TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  Loving Qualities

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Chapter 31  Part I

Loving Qualities

The importance of love could hardly be more emphatically stated by the Bible. Love should encompass every area of our lives and be the basis of all that we do in relating to people. Other personal qualities reflective of love are also regularly applicable in our relationships with other people (and are also discussed in this section).

Note that the teaching in this and the subsequent chapters in Unit G. Relating to People is also relevant to the preceding part of this book, Unit F. Church Life.

Love

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What love is

See also:

1Cor 13:4-7  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;y 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ▤ 

y Greek irritable and does not count up wrongdoing

The Greek rendered as “bears” (v. 7a) can be understood to speak of protecting (cf. NIV) and supporting (cf. CEV), along with persevering. The subsequent two phrases in v. 7, “believes all things, hopes all things”, probably mean that love is ever prepared to believe the best of others and hopes the best for them (cf. ESB).

1Jn 3:16-18  By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. ▤ 

Jesus Christ exemplified love for us (v. 16) and so we should love by emulating him in living sacrificially for others. In conjunction with this, we should not merely love with words but with actions and sincerity (vv. 17-18).

1Jn 4:10-11, 19  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ▤ 19We love because he first loved us. ▤ 

Just as we should try to emulate Jesus Christ’s love as shown in laying down his life for us (cf. 1Jn 3:16 ), so we should try to emulate God’s love in sending his Son to die for us (vv. 10-11). In accordance with this teaching, v. 19 suggests that our love for others is prompted by and is an emulation of God’s love for us.

2Jn 1:6  And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. ▤ 

This appears to be saying that we manifest love by walking in obedience to God’s commands (v. 6a), one of which is in fact the command to love one another (v. 6b) – “walk in love” (AMP, NIV; cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

The supremacy of love

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Mark 12:28-33  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” ▤ 

Obviously this speaks of the utmost importance of love for God, as well as of love for others, the subject of this section.

1Cor 12:31; 13:1-3, 8, 13  But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. ▤  13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,z but have not love, I gain nothing. ▤ 8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. ▤ 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ▤ 

z Some manuscripts deliver up my body [to death] that I may boast

Col 3:12-14  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ▤ 

This points to the supremacy of love over other virtues – suggesting it is “more important than anything” (CEV; cf. NLT). Verse 14 infers that love “is the perfect bond of unity” (NASB).

James 2:8  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. ▤ 

The reference to this command as “the royal law” points to its supremacy amongst laws regarding our relationships with others.

1Pet 4:8  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. ▤ 

“Above all” points to loving others as the most important thing to do in our relationships with others. Note that this quotes Proverbs 10:12 – “… love covers all offenses.” It does not mean that loving others atones for sin, but that love forgives and “buries” the sins of others – particularly wrongs against oneself.

  • Better a little with love than much with hatred:

Prov 15:17  Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. ▤ 

Live in love

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Eph 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ▤ 

1Jn 4:16  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. ▤ 

2Jn 1:6  And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. ▤ 

As suggested earlier, the last clause is saying that we should: “Live a life of love.” (NCV™)

Rom 13:8  Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. ▤ 

This implies that we are to continually love one another.

1Cor 14:1  Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. ▤ 

We are to strive hard to be loving, showing love in all aspects of our lives.

1Tim 6:11b  Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. ▤ 

Similarly 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “… pursue righteousness, faith, love …”

Do things in love

1Cor 16:14  Let all that you do be done in love. ▤ 

Gal 5:6, 13  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. ▤ 13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. ▤ 

Eph 4:1-2  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, … ▤ 

Eph 4:15-16  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. ▤ 

The body of Christ “builds itself up in love” (v. 16) by each part of it doing its work in love.

Phil 1:15-16  Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. ▤ 

1Thes 5:13a  … and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. ▤ 

Rom 15:30  I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, … ▤ 

Paul appears to exhort his readers by or in love – which comes from the Holy Spirit. However, alternatively he may be urging them to act according to the love given to them (cf. NLT).

Philem 1:8-9  Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— ▤ 

Similar to Romans 15:30 above, the love referred to appears to be that with which Paul makes his appeal (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

  • An exhortation against an action not done in love:

Rom 14:15  For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. ▤ 

Love others as you love yourself . . .

Lev 19:18  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. ▤ 

Mark 12:31, 33  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ▤ 33And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. ▤ 

James 2:8  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. ▤ 

Lev 19:34  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. ▤ 

Luke 10:25-37  And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denariia and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” ▤ 

a A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

In v. 29 the lawyer asked who was his neighbor, whom he should love as himself (cf. v. 27b). But in concluding his reply, Jesus turned the question around, asking instead who had acted as a neighbor, showing love to another. The implication of Jesus’ reply is that the key to fulfilling the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself (v. 27) is not in determining who is one’s neighbor, but in one’s willingness to love as a neighbor. We should accordingly love all people we encounter.

