From Heaven Or From Men

By Clinton D. Hamilton

Question: Would you mind expounding Proverbs 11:14, which reads, “Where no counsel is, the people fall but in the multitude of counselors there is safety”?Does that show that in a problem, difficulty, etc. the more persons one can consult there is the probability of correctness?

Reply: Evidently the context here indicates that the rules of government for the people is the topic under consideration. In situations in which these rules do not reflect considerations and deliberations of competent and sagacious people, there is going to be a disaster for them. On the other hand, when there is a multitude of counselors, there is safety. Keil and Delitzsch state that the term used “denotes a multiplicity in unity, circumspect.”

When a people’s destiny is tied to the whims of one or to a few, it is more likely to be to their disadvantage than when there are many wise, competent, and circumspect counselors. There is not under view a personal problem or difficulty. The proverb does not deal with this issue.

A single counselor for a personal problem or difficulty could be either good or bad consequent on the nature and character of the advisor. But because the proverb is dealing with a people under rules or law, one should be cautious about applying it to another situation.

Question: Is it a misuse – taking out of context – to apply James 1:27, “. . . and to keep himself unspotted from the world” to staying away from, not talking to, staying aloof from, a person who has caused hatred by being obnoxious, crude, rude, reviling, mean, intransigent, etc. on a continuing, day-to-day basis. This question is in reference to alien sinners on a secular job, since no Christian could scripturally do such. (He would be an apostate, same as an alien: but would have to repent to get back into relationship with Christ.)

Reply: Unspotted is an adjective from the Greek term aspilos which means not to be stained. In this context, the sense is metaphorical. As a garment may be unstained or unblemished, so shall the child of God remain unblemished, unstained, from the defilement or pollution spiritually and morally that characterized the men who reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ, or the world.

On a job or in other contexts of one’s daily life, there are certainly times when people who are immoral or are characterized by the terms used in this question have contact or association with Christians. We are informed by the Holy Spirit that if we have no such associations we would have need to “go out of the world” (1 Cor. 5:10).

It would be taking the passage out of the intended application indicated by the language used to apply it to not having association on a job with an alien characterized by the terms used in the question. Certainly one would be careful about close associates but association in some contexts with immoral people is impossible to avoid as long as we are in this life.

Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 15, p. 453
August 2, 1990