dis-o-be'-di-ens, (marah; apeitheo, parakouo): The word used chiefly in the New Testament has the general meaning of a lack of regard for authority or rulership. The stronger meaning of actual stubbornness or violence is perhaps conveyed in the Old Testament (1Ki 13:26; Ne 9:26; compare 1Ki 13:21).
In the New Testament there seem to be two rather clearly defined uses of the word, one objective and practical, the other ethical and psychological. The first refers more to conduct, the second to belief and one's mental attitude toward the object of disobedience. To the first belong such passages as refer to the overt act of disobedience to one's parents (Ro 1:30; 2Ti 3:2). Illustrating this more fully, the translation according to the King James Version of 1Ti 1:9 is given as "unruly" in the Revised Version (British and American). By far the greater emphasis, however, is placed upon the distinctly ethical quality in which disobedience is really an attitude of the mind and finds its essence in a heart of unbelief and unfaithfulness (1Pe 2:7-8; Eph 2:2; 5:6; Col 3:6). In the latter three references "children (sons) of disobedience" are mentioned, as if one should become the very offspring of such an unhappy and unholy state of mind. The classic phrase of New Testament literature (Ac 26:19) contains both the practical and the ethical aspects. Paul's convictions were changed by the vision and his conduct was made to conform immediately to it.
Walter G. Clippinger