Abstain From All Appearance of Evil #2

Saturday, May 6, 2023

“Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV).

Could we follow today’s Scripture to prevent the founding of another false religious system? (Yes!)

It is most unfortunate that modern English versions—even the New King James Version—generally retranslate today’s Scripture, making it more difficult to comprehend and impossible to obey. While our King James Bible has, “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” modern translations read something to the effect of, “Abstain for all kind/form of evil.” This, however, does not adequately convey the strength of the Greek word “eidos.” The term is derived from “eido” (“I see”). “Form” or “kind” is not as specific as “appearance.” The thrust of the argument here is sight.

Observe the following references that also use the Greek term. “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape [“eidos”] like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). “And as he prayed, the fashion [“eidos”] of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering” (Luke 9:29). “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape [“eidos”]” (John 5:37). “(For we walk by faith, not by sight [“eidos”]: )” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The Holy Ghost appeared to be a dove (Luke 3:22), though He is not actually a dove. Jesus’ outward appearance glowed as He prayed on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:29). The unbelieving Jews had never seen Father God (John 5:37). We walk by faith, “not by sight(2 Corinthians 5:7). Our King James translators, therefore, knew how to handle “eidos” in today’s Scripture—and were well aware that display or appearance is the force of the word. While we are to avoid all kinds of evil (that is basic Christian knowledge), our Authorized Version is more precise with “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” This principle excludes us from engaging in even that which seems to be evil, for, mature Christian thinking causes us to conclude that we are to shun even that which looks like sin….