. . . “Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up God’s law

See also:

The whole moral law – all that involves our relationships with other people – is summed up by the command to love others as ourselves. In doing so, we fulfill or carry out the law.

Rom 13:8-10  Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. ▤ 

Gal 5:14  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ▤ 

Matt 22:37-40  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ▤ 

Just as all aspects of the law involving our relationships with other are summed up by the command to love your neighbor as yourself, so all aspects of the law involving our relationship with God are summed up by the command to love God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (v. 37). As such, all “the Law and the Prophets” are based on (cf. CEV, NIrV, NLT) and depend (cf. Amp, GNT, NCV, NASB) on these two commandments.

  • Do to others what you would want them to do to you:

Matt 7:12  So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. ▤ 

To do to others what you wish they would do to you (cf. Luke 6:31 ) is the practical application of “love your neighbor as yourself” (NEL). As such, it likewise sums up God’s law.

Love your enemies and do good to them . . .

Matt 5:43-44  You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, … ▤ 

Luke 6:27-36  But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunicb either. 30Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. ▤ 

b Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

Verses 29-30 largely speak of meekness in the face of mistreatment; the context suggests that such non-retaliation is an aspect of loving our enemies. Verse 35 shows that those who love and do good to their enemies – not simply just to those who do the right thing by them (v. 32-34) – will be considered God’s children, as such love and kindness to enemies reflects God’s own kindness to “the ungrateful and the evil”. Verse 36 reiterates this theme, most likely having primarily in view showing mercy to enemies – as opposed to exacting vengeance on them.

Ex 23:4-5  If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. 5If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him. ▤ 

. . . Do not repay evil with evil, but with good

See also:

Lev 19:18  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. ▤ 

Rom 12:17-21  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave itc to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ▤ 

c Greek give place

To be “overcome by evil” (v. 21) means here to succumb to repaying evil with evil, being enveloped by evil through acting in evil – letting “evil get the best of you” (NLT). We need to bear in mind that evil not only threatens us from outside sources, but can also well up from within ourselves, permeating us. Rather than being “overcome by evil”, one should defeat evil by doing good, as depicted in v. 20. Note that v. 20b depicts the significant impact that doing good has on one’s enemy, probably implying that it is more incisive than retaliation (cf. 2Ki 6:23 ).

1Thes 5:15  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. ▤ 

1Pet 3:9  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. ▤ 

Rather than responding in kind to those who revile or curse us, we are to respond by blessing them (cf. Luke 6:28 ; Rom 12:14 ; 1Cor 4:12 ). In such contexts, to bless others is effectively to pray for God’s blessing on them. In doing so, we ourselves will be blessed by God – as indicated by the last clause.

Rom 12:14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. ▤ 

1Cor 4:12b-13a  When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13when slandered, we entreat. ▤ 

Verse 13a appears to speak of responding diplomatically to slander – with kind or gentle words (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NIV, NLT, NRSV) – having the aim of making peace.

2Ki 6:21-23  As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” 22He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel. ▤ 

The men concerned were a large force of enemy soldiers that Elisha had delivered into the hands of the king of Israel, through God striking them with temporary blindness (cf. vv. 18-20). Verse 23 suggests that largely by this repayment of intended evil with good, the hostility of the enemies was dissolved.

2Chr 28:9-11, 15  But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. 10And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God? 11Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.” ▤ 15And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria. ▤ 

Our own guilt before God (v. 10b) is one significant reason as to why we should not ill treat our enemies (v. 9b-10a), but rather do good to them (v. 15).

  • Love is not resentful:

1Cor 13:5b  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;d … ▤ 

d Greek irritable and does not count up wrongdoing

Pray for persecuted Christians

Generosity

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Be generous

See also:

1Tim 6:18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, … ▤ 

Ps 37:21  The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; … ▤ 

Prov 21:26  All day long he [the sluggard] craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. ▤ 

Rom 12:8  … the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,e with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. ▤ 

e Or gives aid

This is speaking of how spiritual gifts should be used, although these exhortations are applicable to all believers.

Acts 2:46  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, … ▤ 

2Cor 8:1-2, 7  We want you to know, brothers,f about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. ▤ 7But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for youg—see that you excel in this act of grace also. ▤ 

f Or brothers and sisters

g Some manuscripts in your love for us

The last clause refers to contributing to the needs of other believers – “the grace of giving” (NCV™; cf. NIV) – which is in view in vv. 1-2.

2Cor 9:13  By their approval of this service, theyh will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, … ▤ 

h Or you

Deut 15:12-15  If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is soldi to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. 14You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. ▤ 

i Or sells himself

Prov 14:31  Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. ▤ 

  • Do good to others according to the good that God does to you:

Num 10:29, 32  And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the Lord has promised good to Israel.” ▤ 32And if you do go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you.” ▤ 

Deuteronomy 15:12-15 above similarly makes the point that we ought to treat others in accordance with the way God has treated us, making this point in reference to granting freedom as well as in regard to being generous.

