1 Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
The text is a quotation from the Greek comic playwright Menander, which illustrates 1 Corinthians 9:22, 23. In this sceptical age all teachers should go to the forges of the Philistines to sharpen their intellectual tools, so as to be able to meet their enemies on their own ground.
I. WHAT ARE THESE EVIL COMMUNICATIONS? They are those of —
1. The tongue.
(1) Lying. The Bible shows, by precept and example, that God hates the liar (Proverbs 12:22).
(2) Foolish and profane talk. Certainly we do not condemn mirth and wit; but great care must be taken lest the comic should predominate in us. "A hearty laugh maketh glad the heart, but the laughter of the fool is as the crackling of thorns under a pot." Moreover there is a kind of talk which blunts the moral feelings and lowers the dignity of man. The slandering gossip of the drawing-room and the coarse humour of the tap-room are equally condemned (Ephesians 4:29).
(3) Swearing. This mean habit is too prevalent amongst all grades of society.
2. The pen. In former times the evils of the pen were comparatively small, because only few could read what fewer still could write. But in this age of cheap literature the evil of the pen rivals the evil of the tongue in its magnitude. There is —
(1) The novel. Every young man and woman should read the masterpieces of imaginative literature as recreation; yet the greatest admirers of fiction admit that for every good novel there is a dozen bad ones. Truth after all is stranger than fiction; get good books, read and study them.
(2) The theatre, which has been all along one of the principal enemies of the Church: one is the nursery of rectitude, honesty, and charity: the other is the school of infidelity and genteel licentiousness.
3. The pencil. Nothing contributes more towards the education of the heart and the refinement of the feelings than familiarity with high art; but on the other hand, nothing is more infectious than familiarity with lewd pictures.
II. HOW TO ERADICATE THESE EVIL COMMUNICATIONS.
1. Form a close and frequent intercourse with the people of God. The help afforded to Christians by mutual interchange of thought, feeling, and experience will be found to be wonderfully effective; as will also the biographies of good men.
2. Form a close and frequent intercourse with Christ. Enter into a covenant with Him, and He will keep thee in all thy ways.
(W. A. Griffiths.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.