How To Avoid Gossip
The English word gossip is not in the KJV of the Bible, but the concept is. It is found under the words talebearing, slander, tattle, whisper and busybody among other words. So, with that being said, we will define the English word first then go to the scriptures. McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia says, gossip comes from God and sib, a Saxon word signifying kindred, a name given in England to sponsors as bearing a spiritual relationship to the children for whom they stand. A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language – Ernest Klein says, gossip means godparent; one given to idle talk; idle talk. From Middle English – godsib, gossib, from Old English – godsibb, sponsor, from god, God and sibb, relationship. Hasting’s Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics says, gossip, the word in its original use indicated a person who had become related (sib or sibling) to another through a common relation in the service of God, as a sponsor, who answers for a child in baptism (a person that gossips acts as a sibling and speaks and answers for you, when in reality one should speak and answer for themselves). It then broadened out to embrace those who were related to one another through common interests of some sort. It was next applied to the talk of those who were thus related, and finally to the speech of friends, neighbours, and acquaintances about persons and matters which were of common interest to them. Gossip is essentially a social function, and is as old and universal as society. It finds its material everywhere. Nothing is too high or too low for it. If we seek to gather the general sense of its moral character, there can be little doubt that it is condemnatory. Burns, in his Address to the Unco Guid, says: Ye’ve nought to do but mark and tell Your neebours’ fauts and folly. Tennyson numbers gossip among the sins of emptiness (idle talk). Coleridge may have had it in mind when he wrote: But whispering tongues can poison truth. Most of the definitions or descriptions of gossip are in agreement with this judgment of it. It is a retailing of small talk, the telling of idle tales, women’s tattle over tea. It is generally concerned with evil things, and is rarely beneficent. It is usually regarded as being inspired by an impertinent curiosity, and as having no interest but a selfish one. It tends to create ill-feeling, disturbs peaceful friendships, tempts to exaggeration, fosters a morbid love of prying, and is a fruitful source of evil imputations. It has little regard for the truth of what it repeats, inclines to add fiction to fact, exercises little or no discrimination or censorship, and aims chiefly at effect. It is characterized by a general pettiness of interest, and requires slight powers of thought. The mind that finds delight in gossip is prisoned in the lower interests of life. Though it is more genial and kindly than scandal, it is closely and dangerously allied to it, and often passes into it. The habitual gossiper is almost always a scandal-monger. Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language says, gossiping means prating; chatting; running from place to place and tattling, a running about to collect tales and tattle. Waverly Pictorial Dictionary says, gossip is one who goes about spreading rumors or indulging in idle talk; rumor or tittle-tattle. Formerly the word denoted an old friend or fellow sponsor at a baptism, but now it is used to mean someone who delights in gathering together all sorts of information about others and passing it on to his or her friends.
So, as you can see gossip is not just a simple meaning of a word. Our meaning is just one that goes about talking about another behind their back. Biblically, it is way more to it than just that. If gossip was just about that, then Paul and the other apostles would be considered as gossipers.
II Tim 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 – But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 – And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Is Paul gossiping by mentioning these 2 men to Timothy? Why is Paul mentioning their names? The following verse says why.
18 – Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
They were preaching false doctrine and overthrowing the faith of other believers at Ephesus. Are we to be ok with false doctrine among believers? Paul mentions another pair to Timothy. Is the following gossip?
I Tim 1:20 – Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Why did Paul mention their names? They were blaspheming.
II Tim 4:14 – Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil (in Acts 19): the Lord reward him according to his works:
I Co 5:1 – It is reported (akouo – to hear, it is heard) commonly (holos – among you all) that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
Now if Paul is a gossiper, then so is the church at Corinth, because Paul heard from the congregation that someone among them is involved in fornication.
2 – And ye are puffed up (knowledge of scripture and not doing it is being puffed up – I Co 8:1), and have not rather mourned (mourned over sin – Mt 5:4), that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 – For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
He is judging, even though he is not physically there, according to the information that was presented to him by the church.
4 – In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 – To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 – Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
If you do not judge righteously and do nothing about sin, then this fornication shall continue in the assembly and leaven/corrupt the whole congregation. It is very important to deal with sin and not just “let it be”. The reason we let it be is because you don’t want to deal with it nor the consequences of dealing with it. Sometimes we don’t deal with it, because we are involved in sin ourselves or we just have respect of persons and don’t want to mess with others’ comfort zone. What about the time when Paul and Barnabas were fighting with each other over John Mark?
Acts 15:37 – And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
38 – But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work (Acts 13:13).
39 – And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
40 – And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
They both were talking about John Mark and he was not present. Were they gossiping? When Jesus spoke to the blessed ones, he said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time”, speaking of the rabbis. Was he gossiping? You have to know what gossip is and what it is not to judge righteously about it. Now we go to the scriptures, which will define what a gossiper is, does, does not do and what is its character.
Lev 19:16 – Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Talebearer is the OT Hebrew word rakiyl. Complete Biblical Library says, “rakhil means slander or slanderer, to go about for the sake of slandering. It is derived from rakhal, which means to go about, to trade.” But, what does slander mean? A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language – Ernest Klein says, slander comes from Middle English, sclaundre, slaundre, from Old French escandele, escandle, esclandre (French esclandre), from Late Latin scandalum, cause of offense or stumbling. From Greek skandalon, which is our English word scandal, and Spanish word escandalo, meaning to defame or a false accusation (A Complete English Latin Dictionary by J.E. Riddle). McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia says, slander is uttering false speeches against our neighbor, to the prejudice of his fame, safety, welfare, and that out of malignity, vanity, rashness, ill nature, or bad design. The principal kinds of slander are these: (1) charging others with faults they are not guilty of; (2) affixing scandalous names and odious characters which they deserve not; (3) aspersing a man’s actions with foul names, importing that they proceed from evil principles, or tend to bad ends, when it does not or cannot appear; (4) perverting a man’s words or acts disadvantageously by affected misconstruction; (5) partial or lame representation of men’s discourse or practice, suppressing some part of the truth or concealing some circumstances which ought to be explained; (6) instilling sly suggestions which create prejudice in the hearers; (7) magnifying and aggravating the faults of others; (8) imputing to our neighbor’s practice, judgment, or profession evil consequences which have no foundation in truth.
Did Paul or Jesus or any of the apostles do any of these things that is defined under gossip/slander?
More rakiyl verses.
Pro 11:13 – A talebearer (rakiyl) revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Pro 20:19 – He that goeth about as a talebearer (rakiyl) revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
A talebearer reveals secrets about others. Secrets is the word cowd, which, as per CBL, can refer to the content or product of the communication in the group, that is, secret plans, private advice or intimate thoughts and feelings. It also denotes a secret or the confidence that a gossip betrays (Pro 11:13). If someone tells you something in confidence, and in private, it is a secret, which he or she only wants you to know, and it is expected to stay that way, not for you to go out and about and let others know without that someone’s knowledge or consent as per Pro 11:13. When this happens, it is because the person that told the secret was relying and expecting this information to stay concealed within both parties, because faithful is the OT Hebrew word ‘amen, and Theological Wordbook of the OT says, amen, which is our word amen, means true, trusting, dependable, responsible, supportive. Theological Dictionary of the OT says, “in the niphal ne’amen means reliable.” If you rely and trust your “pastor” with some private intimate things and if he goes about telling others about it without your consent or without your knowledge, that trust has been breached. Your “pastor” is not of a faithful spirit, he is not amen, but a blabber mouth that has no regard for trust nor confidentiality. A psychiatrist keeps notes and records of their clients and that information is private. They can’t even mention it to their spouses. What would you do if that information was leaked? Who is to blame? The people or the psychiatrist? The congregation or the “pastor”? According to Pro 20:19 a talebearer is also one that flatters with his lips, which is the word pathah, meaning to entice, and that is how they gain your trust and confidence (‘amen). CBL says, “the meaning of pathah in the Qal stem is to be simple, to be deceived, or perhaps to be gullible (if you are gully, get ready for the ride of your life with “pastors” and such that love to gossip and slander). A homonymous verb, pathah means to be wide, to be spacious, and should be considered a loanword from Aramaic. It appears twice in the OT, once in Pro 20:19 as a Qal participle referring to a gossip.” Pathah has the idea of being open minded as opposed to being narrow minded, where only truth is accepted and allowed to enter our minds. If someone says that you have to be open minded, where we are to accept anything and everything as truth or plausible truth, that is a lie, we, as believers are to be narrow minded, and Biblically speaking, it has nothing to do with being stubborn either. All believers are to be narrowed and narrow minded.
