Word Study Wednesday- Define Reform

Since we are leading up to Reformation Day, I thought I’d do a word study on the word reform.
What does it mean to reform?
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
REFORM’, v.t. [L. reformo; re and formo, to form.]
1. To change from worse to better; to amend; to correct; to restore to a former good state, or to bring from a bad to a good state; as, to reform a profligate man; to reform corrupt manners or morals.
The example alone of a vicious prince will corrupt an age, but that of a good one will not reform it.
2. To change from bad to good; to remove that which is bad or corrupt; as, to reform abuses; to reform the vices of the age.

REFORM’, v.i. To abandon that which is evil or corrupt, and return to a good state; to be amended or corrected. A man of settled habits of vice will seldom reform.

CORRECT, v.t. [L. See Right.]

1. To make right; to rectify; to bring to the standard of truth, justice, or propriety; as, to correct manners or principles

PRIN’CIPLE, n. [L. principium, beginning.]
1. In a general sense, the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds; as the principle of motion; the principles of action.

Personal Application:
The Protestant Reformation was a time in history when many people were a part of correcting corruption which had taken place within the church. What made them aware of the corruption? They learned from Scripture what is the standard of truth. They considered the principlesthe origin of truth… Scripture… and desired to correct wrong thinking. -I think that even today we need to hold all ideas up in light of Scripture.
The more I learn about church history, the more I realize how much was actually carried over into the reformed churches. There seem to be a lot of traditions  which are not taught in Scripture. When looking at the principles of these traditions of men… viz. the origins of them, I wonder how they can be accepted.

I think back to this part of the definition of reform:

REFORM’, v.i. To abandon that which is evil or corrupt, and return to a good state; to be amended or corrected.
*I find it interesting to note that the above definition does not say to change what is evil into something we want to try and make good. It says to abandon that which is evil or corrupt and to return to a good state. How can an idea be returned to a good state when it wasn’t good by God’s standards to begin with? I think this is an important thing to consider and research.

I am still researching and learning and asking, “Why do some Christians observe some of the things they do? Where do these ideas come from? Does it even matter? What is it that matters to God and pleases Him?” This is something each person needs to research on their own in light of  Scripture… but it sure gives me lots to think about…


Related Articles

Providential History

There’s a buzz going around the homeschool curriculum community about providential history. I wrote an article for Biblical Classical Community about the Biblical worldview of…


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *