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Bible verses about Reputation
(From Forerunner Commentary)

People often associate a reputation (or a good name) as a top priority for which we should strive. In fact, our reputations should be important to us, especially as they relate to our fellow man and, of course, to God. However, as we see in many cases, reputations are often more manufactured than real. This leaves us wondering, "Is a good reputation all there is to the equation, or is there more to it?"

Webster's New World Dictionary defines reputation as "the estimation in which a person or thing is commonly held, whether favorable or not; its character in view of the public, community, etc." What is unfortunate about some people's limited conception of reputation is what we often see and believe about someone may or may not be "totally" who that person is. This is especially true for those to whom we have limited exposure or those who are good at hiding the "real person" behind a facade of deception, a trait evident in many circles (politics, business, religion) today.

The philosopher Elbert Hubbard probably put it in the most succinct way when we regard reputation only on its own merits: "Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street." This is especially true with people of renown (politicians, actors, athletes) whose reputations are often skewed by the media or others, often leaving an impression that may or may not be who or what that person actually is. As Hubbard reveals, the real defining aspect, character, must be defined in his reputation to get a real picture of who and what a person is, not only as he appears.

Staff
Our Reputation, Our Character


 

Exodus 20:16   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" has very far-reaching spiritual applications. Bear means "to spread, carry, render, or give." At first glance, the commandment appears to involve only lying in a court of law, and this might be true if the words in the commandment were to be taken only at face value. Jesus clearly shows that there is a "spirit," an intent, to God's laws in addition to the letter that carries their application far beyond mere face-value judgments.

Many scriptures show that the commandment covers lying under any circumstance, including hypocrisy and self-deception. That is, it covers any wrongful word or example that would tend to injure. The ninth commandment is in a similar position in man's relationship to other men as the third commandment is in man's relationship to God. This commandment directly involves faithfulness and loyalty in our speech and in our witness for God before men.

Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." The Soncino Commentary remarks that a person's good reputation, his name, is his most valuable asset. Indeed, the Bible shows that God guards and protects His name very jealously. This is because His name represents what He is.

So it is with us. But why do so many lie, sowing the seeds for the destruction of their reputation? It is the desire for the approval of others that leads them to twist a story or to deliberately exaggerate or diminish their parts in it in the retelling.

When we hear a name, images of that person and what he or she is immediately spring to mind. What we are and how others perceive us has everything to do with what we believe and practice. So, is what we believe and practice true? If we want to have a good name (reputation) in the eyes of both God and man, we, too, have to recognize truth—wherever and whenever it arises in daily life—understand it, and submit to it. This process produces faithfulness.

This is where truth in a person's witness begins. If truth does not form the foundation of a person's life, he is already behind the eight-ball to some extent. The urge to lie must be met and overcome. At the base of this problem is a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) that continually lays traps to make lying an appealing course to follow. Besides lying before men, some of us keep lying to ourselves, and thus our name before God is not good. Faithlessness is the result. In order to have a good name, we, as God's children, must face up to our vanities and quit deceiving ourselves that God will just have to take us as we are.

We need to stop blaming our failures, problems, and shortcomings on others, which tendency provides us with justifications for what we are and what we do. Within the family, Mom and Dad are frequent targets of this. They are usually guilty to some extent, but God puts the pressure on us to change. Change will not occur in this way of life until we face up to the truth that we are responsible for what we are. We also bear much of the responsibility of becoming what we hope to be. Nobody can do this for us.

This is the day-to-day "stuff" on which trustworthiness and righteous reputations are formed. They are built on the witness of what we do before others. God wants our reputation before men to be built, first, on His truth and then on truth in general. Are we honestly doing this as well as we could be?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Proverbs 13:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When a person consistently has a perception of what is true and lives it, he gains a force of beauty of character. In other words, faithfulness creates favorable impressions that open doors for him.

For example, to whom would we rather loan money, to a person with a record of steady work and payment of debts or to one who cannot keep a job and consistently defaults on his obligations? Which one is more likely to get the loan? A person of good character recognizes his responsibility to truth, understands it, and submits to it. This produces the witness that glorifies God.

