Greek word - (marturion G3142, marturia G3141, martureo G3140)
Quiz - Choose the answer that is closest to what you think TESTIMONY is.
A - a salvation story
B - what is witnessed
C - a godly reputation
D - what God has done for you
Problem - Outdated, Misused
KJV Example - "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God." (2 Timothy 1:8)
This word has two meanings in Christian circles. I could not find either one in an English dictionary.
One is that of telling about a salvation experience or some other spiritual experience.
Some churches have a testimony service or a time of testimonies when they encourage people to stand up and tell how God is working in their lives.
The other meaning is that of a Christian reputation. In this sense, a person might be said to have a good testimony among his workers.
These meanings are good examples of what a testimony is, but they may sidetrack people from the core meaning of this word.
Testimony comes from the Latin word, testis, which means witness. The Greek word behind testimony, marturion, is the same Greek word behind, witness. So in Greek a testimony and a witness are the same thing.
The word, witness, is often used in the church. Christians are to be witnesses. Some even go out witnessing. But what does that mean?
In simple words, to witness is to tell what has been seen or experienced.
A witness in court tells what he has seen. He does not tell about his opinion, his thoughts, his preferences, or what someone else experienced. He tells what he has seen, heard, smelled, felt, and tasted.
What he says about these things is his testimony, what he witnessed.
2 Timothy 1:8 is a verse that has testimony in it. In the King James Version it says, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner..." Look this up in different Bible versions and you will see the confusion that comes along with this word.
What is the testimony of our Lord? Many of the Bible versions consider it to be what Paul witnessed or said about Jesus. It is not.
When Jesus was here on the earth, He told what He heard from the Father (John 5:19-20). He did not give His opinion. He did not make things up. He did not get it from what others said. He told what He witnessed of the Father. That is the testimony of Jesus.
Christians are expected to tell the things that Jesus witnessed. They are also expected to do the same thing: tell what they have experienced, what they have witnessed of God in their lives. This is their testimony.
In the Bible, testimony is what is witnessed.
Modern Synonym - what is witnessed
Bible Version Tally (how other versions translate this word) - testimony (31 of 52), testify (5 of 52), tell about (10 of 52), witness (3 of 52), speak for (2 of 52), message (1 of 52)
Breakthrough Version - "So you should not be ashamed of what our Master witnessed, nor of me, His prisoner, but suffer tough hardships together with me for the good news in line with God's ability." (2 Timothy 1:8)
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