Friday, 27 March 2015
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
This verse refers all the way back to verse 12, which Paul then went on to argue against for the next many verses. There in verse 12 he asked, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” From there, he defended the truth of a literal, bodily resurrection. In order for them to stop listening to contrary arguments which can only pervert the simplicity of the gospel, he tells them first, “Do not be deceived.”
Anything which is not in line with the gospel that was presented to them (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8) is to be considered a deception. If one were to listen to such nonsense, it could only negatively affect them. In order to help them understand this, he says “Evil company corrupts good habits.” This is an iambic line from Thais by Menander. It would have probably been a commonly quoted maxim by those in Corinth and so Paul uses it to help them remember the warning.
In this quote, the word for “company” includes the idea of communications as well as associations. We pick up bad habits from those we closely align ourselves with. Also in this quote, the word “habits” comes from the Greek word homiliai. It is only used this once in the New Testament and it refers to a place where one is accustomed to hang out or sit at. In the plural then, it leads to the thought of morals, manners, and character.
Life application: In 1 Corinthians 5:9-11, Paul indicates that we can associate with worldly people who act in a manner which is not Christ like. However, he now shows that becoming too closely attached to them, or anyone who would draw us away from the truth of Christ, is not healthy. There must be a appropriate balance in our associations in order to stay strong and properly attuned to the things of Christ.
Lord, grant me the wisdom to know how closely I can associate with others without compromising my walk with You. I live in this world, but I don’t want to be overcome by it. Help me to know when it is time to separate from conduct which could weaken my walk with You, and give me the will to follow through with what I know to do. Thank You Lord for watching over me in this way. Amen!