Pro 18:8 – The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly (26:22).
This word talebearer is a different Hebrew word, ragan. CBL says, the verb raghan, to grumble, to slander. The redemption of God’s people is marked by those who complain, ultimately accepting instruction (Isa 29:24). The Israelites grumbled, claiming that God took them from oppression in Egypt only to give them to other enemies in the wilderness (Dt 1:27). Ps 106:25 recounts this event as an illustration of the rebellion of God’s people in spite of His unending care for them. In Proverbs, raghan occurs four times as a participle substantive meaning informer, slanderer, gossip (i.e., one who murmurs or whispers about others). A slanderer separates close friends (Pro 16:28). The slanderer’s words dig deep into one’s self (and thus injure a person; 18:8; 26:22). When a gossip is not present, a quarrel will die down (26:20). The words of a talebearer are as wounds, but this English word wounds does not match in meaning with the OT Hebrew word, laham. CBL says, “the verb laham occurs twice in the OT, in Pro 18:8; 26:22. Older versions of the Bible, including the KJV, translate the noun wounds. Later versions, however, do not. The RSV reads delicious morsels, and the NIV reads choice morsels. Grammatically, these are Hithpael participles of a verb meaning to swallow greedily. An Aramaic cognate has a similar definition. Therefore, the participle found in Proverbs refers to that which is swallowed greedily, i.e. something considered very palatable.” And it makes sense because of the phrase that follows The words of a talebearer are as wounds, because after it is swallowed, the words of the talebearer go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Ps 50:20 – Thou sittest (as a judge) and speakest against thy brother (but who is thy brother? – Mt 12:46-50, Mk 3:31-35, Lk 8:19-21); thou slanderest thine own mother’s son (but who is our mother? – Gal 4:26, Heb 12:22-23).
Slanderest is the word dophiy. CBL says, dophiy is usually rendered as damage, especially to one’s reputation. The biblical Hebrew example occurs in the second half of a couplet, you slander your own mother’s son. The first half of Ps 50:20 helps to define the term in question, placing it in parallel with to speak against. The context is a legal complaint of Yahweh, as He charges the wicked with a list of sins. The slanderer in this context has foolishly shown irreverence for God to the point that he slanders his own family continually. The judgment for the one who forgets God will be swift and sure.
Ps 101:5 – Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Slandereth is the OT Hebrew word lashan. TDOT says lashan means use the tongue maliciously, i.e., accuse or slander someone. Not only does it mean to accuse and slander someone, but it is done privily, which is the word cether. CBL says, cether means hiding place, cover or secrecy. It is derived from the verb cathar, to hide. Cether is translated most often as secrecy or a secret thing or place. For example, Ehud used the enticement of a secret message to gain a private audience with Eglon, king of Moab, so he could assassinate him (Jud 3:19). Further, David hid in a secret place from Saul (I Sam 19:2), and Shulamith was likened to a dove in the secret places of a cliff (S.S. 2:14). At times, cether is translated with an accompanying word as an adverbial phrase in secret. For instance, the prophet Nathan told David that although his adultery was done in secret, God would punish him publicly (II Sam 12:12); similarly, bread eaten in secret is a figure of adultery (Pro 9:17), whereas a gift given in secret pacifies anger (Pro 21:14). Also, in Ps 139:15, the fetus is described as being formed in secret in the womb. At times, the adverbial sense is translated secretly. It is used of setting up an idol in secret (Dt 27:15), of one who attacks his neighbor secretly (v 24), of eating secretly in time of famine (Dt 28:57), of secretly enticing someone into idolatry (Dt 13:6, Job 31:27) and of secretly slandering one’s neighbor (Ps 101:5).
Ps 31:13 – For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
Pro 10:18 – He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
This word slander in both these verses is dibbah. TWOT says, dibba, defaming, evil report, infamy, slander. This word refers to defamation, perhaps whispered slander, if the connection is with the root dabab, to move gently. It is used for a report of evil character (Gen 37:2). The fainthearted spies give a bad report on Canaan (Num 13:32). The utterance of dibba marks the fool (Pro 10:18). Israel is a dibba, a public scandal, and will be judged by God (Ezk 36:3). TDOT says, dibbah means lawsuit, accusation, objection, untruthful, evil, presumptuous slander, idle talk. This should also be compared with dabbibu, slanderer, and dabibu, defense lawyer. In half the occurrences of dibbah in the OT, it appears as the nomen regens (governing noun) of the construct in the sense of a subjective genitive: dibbath rabbim, the whispering of many (Jer 20:10, Ps 31:13), or dibbath ʿam, the gossip of the people (Ezk 36:3). The root in Akkadian means to speak, charge, plot; in an Aramaic compound to slander; in Egyptian lawsuit. CBL says, speaking ill of someone or something is the general force of this noun (dibbah). It is usually translated evil report or slander. In Akradian the word is a technical term for legal case or slander. The Hebrew noun rarely hints at the legal aspects, however. In most cases, the sense conveyed by this noun is a negative report or a rumor. The lone instance where the word may be used in a legal sense is in Pro 10:18, where it is declared that the one who utters slander is a fool. Fool is the word keciyl. CBL says, this adjective is derived from kasal, to be foolish. The underlying thought includes a connotation of sluggish, dull or fat, and refers to more than mere lack of experience or mental ability. The fool in Scripture is willfully and obstinately walking down the wrong path. TDOT says, kesel means figuratively dull, dogged, slow, in the negative sense of stupidity. The noun kesel appears in a negative sense. It describes the stupidity of those who delight in their own words, refusing to take seriously the transitoriness of human life (Ps 49:14). Eccl 7:25 uses it in parallel with folly, madness, and wickedness. The noun kesiluṯ appears only once, in Pro 9:13, where it serves to personify stupidity and folly as Lady Folly, who in contrast to Lady Wisdom lacks all knowledge but nevertheless seeks with passion to lead the simple astray from the right way.
Pro 26:20 – Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer (ragan), the strife ceaseth.
Strife is the word madown. TDOT says madhon simply means strife and contention. In the OT, this word is limited almost entirely to the book of Proverbs (14 out of 17 occurrences; it is used in parallelism with din in Pro 22:10). It appears with ribh in Pro 15:18, Hab 1:3. Jeremiah is a man of strife (ribh) and contention (madhon) to the whole land (Jer 15:10). Midhyanim, contentious persons, which appears only in the plural, is identical with madhon in meaning, and frequently occurs in its place in the textual tradition. It is found only in Proverbs (10 times), mostly with reference to the contentious wife. CBL says, “derived from the verb din, to plead, to contend with, this noun occurs most often in Proverbs, and three times it is used to denote a contentious wife (Pro 21:19, 25:24, 27:15). It is also used of the contentious person (Pro 26:21). God’s people became an object of contention because of their sin (Ps 80:6), and Jeremiah became an object of contention in his own land because of his preaching (Jer 15:10). The Proverbs also speak of those who spread strife (Pro 6:14, 19, 16:28), and those who stir up strife (10:12, 15:18, 28:25, 29:22) as being foolish and headed for judgment. This word is used in parallelism with riv, lawsuit (Pro 15:18, Jer 15:10, Hab 1:3), and din, legal case (Pro 22:10).” In the LXX it is the word mache, which is where we get our English and Spanish word macho, meaning to fight physically or verbally. Talebearing or gossip equals strife or fighting. Macho comes from the Latin word masculus. We get our word masculine. Macho is characterized by machismo, which means a strong sense of masculine pride, an exaggerated masculinity, an exaggerated or exhilarating sense of power or strength. Mache means to brawl, wrestle or fight, it can also mean to fight with words.
