The defendant has offered his alibi. The skilled prosecutor rises to cross-examine.
With probing questions and convincing arguments he relentlessly uncovers the truth. The evil wretch is exposed--proved wrong--shown the undeniable error of his way. He has been "reproved." (Greek: elengcho – eh LENG ko). Elengcho was not merely to reply to an opponent, but to refute him. It was to rebuke him with such effective¬ness as to bring him under conviction and to summon him to repentance.
It may not be pleasant to "reprove" a wrongdoer, but it is sometimes the necessary duty of God's servant. Note the following instances—all of which use the same Greek word for "reprove": John the Baptist "showed Herod how wrong he was" for taking his brother's wife (Luke 3:19). Because the Cretans were lazy gluttons, Titus was to "take them to task" (Titus 1:13). Timothy was told to "expose in public" those who persisted in sin (1 Tim 5:20). Elders must be ready to "show the error of" those who contradict sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). Even a dumb ass was used to "rebuke" Balaam for his folly and transgression (2 Peter 2:16).
It is the task of the Holy Spirit to "bring conviction" and "prove the world wrong" (John 16:8). It is the task of the preacher to proclaim the Spirit's message and thus "convince" or "convict" those who hear (2 Tim 4:2). It is the task of every Christian to "expose" the unfruitful works of darkness with the light of truth (Eph 5:11-13).
Let us follow the example of our Lord, who said, "As many as I love, I reprove" (Rev 3:19).