Here's today's discovery: 'Discipline' (as defined by Google dictionary)
the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
"a lack of proper parental and school discipline"
control, regulation, direction, order, authority, rule, strictness, a firm hand;
V.20 ("to be taught) παιδεύω paideúō, pahee-dyoo'-o; from G3816; to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication), discipline (by punishment):—chasten(-ise), instruct, learn, teach.
Anyone else love considering discipline? Ooh I love the Spiritual Disciplines. But just the thought of discipline as punishment makes my backside sting! 'Discipline' surfaced as a key issue in the text I was studying today (1 Timothy 1:12-17). Just like any good Bible student I read a little further for the surrounding context and discovered an issue within the overall Christian mission. Paul in Vv.12-17 is demonstrating the grace of God active in his life (even as a really good guilt-ridden sinner/blasphemer/persecutor/violent man...) and he affirms God's work through Christ with an "Amen." Good, right? Not so fast. Vv.18-20 seem to conclude the section as evidenced by Paul's concluding remarks: "18 I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; 20 among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme." Wow! Paul said he was turning Alexander and Hymenaus "over to Satan." Now on the surface I would have to assume these were bad guys who did something very serious that offended the Apostle Paul. I admit I've served in Churches now for over eighteen years and I've not seen discipline such as this so, what's this about? It turns out 'turning them over to Satan' was Paul's way of removing them from the fellowship of the Church. This act, as bad as it may seem had a purpose---to correct. Paul wanted them to have time and space to consider their actions, become convicted and repent.
This is still a vital part of our mission; turning people to Christ and the loving welcome of the Church. From this teaching could we conclude that discipline is needed within the overall Christian mission? In this context discipline includes such terms/actions as: strengthening, purifying, training, correcting, perfecting. We should never seek to permanently exile a fellow servant but we should ALL seek to be Christlike. It's a process. But the process seems to involve discipline of this sort. Much more could be said but it gets you thinking...