If a person will not follow this process, he will not have the good character and the good name to go with it. If he recognizes and understands his problem but does not submit to the truth, he is deceiving himself.

This principle holds true in every area in which a name is built, including marriage, childrearing, and health issues. Many run from the truth about themselves. Hardly anything will destroy a reputation quicker than for others to know an individual is lying to himself about what or how much he eats, his failure to discipline his children properly, or his careless inattention to his spouse. Such faithlessness provides a strong foundation for hypocrisy.

The ninth commandment not only covers bearing false witness verbally, but also bearing false witness about one's relationship with God by displaying a spotty example of conduct, all the while claiming to be Christian. To make a bad witness in ignorance or weakness is one thing, but to know better and deliberately mislead is another matter altogether.

Why do we lie? Often, it is to cover up our irresponsibility. We fear that something about ourselves we wish to keep hidden will be exposed, so we lie to protect the image we want others to see. We also lie to rise above our feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. We also do it to lower a third party in the eyes of others, which, of course, has the effect of elevating ourselves in our own eyes and, we hope, in the eyes of others.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Proverbs 22:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

On this verse, the Jewish commentary, Soncino, says that a person's good reputation, his name, is his most valuable asset. This is because of the integrity it took to produce it and the benefits it provides for one after he has it.

The Bible shows that God jealously guards His name and acts to ensure that it remains untarnished. His name represents what He is, and so it is with us as well. When we hear a name, images of what that person is immediately come to mind. In our mind's eye, we might recall a person as tall or short, male or female, learned or ignorant, black or white, angry or passive, beautiful or plain, vocal or quiet, honest or lying, responsible or irresponsible. Many character traits may flash through our minds in a moment or two.

The same happens to others as they think of us. What we project to others has everything to do with what we believe and practice. What kind of witness are we giving? Is what we believe and practice as true as God's Word?

Thus, if we want to have a good name in the eyes of God and man, we have to recognize truth, understand it and make it a part of us by submitting to it. This is where truth in a person's witness begins. If truth does not form the foundation of a person's life, the witness will reflect it.

Mankind—from Adam on—has been unwilling to do this. God says our "heart is deceitful above all things and [incurably sick (NKJV margin)]" (Jeremiah 17:9). We keep lying to ourselves and others, thus our name is not good before God. It means that to have this good name, we, as God's regenerated children, must face our vanities and stop deceiving ourselves that God will "just have to take us as we are." We need to quit blaming our failures, problems, and shortcomings on others, providing ourselves with justification for what we are and do.

Conduct is the "stuff" of which reputations are formed. Good conduct has truth at its foundation and integrity as its constant companion. From these two, a witness is produced. God wants our reputation before men to be built on His truth. Are we honestly doing this?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Proverbs 22:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The word "name" translates from the Hebrew word sheem, which designates something as a mark or memorial of individuality, and by implication, honor, authority, or character. The King James Version (KJV) also translates it into "fame," "famous," "infamous," "named," "renown," and "report."

From this verse, we see that a good name (a combination of reputation and character) certainly should outweigh riches, prominence, position, and status. Conversely, a lack in either can leave us in a state of moral and/or spiritual poverty, seeking self-worth over godly worth.

An example of this can be seen in those who strive for political office or a promotion. They attempt to leave an impression of character with the public or a boss, but it is an impression built on a shaky foundation of duplicity. While they may have a "good" reputation, it is not supported by the real important ingredient, character, which is earned throughout our lives.

A starkly contrasting example of this is that of Jesus Christ as a man: "[He] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). Christ—God Himself—humbled Himself, surrendering His right to a godly reputation, yet still left the legacy of righteous character and reputation as a human.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-8 gives another example of a good name, this time compared to that of fine ointment and life and death. The chapter starts with "A good name is better than precious ointment," but goes on to say "the day of death [is better] than the day of one's birth." Ointment, in this case, symbolizes a richness or excellence that is added to a person's state, or it may represent anointing oil used to set a person or thing apart as different or special. Verse 8 concludes, "The end of a thing is better than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit."

