Wednesday, 5 October 2016
…neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:4
In the previous verse, Paul gave several negatives which Christians are to refrain from in their behavior and conduct. He continues with more negatives which are certainly tied to the “all uncleanness” of the previous verse. They are:
“Filthiness” – This Greek word is found only here in the New Testament. It indicates obscenity, indecency, or baseness. Those things in a conversation which are indecent, both in speech and in gesture are included in this.
“Foolish talking” – The Greek word morologia, is again unique to the New Testament. It is the combination of moros, (think of a moron), and lego, indicating speaking. Thus it is moronic speech. It gives the sense of “speech flowing out of a dull, sluggish heart (mind) that lost its edge (grip) on reality. This is the ‘talk of fools, involving foolishness and sinning together’” (HELPS Word Studies).
After this, he mentions “course jesting.” For a third time, a unique word in the New Testament is used by Paul. It is, “From a compound of eu and a derivative of the base of trope (meaning well-turned, i.e. Ready at repartee, jocose); witticism, i.e. (in a vulgar sense) ribaldry – jesting” (Strong’s). This would thus give the sense of “polished and witty speech as the instrument of sin; refinement and versatility without the flavor of Christian grace” (Vincent’s Word Studies).
Paul, under inspiration of the Spirit, tells us that these things are “not fitting.” Our speech and actions are to be wholesome and pure, not sensual and unclean. In today’s world, where everything seen on the internet is so vulgar, and where a thousand posts a day are viewed by our eyes which are nuanced with perversion and vulgarity, it is a hard thing to distance ourselves from. And yet, it is what we are called to do.
Instead of these things, we are to rather give thanks. Jamieson-Faucett-Brown says that the word here has “a happy play on sounds in Greek, ‘eucharistia’ contrasted with ‘eutrapelia’; refined ‘jesting’ and subtle humor sometimes offend the tender feelings of grace; ‘giving of thanks’ gives that real cheerfulness of spirit to believers which the worldly try to get from ‘jesting.’”
Life application: Instead of rude, course talking, we should be speaking words of edification to one another, and of praises to God. Instead of fighting in the flesh with our mouths and actions against that which is upright and moral, we should be singing in the Spirit. Let us keep this thought at the forefront of our minds, doing our best to speak that which is wholesome, glorifying of God, and edifying of others.
Heavenly Father, our eyes are introduced to a thousand profane emails and posts a day. Vulgarity and crude innuendo are seen in a continuous stream as we interact with others on social media, and yet You ask us to not engage in such things ourselves. Help us in this endeavor. It is so easy to become what our eyes and ears have beheld. Keep us free from this type of corruption, and help us to live and speak in holiness and with pure tongues. Help us to be edifying of others and glorifying of You. Amen.