Lend to others

Deut 15:7-8  If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. ▤ 

Ps 37:25-26  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. ▤ 

Ps 112:5  It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. ▤ 

Matt 5:42  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. ▤ 

Luke 6:34-35  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. ▤ 

Note that these two verses indicate that when we lend money we should not do so with the expectation that it will necessarily be paid back.

Share with others

See also:

Luke 3:11  And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunicsj is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” ▤ 

j Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

Eph 4:28  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. ▤ 

1Tim 6:18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, … ▤ 

Heb 13:16  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ▤ 

  • David’s rule for sharing spoils of war:

1Sam 30:22-25  Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” 23But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. 24Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day. ▤ 

Practice hospitality . . .

See also:

Rom 12:13  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. ▤ 

1Pet 4:9  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. ▤ 

Heb 13:2  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ▤ 

Isa 58:7  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? ▤ 

Matt 25:34-35, 38-40  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ▤ 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,k you did it to me.’ ▤ 

k Or brothers and sisters

This speaks of welcoming strangers into one’s home (cf. AMP, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT).

1Tim 5:10  … and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. ▤ 

Titus 1:7b-8  He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. ▤ 

. . . Examples of hospitality

Gen 18:2-8  He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3and said, “O Lord,l if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahsm of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” 7And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate. ▤ 

l Or My lord

m A seah was about 7 quarts or 7.3 liters

The last statement (v. 8b) suggests that Abraham stood by so as to be ready to serve them. Note that the three “men” apparently included the two angels mentioned in 19:1-3 immediately below. The third may have been a manifestation of God, being referred to as “the Lord” a number of times in the rest of the chapter.

Gen 19:1-3  The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” 3But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. ▤ 

Ex 2:20  He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” ▤ 

Judg 19:20-21  And the old man said, “Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants. Only, do not spend the night in the square.” 21So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys feed. And they washed their feet, and ate and drank. ▤ 

2Sam 17:27-29  When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils,n 29honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.” ▤ 

n Hebrew adds and parched grain

Job 31:32  … (the sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler), … ▤ 

Acts 28:2, 7  The native peopleo showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. ▤ 7Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. ▤ 

o Greek barbaroi (that is, non–Greek speakers); also verse 4

Rom 16:23a  Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. ▤ 

  • Do not accept the hospitality of a stingy person:

Prov 23:6-8  Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy;p do not desire his delicacies, 7for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.q “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. ▤ 

p Hebrew whose eye is evil

q Or for as he calculates in his soul, so is he

Verse 8 seems to be implying that accepting such hospitality will result in a stingy host’s attitude manifesting itself in unsavory ways.

Be kind and gracious . . .

See also:

Kindness is often spoken of in regard to generosity; hence the inclusion here of this and the following subsection. However kindness is a broad concept. The corresponding Hebrew and Greek words are also inclusive of other such things as: mercy or compassion; faithfulness or loyalty; and gentleness. Thus, like love, kindness is also quite pertinent to the other sections in the first half of this chapter. A similar comment can be made regarding graciousness.

Mic 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,u and to walk humbly with your God? ▤ 

u Or steadfast love

Zec 7:9  Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, … ▤ 

Eph 4:32  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ▤ 

2Tim 2:24  And the Lord’s servantv must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, … ▤ 

v Greek bondservant

Col 3:12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, … ▤ 

Prov 31:26  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. ▤ 

The last clause is speaking either of advocating kindness (cf. NCV), or teaching/instructing with kindness (cf. NLT). Such things are associated with wisdom.

Ps 109:16  For he [a wicked person] did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death. ▤ 

One implication of this is that we should show kindness.

Ps 112:4  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. ▤ 

1Pet 2:18-20  Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. ▤ 

. . . Insights on and examples of kindness

Job 6:14  He who withholdsw kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. ▤ 

w Syriac, Vulgate (compare Targum); the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

Prov 11:16-17  A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches. 17A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. ▤ 

Prov 21:21  Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. ▤ 

Luke 6:35  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. ▤ 

Acting kindly – by such actions as spoken of in the first part of the verse – identifies us with God, who is kind to all.

1Cor 13:4  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant … ▤ 

Gen 19:19a  Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. ▤ 

Note that this and the following verses contain examples of kindness.

Gen 50:21  So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. ▤ 

Similarly to the second statement, in Ruth 2:13, Ruth says to Boaz: “… you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant.”

