Berean Studies / Ber08 - Evil speaking and Evil Surmising
(Use your Browser's "Find" or "Search" option to search within this page)
Single Click a triangle below to see the references CT Russell selected for the associated question. The study questions (with the references) are also included as an attached Adobe PDF file at the bottom of this page.
1. What is evil speaking?
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?
1 Samuel 16:7 - But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
R3305 col. 2 ¶2- 5 - This is the signification of our text: On the principle that every thought has its influence upon our words and conduct, the Apostle urges that our thoughts be the special objects of our solicitude, care, watchfulness. Our Redeemer expresses the same sentiment in different language saying, "Out of the abundance of the heart [mind] the mouth speaketh." And out of the heart (mind) proceedeth envies, malice, strife, etc.,--or contrariwise kindness, gentleness, goodness, love.
IMPORTANCE OF A RIGHT HEART.
It is all important, then, that we have right hearts; for as a bitter fountain cannot send forth sweet waters, neither can a heart that is in the bitterness of sin send forth blessing to those in contact with it. We admit that a certain amount of refinement and grace belonging to the children of God may be copied by the unregenerate, but it has no depth, it fails easily, it quickly discloses the real bitterness, selfishness and acrimony of the natural heart which underlies.
In the present time, therefore, the Lord does not appeal to these bitter hearts to send forth sweet waters. The appeals of the Scriptures are to the regenerated hearts of consecrated believers, addressed in all the epistles as "saints," "children of God," "the sanctified in Christ Jesus," "the Lord's brethren," etc. These having new hearts, new wills, sanctified or set apart to the Lord, to righteousness, to truth, to goodness, need nevertheless to keep watch over their every deed, word and thought.
Our text is the apostle's appeal to this class along this line. It is well that we should scan our outward conduct, to take note that our good intentions may not be so exhibited to others that they will misapprehend our real sentiments--"Let not your good be evil spoken of." It is right, too, that we should "set a guard upon our mouth lest we should sin with our lips," lest our words be such as would not be honoring to the Lord or edifying to the brethren or to the world. But the number of watchmen or pickets doing duty and standing guard over our actions and words will be fewer in proportion as the picket line guarding our minds, our thoughts, is a strong one. It is here that we need to be especially on the alert.
R2891 col. 2 ¶4, 5 - There is a vast amount of impurity everywhere throughout the world. It, therefore, behooves the Lord's consecrated people to follow the Apostle's injunction, and to carefully strain out the impurities, and see that they do not enter into our hearts, our thoughts, realizing that with them in the result will be to work our defilement, to a greater or less degree. Whoever maintains purity of thought will have comparatively little effort in maintaining purity of word and of action. Whether the impurity come from one direction or another--from the world or the flesh or the devil--its attack must first of all be upon the mind; and if repelled there the victory is won: if not repelled we cannot know what the consequences would be, as the Apostle James declares: "Lust [selfish desire of any kind], when it has conceived [in the mind] bringeth forth sin [develops sinful words or deeds], and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."--`Jas. 1:15`.
No wonder, then, that the Apostle mentions the necessity for our thoughts being guarded along the line of purity, and that if a matter were ever so well established as a truth, and if it involved no injustice, and even were not dishonorable, yet were impure, this would be quite sufficient to condemn it as unworthy of the mind of the Lord's consecrated people. Nor is it to be overlooked that any smut or impurity entering into the mind may cause such a defilement as will give trouble in its complete eradication, not only at the time, but for years afterward.
R2480 col. 2 ¶2 - "Evil concupiscence" (or, in more modern language, desires for forbidden things) is a step higher in the Apostle's list of evil tendencies that should be rooted out and mortified, deadened. It is not sufficient that we acknowledge sin in its various forms to be evil, and that we resolve that we will strive against it because it is under the Lord's ban: in addition to this we are to root out of our hearts every longing, every desire for every thing not thoroughly approved by the Lord. Oh, what a cleansing this would mean in the hearts and lives, and especially in the thoughts, of many who have named the name of Christ! Many who fail to note this point, who fail to follow the Apostle's admonition, find themselves continually beset by temptations, because, while outwardly avoiding gross immoralities, they secretly harbor sympathies for things condemned,--desiring that they might have them, if only they were not forbidden. Under such conditions comparatively little progress can be made in the higher life. The Apostle would set before us the proper course to be pursued, if we would win the great prize, --namely, the high standard of bringing the very thoughts, wishes, desire, of our hearts into full conformity to the perfect will of God: and only those who do so are properly making progress, running the race set before us in the Gospel.--`2 Cor. 10:5`.
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.