Pro 15:18 – A wrathful man stirreth up strife (madown – mache): but he that is slow to anger appeaseth (shaqat – tranquil – to tame down) strife (riyb – fight).
Slow to anger is 2 words in the Hebrew arek aph and 1 word in the Greek makrothumos.
Arek means long suffering, which involves excercising understanding and patience towards believers. Aph means nostrils, displeasure. It comes from anaph, meaning by the act of breathing emotions can be expressed. The nose dilates in anger and this anger is expressed in the appearance of the nostrils. The Latin Vulgate says, he composes differences, reconciles the parties at variance, and makes all hush and still; and so prevents the ill consequences of contention and strife.
Pro 25:8 – Go not forth hastily to strive (riyb – mache), lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.
Pro 30:33 – Surely the churning (miyts – squeezing, pressing, wringing) of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing (miyts) of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing (miyts) of wrath (aph) bringeth forth strife (riyb – mache).
II Tim 2:23 – But foolish (moros – we get our word moron) and unlearned questions avoid, knowing (eido – seeing and perceiving) that they do gender (gennao – bring forth, birth) strifes (mache).
Tit 3:9 – But avoid (a command) foolish (moros) questions, and genealogies, and contentions (eris – debate), and strivings about (mache) the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Mache comes from machomai, meaning to fight as in war or battle.
John 6:52 – The Jews therefore strove (machomai) among themselves, saying, How can this man (speaking of Jesus) give us his flesh to eat?
Acts 7:26 – And the next day he (speaking of Moses) shewed himself unto them (his brethren) as they strove (machomai), and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
II Tim 2:24 – And the servant of the Lord must not strive (machomai); but be gentle unto all men (in the body of Christ), apt to teach (didaktikos – from didasko – to be a teacher), patient (anexikakos – patient of ills and wrongs, forbearing – from anechomai, meaning to forbear and kakos – evil, worthless, vanity – it means to forbear evil from other believers),
The opposite of fighting with words/slander is to be gentle, which is the word epios, meaning mild, affable, being pleasant and at ease in talking to others. It is characterized by ease and friendliness, gracious, godly, delicate, merciful, compassionate.
Jam 4:1 – From whence come wars and fightings (mache) among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war (strateuomai – we get our word strategy, which means a plan or method of combat) in your members?
Fighting with words/slander begins in our lustful thoughts, then it is put into action when the thought is entertained.
2 – Ye lust (epithumeo – to seek things that are forbidden), and have (echo – hold) not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight (machomai) and war (polemeo – from polemos and this comes from pelomai – to bustle. In Spanish it is the word pelear, pelea, peleamos), yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 – Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
When we slander, we are fighting with words, we are defending ourselves our actions and seeking revenge or what we think is our rights, when scripture says that we are not called to do that, because vengeance belongs to the LORD.
Ex 14:14 – The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Fighting physically or verbally is not what we are called to do, but to hold our peace and great peace have they that love thy law (Ps 119:165). When you love the law of God and practice walking in it, slander and fighting with words will diminish gradually. It is not something that happens overnight.
I Tim 6:3 – If any man teach otherwise (other than the name of God and his doctrine in v1), and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 – He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings (huponoia – suspicion, conjecture, assumption),
Strifes of words is logomachia, meaning a battle of words, debates, arguments. A person involved in strife of words will be characterized by being proud (tuphoo), meaning puffed up or inflated by the knowledge he or she think they have, but does not want to do truth of the knowledge he or she has learned (I Co 8:1), while they actually know (epistamai) nothing, which means they are not acquainted with nor comprehend truth. They are involved in doting about questions. Doting is the word noseo, meaning to have an unhealthy desire or morbid craving (noseo) for controversy and for disputes about words, or a morbid disease(nosos)-like craving for debates. A person that teaches anything other than truth is puffed up, understanding nothing, slandering, which brings about envy, strife, which is the word eris, meaning debates, contention and they will rail (blasphemia) or hinder a reputation, they will surmise (huponoia) evil suspicions, conjectures and assumptions and much more. He or she that does not keep to the words or logos of Christ (or walking in agape) and sound doctrine will be doting about questions and strifes of words and will gossip. To act in agape towards one who has sinned is Christ-like. To repeat the matter, gossip about it, harp on the shortcomings, failures and faults of others, is Satan-like, for he is the accuser of the brethren. It is easy to gossip, without a doubt and it is easy to point out each others faults and shortcomings or what we consider wrong in our thought process, it is in our nature. Restraining our tongue is not that simple but we must force ourselves to quit gossip. Gossip ceases when we walk in agape.
Pro 17:9 – He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
John Gill’s Expositor says, he that hides or covers the transgression of another committed against himself or against another, which he is privy to; but the matter being made up, and the offence forgiven, he forgets it, and no more speaks of it to his friend, or upbraids him with it, nor spreads it among others: such a man shows that he loves his friend, and is desirous that love and friendship should be continued. But he that repeateth (or harpeth) a matter of the transgression, the thing that has given the offence; that brings it up again, when it has been covered; upbraids his friend with it, when it has been passed over and forgiven; will frequently hit him on the teeth with it, and talk of it wherever he comes, and spread the knowledge of it in all places: he sets the best of friends at variance one with another by such a practice (Pro 16:28 – A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends). He who is always dwelling on a grievance (woe is me, woe is me, a pity party), returning to it and bringing it forward on every occasion, alienates the greatest friends, he only embitters the injury and makes it chronic. So the rabbis said: Abstain from quarrels with thy neighbour; and if thou hast seen something bad of thy friend, let it not pass thy tongue as a slander (he did so-and-so to me). He who repeats the matter, turns always back again to the unpleasant occurrence (to come back with something, as in Pro 26:11 – As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly), for he purposely fosters the strife, and remembers the disharmony, ill-will, and estrangement which the offence produced; while the noble man, who has love for his motive and his aim, by prudent silence contributes to bring the offence and the division which it occasioned into forgetfulness. Pulpit Commentary says, he that repeateth (or harpeth on) a matter separateth very friends (Pro 16:28). He who is always dwelling on a grievance, returning to it and bringing it forward on every occasion, alienates the greatest friends, only embitters the injury and makes it chronic. Ecclus 19:7 Rehearse not unto another that which is told unto thee, and thou shalt fare never the worse. Whether it be to friend or foe, talk not of other men’s lives; and if thou canst without offence, reveal them not. For he heard and observed thee, and when time cometh he will hate thee. If thou hast heard a word, let it die with thee; and be bold, it will not burst thee. So the rabbis said: Abstain from quarrels with thy neighbour; and if thou hast seen something bad of thy friend, let it not pass thy tongue as a slander. The Mosaic Law had led the way to this duty of forbearance: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Lev 19:18). Septuagint, He who concealeth injuries seeketh friendship; but he who hateth to conceal them separateth friends and households. Original Notes on the Book of Proverbs by Solomon Caesar Malan says, repeateth a matter; it is literally, who [doubles] turns over a matter; who, as R. S. Yarchi says, fosters enmity and remembers (or brings to mind) he did so-and-so to me. Proverbs by Crawford Howell Toy says, similar reflections are found in 10:12, 16:28. He who covers up (is silent about) the hasty speeches and ill advised acts of his friend thus puts aside occasions of quarrel, and promotes kindliness of feeling; he who repeats (or, spreads abroad, or harps on) imprudent talk alienates his friend. The proverb is concerned not with crime but with gossip.
