What God's People
Are Taught to Avoid
God's book instructs us to keep away from such things as are detrimental, damaging, and destructive. Take a few moments to read this article and think about some of the things children of God are to shun.
The Path of the Wicked
The Bible says, "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, and pass away" (Prov. 4:14,15). We must warn young people not to enter the course of the wicked. The path to enter is the narrow way which leads to life (Matt. 7:13,14). If someone has already entered the way of evil men, he should be told, "go not in the way of evil men." That means get out; do not continue in the road that leads to ruin. All should be taught to avoid the path of the wicked; turn from it. The wicked path is the popular way, "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18).
Paul said in writing to Timothy, a young preacher, "0 Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings" (1 Tim. 6:20). The New American Standard Bible translates this, "avoiding worldly and empty chatter." Weymouth renders it, "shunning irreligious and frivolous talk." The word "babblings" literally means "empty sounds." Some people get worked up over discussions pertaining to things useless and meaningless. One is exposing the emptiness of his own head when he delights in arguing pointless subjects. God's people have better things to talk about than useless, ridiculous topics. We must refrain from empty discussions. Hollow rantings amount to no more than firing blanks.
Oppositions of Science
This is included in 1 Timothy 6:20 "avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." Science is knowledge. Much that is labeled knowledge is not that in fact. The Jerusalem Bible interestingly translates this passage, "Have nothing to do with the pointless philosophical discussions and antagonistic beliefs of the 'knowledge' which is not knowledge at all." The ancient Gnostics gloried in knowledge, but they taught many errors. Modern men who call themselves "scientists" often teach unsupported theories that are later proved wrong. The child of God must be alerted to the dangers of pseudo (fake or counterfeit) knowledge. In Christ can be found "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).
Foolish and Unlearned Questions
"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes" (2 Tim. 2:23). "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain" (Tit. 3:9). Some men have raised disputes and questions over trifles that can never be settled. What God has not revealed belongs to Him, not to man (Deut. 29:29). Questions that lead to endless speculation are harmful, We should not entertain questions that are asked purely for the purpose of gratifying someones love of attention or relish for argument. Foolish questions do not edify. God wants his people to abstain from stupid and ignorant questions. That applies to preachers., too!
The New Testament teaches that it is good for a man not to touch [be joined to] a woman, Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" (I Cor. 7:2). This makes it clear that the sexual union of a man and woman is wrong in Gods sight if they are not husband and wife. Fornication means illicit sexual relations, and such relations are illicit except for a husband and his own wife. All fornicators will be excluded from the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9,10). Todays youth are constantly urged and challenged by other youth to engage in sexual relations before marriage. Many older people sanction pre-marital sex, ~More and more unmarried couples are living together. We must impress upon people that all kinds of fornication are to be avoided. Gods word says tersely, Flee fornication (1 Cor. 6:18).
Paul urged brethren in congregations that were composed largely of Gentiles to send relief to the needy saints at Jerusalem. Titus went to Corinth to plead with the brethren to do their part in this work of love. Paul sent with Titus of the churches to travel with Paul to witness the delivery of the gift to Jerusalem, "Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" (2 Cor. 8:18-2!). Paul took precautions to avoid any suspicions of dishonesty. All who are involved in the handling of church finances need to be very cautious. Wisdom and prudence are preferable to shadiness and scandal. We ought to keep away from questionable conduct.
Agents of Divisions and Offences
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have earned; and avoid them" (Row. 16:17). Men who cause divisions and dissensions among brethren by refusing to uphold the truth, or by teaching false doctrines, or by promoting heresies, or by causing others to stumble, are to be noted and shunned. The expression "contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, as R.L. Whiteside states in his commentary on Romans, "covers a wide field, such as mechanical music in worship, the organization of societies to do the work of the church, and various schemes to raise money." One who causes dissensions by trying to introduce practices not authorized in the New Testament is to be avoided. False teaches may have personal charisma and be smooth and persuasive. By good words and fair speeches they deceive the simple, weak, and uninformed. They should be marked and avoided.
Let us resolve to avoid the foregoing evils and all other things that jeopardize our eternal salvation. Many things are better shunned than shared, resisted rather than relished, escaped rather than espoused.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 14, p. 1