Josh 2:12-14  [Rahab:] Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” ▤ 

Ruth 3:10  And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. ▤ 

Here Boaz speaks of Ruth indicating her willingness to marry him for the sake of her deceased husband. As he was a close relative, doing so would provide her deceased husband with an heir. Boaz speaks of this as a great kindness – or “family loyalty” (GNT, NLT; cf. CEV) – as she was prepared to do this despite the fact that Boaz was considerably older than her. The kindness that Ruth had showed earlier – “the first” – was her great commitment and personal sacrifice in taking care of her impoverished mother-in-law, Naomi.

Acts 28:2  The native peoplex showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. ▤ 

x Greek barbaroi (that is, non–Greek speakers); also verse 4

At least the majority of the islanders would not have been believers (cf. v. 6), but their example of kindness is a striking example for all.

  • Kindness is a “fruit” of the Spirit:

Gal 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ▤ 

Generosity brings oneself great blessing

Ps 112:5  It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. ▤ 

Prov 11:24-25  One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. ▤ 

Verse 24 contains a striking paradox, with an eternal application – the one who gives, gains more; while the one who does not give, will end up being in need.

Prov 14:21  Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. ▤ 

Prov 22:9  Whoever has a bountifulr eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. ▤ 

r Hebrew good

The term “bountiful eye” here denotes a generous person (cf. GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV).

Acts 20:35  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ▤ 

Luke 6:35  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. ▤ 

Luke 6:38  … give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. ▤ 

Jesus figuratively speaks of the amount of blessing being a large amount, maximized like a measure of wheat being pressed down and shaken together “to make room for more” (NLT).

2Cor 9:6  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifullys will also reap bountifully. ▤ 

s Greek with blessings; twice in this verse

Ps 37:26  He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. ▤ 

Presumably this means that a generous man’s children become a blessing to him – even in being blessed themselves (cf. AMP, NIV).

Prov 18:16  A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great. ▤ 

Prov 19:6  Many seek the favor of a generous man,t and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. ▤ 

t Or of a noble

  • Give to a number of recipients:

Eccl 11:1-2  Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. ▤ 

This could be referring to being generous (i.e. giving to many) – or it may be intended as commercial advice (i.e. invest in many ventures). In either case, such action will eventually bring a return (v. 1b). Furthermore such diversification of one’s assets will mean that one will have a number of possible sources to call upon should disaster come upon the land (v. 2).

Pray for persecuted Christians

Mercy

Mercy involves such things as: not penalizing those subject to one’s judgment and retribution (due to things like wrongful action or debt); and doing more than one is bound to do in helping others. It is showing kindness beyond what is required of one or is otherwise considered fitting.

Show mercy

Zec 7:9  Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, … ▤ 

Luke 6:36  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. ▤ 

Ps 112:4  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. ▤ 

Dan 4:27  Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity. ▤ 

Matt 9:13  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. ▤ 

Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 to self-righteous Pharisees, whose lack of understanding of Jesus’ mission was not unrelated to their failure to understand God’s requirements for them. God requires mercy towards others, even above religious rituals (cf. Matt 23:23 ).

Matt 23:23  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. ▤ 

Luke 10:36-37  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” ▤ 

James 3:17  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. ▤ 

Jude 1:22-23  And have mercy on those who doubt; 23save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garmenty stained by the flesh. ▤ 

y Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

In v. 22 Jude tells his readers to show mercy to those who doubt – “those whose faith is wavering” (NLT) – which was possibly due to the influence of false teachers. In v. 23b the proposed objects of mercy appear to be those who had sinned. Showing mercy to such sinners needs to be accompanied by fear of sin’s enticement.

Prov 21:10  The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes. ▤ 

To not show mercy is a characteristic of wicked people.

  • Show mercy cheerfully:

Rom 12:8  … the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,a with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. ▤ 

a Or gives aid

This is speaking of the spiritual gift of doing “acts of mercy” for the needy, rather than to showing mercy in general. However the principal of showing mercy cheerfully is readily applicable to the latter – as indeed it is to all that we do.

Be merciful and God will show you mercy

Ps 18:25  With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; … ▤ 

Matt 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. ▤ 

The final clause refers to being shown mercy by God.

Matt 18:32-35  Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,z until he should pay all his debt. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. ▤ 

z Greek torturers

James 2:12-13  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ▤ 

In this context, the final statement appears to indicate that if we are merciful we will receive God’s mercy rather than his judgment on judgment day.

Be compassionate

See also:

Compassion is generally the emotion underlying mercy; it is expressed in merciful action.

Judg 21:6  And the people of Israel had compassion for Benjamin their brother and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel this day. ▤ 

1Sam 23:21  And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. ▤ 

Ps 103:13  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. ▤ 

Luke 10:33-35  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denariib and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ ▤ 

b A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

The Good Samaritan’s compassion, led him to act mercifully (vv. 34-35; cf. v. 37).