I Tim 3:1 – This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop (episkope – elder), he desireth a good work.
2 – A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 – Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
Tit 3:1 – Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
2 – To speak evil of (blasphemeo) no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle (epieikes –yielding, reasonable or considerate), shewing all meekness (praotes – tamed) unto all men.
Not a brawler and no brawlers is the word amachos. It is the opposite of mache and machomai. Gossip is a dangerous thing, but a disciplined tongue is a restraining mercy to the body of believers.
Pro 21:23 – Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
John Gill’s Expositor says, whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue guards the one and bridles the other; is careful of what he says, that it is truth, and without dissimulation and guile; and is not injurious to the characters of men, and is not offensive and provoking; who abstains from ill and wrathful language, and which tends to stir up wrath and contention. It is best to understand both of the same thing, of speech or language, which when a man is careful of, he keepeth his soul from troubles; his conscience clear of guilt and distress, and his person from being concerned in quarrels, contentions, and lawsuits, which such who give their tongues too much liberty are involved in.
II Th 3:11 – For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Are busybodies is the word periergazomai. CBL says, periergazomai is a compound form of the preposition peri, around, about, concerning, and the verb ergazomai, work, labor. In classical Greek a variety of uses occur. Periergazomai can carry the meaning overdo, overact, go to needless expense, and do something unnecessary. Plato notes that Socrates wasted his labor seeking the things under earth and heaven (Bauer). The word is also used in the sense of be busy about and meddle, interfere with. The word is used in similar ways in the papyri. A letter from Emperor Claudius to the Alexandrians reads, I bid the Jews not to busy themselves beyond what they have held hitherto (Moulton-Milligan). Periergazomai is used only once in the NT, II Th 3:11 where Paul censured the meddlesome behavior and idleness of the Christians at Thessalonica who had quit working. This passage uses an interesting play on words which is difficult to express in English: For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not (ergazomenous) at all (that is, not doing anything useful), but are busybodies (periergazomenous), with the implication being meddlesome. The idea is that they were not doing the business they should have been doing but were meddling in the business of others. Some suppose these busybodies quit work because they thought the coming of the LORD was near. But the context does not necessarily bear this out. Rather, it indicates that these idlers were disorderly, were failing to follow Paul’s example of working for his own food (v6-9,12), and were taking advantage of the generosity of other believers. The New International Dictionary of NT Theology by Colin Brown says, periergazomai, meddle, be a busybody; from periergos, meaning meddlesome, a busybody. It is compounded from peri (around, beyond) and the verb ergazomai (work). Its primary meaning is to do superfluous work. In secular Greek it is sometimes found in a good sense, to investigate thoroughly; but more often it has a bad connotation, to take more pains than necessary, be a busybody. The derived adjective is used similarly to mean either of an enquiring mind, curious (and hence magical; Latin curiosus); or, in a bad sense, officious, meddlesome. Periergazomai is used once in the NT, in II Th 3:11, where there is a deliberate word-play on ergazomai. Paul condemns those whose only business is to be a busybody. The adjective periergos occurs twice: once in I Tim 5:13 to describe young women on the church widows’ register who become busybodies (as well as idlers and gossips) through having nothing constructive to do. CBL says, periergos is an adjective related to the verb periergazomai. It is a compound formed from the preposition peri, beyond, and the noun ergon, work, deed. In classical Greek the word can be used in a negative sense meaning taking needless trouble, and is descriptive of those considered officious, meddlesome. A positive sense, inquisitive, curious, is also seen. However, curiosity can lead one beyond the normal realm of knowledge into the occult, superstition, or magic. Hence Plutarch used the word with the meaning curious, superstitious (Liddell-Scott). A papyrus of the Third or Fourth Century A.D. refers to the magic arts of the populace through which they consulted idols by means of herbs and other devices (cf. Moulton-Milligan). This word is not found in the Septuagint. The NT uses periergos twice. In Acts 19:19 the word describes the occult practices which the Ephesians forsook when they put their faith in Christ. In I Tim 5:13 Paul characterized idle women as tattlers and busybodies who meddled in the affairs of others.
I Tim 5:13 – And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies (periergos – related to periergazomai), speaking things which they ought not.
Idle is the word argos. TDNT by Kittel says, argos means inactive or inoperative. It is used in the sense of indolent, unemployed, useless, unserviceable, or unused or unworked. Argos in the NT is used in the secular sense of unemployed (Mt 20:3), inactive (Mt 20:6; I Tim 5:13), or idle (Tit 1:12). It is also used in the moral sense of not accomplishing good, i.e., bad, of human words which come under judgement (Mt 12:36, where it is obviously identical with poneros in v34). CBL says, argos is actually a contracted form of a, un, + ergon, work. Thus, among classical writers this adjective describes someone or something (e.g., a field or money) as inactive, lazy, or idle. People are idle or not working (Mt 20:3, 6), and words can be careless (argos, Mt 12:36). Work had a positive value in Greek culture as well as in a Hebrew environment. Laziness is a disgrace; but work is closely associated with virtue (aretē). Perhaps in a veiled reference to the opponents Peter used litotes (a positive statement expressed in negative terms) to urge action on the part of believers. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective (argē) or unfruitful (akarpos) (II Pet 1:8). In other words, such things will make one effective and fruitful. Idleness joins with foolish talk (phluaros) in I Tim 5:13 to characterize those women who had been duped by the false teachers. Being idle they went from house to house spreading the gangrenous teachings. Synonyms of the NT by Richard Chenevix Trench says, argos, slow (or tardy), sluggish, and idle would severally represent the words of this group.
We should be about our Father’s business and working as unto the LORD, the opposite of working for God is working for self and that is where the trouble of gossip begins. Being idle (spiritual laziness) involves wandering about from house to house. How is this applied to us in the 21st century? Some of us go and walk to another’s house or drive there. Others send text messages, emails, there is also social media, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…Going from house to house is much more prevalent now than it was back then. Gossip and slander is much more prevalent today, and almost unstoppable. Scripture says, and not only are they idle, but tattlers also. Tattlers is the word phluaros, meaning a person given to gossip. CBL says, the adjective phluaros, which can mean a person given to gossip or the gossip itself, occurs once in the NT. Paul used the word in its plural form, phluaroi, to describe the indiscreet conversation and conduct of young widows who seek position in the social and religious ministry of the church but then lose their Christian motivation. The result is they degenerate to gossipy busybodies in the community (I Tim 5:13).
A Greek and English Lexicon to the NT by John Parkhurst says, phluaros comes from phluo, meaning to boil, bubble, as with heat. When one is gossiping about others it involves unrighteous (wrong) anger. We are only to be angry at those preaching false doctrine (Eph 4:26).
I Pet 4:15 – But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
A busybody in other men’s matters is the word allotriepiskopos. TDNT says, the word allotri (ο) episkopos occurs only at I Pet 4:15. It is a simple composite like kako-poios, which comes immediately before it (evildoer). The koine keeps the hiatus for the sake of etymological clarity. Most of the MSS, however, have the shorter form, and only allotrioepiskopos. Similar constructions with allotrio are found elsewhere in Greek. Allotriognomos means one who has something else in mind; allotriopragmon one who meddles in other matters which do not concern him; and allotriophagos one who eats alien bread. There are other examples, especially in the temporal sphere. Allotrionomeo means to put in a strange or alien place, or to live according to foreign customs; allotrioprageo to pursue matters which do not concern one; allotriophroneo to envy the goods of others; allotriophroneo to have another, i.e., a hostile mind. allotri (ο) episkopos is a construction like these, except that we have the noun episkopos instead of episkopeo. Whenever allotrios is used, it always denotes an activity which is foreign to the doer, or which is not his concern. It is in this light that we are to understand allotriepiskopos. Since the word is not found in Greek except in the NT, we can deduce its meaning only from the context of I Peter, and this does not yield us a wholly unambiguous answer. The author is admonishing his readers to bear cheerfully the sufferings which they must undergo because of their faith. He presupposes that members of the Christian community are persecuted at law for the fact that they are Christians. There is no shame in this. But they must be sure that it is only their Christianity and not something else which is the occasion of their clash with the law. All misuse of the concept of martyrdom is excluded. Like the other three terms in the list allotriepiskopos must obviously denote someone who is guilty of conduct which justly involves him in shame and punishment. The one who meddles in things which do not concern him, the busybody, The AV takes it in this sense (busybody in other men’s matters“); One who interferes in the work of another. CBL says, “the definition of this term, also spelled allotriepiskopos is not entirely agreed upon, although some consensus has been achieved. It is not found in either classical Greek or the Septuagint. In I Pet 4:15 meddler does seem to be the best translation of allotriepiskopos. It is difficult to be certain, though, since this is its only occurrence in the NT. Some have suggested that it was especially coined by Christians to confront neglectful bishops (Bauer).” Allotriepiskopos comes from allos, another and episkopos, an over seer or pastor. It means one who takes the supervision or oversees the affairs pertaining to others, a meddler in other men’s affairs.