In human terms, we know at birth we are a clean slate—we have no knowledge, understanding, wisdom, reputation, or character. Only at death, after lifelong endeavor, do we have the total life experiences to establish a good or bad name and reputation, and this occurs because of the character we have gained or failed to gain in the process.

For those who truly desire it, a good reputation and godly character is built patiently and not through devious or self-aggrandizing means. Based on this, reputation or a perceived good name is simply not enough without the character to accompany it.

Staff
Our Reputation, Our Character


 

Proverbs 22:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

All members of God's church have inherited a Family name far more valuable than any surname. We have an awesome responsibility to uphold and honor the nobility and dignity of the name of God. The reputation we create for our church, our businesses, or our institutions is the legacy we pass on to our brothers and sisters and our children.

David F. Maas
What's in a Name Anyway?


 

Proverbs 22:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A good reputation, based upon what a person is in his dealings with others, is certainly of greater worth in God's eyes than wealth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

Proverbs 26:18-19   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These two verses begin a section largely devoted to illustrating the fruits of lying. They might be better translated as, "A man who deceives his neighbor and disguises his deception as a joke is as dangerous as a madman shooting arrows at a crowd. Someone will surely get hurt." Lying is never a joke, and someone always gets hurt, even though it may not be immediately apparent. Lying is sin and sin brings death. Do we believe this in the actual practice of life? Though the lie, when discovered, may cause laughter, a reputation has been stained and trust diminishes.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Ecclesiastes 7:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Why is the day of death better? At birth, a person is largely a blank slate - his reputation is nothing (apart from his connection with Mom and Dad), so his name is little more than a mere label. However, at his death he has built either a good reputation or a bad one.

David F. Maas
What's in a Name Anyway?


 

Ecclesiastes 10:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

It takes years for a reputation to be built up, but seemingly only a few minutes to destroy it. There are ample warnings in Scripture that if we appropriate God's Family name, and then by our behavior show our contempt for it, our names will be blotted out of the Book of Life (Exodus 32:33). Proverbs 10:7 teaches, "The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot." Conversely, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels" (Revelation 3:5).

David F. Maas
What's in a Name Anyway?


 

Isaiah 43:6-7   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We who bear the name of God are witnesses that our God is God. What do our lives declare about God? If we who bear His name fail to live up to that name's reputation, we break the third commandment and profane the name of God. We hallow or profane God's name by our conduct, no matter what member of our body errs. This commandment tests the quality of our witness. It changes hypocrisy from merely "bearing false witness" to idolatry, for which God holds the offender guilty, for He sees what men may miss in judgment.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Amos 6:7-8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Here God exposes the root cause of Israel's problems: Pride brought forth their self-pleasing religion, their overconfidence in their strength and their self-indulgent lifestyles. Where were their trust and faith in God? Pride causes people to resist and reject Him.

God saw this unwarranted pride most acutely in Israel's leadership. Most of this chapter is aimed directly at the leaders, upon whose conduct the nation's destiny is largely dependent. God shows in the Bible that the leader of any institution—nation, church, business, family—can make or break it. If a leader because of righteousness comes under the blessing of God, then the people are also blessed. But if the leader is cursed by God because of his wickedness, his people likewise come under the curse.

When Judah had a good and righteous king like Josiah (I Chronicles 34-35), the nation prospered, but under evil Manasseh (I Chronicles 33), the nation declined. In this century, England experienced a year of turmoil in 1936 over the determination of Edward VIII to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Yet, his brother, George VI, refusing to leave London during World War II, rallied the nation during its darkest hour. This principle of leadership holds true in any enterprise from large to small.

We can also see this in the second commandment: "You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children" (Exodus 20:5). The fathers—the leaders—and the children both suffer. When the fathers are blessed or cursed by God, so are the children. The difference is only in the measure of responsibility that each bears.

