I don’t know about you, but I always wondered about these words. Evidently Paul is quoting an old proverb…
I am going to start a brief series on Self-Control, but before I get to it, I need to build up to it.
Paul tells the church at Corinth to stop sinning!
Yes, you read that right!
Can you imagine if we had leaders in the church today telling their congregations to “Stop Sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”
Paul really did…
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.1 Corinthians 15:33–34 [Emphasis Mine]
Why would Paul add these 2 verses in this great section on the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Context is king here…
Apparently there were some bad dudes in Corinth!
There were those in the Corinthian Church who took up bad company with those who didn’t believe that Jesus is alive and rose from the dead, and promoting false doctrine.
Bad is (κακαί) (kakai) evil, The BDAG Lexicon defines it as not meeting accepted standards of behavior, to being socially or morally reprehensible.
Company (ὁμιλίαι) (homiliai) means a state of close association of person, can also mean engagement in talk, either as conversation or speech. Thayer says Company (homiliai) is companionship and communion with others.
So think about when you add Bad to the word Company!
- Bad Associations
- Bad Speech
- Bad Conversations
- Bad Companionships
- Bad Communion with others
Let’s think this through!
If there is no resurrection of Jesus Christ, no resurrection of the dead in Christ! Then it really doesn’t matter who you listen to!
Go ahead and get fed by any false bible teacher that tickles your ears. Go ahead and hang out with whoever you want, good or bad! Because you have no hope in Christ!
Paul in the few verses before…
Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? 30 Why are we also in danger every hour? 31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.1 Corinthians 15:29-32
Paul is saying if there is no resurrection of Jesus Christ and if we are not raised up with Him, we might as well EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE with no eternal hope or inheritance reserved in heaven for us!
But beloved, we have hope!
There was a resurrection and Jesus is alive and will come back again for His saints. Why then are you taken up Bad Company with unbelievers?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,1 Peter 1:3-4 [Emphasis Mine}
What’s the implication here and now?
Paul is saying to the Christian…why are you living as though there were no resurrection and hope? Why are you behaving like an unbeliever?
Why do you keep constant company with those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior with no hope?
Why are you living like them, acting like them and wanting more like them? (see) It’s Probably a Duck!
Don’t fall into their immorality, acting like those who have no knowledge of God! You have this knowledge!
Paul says…This is shameful!
Don’t you know that Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals.
Paul has a remedy…
The NAS Bible says “Become sober-minded as you ought!
- The NIV “Come back to your senses as you ought”
- The ESV “Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right”
- The Net Bible “Sober up as you should”
- King James “Awake to righteousness”
- The Living Bible ‘Think carefully about what is right”
I really like the NIV and the King James, Awake to righteousness and Come back to your senses as you ought,
Mounce in his lexicon says sober minded is to awake sober after intoxication, to shake off mental bewilderment, to wake up from delusion and folly,
They are all saying the same thing!
Back in Chapter 9 I believe Paul gives us that remedy…
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.1 Corinthians 9:23-27 [Emphasis Mine}
I believe with all my heart we have to follow Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:23-27. He wanted to win the prize. We will not be successful Christians without discipline and self-control.
Instead of hanging around with bad company, we need to be witnessing to them, so they can be fellow partakers with us in the gospel of Jesus Christ!
…and that’s a beautiful thing!