Examples of slander.
II Sam 10:3 – And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
Job 1:11 – But (Satan speaking) put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 2:5 – But (Satan speaking) put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Am 7:10 – Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
Mt 5:11 – Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mt 9:34 – But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
Mt 11:19 – The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Lk 6:7 – And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
Lk 7:33 – For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
Lk 23:2 – And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
Acts 2:13 – Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Acts 6:13 – And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
Acts 24:5 – For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
I Pet 3:16 – Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Now we come to the matter of how to avoid gossip.
Lk 17:1 – Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
Jesus said that offences will come. He didn’t say that they might come but that they will come to all believers. Offences is the word skandalon (scandal). It is a fact that this is going to happen to every believer, the giving or the receiving end. It doesn’t matter, it is going to happen either way. There is no way of escaping it. He also warned us against being the cause of another person’s sin. When “pastors” and elder believers don’t want to walk orderly before the younger sheep, the young sheep follow that example, among many other bad examples given by the “pastors” and elders, which causes them to stumble (skandalon – offences), knowingly or unknowingly, it does not matter.
Lev 19:14 – Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.
Stumblingblock is the word mikshowl. TWOT says, the verb (kashal) is usually used of physical falling, but numbers of times the figurative use of failing or ruin occurs (Ps 64:8, II Ch 25:8). However, the root is rarely used in the sense of the NT skandalidzo ‘cause one to fall into sin.’ The nearest to this is Mal 2:8 where the priests by their teaching have caused many to stumble. In Jer 18:15 it says the idols (the other Jesus with their doctrine attached to it) made the people stumble in their ways, but here the figure is the frequent one of a path representing the path of life. Pro 4:16 says the wicked cannot sleep till they make someone fall, which probably, like Jeremiah, refers to stumbling in the path of life. It is perhaps from this figure that the idea of causing someone to stumble into sin arose in the NT and in the Syriac usage of this root. Mikshol, means stumbling-block or occasion of stumbling: Lev 19:14, Isa 57:14; obstacle, cause for guilt, occasion of stumbling (Ezk 7:19, 14:4); sur mikshol a rock of offence. In the LXX it is translated skandalon.
Jos 23:13 – Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.
Traps is the word mowqesh. TWOT says, yaqosh (root word for mowqesh) refers to setting a trap to catch some prey, but more frequently in a metaphorical sense of entrapping people. A snare metaphorically is something that allures one from his real purpose and then destroys him. In such a light Saul to ruin David gave his daughter Michal to him in marriage so that she might become a snare to David (I Sam 18:21). Pharoah’s servants considered Moses a snare to Egypt (Ex 10:7). Similarly a godless ruler is a snare to the people (Job 34:30). Because of its inescapable hold, the power of death is referred to as the snares of death (Ps 18:5). Other snares include wickedness (Pro 29:6), fear of man (Pro 29:25), vowing rashly (Pro 20:25), and being friends with a man given to anger (Pro 22:24). The wicked seek to ensnare the just (Jer 5:26). He who argues their defense or presents a just case at the court assembled in the gate also constantly confronts the attempts of the wicked to trip him up (Isa 29:21). So too does the prophet who seeks to turn the people to God (Hos 9:8). Therefore the righteous turn to God in prayer to be kept from being thus snared (Ps 141:9). Those who follow idolatry become ensnared and can no longer serve Yahweh (Ex 23:33). Gideon made an ephod out of the spoils from battle. The ephod became a snare to himself and his family, for they fell to worshipping it (Jud 8:27). For this reason God charged the people to destroy utterly the inhabitants of Canaan, even their artifacts, so that they would never serve their gods and leave Yahweh (Dt 7:16, 25, Ex 23:32; but cf. Ps 106:34). God, on the other hand, prepares a trap for his opponents. They become so self-sufficient in their opposition to him that they are unaware of the snare (Jer 50:24). Initially they become entrapped by their own sin (Pro 29:6). Although sin is destructive in itself, it remains for Yahweh’s direct intervention to seal the trap and judge the victim (Ps 9:16). God’s words and his deeds set the snare. Those who resist and belittle the proclaimed word are broken and ensnared (Isa 28:13). Immanuel too will be a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense, and a trap and a snare; people will stumble over him, fall and be snared (Isa 8:14). This imagery emphasizes the climactic finality of Israel’s resistance to God’s communication by word and by flesh. Moqesh means snare, gin. G. R. Driver argues that it is the upper moveable part of a jaw-like trap (pah), striker; then it may stand for the whole trap, especially in metaphorical language. In the LXX it is translated into skandalon.
Jud 2:3 – Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods (the other Jesus) shall be a snare (mowqesh – skandalon) unto you.
Ps 49:13 – This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
Folly is the word kecel. TWOT says, kesil means fool, dullard, referring to the dull or obstinate one, referring not to mental deficiency, but to a propensity to make wrong choices. Folly and fool are opposite to wisdom and wise. Kesil refers to a way of life that is enticing to the immature, but can lead to destruction and ruin. LXX word is skandalon.
Ps 119:165 – Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend (mikshowl – skandalon) them.
If we walk in his commandments (agape), which gives the believer great shalowm, great peace, then nothing will cause us to stumble. If you claim to be a “pastor” or an elder and claim to have been studying bible for such amount of years or decades, you better walk orderly, for your sake, before the sheep, which you claim to feed or deal with the consequences that comes along with walking disorderly. Let’s continue with Luke 17.
2 – It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend (skandalizo – the verb form of the noun skandalon – it is also subjunctive mood, meaning it’s a daily and continual offence) one of these little ones (younger sheep).
3 – Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Take heed is the word prosecho, meaning pay attention to, guarding and watching. It is an imperative mood, which is a command. Jesus is commanding all believers to pay attention. But pay attention to what? Jesus continues by saying pay attention to offences/sin, not from the world, but from a brother or sister that trespasses/sins against you. The world is going to always sin against God and His elect, which will affect us to some degree and that is a given, but we have to learn to deal with it, grow from it and bow to the sovereign will of God in our lives because it is for our conforming.
I Th 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
In everything, good and bad, we are to give thanks. Why? Because it is the will of God to give thanks in the good things, which is easy to do, and we are to give thanks for the bad things, which is not so easy to do but it is still, nonetheless His will, His thelema, His desire, His delight, and His purpose that we do so.
Rom 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Jesus said we are to be aware of sin. We need to pay attention and stop living in an imagined “perfect world”, which many seem to think we live in. No such thing as a perfect world. We have to do what scripture says to do (Jn 3:21) if we are to ever conform to His likeness. If it were left to us, we would do nothing about sin because we want to let it be and let it go, which is the meaning of forgiveness. Most believers do not want to do truth or walk in truth. So the best thing for them to do is just do nothing about what Jesus said about sin/offences, and let it go (forgive) and gossip about it. Been there done that and it was wrong. Jesus said, that is not the way we do things in the body of Christ. There is an orderly arrangement of anything and everything with God. We have to pay attention of brethren sinning against the law of God in our lives (offences/scandal). Trespass is the word harmatano, which is the word for sin.
