“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.”
Ecclesiastes 7:5

Have you ever been rebuked? Have you ever rebuked? The Lord placed rebuke on my heart the other day. I wanted to know what true biblical rebuke meant, what its biblical purpose was, and how it was to be used. I also wanted to know what biblical rebuke isn’t. Here’s what I found.

What- The Greek word for rebuke, elegcho means to find fault and correct. A rebuke is a means that God gives us to overcome sin. It helps us draw out sin and draw nearer to God. It’s purposeful, but most times it’s hard to receive and hard to give.

Who: In the bible, it’s usually Christ and elders in the church who do the rebuking. Rebuke should also come from someone who has godly wisdom and a mature walk (filled with the Spirit). If someone is new in their walk, he or she should seek counsel before “administering” rebuke on someone else.

Why: We must be confronted with our sins if we are ever to be delivered from them. Even knowing and acknowledging the importance of rebuke and the delivery it eventually affords us, we reject it. We’re prone to rejecting it because we often times love our sin more than our Lord and the things he instructs us to do.

“For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
Romans 7:15

“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.” Love conceals sin, and an open rebuke exposes it, cleans it, and heals it through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because rebuke brings us closer to the Lord, we’re wise to accept it and to accept it with joy.

How: When giving a rebuke, it should always be done gently and with unconditional love.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
Ephesians 4:15

Godly rebuke gears more towards exposing the sin and “speaking the truth in love” to the person being corrected. It involves seeking the truth behind the sin to discover the condition of the heart. It requires using God’s word (1 Timothy 3:16-17) so that the Holy Spirit Himself can convict that person and bring to light the sin that is being exposed. There is punishment or discipline involved with the idea of training or education the offender and helping to lead them down the path of repentance and restoration.

Rebuke should be given at the right time with the right words (Prov 15:28) You should be specific regarding the sin and offer a biblical solution(s). A rebuke should never be given with a sinful attitude. As tough as it may be to receive a rebuke, and as natural as it may be to react in pride, we should accept a rebuke with gratefulness. We are called to confess, repent, not justify and not lash out in anger. We have to remember that we’re responsible with how we respond to a rebuke.

Where: It should always be done privately, never in front of others.

When: When the person rebuking and the rebuked have each other’s undivided attention.

Lord, I pray that I learn the power and purpose of biblical rebuke and that when in my giving and getting of it that I honor you. I pray that I never issue rebuke with selfish sinful motives and that in my receiving of rebuke that I be able to decipher between true biblical rebuke and unbiblical rebuke. I pray that the rebuke I receive and that I give result in closer relationships with you, and that the labor of them birth good fruit.

Written by Stephanie