Berean Studies / Ber08 - Evil speaking and Evil Surmising

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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.

Show details for 1. What is evil speaking?1. What is evil speaking?

Show details for 2. How prevalent is this fault among even those who profess to be Christians?2. How prevalent is this fault among even those who profess to be Christians?

Show details for 3. What is the power of the tongue?3. What is the power of the tongue?

Show details for 4. What is meant by a ‘tongue set on fire of gehenna’?4. What is meant by a ‘tongue set on fire of gehenna’?

Show details for 5. What are the baneful influences of evil speaking, and what are some of the excuses and subterfuges offered 5. What are the baneful influences of evil speaking, and what are some of the excuses and subterfuges offered by the fallen ...

Show details for 6. What is evil surmising and what is its relation to evil speaking?6. What is evil surmising and what is its relation to evil speaking?

Show details for 7. What are ‘secret faults,’ and of what two kinds are they?7. What are ‘secret faults,’ and of what two kinds are they?

Show details for 8. Is an evil suggestion a sin, and how does it become a secret fault?8. Is an evil suggestion a sin, and how does it become a secret fault?

Show details for 9. What is a ‘presumptuous sin,’ and when does a secret fault become a presumptuous sin?9. What is a ‘presumptuous sin,’ and when does a secret fault become a presumptuous sin?

Show details for 10. What is the ‘great transgression’ to which these sins lead?10. What is the ‘great transgression’ to which these sins lead?

Show details for 11. How may we purify and keep our hearts pure from these sins?11. How may we purify and keep our hearts pure from these sins?

Show details for 12. How is the Lord judging us?12. How is the Lord judging us?

Show details for 13. Why should we render to God a daily account of any ‘idle’ (pernicious) words?13. Why should we render to God a daily account of any ‘idle’ (pernicious) words?

Show details for 14. How are words the index of our hearts?14. How are words the index of our hearts?

Show details for 15. What does purity of heart signify?15. What does purity of heart signify?

Show details for 16. What is the importance of a pure heart?16. What is the importance of a pure heart?

Show details for 17. How may purity of heart be attained?17. How may purity of heart be attained?

Show details for 18. How do we know our motive is pure, since ‘the heart is deceitful above all things’?18. How do we know our motive is pure, since ‘the heart is deceitful above all things’?

Show details for 19. What is the relation between our conscience and purity of heart?19. What is the relation between our conscience and purity of heart?

Show details for 20. Might telling the truth be evil speaking?20. Might telling the truth be evil speaking?

Show details for 21. Is it always necessary to tell all we know about every affair?21. Is it always necessary to tell all we know about every affair?

Show details for 22. Is an uncomplimentary remark evil speaking?22. Is an uncomplimentary remark evil speaking?

Show details for 23. Would it be evil speaking to criticize doctrines publicly uttered?23. Would it be evil speaking to criticize doctrines publicly uttered?

Show details for 24. What is a slanderer?24. What is a slanderer?

Show details for 25. What is ‘false witness,’ and is it possible to bear false witness without uttering a word?25. What is ‘false witness,’ and is it possible to bear false witness without uttering a word?

Show details for 26. How should we deal with a brother or sister who begins to relate an evil report?26. How should we deal with a brother or sister who begins to relate an evil report?

Show details for 27. How should we deal with persons of the world who do evil speaking?27. How should we deal with persons of the world who do evil speaking?

Show details for 28. Is evil speaking against a brother in Christ more culpable than against one of the world?28. Is evil speaking against a brother in Christ more culpable than against one of the world?

Show details for 29. In order to avoid gossip, slander and evil speaking, what is the only proper and Scriptural way of redress29. In order to avoid gossip, slander and evil speaking, what is the only proper and Scriptural way of redress for grievanc...

Show details for 30. How should we deal in a matter of evil speaking against an Elder?30. How should we deal in a matter of evil speaking against an Elder?

Hide details for 31. Why is ‘a bridled tongue’ a chief essential in an Elder?31. Why is ‘a bridled tongue’ a chief essential in an Elder?