Rom 3:23 – For all have sinned (harmatano), and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 6:15 – What then? shall we sin (harmatano), because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
What is sin? Scripture gives us the best definition for sin.
I Jn 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin (harmatia – the noun form of the verb harmatano) transgresseth also the law: for sin (harmatia) is the transgression of the law (anomia).
The trespass/sinning against the law of God in Lk 17:3 is subjunctive mood, meaning it is a continual sinning against the brother. After a believer sins against another believer, the one sinned against is to rebuke the one sinning as per Jesus. And this is not something new in the NT. It has always been this way in the Law.
Lev 19:17 – Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart (but rather love thy neighbor as thyself – Lev 19:18): thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Rebuke is the word epitimao and it is an imperative mood, meaning it is a command. He is not asking us nor begging us to rebuke a fellow brother, he is commanding us, it is his law and we are his adopted children. CBL says, epitimao means to censure, warn or admonish.
Gen 37:10 – And he told [it] to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What [is] this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
Rebuke is the word ga’ar. TWOT says, this root indicates a check applied to a person or peoples through strong admonitions or actions. In the LXX it is the word epitimao. We are to admonish a brother or sister that is sinning against the law of God. Admonish sounds so much more acceptable than rebuke, and yet it has the same meaning, but nonetheless, we are still commanded to rebuke, reproof, correct or admonish.
II Th 3:6 – Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
7 – For yourselves know how ye ought to follow (mimeomai – mimic) us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8 – Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
9 – Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample (tupos – type) unto you to follow (mimeomai – mimic) us.
10 – For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 – For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Being a busybody and interfering (not helping, nor comforting others) in other believers matters is walking disorderly. You’re not working for the LORD, but are working as being a godsib over others, meaning a judge (god) over a sibling (sib). We need to mind our own business if and when we know for a fact that it is none of our business. Sometimes we just need to bud out of it and keep it to ourselves and not spread your distorted judgments (god) to other siblings about other believing siblings (sib). We are to judge right judgment (righteous judgment) not our personal judgments (unrighteous/wrong judgments), which is just our opinion of what we seemingly think is right/righteous or wrong in our thinking.
12 – Now them that are such (them that are busybodies) we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work (shut up and mind your own), and eat their own bread.
13 – But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
14 – And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note (mark him) that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Company with is the word sunanamignumi. CBL says, it is used twice in the Septuagint (Ezk 20:18, Hos 7:8) in warnings given to the Israelites against intermingling with people or practices that would destroy the purity and devotion of God’s people. This word is used three times in the NT (always with a prohibition): I Co 5:9, 11 and II Th 3:14. The Corinthians were admonished not to mingle or keep company with immoral persons claiming to be believers. The Thessalonians were advised not to associate with a professing brother who did not obey the divine truth Paul wrote to them. Christians were thus to keep the church pure and undefiled. Association with professed unbelievers was appropriate, however (I Co 5:10), in order to bring sinners to Christ.
Sunanamignumi is an imperative mood, it is a command. He is not talking with a sissy voice asking us and begging us politely to separate from believers that walk like they don’t care about what others think or feel about their open sin. Most of us don’t want to warn/admonish others about the error of their ways and their disorderly walk before God, the elect and the world and it mostly has to do with having respect of persons, which is just fear of men. CBL says, “the purpose of such discipline was to cause the wrongdoer to realize his sin, to repent, and to be drawn back into the full fellowship of Christ and the church (II Th 3:15).” The sole purpose for rebuking another is that they may recognize their error and be ashamed for it and eventually repent of their error/sin, and finally that we may come to place of forgiving them and welcoming them back to fellowship with other like-minded believers. Either they repent and continue to fellowship with the other believers or stay in their sin, and deal with the consequence of separation from the ekklesia/church.
15 – Yet count him not as an enemy (which is always associated with the word miseo, hate), but admonish him as a brother.
Count is the word hegeomai. It denotes a belief resting not on one’s inner feeling or sentiment, but on the due consideration of external grounds, and the weighing and comparing of facts, therefore it denotes a more deliberate and careful judgment. Admonish is the word noutheteo. CBL says, it is a compound of nous, mind, and a derivative of tithemi, to put, place, noutheteo means to put in mind. The action describes an influence exerted upon the mind and implies a prior resistance (from the one sinning). Noutheteo, then, means to admonish, warn, instruct, so as to redirect someone from wrong ways and correct his behavior. In the NT it carries the sense of to warn. In Paul’s usage the verb clearly has pedagogical implications. In Col 1:28 and 3:16 it is linked with didasko, to teach, implying that the proclamation of Christ encompasses both teaching (shaping the intellect) and warning (shaping the will). The task of admonishing the church belongs to the leaders of the church (I Th 5:12). Individual members who are disobedient need to be warned of the error of their ways, in order that they might be restored (I Th 5:14, II Th 3:15). Believers are also called upon to admonish or instruct one another (Rom 15:14). Even though noutheteo carried the intention of shaping character and conduct, Paul never viewed it as synonymous with paideuo, to correct by discipline. Kittel’s TDNT says, Noutheteo, from nous, i.e., to impart understanding (a mind for something), with accusative of person to set right, to have a corrective influence on someone, with double accusative, to lay on the heart of someone. In the case of didasko the primary effect is on the intellect, and someone qualified exercises the influence. Noutheteo, however, describes an effect on the will and disposition, and it presupposes an opposition which has, to be overcome. It seeks to correct the mind, to put right what is wrong, to improve the spiritual attitude. The basic idea is that of the well-meaning earnestness with which one seeks to influence the mind and disposition by appropriate instruction, exhortation, warning and correction.
Admonishing or rebuking has nothing to do with how you feel about the situation. It is a command, which surpasses our emotions. Leave your emotions out of the admonishment and rebuking, otherwise it is just about you and your feelings and not about loving the law of God. If the admonishment with the right approach goes well (without emotions, not yelling, not screaming, but calm and collective) and if the brother or sister is accepting scriptural correction, and is willing to change, then you have gained your brother or sister again, which is called repentance. Repent is the word metanoeo, which means to turn from sin and change your thinking. Repent is also subjunctive mood, meaning it is a continual repentance. If your brother sins repeatedly against you and if you repeatedly rebuke them and if they repeatedly repent, then all is well and the relationship and fellowship is repaired, you have gained a brother or sister, and he or she can be forgiven, which is the last step a believer takes to forgive and forget, let it be and leave it alone and don’t ever bring back to memory the trespass and throw it in their face. Pay attention to sin is the first thing we must take care of, rebuke sin is second, repentance is 3rd and lastly is to forgive. If you do anything out of this order, you are presumptuous and acting as if you were God by correcting God on how things should be done.
