Dates for the periods and people mentioned below.
Classical Greek: 5th -
Hellenism 3rd century BC -
2851. κόλασις kolasis; from 2849; correction :— punishment(2).
Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-
κολασις in classical Greek meant usually punishment which aimed at the reformation of the offender. But sometimes in later Greek, and always in the n.T., the idea of reformation seems to disappear, so that there remains simply the idea of punishment, but viewed in relation to the punished.
Ephesians Four Group, Greek Dictionary, electronic ed.
κόλᾰσις, εως, ἡ, checking the growth of trees esp. almond-
2. chastisement, correction , Hp.Praec.5, Pl.Ap.26a, al., Th.1.41; opp. τιμωρία, Arist.Rh.1369b13; of divine retribution, Ev.Matt.25.46, al.: pl., Pl.Prt.323e, al., Phld.Ir.p.52 W.
Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie, A Greek-
A further way of explaining Jesus’ statement about eternal punishment is by observing the derivation of kolasis. Bruce calls attention to the root of kolasis which is κολάζω (kolazō, “mutilate, prune”) and concludes that the noun refers to a corrective type of punishment rather than a vindictive one. He notes the possibility of combining that notion with αἰώνιον (aiōnion) which etymologically means “agelong,” not “everlasting.” The idea of agelong pruning or discipline leaves open the hope of ultimate salvation. To his credit, however, he notes that the doctrine of future states must rest on more basic considerations than those of etymological derivation. In the present context, the contrast with eternal life establishes that eternal punishment is not a limited period of discipline, but is without limits.
Master's Seminary Journal Volume 9, vnp.9.2.162 (Sun Valley, CA: The Master's Seminary, 1998).
2851 κόλασις [kolasis /kol·as·is/] n f. From 2849; TDNT 3:816; TDNTA 451; GK 3136; Two occurrences; AV translates as “punishment” once, and “torment” once. 1 correction, punishment, penalty. Additional Information: For synonyms see entry 5098, timoria.See entry 5859 for comparison of synonyms.
James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order., electronic ed., G2851 (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996).
The word κόλασις in strict classical usage denotes punishment inflicted for the correction and improvement of the offender , τιμωρία being employed to signify punishment in satisfaction of outraged justice, or to revenge an injury. But it is open to doubt whether the former term is to be taken in its strictest sense in the New Testament
The Pulpit Commentary: St. Matthew Vol. II, ed. H. D. M. Spence-
Aristotle makes a distinction between κόλασις and τιμωρία, the first being “chastisement inflicted for the good of those chastised ;” the second, “punishment inflicted on the incorrigible for the satisfaction of justice” (see ‘Rhet.,’ i. 10); but it is doubtful whether this distinction exists in the New Testament
The Pulpit Commentary: 2 Peter, ed. H. D. M. Spence-
Eternal punishment (κολασιν αἰωνιον [kolasin aiōnion]). The word κολασιν [kolasin] comes from κολαζω [kolazō], to mutilate or prune. Hence those who cling to the larger hope use this phrase to mean age-
The incompatibility of love and fear is also evident from the fact that fear is associated with κόλασις. The original Greek understanding of this word is not so much related to “punishment” as to “discipline” or “physical training.” In Hellenism it takes on the meaning of “punishment” and later becomes a technical term for the “eternal punishment” that will be imposed at the final judgment..
Georg Strecker and Harold W. Attridge, The Johannine Letters : A Commentary on 1, 2, and 3 John, Hermeneia-
Passages from the works of Clement, only a few of which we quote, will sufficiently establish the fact that he taught universal restoration. "For all things are ordered both universally and in particular by the Lord of the universe, with a view to the salvation of the universe. But needful corrections, by the goodness of the great, overseeing judge, through the attendant angels, through various prior judgments, through the final judgment, compel even those who have become more callous to repent." "So he saves all; but some he converts by penalties, others who follow him of their own will, and in accordance with the worthiness of his honor, that every knee may be bent to him of celestial, terrestrial and infernal things (Phil. ii:10), that is angels, men, and souls who before his advent migrated from this mortal life." "For there are partial corrections (padeiai) which are called chastisements (kolasis), which many of us who have been in transgression incur by falling away from the Lord's people. But as children are chastised by their teacher, or their father, so are we by Providence. But God does not punish (timoria) for punishment (timoria) is retaliation for evil. He chastises, however, for good to those who are chastised collectively and individually." This important passage is very instructive in the light it sheds on the usage of Greek words. The word from which "corrections" is rendered is the same as that in Hebrews xii: 9, "correction" "chastening" (paideia); "chastisement" is from kolasis, translated punishment in Matt. xxv: 46, and "punishment" is timoria, with which Josephus defined punishment, but a word our Lord never employs, and which Clement declares that God never inflicts. This agrees with the uniform contention of Universalist scholars.
Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine. Link
The word by which our Lord describes punishment is the word kolasin, which is thus defined: "Chastisement, punishment." "The trimming of the luxuriant branches of a tree or vine to improve it and make it fruitful." "The act of clipping or pruning-
That it had this meaning in Greek usage, see Plato (428-
Clement insists that punishment in Hades is remedial and restorative, and that punished souls are cleansed by fire. The fire is spiritual, purifying the soul. "God's punishments are saving and disciplinary (in Hades) leading to conversion, and choosing rather the repentance than the death of the sinner, (Ezek. xviii, 23, 32; xxxiii: II, etc.,) and especially since souls, although darkened by passions, when released from their bodies, are able to perceive more clearly because of their being no longer obstructed by the paltry flesh."
He again defines the important word kolasis our Lord uses in Matt. xxv: 46, and shows how it differs from the wholly different word timoria used by Josephus and the Greek writers who believed in irremediable suffering. He says: "He (God) chastises the disobedient, for chastisement (kolasis) is for the good and advantage of him who is punished, for it is the amendment of one who resists; I will not grant that he wishes to take vengeance. Vengeance (timoria) is a requital of evil sent for the interest of the avenger. He (God) would not desire to avenge himself on us who teaches us to pray for those who despitefully use us (Matt. v: 44). Therefore the good God punishes for these three causes: First, that he who is punished (paidenomenos) may become better than his former self; then that those who are capable of being saved by examples may be drawn back, being admonished; and thirdly, that he who is injured may not readily be despised, and be apt to receive injury. And there are two methods of correction, the instructive and the punitive, which we have called the disciplinary."
Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine. Link
2851. κόλασις kólasis; gen. koláseōs, fem. noun from kolázō (2849), to punish. Punishment (Matt. 25:46), torment (1 John 4:18), distinguished from timōría (5098), punishment, which in Class. Gr. has the predominating thought of the vindictive character of the punishment which satisfies the inflicter’s sense of outraged justice in defending his own honor or that of the violated law. Kólasis, on the other hand, conveys the notion of punishment for the correction and bettering of the offender. It does not always, however, have this strict meaning in the NT. In Matt. 25:46, kólasis aiṓnios (166), eternal, does not refer to temporary corrective punishment and discipline, but has rather the meaning of timōría, punishment because of the violation of the eternal law of God. It is equivalent to géenna (1067), hell, a final punishment about which offenders are warned by our Lord (Mark 9:43–48). In this sense it does not have the implication of bettering one who endures such punishment. In kólasis, we have the relationship of the punishment to the one being punished while in timōría the relationship is to the punisher himself.
Syn.: ekdíkēsis (1557), vengeance; epitimía (2009), penalty; díkē (1349), the execution of a sentence.
Ant.: áphesis (859), forgiveness, dismissal, release; apolútrōsis (629), redemption, deliverance; páresis (3929), a passing by of death or sin.
Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament, electronic ed., G2851 (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993).
Note how this scholar admits the word means correction but argues that it must mean something else in the NT because his doctrine says so.
In P Fay 1205 (c. a.d. 100) εὖ πυήσις π[έ]μσ[ις] μυ θρ[ί]νακες δύωι καὶ λικμητρίδε̣ς δύωι καὶ πτύν (l. πτύον) ἕν, ἐπὶ κ[ο]λάζωμαι (l.-
For the meaning “punish,” as in Ac 4:21, 2 Pet 2:9, 3 Macc 7:3, we may cite a Prefect’s decree of a.d. 133–7, PSI V. 44614, in which he threatens to punish sharply soldiers making illegal requisitions—ὡς [ἐμ]οῦ κο[λ]άσοντος ἐρρωμένως ἐάν τις ἁλῷ κτλ.: cf. BGU I. 34114 (ii/a.d.) π]αρεστάθησαν καὶ ἐκολάσθησα̣[ν, P Ryl II. 629 (iii/a.d.), the translation of an unknown Latin work, ἀγρυπνεῖται καὶ κολάζεται [καὶ τι]μωρεῖται καὶ παρηγορεῖται, and from the inscrr. OGIS 9028 (Rosetta stone—b.c. 196) πάντας ἐκόλασεν καθηκόντως. See also Aristeas 208 ὅθεν οὔτε εὐκόπως δεῖ κολάζειν οὔτε αἰκίαις περιβάλλειν, “thou must not therefore on slight provocation punish or subject men to injuries” (Thackeray).
James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, Issued also in eight parts, 1914-