James 3:2 - For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

R2447 col. 2 2 - The public servants of the Church are to some extent specially its "tongues," and what an influence they wield for good or for evil, in the blessing and upbuilding of the Lord's people, or for their injury--cursing! How necessary that all the tongue-servants of the Lord's Body be such, and such only, as are of his spirit! Their influence not only extends to those who are in the Church, but in considerable measure they are mouthpieces heard outside. And the same principle applies to every individual member of the Church, in his use of his member, his tongue. He may use it wisely or unwisely, with heavenly wisdom or with earthly wisdom. He may use it for strife, and tearing down the faith and character of the brethren, in overthrowing love and confidence, or he may use it in building up these graces of the spirit. How many have proved the truth of the Apostle's words, that the tongue has great possibilities, either for defiling the whole body, the Church, and setting on fire the course of nature, by stirring up the evil poisons and propensities of the fallen nature! How few amongst the Lord's people have conquered the tongue to the extent of bringing it into subjection to the will of God, that they may minister good, and only good, to all with whom they come in contact! Let us, dearly beloved, be fully resolved that by divine grace (promised to assist us) the present year shall witness great progress in our control of this most important member of our bodies, bringing the same into full subjection and obedience and service to the King of kings and Lord of lords--to him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

R2157 col. 1 1 - In the choice of leaders for meetings the "tongue" qualification, as here laid down should not be overlooked. The fiery tongued should not be chosen, but the meeker, the moderate, who "bridle" their tongues and endeavor carefully to "speak as the oracles of God" only. Such tongues constrain, while others more frequently wound and repel. The Word of the Lord is quick and powerful and sharp and cuts "to the heart" without bitter and acrimonious and uncharitable human expletives to enforce it. Hence the divine instruction that we "speak the truth in love."

F249 2 - They should be generous men, men of pure lives, having no more than one wife; and if they have children it should be noticed to what extent the parent has exercised a wholesome influence in his own family--for it should reasonably be judged that if he has been derelict in his duty toward his children, he probably would be unwise or derelict in his counsels and his general ministries amongst the Lord's children in the Ecclesia, the Church. He is not to be double-tongued or deceptive, not to be a brawler or a contentious person. He should be one of good reputation amongst those outside the Church: not that the world will ever love or rightly appreciate the saints, but that the world should, at least, be unable to point to anything derogatory to their character as respects honesty, uprightness, morality, truthfulness. There is no limitation made respecting the number of elders in a Church or Ecclesia.

Show details for 32. How may we ask advice and not do evil speaking?32. How may we ask advice and not do evil speaking?

Show details for 33. What is the relation between ‘busy- bodying’ and evil speaking?33. What is the relation between ‘busy- bodying’ and evil speaking?

Show details for 34. How should the Golden Rule help us to overcome evil speaking and evil surmising?34. How should the Golden Rule help us to overcome evil speaking and evil surmising?

Show details for 35. What is the sole exception to this rule, ‘Speak evil of no man’?35. What is the sole exception to this rule, ‘Speak evil of no man’?

Show details for 36. What inspiration should we receive from Jesus’ example?36. What inspiration should we receive from Jesus’ example?

Hide details for 37. How can we overcome evil surmisings and evil speaking?37. How can we overcome evil surmisings and evil speaking?

(a) By purifying the heart-

Proverbs 4:23 - Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

F409 2 - It will be in vain that we shall endeavor to cleanse the flesh and to bridle the tongue if we neglect the heart, the mind, the spirit, in which are generated the thoughts, which merely manifest themselves in filthiness of the flesh-- by words and deeds. Only by prayer and perseverance can this cleansing necessary to a share in the Kingdom be accomplished --"perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord." Not that we may hope, either, to effect an absolute cleansing of the flesh. It is the absolute cleansing of the will, the heart, the spirit, that the Lord demands (implying as complete a cleansing of the flesh and tongue as we can accomplish). Where he sees the heart pure and true to him and his spirit and law of Love he will, in due time, give the new body suited to it. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matt. 5:8

(b) By prayer-

Psalms 141:3 - Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

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.