Forgive is the word aphiemi. Kittel’s TDNT says, aphienai, to send off, is richly attested in Greek from an early period, and is used in every nuance, both literally and figuratively, from to hurl (e.g., missiles), to release, to let go, or to let be. To be emphasized is the legal use much attested in the papyri aphienai tina, to release someone from a legal relation, whether office, marriage, obligation, or debt, though never in a religious sense. In the sense of to pardon it is construed with the accusative of person and genitive of object. CBL says, aphiemi occurs often in the NT and in literature from the NT period. In classical Greek, the term carries a variety of connotations. Literally, it means to send off, to send away, or to send forth but is used with the sense to hurl, to let go, to release. It may refer to the discharge of arrows, to ending a meeting, or to loosing a ship into the sea. Herodotus used aphiemi in the legal sense of divorcing a woman. Greek usage also attests the meaning to pardon, forgive, remit, cancel, in the legal sense of canceling a financial debt or criminal proceedings. The religious sense of remitting the debt or guilt of sin is also seen. A very common occurrence attested in the papyri is the legal use of aphiemi in which it refers to the release of a person from some legal relationship (e.g., marriage, an office, a debt, etc.). The Septuagint uses aphiemi more often with such meanings as let go (Jud 3:1), allow (II Sam 16:10), release (Dt 15:2), give up (Jud 9:9), than it does in the sense of forgive. When it does mean forgive, aphiemi may be used for several Hebrew words: nasa’, to take away guilt or sin (Ps 25:18, Isa 33:24); salach, to forgive, pardon (Lev 4:20, Num 14:19); kaphar, to cover, make atonement (Isa 22:14). The object of forgiveness is sin; and the one who forgives is God, as opposed to Greek usage where this is never the case. Aphiemi occurs over 140 times in the NT and exhibits a diverse semantic range, to leave, let go (Mk 1:20); to set aside (Mt 23:23); to leave behind (Mk 1:18); to abandon (Mk 7:8); to dismiss, divorce (I Co 7:11-13); to allow, permit (Mk 1:34). In only about one-third of the occurrences does it denote to forgive. In Mt 18:27, 32, aphiemi refers to the cancellation or forgiveness of a financial debt. More often, it is used in the religious sense of the forgiveness of sins (Mk 2:5, 7), trespasses (Mt 6:14-15), debts (Mt 6:12), the intent of the heart (Acts 8:22), lawless deeds (Rom 4:7), etc.
Forgive is also an imperative mood, which is a command. We are commanded to forgive, but under one condition, “IF” the believer repents of sin. “IF” is the key word, it is a conditional word, which most professing Christians overlook and refuse to deal with. If the believer does not repent, then we do not “let” sin “go” (forgive), we are commanded to rebuke the offender, which is the law breaker within the family of God. And we are not commanded to forgive freely either, meaning forgive without repentance. There is a procedure we must follow, pay attention, rebuke, repent and forgive. If you start of by “letting” sin “go (aphiemi)” and leave out the other 3, then you are in sin, by thinking that your way is better than God’s way (Isa 55:8-9), therefore you have added and taken away from his word.
Dt 4:2 – Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Dt 12:32 – What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Pro 30:5 –Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 – Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Eccl 3:14 – I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
Rev 22:18 – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 – And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
No matter how we slice it, if we forgive without repentance we are adding to his word.
4 – And if he trespass (harmatano) against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent (metanoeo); thou shalt forgive (aphiemi) him.
Matthew’s account explains this a bit differently and in detail.
Mt 18:15 – Moreover if thy brother shall trespass (harmatano – subjunctive mood) against thee (intentionally or not), go (a command) and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee (if he obeys and repents), thou hast gained thy brother (all is forgiven).
Tell his fault is one word in the Greek, elegcho. It is a synonym for epitimao. Synonyms of the NT by Richard Chenevix Trench says, one may rebuke another without bringing the rebuked to a conviction of any fault on his part; and this, either because there was no fault, and the rebuke was therefore unneeded or unjust; or else because, though there was such fault, the rebuke was ineffectual to bring the offender to own it; and in this possibility of rebuking for sin, without convincing of sin, lies the distinction between these two words. In epitimao lies simply the notion of rebuking; which word can therefore be used of one unjustly checking or blaming another (like Jacob did with Joseph for his dream); in this sense Peter began to rebuke his Lord (Mt 16:22, cf. 19:13, Lk 18:39): or ineffectually, and without any profit to the person rebuked, who is not thereby brought to see his sin; as when the penitent robber rebuked (epetima) his fellow malefactor (Lk 23:40, cf. Mk 9:25). But elegcho is a much more pregnant word; it is so to rebuke another, with such effectual wielding of the victorious arms of the truth, as to bring him, if not always to a confession, yet at least to a conviction of his sin (Job 5:17, Pro 19:25), just as in juristic Greek, elegcho is not merely to reply to, but to refute, an opponent. When we keep this distinction well in mind, what a light does it throw on a multitude of passages in the NT, and how much deeper a meaning does it give them. Thus our LORD could demand, Which of you convinces (elegcho – convicts) Me of sin? (Jn 8:46). Many rebuked Him; many laid sin to his charge (Mt 9:3, Jn 9:16); but none brought sin home to his conscience. Other passages also will gain from realizing the fulness of the meaning of elegcho, as Jn 3:20, 8:9, I Co 14:24-25, Heb 12:5, but above all, the great passage, Jn 16:8; When He [the Comforter] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Elegchos (the noun) implies not merely the charge, but the truth of the charge, and further the manifestation of the truth of the charge; nay more than all this, very often also the acknowledgment, if not outward, yet inward, of its truth on the part of the accused; it being the glorious prerogative of the truth in its highest operation not merely to assert itself, and to silence, the adversary, but to silence him by convincing him of his error.
Elegchos, the noun, and is one of the definitions for faith.
Heb 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith equals substance and evidence. Substance is the word hupostasis, which is composed of 2 words, hupo (under) and stasis (to stand). The 1st half of faith means to understand. The 2nd half is evidence, which is the word elegchos, meaning conviction. If you do not have any understanding of sin, then you will not have any conviction of it, therefore you don’t have faith. Plain and simple. Too many folks and church buildings claim to have faith and make up dumb definitions for it. Scripture gives us the best definition, but you are going to have to define it through lexicons, not a guessing game. Elegchos is used much in the OT.
II Ch 26:20 – And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he [was] leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.
Had smitten is the word naga’, meaning to touch, reach or strike. LXX word is elegchos.
Pro 6:23 – For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:
Reproofs is the word towkechah. CBL says, towkechah is similar in meaning to the more common word towkachath, which is also derived from the causative form of the verb yakhach, meaning to chastise. The noun towkechah, however, is not used in a didactic sense and in the legal sense has only to do with the idea of punishment. For example, Ps 149:7 says that God will deliver punishment to all peoples and nations who have rejected Him. Judgment, however, is also sometimes due to the people of Israel. On the day of punishment, the LORD will desolate Ephraim on account of their disloyalty and arrogance (Hos 5:9). The expression day of punishment may actually be another way of referring to what is commonly known as the day of the LORD. In II Kings 19:3 (parallel Isa 37:3), King Hezekiah tells the prophet Isaiah that the day when the Assyrians threatened to invade Jerusalem was a day of trouble, and of rebuke. Hezekiah sensed guilt before the LORd, and so he repented (II K 19:1). But he was also distressed by his kingdom’s weaknesses and failures which earned the contempt of the Assyrians who ridiculed the power of the LORD to deliver (18:35). TWOT says, yakach, to rebuke, to correct, to convince or convict would not only imply exposure of one’s sin but also to call a person to repentance. It has a theofugal motion which points away from sin and to repentance toward God. Hence the tremendous implication for discipline in the church-not only to purify the Body of Christ, but also to restore the wayward to holy living and covenantal service (Mt 18:15, Eph 5:11, I Tim 5:20, II Tim 4:2). Furthermore, when one examines the many passages that speak of God’s loving correction (Pro 3:12, For whom Yahweh loves he reproves; Job 5:17), one finds the parallel term yasar, to instruct, discipline or musar, discipline, instruction (Ps 6:1, Job 5:17, Pro 3:11, 10:17, 12:1, 13:18, 15:5). It is evident that there is a pedagogic force to yakah and yasar. But whereas yasar has the notion of paternal chastisement (as evidenced by the LXX’S translating paideuo), yakah denotes education and discipline as a result of God’s judicial actions. This embraces all aspects of education from the conviction of the sinner to chastisement and punishment, from the instruction of the righteous by severe tests to his direction by teaching and admonition. Towkechah, reproof, rebuke, correction. Translated in LXX as elegchos, refutation, correction, rebuke, punishment. Towkachat, argument, reproof, correction. Often used in parallel with musar, discipline, instruction.
