Berean Studies / Ber08 - Evil speaking and Evil Surmising
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1. What is evil speaking?
James 3:8-10 - But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadlypoison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
R2443 col. 1 ¶5, col. 2 ¶1 - But in what sense does the Apostle mean that Spiritual Israelites curse men with their tongues?--and that so commonly, so generally prevalent as to require public reproof? Surely no Christian curses his fellowman by oaths and profane swearing! But are there not other ways in which our tongues may be a curse and an injury to fellow-men? We are to remember that the meaning of our English word "curse" has somewhat altered in common usage within the last century, having very generally lost the sense of injury and assumed wholly the sense of swearing, profanity. In the Greek language different words are used when referring to a cursing oath (viz., anathema, and anathematiso, used ten times in the New Testament), and when referring to a spoken condemnation as a blight or curse (viz., katara and kataraomai, which signify condemnation, --to speak against, to speak evil of, to injure). The latter is the word used by the Apostle James: hence his language really is--With the same tongue wherewith we praise and honor God, we do injury to fellow-men, by evil-speaking, slandering, etc. Thus our Lord, using the same word, said, "Bless them that curse [speak evil of] you." The Apostle Paul, using the same word, admonishes God's people to "Bless and curse not"--speak favorably of others, but do not speak injuriously of them. Again, we are told that our Lord cursed (the same Greek word) the figtree, saying, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth"--he injured it, he made a declaration unfavorable to its future development. Thus also the Apostle declares that the Jews under the Law were under a curse--not that the Law was evil, but that, because of imperfections of the flesh, the Israelites came under the condemnation (curse) of the Law. He declares also that "Christ hath redeemed us [formerly Jews] from the curse [condemnation] of the Law, being made a curse for us"--having suffered for us the full condemnation or blight which the Law imposed upon the transgressor. (`Gal. 3:10-13`.) He illustrated the same thought in connection with the word "curse," when he declares that garden land which had been overgrown with thorns and briars is "nigh unto cursing"--not ready for profanity, but for condemnation, as unfit for tillage, until burned over and its weeds exterminated.--`Matt. 5:44`; `Rom. 12:14`; `Mark 11:21`; `Heb. 6:8`.
Having thus before our minds the real word, and its signification as used by the Apostle, we see that while curse is a proper enough translation of the original, the whole difficulty is that present-day common usage and common education have largely hidden from sight this signification of the word. (Similarly the word evil has lost its original breadth of meaning, and is almost invariably considered to signify immorality, badness, wickedness; whereas in its breadth of meaning it may be used to refer to anything that is undesirable, not good, such as calamities, etc.)
2. How prevalent is this fault among even those who profess to be Christians?
3. What is the power of the tongue?
4. What is meant by a ‘tongue set on fire of gehenna’?
5. What are the baneful influences of evil speaking, and what are some of the excuses and subterfuges offered by the fallen ...
6. What is evil surmising and what is its relation to evil speaking?
7. What are ‘secret faults,’ and of what two kinds are they?
8. Is an evil suggestion a sin, and how does it become a secret fault?
9. What is a ‘presumptuous sin,’ and when does a secret fault become a presumptuous sin?
10. What is the ‘great transgression’ to which these sins lead?
11. How may we purify and keep our hearts pure from these sins?
12. How is the Lord judging us?
13. Why should we render to God a daily account of any ‘idle’ (pernicious) words?
14. How are words the index of our hearts?
15. What does purity of heart signify?
16. What is the importance of a pure heart?
17. How may purity of heart be attained?
18. How do we know our motive is pure, since ‘the heart is deceitful above all things’?
19. What is the relation between our conscience and purity of heart?
20. Might telling the truth be evil speaking?
21. Is it always necessary to tell all we know about every affair?
22. Is an uncomplimentary remark evil speaking?
23. Would it be evil speaking to criticize doctrines publicly uttered?
24. What is a slanderer?
25. What is ‘false witness,’ and is it possible to bear false witness without uttering a word?
26. How should we deal with a brother or sister who begins to relate an evil report?
27. How should we deal with persons of the world who do evil speaking?
28. Is evil speaking against a brother in Christ more culpable than against one of the world?
29. In order to avoid gossip, slander and evil speaking, what is the only proper and Scriptural way of redress for grievanc...
30. How should we deal in a matter of evil speaking against an Elder?
31. Why is ‘a bridled tongue’ a chief essential in an Elder?
32. How may we ask advice and not do evil speaking?
33. What is the relation between ‘busy- bodying’ and evil speaking?
34. How should the Golden Rule help us to overcome evil speaking and evil surmising?
35. What is the sole exception to this rule, ‘Speak evil of no man’?
36. What inspiration should we receive from Jesus’ example?
37. How can we overcome evil surmisings and evil speaking?
38. What additional thoughts are found in index of Heavenly Manna under ‘Evil’?
39. What special experiences and practices have helped you to overcome evil surmisings to some extent?
40. As we realize how insidious this foe of the ‘new creature,’ what should be our daily prayer?
Psalms 19:12-14 - Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.