R2249 col. 2 2 - Nor are we to seek divine aid far in advance, as, for instance, to be kept throughout the year to come, or month to come, or week to come: rather we are to know that if we have made a covenant with the Lord and are his, that he is near us at all times in every trial, in every temptation; and that his assistance is ready to our use, if we will but accept it and act accordingly. Hence, our prayers should be for help in the time of need, as well as general prayers for the Lord's blessing and care for each day. In the moment of temptation the heart should lift itself to the great Master, in full assurance of faith, recognizing his love, his wisdom and his ability to help us, and his willingness to make all things work together for good to those who love him. Asking for assistance in such a time of need would surely draw to us the Lord's counsel and help and strength for righteousness, truth, purity and love; and thus we should be hourly victorious, daily victorious, and finally victorious.

(c) By keeping the mind filled with pure and holy thoughts-

Philippians 4:8 KJV Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

R2890 [col. 2 3 to sub head end]—THE CONTROL OF THOUGHT.

Some are inclined to believe that since man's brain differs from each other man's brain to some extent, therefore his thinking must necessarily be different; in a word, that a man can only think in harmony with his brain construction. But we reply, Not so; each may learn to weigh and balance his own thoughts, to curb some and to encourage others; but to do this each must have before him an ideal of character, to be copied. Thoughts can be controlled just as words and actions can be controlled: the will is at the helm, and must decide which thoughts and sentiments it will entertain and encourage, and which it will repel. It is necessary, therefore, first of all for the will to be rightly directed, and secondly, to be strong, and to use its power in the control of thought; --in curbing those thoughts which it recognizes as evil, and in stimulating those which it recognizes as good, helpful, beneficial. The will, in Scripture called the "heart," is therefore continually appealed to by the Lord, as he now seeks amongst men for his "peculiar people." The message is, "My son, give me thine heart"--thy will. This request is not addressed to wilful sinners, for they are not recognized or addressed as sons of God, but as children of the Evil One. Those whom God recognizes as his sons are such as have been brought into harmony with him through forgiveness of sins, by repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. It is to such that the Lord makes known that if they would "go on to perfection"--to the full attainment of his gracious purposes respecting them, the only proper course would be to give their hearts, their wills, to him in consecration.

The heart, the will, thus given over to God, seeks to know the divine will, to catch the divine thought and to obey it in word and in act; and in proportion as this condition of the new mind is attained, in that same proportion will there begin to be a newness of life in every respect; in ambitions, hopes, sentiments, and efforts. It is for this reason that the revelation of the divine will and plan is furnished to believers --that by growing in the knowledge of it, by thinking on these things, by filling the mind with the divine plan and will, the transforming influence may extend into every avenue of life.

R3129 [col. 2 1-4] - How many (how few!) can say what the Apostle says in `vs. 9`? "The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do!" This should be the standard of every Christian, because they each and all are representatives of the Lord, ambassadors for him; hence, so far as in them lieth, their conduct and words should be such as would be living epistles, read by the brethren and by the world to profit. No wonder the Apostle adds that, doing thus, "the God of peace shall be with you." So surely as he was with the Apostle he will be with all others similarly walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

"I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length ye have revived your thought for me." These words seem to imply that their thoughtfulness for the Apostle, and earnestness to improve opportunities to serve him, had to some extent relaxed for a time and been revived. Then, as though fearful that his words might be understood as a reproof, he adds, "Ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked opportunity." How careful was this man of God not unnecessarily to wound the feelings of the brethren, and how careful we all should likewise be to let the love of God extend, not only to the degree of giving us liberal sentiments toward the brethren, but also to the extent of influencing our tongues and pens not to wound unnecessarily even the least of them.

