Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         November 23, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 38



"A good name is better than precious ointment" (Eccl. 7:1). "Only let not your good be evil spoken of" (Rom. 14:16). Timothy was "well reported of by the brethren" (Acts 16:2). Surely, we would rather be held in respect than despised. 

But sometimes perceptions are unjust. Ahab's perception of Elijah was that he was the one who "troubleth Israel" (1 Kings 18:17). It was really the other way around. 

      Jesus was perceived by the Jewish rulers as a "blasphemer" who had to be stopped at all cost. For that reason they "took counsel together to put Him to death” (Jn. 11:53). Yet Peter said that He "left us an example that we should walk in His steps; Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1 Pet. 2:21,22). 

Paul said, "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness"(1 Cor. 1:23). The perception of both unbelieving Jews and Greeks was wrong. The truth? "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God -- is stronger than men" (Vs. 25). 

Unbelieving Jews created a false impression about Paul and his companions at Thessalonica. They dragged "certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, 'these that have turned the world upside down are come hither also'" (Acts 17:6). The perception spread. "And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things" (vs. 8). But it was all based on false information. But still, that was the perception. 

Image Problems: -- Let's face it, Jesus, the apostles and the early church suffered from an image problem. I guess Demas succumbed to it for he "forsook...having loved this present world" (2 Tim. 4:10). The church of our Lord has often suffered from an image problem. "That's the little bunch who thinks they are the only ones who are right." "Oh, they are the ones who don't believe in music in the church." The perception of many younger people now is that organized religion is hypocritical, repressive, and out of touch with life in the real world. On top of that they are judged to be too judgmental and bigoted. 

Solving The Image Problem: -- I don't know that we always can solve it. We cannot compromise the truth because some who stand for it have been slandered and false perceptions have been created. All of us need to keep on preaching what we know to be the truth, doing what we know to be right, and living uprightly before God and the world, whether or not the perceptions are changed. In the final analysis, does it really matter what people think of us? No, it does not. What matters is what God thinks about us. If my action is right before God, then whatever contrary perceptions may prevail are of no importance. When we begin to sample perceptions, brotherhood or otherwise, and decide our actions and associations accordingly, then we have sold out our principles for the pottage of human approval and opinion. Is there a price to pay sometimes for acting contrary to the "perception which is out there?" Absolutely. You may have a meeting or two canceled without any explanation. That happened to me twice this year. One was cancelled with no other explanation than "for the health of the church." I don't know if that meant the church was all too sick to attend a meeting or they thought my preaching would make them all sick. Another was cancelled with the explanation "due to circumstances." When I inquired what those "circumstances" were, I received no answer. Do churches have the same right to cancel meetings as to schedule them? Of course they do. But there is such thing as honorable treatment which even people of the world recognize in the realm of business dealings. 

Am I going to cut off association with brethren I know to be honorable and who are engaged in activities which are just and right because of some "perception out there"? No sir, I am not. Others may choose whatever course they desire, but it appears to this old country boy that principle and perception are not always on the same page. The measure of a man's character and caliber may well be decided by which one he chooses. "Buy the truth and sell it not" (Prov. 23:23).   

—Connie Adams

Via Truth Magazine, Vol. 52, No. 10




Some are saying that we cannot prove from the Scriptures that it is sinful to drink alcohol "in moderation." We disagree.

While we might look at a number of Scriptures in discussing this important issue, we offer just one: "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:" (1 Peter 4:1-4).

Peter speaks of sins that Christians may have committed before their conversion, and strongly states that these things should not be done any longer. Note three of the sins specifically:

- "excess of wine" - This if from the Greek word: ”OINOPHLUGIA." It denotes habitual intoxication, deep drinking, and drunken bouts. Most people would agree that this is sinful. But the passage also mentions...

- "revellings" - This is from the Greek word: "KOMOS." There is a downward progression in the strength of the three words we are studying. The man who is guilty of "OINOPHLUGIA" gets staggering drunk, and may even sleep in a drunken stupor. But the man who drinks at the level of "KOMOS" is the "life of the party." Yes, he is intoxicated - would fail a sobriety test if stopped by the police while driving his car - but he is not so drunk that he passes out. Again, most Christians would say that this is sinfully wrong. But the text goes onto condemn...

- "banquetings" - This is from the Greek word: "POTOS." The word "banquetings" may lead us to think only of a formal social meal. But the New English Bible translates it as "tippling", which means "drinking, especially continuously in small amounts." So then, "POTOS" literally means drinking without reference to amount. Greek scholar R.C. Trench says that it is drinking but "not of necessity excessive." Here, then, is the word that condemns what most folks refer to as drinking 'in moderation."

—Greg Gwin

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