Updated: Feb 15, 2020
If you consult with a modern source dictionary about the word stablish, you’ll likely find it dismissed and changed to established. My un-inspired spell checker is automatically changing it as I type this blog! Pity. Let us not, as Bible believers, jettison these wonderful tools of communication in order to make our Bibles easy to read or less archaic.
The word establish is well understood. The synonyms include founded and beginning at.
We often see that a business, a community, or church was established, founded, or began at such and such a time, and in certain circumstances. Briefly, it means built upon. Founded and foundation.
Stablish, in its briefest definition, means built up. See the synonyms used in 1 Peter 5:10: perfect, strengthen, settle. James 5:8, 2 Thes. 3:3, and Romans 16:25 use stablish as strengthen. It’s not the founding of anything, but rather the building or strengthening of the already existing person or principle. Edified and strengthened.
When God made promises to Solomon, in 2 Chron. 7:18, it was to stablish (build up, hold up) his kingdom—the kingdom had already been established in David. When Mordecai wrote to the Jews in all the provinces, to stablish (settle) a feast day, they had already founded that special day in Shushan (Esther 9:18-22).
Stablish may be considered archaic, but for the serious student it’s both practical and clear in communicating the ‘sense.’ In Paul’s epistle to the Colossians, he first thanks God for their faith in Christ Jesus—established (1:4). Next, he prays that they may be strengthened (stablished) upon the foundation of their faith (1:11). He repeats the theme in Chapter 2: “…the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord (already established in Christ), so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished…” (Col. 2:5-7). The foundation is in Christ (established) and the building up follows (stablished).
I hear good-hearted men stand up at a typical missions conference and declare, “We are going to establish a church in Farawayville—by helping the existing church.” They should say, “We go to confirm, exhort, and stablish.” Okay, let’s go and be sure they are established in the faith and grace of God (well-founded); but, when we say, as Paul said, “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do” (Acts 15:36), we seek to stablish.
Establish and stablish — there is a difference.