principle is to be found everywhere up to and beyond the time of the NT.






3.2.1. THERE is an almost complete absence of the word for disciple [תַּלְמִיד/ talmid/ μαθητής/ mathetes ] from the Old Testament [ because ALL not only “the pupil” (Talmid”) but ALL are taught [lamar] by the LAW. לָמַד, lamar [“to teach, be taught”] […] denotes the process in course of which man makes this will his own. More particularly, however, the whole people is always the subject of learning. God has chosen His people in order that as a whole it may serve Him as the Lord by fulfilling His will. If the same demand is made on the individual, this is because, as a member of the chosen people of God, he has a special task, e.g., as king, and he shares the responsibility of the whole people in this specific way. The self-awareness of the OT community is thus controlled by the fact of its divine election, and on this basis it is quite impossible for it to differentiate [the pupil] from the other members of the chosen people

3.2.2. The Absence also of the Master-Disciple Relation from the OT. (a) The relation between Moses and Joshua, as this is portrayed in the OT, is on a very different level. Joshua does not discharge his office in the shadow of his predecessor but in terms of the full authority with which he is vested by God (b) The OT prophets had no disciples. The assistant of Elijah is not a disciple, but a servant.

3.2.3. The Absence of the Principle of Tradition from the OT. Finally, we search the OT in vain for a principle of tradition of the kind found in Greek and Hellenistic philosophy and its off shoots in the religious sphere. This is the more remarkable in that the OT is consciously “Mosaic.” in the OT administration of the legacy of Moses is not bound up with veneration of his person. Though the prophets steadfastly follow his intentions, Moses is mentioned by them only a few times along with others (Mi. 6:4: Jer. 15:1; Is. 63:11 f.; Mal. 3:22). Nowhere is he presented as a hero, even in the background, though he accomplished the redemption of his people out of Egypt. Nor is he honoured even as the founder of a religion. From the very outset, then, the principle of tradition is alien to the OT in the sense of orientation to the person of the master, i.e., in the form which it takes on Gk. and Hellen. soil, where a significant personality initiates intellectual movements

3.2.4. The Reason for the Absence of the Master-Disciple Relation and the Principle of Tradition from the OT. The agents and representatives of OT revelation […] never even try to interpose themselves as a factor of independent worth in the dialogue between God and His people. They never speak on their own account, and, when they have to defend their cause, they never fight for their own persons. [They are] stewards who pass on what they have received as that which has been received, i.e., God’s Word. If the word of the commissioned witness of God implies commitment, this is commitment to God, not to men, no matter how profound a vision these men may have of the mysteries of God. In the sphere of revelation there is no place for the establishment of a master-disciple relation, nor is there the possibility of setting up a human word alongside the Word of God which is proclaimed, nor of trying to ensure the force of the divine address by basing it on the authority of a great personality

3.2.5. We may finally venture to say that the pupil/disciple תַּלְמִיד /talmid/ μαθητής/ mathetes as such came into [Rabbinic] Judaism from the educative process of the Greek and Hellenistic philosophical schools.






3.3.1. A fundamental mark of the disciples [pupils/ mathētai/ μαθηταί ]of Jesus in the tradition is that they are called by Him to discipleship. The way in which disciples commit themselves to Jesus is thus fundamentally different from what we usually find in Rabbinic Judaism. There the prospective תַּלְמִיד must see to it that he links up with a teacher, and a rule from the early days of the Rabbinic Judaism (Ab., 1, 6; cf. 1, 16) expressly makes this a duty for the righteous. But here the initiative is with Jesus Himself, both in respect of forming a circle of disciples, and also with respect to its composition. Decisive here is the fact that He calls to Himself disciples who do not seem to enjoy the necessary qualifications for fellowship with Him, e.g., the tax-gatherer Levi (Mk. 2:13 ff.), for by their calling tax-gatherers were regarded as sinners and were thus shunned by the pious (Lk. 15:1 f.).

3.3.2. The relation between Jesus and His disciples is always presented in the tradition as unique. It is wholly personal, whether as the relation of Jesus to the disciples or as that of the disciples to Jesus. The factor on which the whole emphasis lies is exclusively the person of Jesus. As it is He who finally decides whether a man enters into discipleship, so it is He who gives form and content to the relationship of His disciples.

3.3.3. Finally, note should be taken of the detailed circumstances of the reconstitution of the circle of disciples. The tradition is unanimous in seeing in it the personal work of the risen Jesus, and it makes it apparent (Lk. 24:36 ff.; Jn. 20:24 ff. with Jn. 20:8; also Mt. 28:17b) that considerable resistance had to be overcome. It is striking that we meet again the two points which are found in the accounts of calling, i.e., acceptance into personal fellowship, and calling to be disciples. The first is to be seen in the fact that Jesus restores the fellowship with Himself which had been broken by the unfaithfulness of the disciples (forgiveness of sins). From the standpoint of the Easter experience of the disciples it is quite natural that His disciples/μαθηταί could not be content merely to transmit His teaching/διδασκαλία but had to be His witnesses, i.e., witnesses to the revelation disclosed in His person, whether or not Jesus Himself ordained them as such (Lk. 24:48; Ac. 1:8).

