Abstaining from Evil

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by TheOliveBranch, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    What is the meaning of the word appearance in the verse "Abstain from all appearance of evil" in 1Thes 5:22? It seems that each individual has given themselves their own definition for this verse, yet it claims that we should abstain from all appearance. Was there ever a time when christians agreed on it's meaning?
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most agree on its meaning now. It is not "appearance" as in don't do that might appear bad even if it is not. It is "appearance" as in actuality. Abstain from all kinds of evil. Paul's concern is not appearances but reality. We are to avoid the substance of evil.
     
  3. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Olive, I won't go into a bar because of the 'appearance' of evil or go out for a cup of coffee with a man not my husband, etc.

    The 'appearance' of evil is in the 'eye of the beholder'. Those who would be judging my behavior would be the unsaved or those who are not grounded in God's word.

    If it might appear I'm doing something that would damage my testimony, then it's something I won't do!

    Diane
     
  4. russell55

    russell55
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    0
    It means that every time evil appears, we are to abstain from it, not that we are to abstain from every single thing that someone somewhere sometime might think looks a little evil.
     
  5. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't have enough information to conclusively prove anything, but both Matthew Henry and Matthew Poole (17th century) take it in the literal sense. JFB (19th century) lists that view, but then goes on to give the modern "all kinds of evil" interpretation.

    Is this truth taught anywhere else in Scripture, or is this a good example of a doctrinal change in the modern versions?
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    The literal meaning is "every kind" or "every actuality." "The term does not denote semblance as opposed to reality" (Hiebert; cf. Morris). If you study the word used (eidos), it means actual appearance. It has no reference to what something "seems" to be, but rather to what it actually is. It means to be seen and its uses in Scripture bear this out. "All kinds of evil" is not the modern interpretation. It is what Paul meant. Think about it for a minute: Why would Paul be telling someone to avoid the appearance of evil? Would he not be telling them to avoid the evil itself?

    To understand this verse, we need to view it in context.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

    The words "hold fast" and "abstain" are two words (unlike the English three words). They are similar and form a word play for each other. "Good" and "evil" stand as parallels in teh thought and form opposites. Hold to one; abstain from the other. Now think about this: Whatever Paul was telling them to hold on to, he is telling them to avoid its opposite.

    So the passage is teaching to hold fast to good and abstain from evil. "Appearance" in terms of "semblance" was not the thought. It is the actuality that Paul is concerned with.

    This truth is taught all over Scripture, no matter what version you use. Scripture consistently teaches us to avoid evil, to wage war against evil, to eradicate it from our lives. This is a place where misunderstanding the KJV has led some to wise counsel -- it is just not the counsel Paul was giving from this text. This is a place where modern versions have given a clearer understanding of what God intended for us to understand.
     
  7. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    timothy: Is this truth taught anywhere else in Scripture, or is this a good example of a doctrinal change in the modern versions?

    Larry: This truth is taught all over Scripture, no matter what version you use. Scripture consistently teaches us to avoid evil, to wage war against evil, to eradicate it from our lives.


    Of course Pastor, I'm speaking of the appearance of evil. The closest that comes to mind is Paul's teaching concerning weak bretheren.

    Romans 14
    11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

    I think Peter teaches something similar concerning non-believers, but not as clearly (to me):

    1Peter 2
    11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    And the words of our Lord:

    Matthew 5:16
    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
     
  8. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    The passage is about false doctrine. That is what the context would indicate anyway.

    He was telling them to hold to the good and abstain from the evil.

    We know that the "appearance" is not what Paul was after, because many things "appear" to be good, even right, but are false and evil. Sort of like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
     
  9. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think that false teaching or doctrine is alone in this passage. Verse 23 goes on to wrap up the preceding verses by bringing in santification by God for those saved and right living in preservation until Christ comes.
     
  10. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Then what you are saying is that we should abstain from anything, whether it is apparent, or whether "fealt" as by the conscience? This would become doctrinal, and the appearance of modern versions would then need to be avoided because the evil spoken of in the MV's is actual, or a kind of sin?

    Interesting.

    [ October 03, 2003, 11:23 AM: Message edited by: TheOliveBranch ]
     
  11. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is this post actual??? :D Seriously, what in the world are you trying to say??? I don't think what was being said is that we should abstian from anything. Paul is saying that we should abstain from that which is evil and hold to that which is good. The evil spoken of in the MVs is the same as the evil spoken of in the KJVs. We are to avoid the evil however, not the Bible.
     