Pro 13:18 – Poverty and shame [shall be to] him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof (towkechah – elegchos) shall be honoured.
Pro 15:32 – He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth (as in Mt 18:15 it also means to obey) reproof (towkechah – elegchos) getteth understanding.
Pro 27:5 – Open rebuke (towkechah – elegchos) [is] better than secret love.
Pro 29:1 – He, that being often reproved (towkechah – elegchos) hardeneth [his] neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Pro 29:15 – The rod and reproof (towkechah – elegchos) give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame.
Jesus not only said to rebuke the offender, but to go (a command) and do it between themselves, plus, minus, no one else. The offense happened between the both of them and it should be squashed by the both of them alone, one on one. Jesus didn’t say go (a command) to everyone that you know and godsib (judge your sibling) and slander your brother/sister and cause those that are listening to your side of the story to side with you (skandalon) and cause resentment and have disdain for the other sibling, which is not even aware that he or she is being slandered behind their backs. That is what gossip does. It creates havoc in the body of believers.
16 – But if he will not hear (subjunctive mood, meaning if he will not hear/obey continually) thee (or repent as Luke has it), then take with thee one or two more (one or two more witnesses), that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
If the offender does not want to hear you out (obey/repent), if he or she does not want to repent, meaning to change and think differently than the state that they are currently in, in error, then you are commanded to take with you a witness or two to the same offender and repeat the process of rebuke. Rebuke or elegcho is not only mentioned in the NT but also in the OT.
Job 5:17 – Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth (yakach – elegcho): therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
Job 13:10 – He will surely reprove (yakach – elegcho) you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
Pro 3:11 – My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction (towkechah – elegcho):
Pro 9:8 – Reprove (yakach – elegcho) not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke (yakach – elegcho) a wise man, and he will love thee.
Pro 15:12 – A scorner loveth not one that reproveth (yakach – elegcho) him: neither will he go unto the wise.
Pro 24:25 – But to them that rebuke (yakach – elegcho) [him] shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
Pro 28:23 – He that rebuketh (yakach – elegcho) a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Let’s face it, in reality no one likes correction nor correcting others, especially when you are set in your ways.
Pro 1:30 – They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof (towkechah – elegchos).
Pro 5:12 – And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof (towkechah –elegchos);
Pro 12:1 – Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof (towkechah –elegchos) [is] brutish.
Pro 15:10 – Correction [is] grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: [and] he that hateth reproof (towkechah – elegchos) shall die.
Amos 5:10 – They hate him that rebuketh (yakach – elegcho) in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.
Many might define biblical rebuke as an attack and this is not aimed at one person, it is aimed at those that don’t want nor like correction period, but still want to have their cake (their sin) and eat it too (have fellowship) as if all is well.
What are the witnesses for?
II Co 13:1 – In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established (histemi – a prolonged form of stao, meaning to stand, hold up).
In our Babylonian (American) court system, what is needed to stand and hold up in a court of law is one witness, but God says (whom America says they trust), it has to be at least two witnesses not one. America/Babylon always has to disagree with God, correcting him and yet they like to say, “IN GOD WE TRUST”. That sounds so godly and righteous, doesn’t it?
II Tim 3:5 – Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Do you, America, really trust God? Do you really rely on the words of God, on the bible you place your hands on and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God? What a bunch of hogwash. Hypocrisy. Which god are you referring to? The God of the bible? Or the imaginary god that lets you do what you want and change his law whenever you feel like it?
Dan 7:25 – And he (and it, because it is speaking about Babylon) shall speak great words against the most high, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand (Babylon’s hand) until a time and times and a dividing of time (3½ years on a Jewish calendar).
The God that you, America/Babylon, say you trust, says the following about witnesses, just in case you didn’t know.
Dt 19:15 – One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established (quwm – to stand, to abide, accomplish).
Where did our court system come up with just one witness? Where is the god in all this mumbo jumbo in your court system that you say you trust? If this is the god you claim to trust, then why did you change (add and diminish) his law from 2-3 witnesses to just one?
Num 35:30 – Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of two witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.
Dt 17:6 – At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
7 – The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of the people. So that thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
The purpose for the 2 or 3 witnesses is to put evil away from among us, the church. Now let’s continue with Mt 18.
17 – And if he shall neglect to hear them (if he does not repent before the witnesses), tell (imperative mood, a command) it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church (if he does not repent before the body of believers), let him be (imperative mood, a command) unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Many churches bypass the witnesses and the church. God says, we are to do it.
Dt 1:16 – And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.
17 – Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s (we are just repeating what he has declared in his holy word): and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Are we to still keep in touch and hang on to this believer that Jesus said was as a heathen man and publican? If we do not separate from an unrepentant believer, they will not change period, because we are putting our approval on their behavior and lifestyle. We are enabling them. If the person wants to continue in sin, then let them, but we should have no participation in it and we should not put our approval on it either. It defeats the purpose if they refuse to repent and we still want to hang around them without any remorse whatsoever for sin. There has to be change (repentance). We must bring forth fruits worthy of repentance and that is the only way of finding out if the person has truly repented of his or her ways.
Mt 3:8 – Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Lk 3:8 – Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Meet and worthy is the same word axios. We get the word axiom, meaning that which is fit or suitable, or deserving. CBL says, according to Foerster axios properly denotes bringing up the other beam of the scales, bringing into equilibrium (Kittel). Thus equal or equivalent was the classical understanding. It could refer to something or someone’s worth or value. A tunic worth (i.e., equal to) six drachmas is an example given in Moulton-Milligan. In another sense that comes from this basic definition, one could be due or deserve something (Liddell-Scott, Kittel). Although axios is relatively rare in the canonical material of the Septuagint, it does recur through much of the apocryphal writings. It is used of the equal value of something (Gen 23:9, a full price, I Ch 21:22, 24), or of a guilty man whose crime deserves punishment (Dt 25:2, cf. Wisdom of Solomon 1:6; Esther 7:4). In a more religious context the writer of Proverbs claimed that nothing can compare (i.e., is of equal value) to Wisdom (3:15; 8:11; cf. Wisdom of Solomon 6:16). When axios begins to be used in the context of religious reward or punishment (e.g., Wisdom of Solomon 1:16; 3:5; 9:12; 12:26; 16:9) a reflection of the idea of religious merit which marked later Judaism may be seen. This becomes important for understanding some NT texts. Axios presents an interesting picture in the NT. In the context of the Kingdom, being worthy in a religious sense becomes defined in terms of a response to Jesus. It has nothing to do with deeds or acts that make one worthy. One is worthy because Jesus has made worth before God possible (e.g., Mt 10:37). Any doing follows rather than precedes worth; thus repentance must be demonstrated by fruit corresponding to axios, worthy of repentance (Mt 3:8; Lk 3:8). The cross must be taken up; in other words a total response to Jesus’ message must be demonstrated (cf. the use of the adverb axios, which Paul employed to urge a life-style worthy of God; e.g., Eph 4:1, Php 1:27, Col 1:10, I Th 2:12).
Jesus commands us to agape each other. If someone sins against us or seems to be sinning against us, rubs us the wrong way or something about some believers bothers you, Jesus commands us to go to our brother and talk between yourselves alone and resolve the issue (agape). Most of the time the one who has offended does not even know that they have offended a brother or sister, which happens most of the time. Without doing this command of Jesus, the believer will not know to repent of an offence he is not aware of. Are we to separate from a brother that does not know what they have done or supposedly done? No. We are to approach each other as brothers and sisters and hash it out. The opposite of doing this is gossip and slander. If someone comes to any of us and starts gossiping and slandering about someone else that just happens to not be part of that conversation, our answer to them should always be, you must go to that brother or sister and talk to them one on one as per Jesus in Mt 18:15-17 instead of us. We are not to be angry at them, we are just doing truth or walking in agape. Remember, it has nothing to do with emotions, it is a duty and a lifestyle.
The Bible condemns gossip, end of story.