3.3.4. The Obligation of the Disciples to Suffer with Jesus. The nature of the calling of the disciples of Jesus, and their resultant dependence on Him, means that there is nothing in the life of disciples which is apart from Jesus and His life. With all they have and are they are drawn into fellowship with Him. But the way of Jesus leads to the cross. Hence entry into His fellowship as His μαθητής carries with it the obligation to suffer. The tradition is unanimous that in fact Jesus left His disciples in no doubt that they were committing themselves to suffering if they followed Him.

3.3.5. Though we cannot go into this whole subject here, attention may be drawn to certain facts which show, however, that, in spite of certain formal analogies, the first Christian generation and the New Testament are far removed from any principle of tradition, whether Greek or Rabbinic. The most significant point is that recollection of Jesus as a teacher seems to have been quite secondary. This may be seen not only in the epistles of Paul, the oldest Christian sources which have come down to us, but also in the oldest and surest part of the Gospel tradition, which contains, not the sayings of Jesus, but the story of His death and passion. For the disciples Jesus is nowhere the head of a school; He is the living Lord of His people. The Reasons for this Lack. In the Gospel, then, the disciples are witnesses. not bearers of a tradition. This is no accident. It necessarily results not merely (positively) from the significance which attaches to His person in fellowship with Him  but also (negatively) from the attitude which Jesus Himself adopted towards religious tradition and the principle of tradition. He is Himself the truth (Jn. 14:6). This means that His disciples/mathetai/ μαθηταί, unlike the μαθηταί/ תַּלְמִידִים of the Rabbinate, are not the faithful mediators of insights. They are His obedient witnesses (cf. Lk. 24:48)

3.3.6. IN John’s Gospel it is the mark of a disciple[/talmid תַּלְמִיד/ μαθητής] that he should keep to what he has heard from his teacher, [and] it is a mark of the diciples of Jesus that they should abide in His Word (8:31). Here being a pupil/ disciple/ talmid/ תַּלְמִיד can establish spiritual fellowship, even across the generations, quite apart from personal fellowship. This usage was taken over by the primitive community. This was the more readily possible in view of the fact that the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit ensured constant direct fellowship with Jesus. At this point too—the link between discipleship and possession of the Spirit—Ac. agrees with Jn. (cf. Jn. 14:15 ff.; 15:26 f. with Acts. 9:17[27]; 13:52; 19:1ff. [disciples without the Spirit are no true disciples ]; 21:4). On the other hand, it was not so easy for the Greek communities to take over disciple in this sense because this might give rise to the idea that Christianity was simply a philosophical movement. It may thus be seen why the usage did not make its way in the Greek world, and why μαθητής for disciple of Jesus or Christian declined in primitive Christianity.




παιδευτή / paideutē,
/ paideia







4.1.1. παιδεία /paideia, denotes the upbringing and handling of the child which is growing up to maturity and which thus needs direction, teaching, instruction and a certain measure of compulsion in the form of discipline or even chastisement. παιδεία /paideia is both the way of education and cultivation which has to be traversed and also the goal which is to be attained.

4.1.2. The paideia /παιδεία of the Greeks rounds out human nature, Aristot. Pol., VII, 16, p. 1337a, 2. It is the basis of all πολιτεία (ibid., 11–17), and it fulfils the true destiny of man by directing his strivings to the paradigm and measure of the good, i.e., God, Plat. Resp., VII, 540a; Leg., IV, 716c. If Socrates in Athens and Plato in Syracuse failed in their educational attempts, this does not imply a deficiency in παιδεία but the perfecting of philosophy in necessary suffering face to face with a lack of understanding on the part of those around, Plat. Ep., VII, 350–352: cf. Ps.-Plat. Epin., 973d.





4.2.1. For God’s chosen people, with whom He has made His covenant, the Law is the revealed standard of growth in discipline and order, in faith and confidence. There is no broad vocabulary of education. The Hebrew Old Testament has a whole series of words for teaching and direction, for chastisement and correction, but only the one word יסר [yesar] and the derived מוסר [musar] can denote “to educate,” “education.” This word certainly belongs to the same field and can itself denote “rearing” (in the moral sphere) as “correction,” but it can also take on a more intellectual sense and stand for “culture” in the sense of possession of wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. The word refers to intra-personal action. God deals with men, or men with their fellows. It is not used of animals. In detail different spheres, relations and meanings have to be differentiated in its application, though these often overlap:

[1] the education of children which is training and which uses chastisement;

[2] the learning which includes intellectual culture;

[3] the moral and religious shaping of the righteous which embraces instruction in wisdom but finds its fulfilment in correction by suffering;

[4] and finally the training of the people, which has its basis and content in hearing, learning and obeying the divine commandments, but which must often be enforced by severe chastisements.

