I have been used to reading the KJV Bible, and for this verse in 2 Timothy 1:7 the KJV translation says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
So when I read it in the NASB a few days ago in my morning devotions, I noticed that the NASB says “a spirit of… discipline“. So I made a note to check out the word in the Greek that NASB translates as “discipline“.
Here is how the translations that I have installed in my e-Sword software program translate this verse:
(ASV) For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
(KJVR) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(NASB) For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
(NIV) For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
(NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(NRSV) for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
(RSV) for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
(YLT) for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind;
The Greek work that the NASB is here translating “discipline” is σωφρονισμός (sōphronismos) and the definition from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon is “1) an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control 2) self-control, moderation“.
When it says that “God… gave us… a spirit of… discipline“, it doesn’t mean ’spirit’ in the sense of the human soul, but spirit in the sense of “4) the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one“, which is one of the meanings of the word “spirit” in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.
So God has given us, as born-again believers, the disposition of moderation and self-control.
If God has given believers this disposition of moderation and self-control, then we need to make sure we have it working in our life. Another word that goes along with moderation and self-control is temperance.
In North America there is an epidemic of obesity. People are eating high-calorie, processed foods and they are not exercising; hence they become very overweight. This is not just among the world, but it is found among professing Christianity.
When Paul reasoned with Felix and shared with him the gospel, one of the issues he dealt with was “temperance” (Act 24:25). Temperance is listed by Paul as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:23). Peter also tells us that if we lack temperance we are “blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2Pet 1:6, 9).
Food is just one area in which we need to be temperate and have self-control in. Talking, sleeping, marriage relations, hobbies, and spending of money are a few others that come to mind when I think of temperance and self-control.
By the grace of God, may we as the children of God exercise moderation, self-control, and temperance in all we do, so that we will have the testimony that whatever we do, we “do all to the glory of God” (1Cor 10:31).