Luke 15:20  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. ▤ 

Col 3:12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, … ▤ 

Heb 10:34  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. ▤ 

Job 30:25  Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy? ▤ 

Job’s deep compassion for the needy is evident here – and indeed is exemplary.

  • Be tenderhearted:

Eph 4:32  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ▤ 

1 Peter 3:8 also speaks of being tenderhearted: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”

Forgive others . . .

See also:

Luke 17:3-4  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. ▤ 

Col 3:13  … bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. ▤ 

This suggests that we should forgive others of any perceived wrong against ourselves even if they have not acknowledged it and asked to be forgiven.

Luke 23:33-34a  And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”c ▤ 

c Some manuscripts omit the sentence And Jesus . . . what they do

Acts 7:59-60  And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. ▤ 

Stephen’s prayer in v. 60a implies that he forgave those who were killing him, emulating Jesus’ example (cf. Luke 23:33-34a ).

2Cor 2:7-8, 10-11  … so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. ▤ 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. ▤ 

Paul urges the Corinthians to forgive and discontinue the punishment of a church member who has “caused grief” (v. 5) – and presumably has since repented. In doing so they are to reaffirm their love for him (v. 8). In vv. 10-11, Paul makes the important point that not forgiving such a person would leave the church members themselves susceptible to Satan’s schemes. In saying this Paul may have had in mind that not forgiving others can lead to such things as bitterness and hard-heartedness, which Satan can readily use.

2Tim 4:16  At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! ▤ 

Here Paul shows forgiveness towards those who had deserted him.

Prov 10:12  Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. ▤ 

The phrase “covers all offenses” (cf. Prov 17:9 ) means to overlook (cf. CEV, GNT) or forgive (cf. NCV) all offences. The last clause is quoted or referred to in 1 Peter 4:8b – “…love covers a multitude of sins.”

Prov 17:9  Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. ▤ 

Gen 50:15-21  When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, 17‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many peopled should be kept alive, as they are today. 21So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. ▤ 

d Or a numerous people

It is not clear whether the instructions of vv. 16-17 were fabricated or not. However, it is clear from Joseph’s response (vv. 19-21) that he did indeed forgive his brothers, as his father had supposedly requested (v. 17).

. . . Forgive and God will forgive you

Matt 6:12-15  … and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.e 14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. ▤ 

e Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen

Verse 12 is from the Lord’s Prayer. In vv. 14-15 Jesus comments on it.

Mark 11:25  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”f ▤ 

f Some manuscripts add verse 26: But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses

Luke 6:37  Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; … ▤ 

Matt 18:21-35  Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.g 23“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.h 24When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.i 25And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26So the servantj fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,k and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,l until he should pay all his debt. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” ▤ 

g Or seventy-seven times

h Greek bondservants; also verses 28, 31

i A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer

j Greek bondservant; also verses 27, 28, 29, 32, 33

k A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

l Greek torturers

In v. 22 Jesus is implying that we should always forgive, rather than put a limit on the number of times that we do it.

  • Forgive because Jesus Christ forgave you:

Col 3:13  … bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. ▤ 

Not only should we forgive others so that we will be forgiven, but we should also forgive because we have been forgiven by Christ – forgive “because the Lord forgave you” (NCV™).

Do not judge others . . .

We are not to judge others in a condemnatory manner, as if we were in some position of authority to do so; nor in a self-righteous sense, which is inevitably hypocritical. Note, however, that there are Bible verses instructing us to make judgments or choices regarding good and bad people or things. For example in 1 Corinthians Paul speaks of the need for believers to judge those in the church (cf. 5:12), and also says that: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things…” (2:15). See also Evaluate all things; Guarding against False Teachers; and Dealing with Sin in the Church.

John 8:15  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. ▤ 

Jesus appears to be saying that he did not set himself up to judge anyone (cf. 3:17, AMP). We should follow his example. Note that some commentators think that Jesus is actually meaning that he did not judge in the referred-to worldly fashion of his adversaries – i.e. “by human standards”

Rom 14:1-4, 10, 12-13  As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own masterm that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. ▤ 10Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; ▤ 12So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. ▤ 

m Or lord

Believers are not to judge each other on disputable matters – matters that Scripture does not discuss or is not concerned with. The reminders in vv. 10, 12 that we ourselves will be judged by God, is a sobering deterrent to judging other servants of his. The suggestion is that such condemnatory judgment of other servants of God leaves us more liable to being so judged by God – as per the theme of the following subsection.

1Cor 4:5  Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. ▤ 

In light of the inadequacy of human judgment (cf. vv. 3-4) and the limitedness of human knowledge, Paul exhorts his readers to wait for the Lord’s judgment.

James 4:11-12  Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.n The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? ▤ 

n Or brothers and sisters

Speaking evil against another – and so judging them – breaks such laws as ones against slander and for love (cf. Lev 19:16-18). By consciously acting contrary to such laws, or any law, one in a sense deems or judges God’s law to be flawed.