4.2.2. According to the wisdom teaching preserved, e.g., in Prv., education cannot dispense with corporal punishment: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes,” Prv. 13:24; cf. 29:15; Sir. 22:3. For correction keeps from worse things, even death, 23:13. It gives hope of amendment, 19:18. But it must be in love, not anger. It drives out folly, 22:15. It gives joy and refreshment to the educator (29:17) and life to the one who receives it (4:13). These sayings bear witness to the responsibility of the father and mother for their children. Thus Scripture admonishes at the outset in Prv. 1:8: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother All discipline comes ultimately from God. Its authority is grounded in Him. The OT depiction of history shows how the prophetic admonitions and warnings about the chastisement of the people by God came into effect in the events of political history. The whole story of the people is presented here from the standpoint of education: As a father instructs his son so does Yahweh His people, Dt. 8:5; cf. Is. 1:2. The wilderness experiences esp. promoted this education, Dt. 11:2. Yahweh Himself guided and tended His people from heaven, Dt. 4:36. Again and again He chastised the people for their sins, Lv. 26:18–28. The context shows that these are chastisements, while the miraculous deliverances in the desert are to be regarded as education acc. to Dt. 11:2. Obviously the OT has chiefly in view the negative aspect of education, and only in Dt. is there even the beginning of a comprehensive subordination of the whole of salvation history to the concept of education.

4.2.3. [In the Rabbinic writings:] There is no such remonstration in Rabb. theology. The academic tradition has worked out a solid solution to the problem of theodicy. A statement of R. Akiba preserved in S. Dt., 73b on 6:2 gives evidence of clarification of the doctrine: “Dear are the chastisements.” The Jewish view of retribution is herewith given a new turn, but it only becomes the more severe. Chastisement presupposes guilt, Ber., 5b: “Is the Holy One open to the suspicion … of inflicting a punishment unjustly?” Thus one may deduce from the nature of the chastisement the specific human fault, Shah., 33a, Bar. That there is no death without sin (Ez. 18:20), no chastisement without guilt (Ps. 89:32), is the teaching of R. Ammi (c. 300) acc. to Shab., 55a. The principle rules: Measure for measure, cf. T. Sots, 3, 1 (295) acc. to R. Meïr (c. 150), cf. Mt. 7:2. The Talmud tractate Ber. deals expressly with chastisements. There Is. 53:10 is expounded accordingly: “In whom the Holy One … finds good-pleasure, him he oppresses with chastisements.” In the same context (Ber., 5a) there is handed down a saying of R. Simon b. Yachai: “The Holy One gave three good gifts … to Israel, but all were won only by chastisements. That is, the Torah, the land of Israel, and the future world.” Chastisements remain afar off from him who devotes himself to the Torah (cf. Ex. 15:26). If anyone sees chastisements failing on him, he should examine his acts, cf. Lam. 3:40. If he does so and finds nothing, he should ascribe them to neglect of the Torah, cf. Ps. 94:12. If he still finds no reason, they are surely chastisements of love.






4.3.1.The experience of suffering at the Father’s hand sets the Christian alongside Christ. It thus shows him plainly that he is the Father’s child, loved by Him, received by Him as a son, Heb. 12:7 f. The “patiently endure unto education [chastisement]” [εἰς παιδείαν ὑπομένετε] of 12:7 seems to suggest that the goal of the correction is Christian “culture,” the state of purified Christian personality. But it is hard to think that NT παιδεία signifies a state in this way. There is no completed Christian “culture” in the earthly sphere. Christian perfection is a gift of the last time to which education by God is leading. Hence παιδεία can never be the goal, only the way. It is what God does to us if we submit to Him. Submission sets us alongside Christ, 12:2, 3. This is really fatherly correction, not  κόλασις /kolasis [“punishment].

4.3.2.Endure for the purpose of education. What is already valid in the human sphere according to God’s will (the fifth commandment and household tables) becomes in man’s relation to God a glad message of education by God, εὐαγγελικὴ παίδευσις as Cyril puts it, an education which is better and stronger than the παιδεία νόμου in the OT. Finally man comes to realise that his earthly father is an educator. But whereas human ideals are at issue in the father’s earthly education, eternal life is at stake in obedience to the Father of spirits, 12:9. God, however, exercises discipline to our advantage, i.e., in such a way that we may partake of His holiness, Hb. 12:10; Mt. 5:48; Lv. 19:2. Certainly παιδεία and λύπη go together in Christianity too; παιδεία does not in the first instance bring joy, but strenuous exercise. The fruit of all effort, however, is righteousness in peace, Hb. 12:11.

4.3.3.In connection with self-examination at the Lord’s Supper Paul takes up the idea of Jewish passion theology that the judgment of the Lord is for Christians chastisement, but not condemnation, as for the world, 1 C. 11:32. Illnesses and other divine punishments warn Christians of their sins. They are the Lord’s Education (παιδεία κυρίου), the outflowing of His fatherly love.


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