  12. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pastor Larry, I am doing my best to be obedient to the word and ignoring and opposing KJVO theology.
     
  13. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is this post actual??? :D Seriously, what in the world are you trying to say??? I don't think what was being said is that we should abstian from anything. Paul is saying that we should abstain from that which is evil and hold to that which is good. The evil spoken of in the MVs is the same as the evil spoken of in the KJVs. We are to avoid the evil however, not the Bible. </font>[/QUOTE]Yea, I've read it a few times [​IMG] ???

    What Paul said was to: Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Then, to: abstain from all appearance of evil. I agree to avoid evil, not the Bible.

    Correct me if I'm wrong. What you are stating is that if it is not a physical reality of evil, then it's ok to do it. Timothy1769 said that if this is what you believe and you find this in the MV (kind of evil,: as in actual, physical, evil), then the MV's are being doctrinally wrong if the teaching is in any appearance of evil,(as in if it fells wrong, don't do it). But in actuality, you are now stating not to abstain from anything??? Pastor Larry, you have succeeded in confusing me with this.
     
  14. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    OliveBranch,

    Women tend to be much more spiritual in outlook, so I've been meditating on your words trying to fully understand them.

    I think if a MV proponent regards the KJV as a faithful translation he should avoid the appearance of evil by using the KJV himself whenever in the presence of those who condemn MV's as evil. They should not let their good be evil spoken of.

    Just to be clear, I personally believe modern versions are not good, as most are based on corrput texts and in many instances include poor translation choices due to the infiltration of feminism and a general secular rationalistic attitude that exalts man and his worldly wisdom.
     
  15. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think man should abstain from evil

    1) as God sees it,
    2) as he personally sees it, and
    3) as others see it, if there is a chance others could stumble through his example

    Of course, man should carry out God's positive commands regardless of his or other's feelings about it. It all boils down to the idea that we should obey God, not act against our own consciences, and our love for our weak brothers should trump our personal freedom in Christ.

    As we grow in Christ, our view of evil will approach God's. But note well our convictions NEVER trump the revealed Word of God. If the Bible condemns/commands something, our personal convictions don't matter. We need to obey the Lord.

    This is my view.

    [ October 03, 2003, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: timothy 1769 ]
     
  16. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a little wary of how this passage has been abused by some people for two reasons.

    The first is that the phrase, as found in 1 Thess 5:22, isn't referring to what we drink, where we go, or what we do, it's referring to testing the efficacy of prophecy.

    The second is that, as has been pointed out here, the "appearance of evil" is largely subjective and in the eye of the beholder.

    It is neither just nor reasonable to hold someone accountable for what someone mistakenly thinks they're doing.

    The common rationale by people who misinterpret this phrase is, "I don't drink because someone will think I'm a drunk" but they still drive and don't worry that someone may think they're a car thief. They have no problem going through the drive through at McDonalds even though someone may think they're a glutton. They have no problem making a withdrawl from a bank even though someone may think they just robbed it.
     
  17. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank-you for clarifying. Your point is not as confusing as I saw it at first. Is your view another way to say "respect"?

    I also agree with your next point:
     
  18. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    Originally posted by TheOliveBranch:
    Is your view another way to say "respect"?

    If someone thinks something is wrong, even if it's really OK, to him it is wrong, and a sin.

    Now if I do that thing in front of him, I may be encouraging him to do likewise. Out of love for my brother I should forgo my Christian liberty in that case so that I don't encourage him to sin.

    So it's not just respect, or a desire to not upset him, but a desire to not be the cause of his sin.

    So for example if Bob thinks chewing gum is a sin, then for him it is and God counts it as such. Out of my love for Bob I should refrain from chewing gum around him.
     
  19. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    timothy,

    Would you then use a MV if you were to attend a church that uses an MV? I'm not being sarcastic.

    I really understand your beliefs. I am from this same persuasion.
     
  20. Baptist in Richmond

    Baptist in Richmond
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    5,075
    Likes Received:
    4
    Not disagreeing with you here ( :eek: ), but how far are you willing to take this?
    Case in point: I used to work with a extreme legalist who was always preaching to people in the workplace. Although her motives were admirable, she had a serious issue with her delivery. After proclaiming to a fellow Believer that her church was apostate for using the NKJV, she offended our lost co-workers and alienated the fellow Believers. The lost co-workers began to pick her life apart, and pointed to practically every facet of her life as being "no different from our lives."
     

Share This Page

Loading...