Matt 7:3-5  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ▤ 

Jesus figuratively urges his listeners not to be judgmental (cf. vv. 1-2 ) in criticizing what may seem to them to be faults in others, while being oblivious to their own often greater faults.

John 8:3-11  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” ▤ 

Jesus’ statement in v. 7 implied that none of the woman’s accusers was qualified to begin executing judgment, a point that was not lost on them (vv. 9-10). Even Jesus did not condemn her (v. 11a), but he did require her to repent (v. 11b). For further comment on the passage see Note: The sexually immoral who believe and repent are forgiven and granted righteousness.

. . . If you judge others, God will judge you accordingly

See also:

We will all face God’s judgment (cf. Rom 14:10, 12 ), but the following verses speak of the same condemnatory standard of judgment being applied by God to those who exercise it themselves.

Matt 7:1-2  Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. ▤ 

Luke 6:37  Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; … ▤ 

Note that this follows an exhortation to be merciful (cf. v. 36), suggesting that refraining from judging and also forgiving (as per the latter part of the verse) are two aspects of showing mercy.

Rom 2:1, 3  Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. ▤ 3Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? ▤ 

In asserting that those who pass judgment do the same things (v. 1b) Paul may well have had in mind that all people commit the same sins, even if in varying degrees. The truth of this is seen in the light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, where Jesus condemns thoughts which mirror actual sinful deeds. Additionally, perhaps there is also a psychological or spiritual phenomenon whereby we make ourselves more vulnerable to particular sins by condemning others for such sins.

James 5:9  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. ▤ 

Grumbling or complaining against others is an outward expression of inner condemnatory judgment of them – which leaves oneself open to such judgment.

Ezek 7:27  The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the Lord. ▤ 

The phrase “according to their judgments” may be referring to the standards they had used in judging others – hence the verse’s inclusion here. Alternatively, it may well be speaking of the standards they had used in their harsh treatment of others, with God indicating here that he would use similar standards in determining the degree of punishment that he would inflict on them.

  • Believers are not to judge non-believers, but do have a responsibility to judge believers:

1Cor 5:12-13  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judgeso those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” ▤ 

o Or will judge

Judgment of those outside the church should be left to God (v. 13a). However believers have a responsibility to keep fellow church members accountable – even taking disciplinary action if necessary (v. 13b).

Note: Human judgment is typically superficial and inadequate

1Sam 16:1, 3, 6-7  The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” ▤ 3And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” ▤ 6When they came, he [Samuel] looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” ▤ 

John 7:23-24  If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. ▤ 

John 8:15  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. ▤ 

The implication here is that human standards are flawed and inadequate to base judgment upon.

1Cor 4:3-4  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. ▤ 

In the first statement Paul speaks of his disregard of human judgment. He then further alludes to its inadequacy by pointing to his own insufficiency to judge even himself.

James 2:2-7  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? ▤ 

Such typical human judgment is not only superficial (vv. 2-3), it is: discriminatory and evil (v. 4); inconsistent with God’s purposes (vv. 5-6a); even incompatible with one’s own experience (v. 6b); and tends to favor those who despise our Lord (v. 7).

1Cor 2:14-15  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ▤ 

This points to the inadequacy of human judgment. In view of v. 14, v. 15b appears to be speaking of non-spiritual people’s judgment (cf. NLT), judgment that is necessarily worldly or merely human. Being without the Spirit of God, such people cannot understand things that are of the Holy Spirit (v. 14) and so are in no position to judge those who have the Holy Spirit (v. 15b). Regarding the first clause of v. 15, Paul appears to mean that in having the Holy Spirit (cf. v. 12) believers have the capacity – at least to some degree – to understand and make judgment about all things (cf. v. 10), with spiritual truths probably being primarily in view (cf. vv. 6-13, 16) as opposed to other people. For further comment see Having the Holy Spirit is linked with having wisdom and knowledge.

Prov 16:2  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. ▤ 

People’s ability to evaluate their own ways is limited and superficial (cf. Prov 21:2a ) – in contrast to God’s ability to evaluate or judge people.

Prov 21:2  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. ▤ 

  • Paul’s resolve to no longer regard or judge people from a superficial, worldly viewpoint:

2Cor 5:16  From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. ▤ 

Here “regard” involves judging (cf. CEV, GNT) or evaluating (cf. NLT) others.

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Gentleness

See also:

Be gentle

See also:

Titus 3:1-2  Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. ▤ 

2Cor 10:1  I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— ▤ 

Generally at least, we should exhort others in a manner reflective of “the meekness and gentleness” that characterized Jesus Christ, as Paul begins to do here. Moreover, meekness and gentleness should generally be reflected in how we interact with others.

