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Bible verses about Busybodies
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 7:3-5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus gives us practical instruction on this matter of judging. In a word, we are unqualified. We are not qualified to make these judgments. Setting ourselves up to judge another—even to "help" him in whatever problem he may have—is self-exalting, proud, presumptuous, vain (in terms both of vanity and futility), and as Jesus says, hypocritical because we are guilty of the same problems. In fact, He implies that our problems are worse! They are planks versus specks in the other person's eye.

The great overriding problem here is that it arrogates to ourselves a prerogative of God. He is the Judge. What are we doing taking one of His jobs from Him? In James 4:12, the apostle asks, "Who are you to judge another?" It sounds rather harsh to hear it put that way. "Who are you to take upon yourself the authority to judge this other person?" He says in verse 11, "He who speaks evil of his brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law." That is what happens when we take it upon ourselves to judge another person.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What's So Bad About Busybodies?


 

1 Corinthians 6:3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These are promised offices or positions that we have. They are still future. We have not been given—just as Christ had not been given—the authority to judge during this physical life. Paul says that we have this to look forward to, but we have to use this physical life in preparation for it.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What's So Bad About Busybodies?


 

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Do we lead a quiet life, or are things always in turmoil? Do we live in peace, or is it in constant strife? If we are living in strife and turmoil, what are we doing to contribute to it?

Do we mind our own business, or are we busybodies and meddlers? Do we always want to know what the other person across the fence is doing? Do we always call up somebody for the latest news about what's going on over in this church or with that person and his problem?

Is our "helpfulness" really a guise for poking our nose in where we are not wanted? With some people it is. They serve in order to get the goods on others.

Do we work, or are we lazy? This does not mean just our physical labor for the food we put on our table. It could be spiritual work. It could be our service to one another. Do we work with our own hands, or are people always making allowances for us? Are we living off the goodness of another's heart? Some people think they are owed something. They are victims of circumstance, and so they want everybody to give to them, rather than working for it.

Do we show the same Christian character to our work buddies as we do to the people who sit beside us in church? Paul asks that here in terms of "walk[ing] properly toward those who are outside." Are our lives hypocritical? Do we put on our best character and slip into a chair at church just once each week? Do our acquaintances in the world see Christ in us, or do they see "Joe Six-Pack" who has downed a few too many six packs? Do they see someone who curses a blue streak six days a week, but one day a week, he is the soul of pleasant and wise speech? How do people in the world see us?

Lastly, Paul says, "I urge you that you may lack nothing." He does not mean, "Do we lack a pair of shoes, a new DVD player, or the latest PlayStation game?" What he means is, "Do we lack anything that makes us better Christians, or are we satisfied with ourselves where we stand?" Have we come into the church and accepted God's grace, and then say "Take me as I am, Lord, without one plea"? Or do we know that we lack some quality that would make us better Christians and strive to add it to our characters?

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
It Takes a Church


 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Paul likely included this so that the Thessalonians would understand that these are evidences that Christ's return is near, but it had not yet happened. There had not been a falling away, and the man of sin had not been revealed. Paul was gently giving them evidence by which they could evaluate that the return of Christ was not immediately around the corner. As they began to analyze it, this might have been quite discouraging to them. Nevertheless, in AD 51, the return of Christ was very much on the minds of church members.

In addition to this, II Thessalonians 3 deals with the issue that some in Thessalonica had quit their jobs because of misinterpreting Paul's sermons, and they became busybodies while waiting things out. This is not good.

On the one hand, we are to live our lives always anticipating Christ's imminent return, partly because we do not know when we will die and our judgment ends. On the other hand, we are also to live and work as though this world will never end. Since nobody knows when Christ will return, we are to do our jobs with all of our might, as Solomon says (Ecclesiastes 9:10), and because we serve the Lord Christ, as Paul writes (Colossians 3:24). We are to do every job as well as we can, not carelessly cutting corners, assuming that it will all blow away in just a year or so. Such an approach is not a godly attitude.

The people described in Thessalonians 3 were just waiting things out because they had it in their minds that Christ would return almost immediately. That is sheer presumptuousness, carelessness, that God certainly does not appreciate in His children, because that is how He does things. We are to imitate Him. We are to work as He does, and His handiwork is all around us. He does pretty good work! The things that He builds last. They are high-quality work.

In practical fact, there is a tension between the two extremes that must be balanced. Jesus says, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working" (John 5:17). We are to imitate them materially and spiritually. Those simply waiting things out then were castigated, and time is not waiting for us either.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

1 Timothy 5:11-13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is similar to my own experiences regarding people who are unemployed. If they are unemployed for any period of time, if they do not have strength of will, they learn to be idle. "Learn to be idle" is a difficult Greek construction, though the New International Version renders it well: "They get into the habit of being idle." It is not that they sit down and study how to be idle, but over a period of time—even though they may start out looking for a job and using their spare time in a profitable manner—inertia sets in.

Notwithstanding their good intentions, they start rising a little bit later, taking their time doing this or that. They find over time that it is far easier to sit around and drink their coffee, call their neighbors or brethren, chew the fat, and talk about this or that person:

"How is he doing?"

"Oh, fine!"

"But you know he has a problem."

"Oh, does he?"

"Yes. His marriage is not going well."

"Well, you know, I went through a problem like that back a few years ago. Maybe I'll give him a call and give him some advice. It is tried and true! It worked for me. If he needs me to, I'll go over and watch his kids for him."

And pretty soon they are fully involved in somebody's marital crisis when they should not have even known about it! It is evident that being a busybody is linked with gossip, tale-bearing, and scandal-mongering. They usually go hand in hand.

Once a person starts messing in other people's business, before long he is telling his friends what is happening and how wonderfully he is advising and helping these people. Soon all sorts of rumors are flying back and forth about so and so and this and that. Like a law of nature, it is only a matter of time before a relationship conflict erupts. What is then present in the church? War and disunity!

Experience shows that it often comes back to bite the meddler! The Old Testament provides a graphic image of what happens to such a person: "He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears" (Proverbs 26:17). And just a few inches away from those dog's ears are big, sharp teeth! When we meddle in other people's affairs, it comes back to hurt us. No one wins when meddling happens.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What's So Bad About Busybodies?


 

1 Peter 4:15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Peter lumps murderers, thieves, evil doers, and busybodies all into one category. How bad is it, really, to be a meddler or a busybody compared to knifing somebody, robbing them on the road, or just being downright evil? What is so bad about busybodies? Why does the Bible take such a stern view of meddling?

This sin has several tentacles that reach into various areas of our Christian lives and has a great impact upon our relationships both with God and with other people. That is what makes it so bad.

The New King James puts the word "meddler" in the margin—a very good translation of this word. The Greek word translated "busybody" or "meddler" is allotriepiskopos, a compound word—two normal Greek words stuck together—found in the Bible only in this one spot.

Allotriepiskopos literally means "not one's own overseer." "Not one's own" is one word and "overseer" is the other. It means, thus, "one who oversees others' matters or affairs." This word contains episkopos, which is the Greek word for "overseer," sometimes translated as "shepherd" or "bishop." This allotriepiskopos could be a good thing—if it was someone like a steward of an estate who was assigned to be the caretaker of another's matters, or an executor of a will, someone who is appointed to look over another's affairs after his decease.

However, in this one occurrence and in the normal Greek (it is used only a couple of other times in the classics and not quite in this same context), it is a negative term. It describes a person who takes it upon himself to interfere in another person's matter.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What's So Bad About Busybodies?


 

 




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