SOBER; SOBRIETY; SOBERNESS
so'-ber, sa-bri'-e-ti, so'-ber-nes (Greek adjective sophron, and its related nouns, sophrosune, sophronismos; verbs sophroneo and sophronizo; adverb sophronos, "of sound mind," and sophronizo; "self-possessed," "without excesses of any kind," "moderate and discreet"):
In Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35, "sane," said of one out of whom demons had just been cast. In the Pastoral Epistles, this virtue is especially commended to certain classes, because of extravagances characterizing particular periods of life, that had to be guarded against, namely, to aged men, with reference to the querulousness of old age (Titus 2:2); to young men, with reference to their sanguine views of life, and their tendency to disregard consequences (Titus 2:6); enjoined upon young women, with reference to extravagance in dress and speech (Titus 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:9); and, in a similar manner, commended to ministers, because of the importance of their judgment and conduct, as teachers and exemplars (1 Timothy 3:2). "Words of soberness" (Acts 26:25) are contrasted with the "mania," "madness," that Festus had just declared to be the explanation of Paul's eloquence (Acts 26:24).
In a few passages, the Greek verb nepho and its derivative adjective nephalios are used in the same sense. The word originally had a physical meaning, as opposed to drunkenness, and is thus used in 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8, as the foundation of the deeper meaning. Used metaphorically also in the Pastoral Epistles and 1 Peter, as sometimes in the classics, for "cool," "unimpassioned." Ellicott, on 1 Timothy 3:2,11, distinguishes between the two words by regarding sophron "as pointing to the outward exhibition of the inward virtue" implied in nephalios.
H. E. Jacobs
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