Gal 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ▤ 

As gentleness is a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit’s work in us, we should accordingly seek to be gentle.

Gal 6:1  Brothers,p if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. ▤ 

p Or Brothers and sisters; also verse 18

Eph 4:1-2  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, … ▤ 

Phil 4:5  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; … ▤ 

Here the Greek translated as “reasonableness” is often translated as “gentleness” (CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NRSV).

1Thes 2:7  But we were gentleq among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts infants

1Tim 3:3  … not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. ▤ 

1Tim 6:11  But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. ▤ 

1Pet 3:3-4  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. ▤ 

1Pet 3:15  … but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, … ▤ 

Be patient, bearing with others

See also:

1Thes 5:14  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,r encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. ▤ 

r Or disorderly, or undisciplined

Eph 4:2  … with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, … ▤ 

Col 3:12-13  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. ▤ 

2Tim 4:2  … preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. ▤ 

Rom 15:1  We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. ▤ 

1Cor 13:4  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant … ▤ 

Col 1:11  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, … ▤ 

Prov 25:15  With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone. ▤ 

Eccl 7:8  Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ▤ 

The second part of the verse is true enough as a general principle. If it has the first part of the verse in view, it may more specifically be meaning that patience is better than pride in accomplishing something.

Be meek

See also:

The concept of “meekness” involves an approach of non-retaliation (as per the following two subsections) – even non-resistance (cf. Matt 5:38-42 ) – in the face of offences. It is akin to being submissive, involves forbearance and is characterized by humility, gentleness and quietness.

Num 12:3  Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. ▤ 

Ps 37:11  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. ▤ 

God’s judgment may be partially in view, following which the meek would or will inherit God’s land.

Isa 29:19  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

This is taken from prophecies of future restoration for Israel, in which the meek will obtain joy.

Matt 5:5  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ▤ 

Here “the earth” refers to the new or renewed earth at the consummation of the messianic kingdom. Note that Jesus may have been alluding to Psalms 37:11 above.

Matt 5:38-42  You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,s let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. ▤ 

s Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

The command to “not resist the one who is evil” (v. 39a) is given in respect to one’s own rights; it is not saying that we should not stand against an evil person on behalf of others. The illustrations that follow (vv. 39b-42; cf. Luke 6:29-30 ) show that one should not retaliate and not insist on one’s rights. Some commentators view these as hyperbole, while others consider such a view to be watering down the extent of what is being taught.

Luke 6:29-30  To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunict either. 30Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. ▤ 

t Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

1Cor 6:7  To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? ▤ 

Paul is speaking of believers taking out lawsuits against other believers. With his first statement, Paul appears to refer to spiritual failure, either: in seeking retribution, as opposed to being meek and forgiving; or in being at odds with a fellow believer/s, as opposed to being unified as parts of the body of Christ.

2Cor 10:1  I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— ▤ 

Titus 2:9  Slavesu are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, … ▤ 

u Or servants; Greek bondservants

1Pet 2:18-23  Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. ▤ 

The phrase “mindful of God” (v. 19) more specifically has in view being “conscious of his will” (GNT), with submission to one’s master – even a harsh one (v. 18) – being of God’s will.

James 3:13  Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. ▤ 

One can infer from this that meekness comes from wisdom. Such an association with wisdom underlines the importance of meekness.

2Sam 16:11-12  And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me,v and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” ▤ 

v Septuagint, Vulgate will look upon my affliction

In the latter part of v. 11, David asserts that the cursing he was receiving (cf. vv. 5-8) may well have been prompted by God (cf. v. 10) – reason enough to meekly leave alone the curser. Note that in v. 12 David raises the possibility of God’s blessing for meekly enduring such treatment.

Prov 12:16  The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult. ▤ 

Prov 19:11  Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. ▤ 

Do not take revenge . . .

See also:

Lev 19:18  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. ▤ 

Prov 24:29  Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” ▤ 

1Sam 24:16-19  As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. ▤ 

David had refused to take the opportunity to kill Saul (cf. vv. 12-13 ), despite the fact that Saul had been seeking to capture him and probably kill him.

Job 31:29-30, 40  “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him 30(I have not let my mouth sin by asking for his life with a curse), ▤ 40let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended. ▤ 

In conjunction with not taking revenge against our enemies (v. 30), v. 29 indicates that we should also not rejoice when they encounter trouble (cf. Prov 24:17-18 ).

Ezek 25:12, 15, 17  “Thus says the Lord God: Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance on them, ▤ 15“Thus says the Lord God: Because the Philistines acted revengefully and took vengeance with malice of soul to destroy in never-ending enmity, ▤ 17I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.” ▤ 

This illustrates that taking revenge ourselves – particularly maliciously – can in fact lead to God’s vengeance against us.

