Paul wrote, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The ASV has, “Be not deceived: evil companionships corrupt good morals.” Every child of God should understand and faithfully follow these words. What exactly does Paul mean?
First, Paul warns against being deceived. A deceiver is one who seeks to mislead another, to delude something, and/or attempts to cheat one out of what one has or seeks to achieve. Synonyms are mislead, delude, beguile, dupe, fool, lie to, be dishonest. Cf. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, page 99. An archaic word is “beguile.” Of whom does that remind you? Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3, “the serpent beguiled Eve.” Jesus described Satan as “a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44). Jesus also warned against being defiled. (John 18:28; Titus 1:15). Paul wrote of some who had been troubled by others, perverting the gospel of Christ, and had removed faithful brethren from the gospel of Christ to a so-called, distorted gospel. (Galatians 1:6, 7). He pronounced the curse of God upon such defilers and deceivers. (Verses 8, 9). Each one must “Beware,” be careful not to be led away from the word of God to a wrong, perverted message. “Be not overcome of evil,….” (Romans 12:21). Do not be deceived.
Second, Paul said, “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” The word “evil” (KJV) comes from the Greek word KAKOS, meaning, “worthless…depraved…injurious,” and it is translated “bad, evil, harm, ill, noisome, wicked.” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, page 323). W. E. Vine says, “KAKOS…stands for whatever is evil in character, base, in distinction (wherever…observable…morally or ethically evil…injurious, destructive, harmful, pernicious,….” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Volume II, page 34). “Communications” comes from the Greek word HOMILIA, meaning, companions or companionships, and is so translated in many other works. John Priola commented on 1 Corinthians 15:33, in a sermon delivered at the West Concord Church of Christ, June 1, 1997, saying, “You are with the wrong person if that person makes it harder for you to do what God wants you to do.” How true! This writer recorded those words in the margin of his Bible. Brother Priola also said we should put a STOP sign beside this verse.
God’s people under the Old Testament were forbidden to marry those of other nations, lest their hearts be turned away from God to serve false gods. (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3, 4; 1 Kings 11:2). Even some of God’s own people led Israel away from Him to sin. For example, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. (1 Kings 12:25-33, especially, verse 30; 14:16). Solomon, as great as he was, married “strange wives, who, when he “was old…turned away his heart after other gods….” (1 Kings 11:1-11). 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 forbids Christians having any relationship that will lead one away from God, and/or will create compromise. Children of God should not even allow family to lead them away from God. (Luke 12:49-53). God desires unity (John 17:20-23). However, when some obey the Lord, while others do not, division results. Beware of evil companions or companionships. STOP! Do not be defiled, deceived, and destroyed by anyone. “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Obey Psalm 1, especially, verse 1, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Those who obey these two verses will remain unscathed by the devil. Follow verse 2, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate both day and night.” The late Frank Van Dyke, beloved teacher at Freed-Hardeman College, now F-HU, used to say, “When we have in us that which is above us, we’ll not absorb that which is around us.” Abstaining from the appearance will guarantee freedom from actions.
It has generally been seen that those who associate with those who curse, drink alcoholic beverages, dress immodestly, smoke drugs of whatever nature, whether tobacco, marijuana, or other, are immoral, and such like, gradually begin to take on those characteristics. Exceptions would be rare. Do not take the chance. Believe and follow 1 Corinthians 15:33. Many have been led into a number of wrongs through the influence of TV and movies. Generally, these people are liberal minded, either rejecting the idea of God, or discounting what He has said. Look around you; listen to words spoken by acquaintances, which came from those in Hollywood, or others who reject the word of God. Many have now come to believe that murder, called abortion, is acceptable. Others, maybe the same ones, now think that the alternate life-style agenda in or out of marriage is fine. Evil companionships have turned many away from God. Christian, choose other believers as your closest companions. Exhort one another. Cf. Hebrews 10:25, and context; 2 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Timothy 6:2; Hebrews 3:13).
Those of 1 Corinthians 15:33 were challenged to believe in the resurrection, and not be deceived by those who said there was no such thing, that people were to “eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” (Verse 32). Paul challenged them to “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” (Verse 34). He then rebuked those who had not studied, and did not know God. (Verse 34). Contextually, it is the case that those who fail to study cannot know what is right. It is imperative that we study to show ourselves unashamed and approved of God, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15). Peter told us to sanctify, set apart, the Lord in our hearts that we may know how to answer whoever questioned us. (1 Peter 3:15). In the animal kingdom, the weak are the most vulnerable. Spiritually, those who fail to study to gain knowledge are the most vulnerable to being destroyed spiritually. Cf. Hoses 4:6. With these few thoughts made, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write the great thoughts on the resurrection. Only Deity could write such beautiful and meaning words.
Admonitions. Beware of evil servants! (Matthew 24:48). Beware of evil thoughts! (Matthew 7:21). Beware of inventing evil thoughts, or of inventing evil things! (Romans 1:30). Beware of being overcome with evil! (Romans 12:21). Beware of evil things! (1 Corinthians 10:6). Beware of thinking evil! (1 Corinthians 13:5). Beware of evil workers! (Philippians 3:2). Beware of evil concupiscence or evil desire! (Colossians 3:5). Beware of the love of money! (1 Timothy 6:10). Beware of evil speaking! (1 Peter 2:1). Beware of an evil tongue! (1 Peter 3:10). Beware of and eschew or hate evil! (1 Peter 3:1). Know that the Lord hates evil things. (1 Peter 3:12). Know that the Lord cannot bear evil. (Revelation 2:2). God hates every false way. (Psalm 119:104, 128). He hates vain thoughts. (Psalm 119:113). God hates lying (Psalm 119:163). “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19). Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate.”
Dearly beloved, there is much to digest in this short work. However, take the time to read and study each of the things mentioned herein. As the late beloved Paul D. Murphy might have said, Make sure “beyond a shade of a shadow of a flicker of a doubt” that you know and do the will of God that you may hear His welcome call at the judgment. (Matthew 25:34). Are you a Christian? Have you obeyed the gospel call of Jesus. (Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 10:17; Acts 17:30, 31; Matthew 10:32, 33; Mark 16:16; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 12:13. If so, are you faithful? (Mark 13:13). If not, are you ready and willing to be restored? (Acts 8:22-24; James 5:16). Call the one who gave you this tract or the one below to help you.