2 Timothy 1:7 "self-control" or "sound mind"?

I’m not sure what forum I should post this in. In my New American Bible the verse is like this: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and** self control**.” The King James Version goes like this: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Now I know that there are other Catholic Bibles besides the New American Bible, such as the Ignatius Bible, but I don’t know which version of the verse they contain. So is it “self control” or is it “** sound mind**”? I realize that St. Paul is writing to Timothy to give him encouragement, for verse 8 goes on to say “So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” In the context it would seem that “self-control” would be more likely. However, because I suffer from scrupulosity/ocd, the words “sound mind” would give me a lot of encouragement. Likewise “cowardice” seems to allude to being courageous in preaching the Gospel, while “fear” would be more like what I experience with anxiety from my ocd. What does the Church teach about this verse? Any thoughts? Just trying to find some Bible verses to give me comfort in my affliction.

Maybe scripture? Anyway, it’s here now. :slight_smile:

Unless there are variants I’m not aware of, the Greek is sophronismou (sophronismos). This word suggests both sound mind and self-control/moderation. See also sophrosyne.

[size=]Thank you. Yes, you’re right–I found this in an online dictionary: an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control. So, it seems that it could apply in my case of ocd–that I am called to have a “sound mind”–meaning when I am confronted with scrupulous worries I need to remember to pray for “self-control” and to try to dismiss the thoughts with God’s grace. Timothy was being timid in preaching the Gospel and perhaps he suffered from anxiety or social anxiety–who knows? And Paul was telling him not to be fearful–to have courage–that God had given him a sound mind and the ability to control his anxiety with the help of the Holy Spirit.[/size]

My friend, please do not go by a Protestant Bible for any knowledge or information. You are a Roman Catholic, are you not? Stick with your own religion, if you care about your soul. I’d go by the traditional Douay-Rheims Bible, if I were you. God bless you.

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I have a New American Bible (Catholic) and that’s the one I read. It uses the word “self-control.” I have simply come across the King James version of this particular verse (which uses the word “sound mind”) while online reading about scrupulosity. That’s why I posted my question here to clarify whether it is in fact “self-control” or “sound mind” according to Catholic Church teaching. It appears to be both, according to the definition of the Greek word. Believe me, I care about my soul, or I wouldn’t be scrupulous! The Douay-Rheims Bible uses the word “sobriety”! It is a translation from Latin. I think I’ve read that a direct translation from Greek is the most accurate.


One of the roots of Timothy’s anxiety, it would seem, was his youth. I think Timothy was probably afraid his congregation would not respect him as an elder (which is what presbyteros, the origin of our word “priest,” means) because he was not yet very old. You probably noticed this in Paul’s other epistle to Timothy:

[quote="Paul to Timothy, 1st epistle]Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders {presbyteroi} laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Timothy was not alone in experiencing anxiety or trepidation in his vocation. I can’t help but think of Moses, for example, who said to God, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

I’m glad you’ve found this passage in 2Timothy, and I hope it will be encouraging to you! :slight_smile:

As you can see in this case, neither the KJV (a Protestant Bible) nor the NAB (a Catholic Bible) was wrong, because both provided legitimate translations of a term with no perfect equivalent in English. The Douay-Rheims would have added a third legit translation: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.” None of these translations are wrong in the case of this verse. Clearly her soul was not in jeopardy.

Catholic Biblical scholars often recommend that people who do not know the original language should consult a variety of well-known translations from the formal end of the translation spectrum. Occasionally there will be a poor translation among them, as when the NIV has “teachings” instead of “traditions” in 2Thess 2:15. But if you’re diligently comparing translations, you will quickly discover that the NIV’s “teachings” is an outlier, and upon further investigation (as when Veronica asked her question), that it’s quite wrong. Again, no jeopardy.

You are wrong to suggest that Protestants are of a different religion than Catholics. The Catholic Church does not teach that. Both Catholics and Protestants are Christians.

Trying to instill further anxiety into a person who already struggles with scrupulosity is decidedly unhelpful.

Thank you–this is a very helpful post! :slight_smile:

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