New Testament Word Studies - Dokimion, Dokimos, Adokimos
David Gooding, Ipswich
These three words belong to the same group as those discussed in our previous article. Dokimion, which occurs in 1 Peter 1. 7, is especially interesting. The Authorized Version translation, ‘the trial of your faith’, would understand dokimion as the process of trying as in James 1. 3, ‘the trying of your faith works endurance’. The Revised Version rendering, ‘the proof of your faith’ takes dokimion to be the favourable result of the trial, the proof that your faith is genuine. But most scholars nowadays understand dokimion here to mean ‘the approved residue’, ‘the pure part’, ‘what is genuine’, such as the pure gold which is left when all the alloy and dross have been burnt out. It is this pure residue of our faith which is more precious than gold, 1 Peter 1. 7. At the beginning, mixed up with our faith is much that is worthless: mere self-confidence, or cupboard-love, maybe, or the acceptance of tradition without personal thought. Such dross the fires of testing will remove until what is left is real and genuine faith. Dokimos is the adjective used to describe the person who has passed the test and has been found genuine. So in 1 Corinthians 11. 19. Divisions in the church are unfortunate but in some sense inevitable. It is by the testing time that such self-willed divisions occasion that the approved, i.e., those that are genuine and have stood the test, become manifest.
Adokimos is the negative of dokimos. It denotes the person or thing that has failed the test and has been found not genuine, spurious, reject metal. So Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9. 27, stresses the need for self-discipline in his service ‘lest . . . when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway’, or rather I should be myself rejected. The servant who exhorts others to a holy life but does not discipline himself, is not genuine in his motives and, if he so continues, will find himself disqualified and rejected as a servant.