When I was in the sixth grade I had a teacher named Mr. Weiss. In our class was one kid who rarely did what Mr. Weiss told him, and could usually be found playing with small toys on his desk. One day, Mr. Weiss had enough and called this kid a reprobate. I remember that we all agreed with Mr. Weiss, but none of us knew what he was calling this little brat.

Years later I found myself reading this same word in the Scriptures. What does this mean?

Romans 1:28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Titus 1:16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

This English word comes from the Greek word adokimos (αδόκιμος) , which means unapproved or unacceptable. The word comes from the word dokimos, which means to be accepted. In Greek, as in English, the addition of an a in front of a word places the word in the negative or sometimes opposite sense, as opposed to anti, which means against or instead of. Whoever these people are, they are the opposite of the approved.

2 Timothy 2:15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The word that Sha’ul, through the leading of the Spirit of God, chose to use is not unknown in the Hebrew. The word is sug (סוג). This word is translated as dross, to backslide, or to turn away from. Its context, as you might guess, is with turning away from the commandments of God. A reprobate mind is a mind that wants to return to its own ways, rendering itself worthless (dross) to God for any use. Here are a few examples of how this word, carefully chosen, is used in the dictionary of the New Testament (the Tanakh).

Mizemor (Psalm) 119:119Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 1:19-22If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of YHVH hath spoken it. 21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:

Yechezeq’el (Ezekiel) 22:17-19And the word of YHVH came unto me, saying, 18 Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. 19 Therefore thus saith YHVH ’Elohiym; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.

Tzefaneyah (Zephaniah) 1:5-6And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by YHVH, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from YHVH; and those that have not sought YHVH, nor enquired for him.

Shalom Alecheim!