Facebook Twitter

The Gospel in Words: The gospel in words: ‘Sober’

SHARE The Gospel in Words: The gospel in words: ‘Sober’

"Perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you." (Doctrine and Covenants 6:35)Generally when we think of the word "sober," we simply think not drunk. It turns out that is an important definition of sober, but the word has a much deeper meaning as it is used in the scriptures. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, soberness is characterized by the absence of excess or indulgence.A sober person is grave, serious, solemn, having or implying a serious mind or purpose. A sober person is also quiet or sedate in demeanor, dignified or discreet in deportment and of a serious character. A sober person shows no trace of haste or impatience and is free from harshness and violence and is of a moderate disposition, not readily excited or carried away. A sober person is one who has calm and dispassionate judgment and is not desirous of great things or high estate but is free from extravagance or excess. Such a person is guided by sound reason and is sane and rational. Interestingly, sober is also connected to fasting.Soberness is used a number of times in the scriptures, and, at least, in the New Testament, the word sober has many of the same meanings described above. "It is that habitual inner self-government, with its constant rein on all the passions and desires, which would hinder temptations from arising, in such strength as would overbear the checks and barriers which are opposed to it" (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).Soberness is sometimes used not simply to describe how we are in ourselves, but how we interact with others. For example, Paul teaches "every man not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).Another common use of the word sober is in how the Lord's servants, leaders, should regard their callings. In the Book of Mormon, Jacob, in acknowledging "the responsibility which I am under to God," promised "to magnify mine office with soberness, that I might rid my garments of your sins" (Jacob 2:2). Oliver Cowdery was admonished to "be patient; be sober; be temperate" and to "perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you" (D&C 6:19, 35). Again, both Cowdery and David Whitmer were commanded to "take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness" (D&C 18:21).In these last days, we have been commanded to "gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth to the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not" (D&C 61:38; see 1 Peter 4:7).