Luke 9:53-55  But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”w 55But he turned and rebuked them.x ▤ 

w Some manuscripts add as Elijah did

x Some manuscripts add and he said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man came not to destroy people’s lives but to save them”

Jesus strongly disapproved of paying back the Samaritans’ unfriendliness with harm.

. . . Rather than taking revenge, wait for God to act

Rather than taking revenge in order to impose what we consider to be just vengeance and/or to alleviate any suffering caused us by others, we should wait for God to act – for him to take vengeance and/or deliver us.

Rom 12:19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave ity to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” ▤ 

y Greek give place

Gen 50:15, 19  When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” ▤ 19But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? ▤ 

Rather than taking revenge himself, Joseph acknowledged that the execution of any due vengeance was God’s prerogative.

1Sam 24:12-15  May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand. ▤ 

Note that this precedes vv. 16-19 in the previous subsection.

1Sam 25:32-33, 39  And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! ▤ 39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. ▤ 

Prov 20:22  Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. ▤ 

Prov 24:17-18  Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. ▤ 

This indicates that vindictive attitudes may in fact lead to God discontinuing punishment on one’s enemy.

1Pet 2:23  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. ▤ 

Rather than retaliate, Jesus entrusted himself to God, trusting that God had his suffering and destiny in hand. As such, Jesus waited for God to fulfill his purpose in the suffering.

  • Paying back evil for good brings evil on oneself:

Prov 17:13  If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house. ▤ 

Seek peace, including peace with others . . .

See also:

The verses in this subsection appear to primarily have in view being at peace with others ourselves, but a number of them can also be applied to promoting peace between others, as per the following subsection. Similarly, at least one or two verses in the following subsection could possibly have primarily in view being at peace with others ourselves, rather than promoting peace for others.

Ps 34:14  Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. ▤ 

Rom 12:18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. ▤ 

Heb 12:14  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. ▤ 

2Tim 2:22  So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ▤ 

We should strive for “harmony and concord with others” (AMP).

James 3:17  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. ▤ 

Zec 8:19b  Therefore love truth and peace. ▤ 

Ps 120:7  I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war! ▤ 

Ps 37:37  Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. ▤ 

Matt 5:23-26  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.z ▤ 

z Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)

Seeking peace with others often involves: seeking reconciliation (vv. 23-24); and seeking to amicably resolve disputes (v. 25).

. . . and seek peace for others – in part through prayer

Est 10:3  For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people. ▤ 

In governing Mordecai worked for the welfare and peace of his people.

Zec 8:16  These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; … ▤ 

Phil 4:2-3  I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3Yes, I ask you also, true companion,a help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. ▤ 

a Or loyal Syzygus; Greek true yokefellow

Apparently there had been a serious disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche. Here Paul himself seeks to make peace between them (v. 2) and also urges Syzygus (cf. text note) to likewise help these women resolve their differences (v. 3a).

Prov 12:20  Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. ▤ 

Matt 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sonsb of God. ▤ 

b Greek huioi; see Preface

People who “work for peace” (GNT, NLT, cf. NCV) will be deemed to be children of God because they show that they partake of his nature and/or participate in working for his purposes.

James 3:18  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ▤ 

Peacemakers do their work in a peaceful way, producing righteousness. This could be speaking of righteousness in the lives of themselves or of others – or even both. It is applicable to both.

Ps 122:6-8  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! 7Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” 8For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” ▤ 

This is illustrative of seeking and praying for the peace of the city or locality where one lives (cf. Jer 29:7 ; 1Tim 2:1-2 ; Prov 29:8 ) – as well as for Jerusalem itself.

Jer 29:7  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. ▤ 

1Tim 2:1-2  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. ▤ 

  • Wise people will calm anger:

Prov 29:8  Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath. ▤ 

In light of the first part of the verse, the second part may primarily be speaking of wise people promoting peace amongst others by calming a situation inflamed with anger.

Live and act in a quiet manner

See also:

1Thes 4:10b-11  But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, … ▤ 

Note that minding your own business is complementary to leading a quiet life.

1Pet 3:3-4  Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. ▤ 

Ps 35:20  For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit. ▤ 

Although not the main point of the verse, this does suggest that living quietly is a good thing to do.

Eccl 9:17  The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. ▤ 

This indicates that the wise speak with “quiet words” (GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT, NRSV; cf. CEV, NKJV).

Isa 42:2  He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; … ▤ 

This is referring to the Messiah, with his relatively quiet and discreet approach in his incarnation.

Matt 1:19  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. ▤ 

Amos 5:13  Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. ▤ 

We should not infer from this that we should never speak out during times when evil powers hold sway. Nevertheless it does point to the fact that there will be times when God’s interests are better advanced through quiet work.

Prov 9:13  The woman Folly is loud; she is seductivec and knows nothing. ▤ 

c Or full of simpleness

It is foolish to be “loud and brash” (NLT).

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