The Apostle hastens to point out that he is not complaining of want. He had learned to put into practice himself the lesson which he was just communicating to them, regarding rejoicing in the Lord,--to cast aside anxious thought and to approach the Lord in prayer and supplication in thanksgiving, and he possessed the resultant peace. In this condition of heart, however many may have been his necessities, he was not in want, for he was satisfied that the Father would provide the things which he really needed--and more he did not want; for, as he explains, he had learned the lesson, "In whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." We are not to be contented after the manner of the tramp or the indolent and shiftless, who would prefer to "live by faith," at the expense of others who "labor, working with their hands." We are not to be content to allow the opportunities and talents and privileges which the Lord has given us to lie idly by, unused; but while using these talents and opportunities to the very best of our ability and intelligence, and while seeking in prayer and supplication, rejoicing and thanksgiving, to use them all as would please the Lord, we should be content with the result of such efforts.

We should conclude that our heavenly Father who feeds the sparrows and who clothes the fields with verdure is quite able to supply our needs in the manner and to the degree that would be for our highest welfare; and so, after having done our part to the best of our ability, we are to be thoroughly contented with the results --even if the results should be the barest necessities of life. But we are not to be contented with the barest necessities unless these are the best results obtainable from a reasonable and judicious use of opportunities and talents which the Lord has given us, consistent with our consecration to his service. "Be content with such things as ye have" does not ignore our talents and opportunities, for these are part of the things which we have,--the things which, as stewards, we are bound to use to the best of our judgments.

R3596 col. 1 2 and col. 2 2 - Some are inclined to believe that since man's brain differs from each other man's brain to some extent, therefore his thinking must necessarily be different; in a word, that a man can only think in harmony with his brain construction. But we reply, Not so; each may learn to weigh and balance his own thoughts, to curb some and to encourage others; but to do this each must have before him an ideal of character, to be copied. Thoughts can be controlled just as words and actions can be controlled: the will is at the helm, and must decide which thoughts and sentiments it will entertain and encourage, and which it will repel. It is necessary, therefore, first of all for the will to be rightly directed, and secondly, to be strong, and to use its power in the control of thought; --in curbing those thoughts which it recognizes as evil, and in stimulating those which it recognizes as good, helpful, beneficial. The will, in Scripture called the "heart," is therefore continually appealed to by the Lord, as he now seeks amongst men for his "peculiar people." The message is, "My son, give me thine heart"--thy will. This request is not addressed to wilful sinners, for they are not recognized or addressed as sons of God, but as children of the Evil One. Those whom God recognizes as his sons are such as have been brought into harmony with him through forgiveness of sins, by repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. It is to such that the Lord makes known that if they would "go on to perfection"--to the full attainment of his gracious purposes respecting them, the only proper course would be to give their hearts, their wills, to him in consecration.

The heart, the will, thus given over to God, seeks to know the divine will, to catch the divine thought and to obey it in word and in act; and in proportion as this condition of the new mind is attained, in that same proportion will there begin to be a newness of life in every respect; in ambitions, hopes, sentiments, and efforts. It is for this reason that the revelation of the divine will and plan is furnished to believers --that by growing in the knowledge of it, by thinking on these things, by filling the mind with the divine plan and will, the transforming influence may extend into every avenue of life.

R2588 col. 1 4, 5 - Oh, that all would learn by heart, and continually seek to exemplify in life, the words of the Apostle, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Those who are thinking on the true and lovely and good and beautiful things will speak to each other of the same; hence the importance of having our hearts filled with good things, in order that out of the abundance of the good things of our hearts our mouths may speak continually good things, that the Lord would approve, and that would minister blessing to those who hear.--`Phil. 4:8`; `Luke 6:45`.

Such have a very precious promise, well worthy of their efforts--"They shall be called the children of God"--they have God's spirit, the likeness of his dear Son has been traced in their hearts; they have been sanctified with the truth; they shall ultimately be "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." Only such at heart will the Lord ever recognize as his sons and joint-heirs with his great Son, our Lord, in the Kingdom. Moreover, this is a test which we may well recognize for ourselves particularly, and to some extent for each other, as evidencing the degree of our growth as children of God--our peaceable dispositions, and our carefulness to pursue such a course in life as will tend toward peace.

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.


EVIL_SPEAKING.pdf