For another example, you have heard that Jesus would rather have us be hot (on fire for God) or even cold (no heart for God) than being lukewarm. (see: WWJP Why Would Jesus Puke?: let's be hot AND cold, as Jesus wants)
It is possibly the most misunderstood, misused verse in the entire bible.
We've all had it said to us and we have probably said it to others. It's usually
applied when we feel someone isn't actually sinning, but we believe that some
unidentified lurking spy could misconstrue our behaviour as sin because it
However, this verse, as it appears in the KJV, is a poor translation, and has NOTHING to do with freedoms and liberties that could be misinterpreted as evil.
Here's the 1 Thess. 5:22 in Greek put into transliteration:
apo pantos eidous ponèrou apechesthe
The word eidos, based on meaning and context, is actually best translated as "forms" or "kind."
In every other widely used translation besides the OLD KING JAMES version, 1 Thess 5:22 reads something like this: "Abstain from all forms of evil." This has nothing to do with appearances. It's referring to actual evil, in whatever form it manifests: stealing, lying, fornication, adultery, greed, etc. Whatever form it comes in, avoid it!
Here's how the verse reads in the most used translations:
1 Thessalonians 5:22
New International Version: Avoid every kind of evil.New American Standard: Avoid every form of evil.New Living Translation: Avoid every kind of evil.English Standard Version: Abstain from every form of evil.Contemporary English: Don't have anything to do with evil.New King James: Abstain from every form of evil. (NKJ remedied the older version's poor translation)
American Standard: Abstain from every form of evil.Darby Translation: Hold aloof from every form of wickedness.Holman Christian Standard Bible: Stay away from every form of evil.New International Reader's Version: Stay away from every kind of evil.Worldwide English: Have nothing to do with any wrong thing.
The Old King James isn't technically wrong, but being that most of us do not utilize old English, we misread it. It's use of the word appearance more accurately means..."avoid evil whenever it makes an appearance." The context of the word is as occurrence, not outward appearance.
..Most of the time, people unknowingly misuse this verse with the
VERY BEST INTENTIONS, because they desire to appear their very best, so they can lead people to Christ..
The misused version of this verse only heightens our already unhealthy
fixation on appearances and superficial piety instead of true substance. The
terms of what appears evil are usually defined by those who are offended with a
particular activity that can't be classified as real sin, thus it appears evil.
The whole thing breeds suspicion, judgmentalism, and even idolatry. When we
start assigning more power to inanimate objects or activities than they actually
possess, it can turn to a form of idolatry...
We all know it is completely impossible to abstain from the appearance of
evil. We can't even abstain completely from that which is actually evil, let
alone innocent liberties that could possibly appear evil if someone was walking
by and squinting....The real issue is that JESUS appeared evil ALL the time, especially to religious people. He ate and drank (wine, not grape juice,
baptists), he turned water into wine to keep the festivities going for people
who had been drinking all day, hence the accusations of being a wine-bibber and
glutton. He hung around with tax collectors and prostitutes and went into places
deemed "unclean." He didn't perform the ceremonious hand cleansing rituals. He
didn't follow the man-made religious traditions of the sabbath. He was with the
woman at the well all alone, a Samaritan no less. People accused Jesus of being
demon possessed because of how he appeared.
link (emphasis mine)
What if that image of purity is the image of a Christian in the original stateand of course inherited much misunderstanding from religious "squeakies"...
of grace? As it is to many people. One night I was doing my..devil dance on
stage with a young girl, in Wales, and she said "are you still a believer? If
so, what are you doing dressed up as the devil?" I said "have you read the
Screwtape Letters?" Which is a C.S. Lewis book that a lot of intense Christians
are plugged into. They are letters from the devil. That's where I got the whole
philosophy of mock-the-devil-and-he-will-flee-from-you. So she said "yes" and I
said "so you know what I'm doing." Then she relaxed and said "I want to bless
of these "false prophets" and get enlightened!! (: