International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
tem'-per-ans; tem'-per-at (egkrateia), (egkrates, nephalios, sophron): the American Standard Revised Version departs from the King James Version and the English Revised Version by translating egkrateia "self-control" (Acts 24:25 Galatians 5:23 2 Peter 1:6 1 Corinthians 9:25), following the English Revised Version margin in several of these passages. This meaning is in accordance with classical usage, Plato applying it to "mastery" not only of self, but of any object denoted by a genitive following. Septuagint applies it to the possession "of strongholds" (2 Maccabees 8:30; 10:15), "of a position" (2 Maccabees 10:17), "of the city" (2 Maccabees 13:13), "of wisdom" (Sirach 6:27). The reflexive meaning of "self-mastery," "self-restraint," is equally well established in the classics and Septuagint. Thus, in the verbal form, it is found in Genesis 43:31, for the self-restraint exercised by Joseph in the presence of his brethren, when they appeared before him as suppliants, and in 1 Samuel 13:12, where Saul professes that he "forced" himself to do what was contrary to his desire. For patristic use of the term, see illustrations in Suicer's Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, I, 1000;. Clement of Alexandria: "Not abstaining from all things, but using continently such things as one has judged should be used"; "such things as do not seem beyond right reason." Basil: "To avoid excess on both sides, so as neither by luxury to be confused, nor, by becoming sickly, to be disabled from doing what has been commanded." Chrysostom (on 1 Timothy 1:8) applies it to "one mastering passion of tongue, hand and unbridled eyes." Ellicott and Eadie (on Galatians 5:23) quote Diogenes Laertius to the effect that the word refers to "control over the stronger passions." In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul illustrates it by the training of an athlete, whose regimen is not only described in the Ars Poetica of Horace (412;), and in Epictetus (quoted in Alford on this passage), but can be learned of the many devotees and admirers of similar pursuits today.