1 Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Note 6 at 1Co 15:33: In context, Paul was continuing to argue for the resurrection. He was saying that the wanton talk and actions of those who were denying the resurrection so that they could indulge themselves had corrupted these Corinthians' beliefs. They needed to disassociate themselves.
There is a much broader application of this truth, which is borne out in many passages of Scripture. It is that association with evildoers tends to corrupt us. Some ridicule this, thinking that if one is really strong, association with evil can't hurt. Paul said we are deceived if we think that.
There is no doubt that all of us encounter evil. And the Lord did not Himself pursue a monastic life, nor did He advocate it to His followers. We are the salt of the earth--and we need to get out of the shaker to do any good--but our contact with the world has to be controlled. We need to be the ones doing the ministering, not the other way around (see note 3 at Ac 19:9).
Association with people who are doing evil is all right if we are ministering to them, but exposing ourselves to the talk and ways of the ungodly is a great mistake that has corrupted many good-intentioned people. Evil lifestyles (see note 7 at this verse) tend to corrupt good lifestyles.
Some may ask why that is. It seems like the evil should be more influenced by the good. Well, just as disease is contagious but health isn't, and fat comes easier than muscle, so evil seems to be easier to achieve than good. We need to deal with this reality and not allow ourselves to be influenced by evil.
To illustrate what he was saying here, Paul warned Timothy about Hymenaeus and Philetus, who were telling others that the resurrection was already past. They believed that Jesus was resurrected but no one else would be. Paul said their words were like a cancer that would infect others (2Ti 2:16-18). Paul considered Hymenaeus' speech blasphemy and turned him over to Satan (1Ti 1:20). Part of turning a person over to Satan was the withdrawal of fellowship from the body of believers (see note 5 at Mt 18:17).
Lot is an Old Testament example of a righteous man who was corrupted through his association with the ungodly (2Pe 2:7-9 and Ge 19).
"Evil communications" does not just mean extremely bad talking (see notes 7 and 8 at this verse), and "good manners" are more than just style (see note 9 at this verse).
Note 7 at 1Co 15:33: The word "evil" in this verse was translated from the Greek word "KAKOS." KAKOS means "worthless...depraved, or...injurious" (Strong's Concordance). It encompasses much more than what many people think of as evil. Worthless communications (see note 8 at this verse) also corrupt good manners. Therefore, it is not just the extremely evil that we need to beware of, but all the vain, useless, and worthless speech and actions of others can affect us too (Mt 12:36-37).
Life and death are in the power of not only our tongues but also everyone else's (Pr 18:21). We need to be careful of the things we hear and the things we see, because they do influence our morals (see note 9 at this verse).
Note 8 at 1Co 15:33: The word "communications" here means more than just the words we speak. The Greek word that was used in this verse is "HOMILIA," and it means "companionship...i.e. (by implication) intercourse" (Strong's Concordance). This is speaking of association. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "communicate" as "to have an interchange, as of ideas." This can happen through association, whether it is seeing or hearing.
So, Paul was saying that association with evil (see note 7 at this verse) will corrupt our morals (see note 9 at this verse). This doesn't mean we have to withdraw totally from the world, but we do have to beware (see note 6 at this verse).
Note 9 at 1Co 15:33: The word "manners" in this verse was translated from the Greek word "ETHOS," and ETHOS means "moral habits" (Strong's Concordance). Paul was saying that our morals are affected by the associations we keep. People cannot continually associate with evil (see note 7 at this verse) without it corrupting their morals.
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