Posted by: chuckbumgardner | September 16, 2015

“Work Hard” (κοπιάω)

I’ve been studying 1 Timothy 4:10:

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

In examining “we toil and strive” (κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα), I find that there are strong associations with Paul’s mission work (cf. Col 1:28-29), as there are with his designation of God as “the living God” (but that’s another post!). Very interesting! Here, though, I simply wanted to reproduce the summary paragraph from Spicq’s treatment of κοπιάω, with its clear implications for the Christian life (whether that of a Christian in vocational ministry or not):

We may sum up in a few words. In the NT, kopos/kopiaō, “work hard,” means (1) constant, exhausting manual labor; (2) the fatigue of long, incessant missionary wanderings; (3) blows, wounds, and sufferings endured in the course of stonings and riots; (4) slanders and insults by enemies, the humiliations of imprisonment; (5) the difficulties of governing and exercising apostolic authority; (6) the preparation of sermons, speeches given in the open air, the editing of epistles; (7) care for all the churches and for each soul (2 Cor 11:28-29; Heb 13:17), who will not be saved on the steep path except through costly endurance and violence (Matt 11:12). There is no Christian life, no apostolic ministry, without rough, persevering labor. (C. Spicq, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, 2:329, emphasis added)



  1. Thank you … good stuff

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