In life, everyone is a leader as well as a follower, depending on the circumstance. Amos shows that a leader should never be complacent and content with the way things are because pride follows—and shortly after it, a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Leaders of nations bear a great responsibility because, if they allow morals to collapse, all their military prowess and vaunted technology will not save them. Above all else, the first consideration of a leader is to be moral.

But the Israelite leaders of Amos' day were people who first considered their own reputation and condition. They compared themselves with others instead of God (II Corinthians 10:12). In ignoring their spiritual health, they could neither lead and guide the nation, nor help and counsel others. Since they had failed so horribly in their duty, God says the leadership would be among the first to be led away as captives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part Two)


 

Matthew 5:16   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A Christian's righteous life, pleasant attitude, and good works, including pure conversation and faithful obedience, should not be hidden but be seen and known. We can give no light until we have received the grace of God and the enlightenment that comes through the Holy Spirit. Our lives must produce the fruit of the Spirit, reflecting the shining example of Jesus Christ. Humbly, in all communities, in all business, at home and abroad, in prosperity and adversity, it should be clear that we adhere to God's way of life. Letting our examples shine requires that we resist the influence of the world. We cannot have a light that shines and at the same time live as the world does with its lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life (I John 2:16-17).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Light


 

Matthew 10:34-39   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Evaluate yourself against these pressures:

Peer Pressure

Teens tend to be idealistic, and this is good. They often resolve to be serious, "hit the books" and spurn the drugs, sex, smoking, drinking and "hanging out" that they have seen others doing. But if the "right" fellow or girl appears, or if the teen is recognized by the "right" clique, his desire to be accepted by them pressures him to adjust his ideals to conform to them. His ideals or convictions are merely preferences.

A minister may search the Bible for truth and find something interesting that he believes and resolves to do and teach. When he tells his fellow ministers about what he has found, they may say to him, "I don't say you're wrong in this, but don't you think you should tone it down a bit? Make it less offensive, and then maybe we can cooperate with you and work on some of your objectives."

At first he may strongly defend his belief, but little by little, as he sees the reaction of his peers, he may begin to bend. He believes it and resolves to do it, but if he changes, his belief is a preference.

If the Word of God tells us to change something, we must change it! But we must be very careful about things previously proved from God's Word, believed, put into practice and then changed when some form of pressure is brought to bear!

Family Pressure

This is perhaps the strongest pressure. When Jesus advises His disciples about counting the cost of commitment to Him, every person He mentions is a family member. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26).

Usually no one can motivate you like a deeply loved mate. A husband may resolve to commit himself to a strong belief, but on telling his wife, she replies, "Please don't, honey. Do you realize what this will do to us and our family?" His resolve begins to melt because he knows he will feel responsible if, because of his belief, he inflicts discomfort or pain on an innocent bystander.

Fear of Lawsuits

Living in perhaps the most litigious society ever on the face of the earth, we are aware of the expense and hassle of going to court, even for the innocent. We may say, "I'm all for this, but I'm not going to get sued over it! You can't ask me to be sued—that's going too far! The news media will make me out to be a villain. They'll publicly hang me! At the very least I'll lose my hard-earned reputation, maybe my job and all my property because of attorney and court costs." This daunting pressure causes many to change their beliefs.

Jail

You may have never really been in a jail, but they are not pleasant places. Most prisoners want to get out as quickly as they can. In fact, some will risk life and limb to escape, knowing they will probably be unsuccessful. If they do make it out, they will most likely be apprehended and returned to "serve" even longer sentences. Jail is very damaging to a person's liberty and reputation.

Most people who go to jails never get past the visitor's area. I have been into the deepest bowels of several maximum security prisons to visit violent inmates on death row. They are horrible places.

In contemplating what it would be like to be in prison, remember that virtually every move an inmate makes is programmed by his captors. You would be isolated from your dearest family members and friends. You are told when to get up, when to eat, when to exercise, when you can read, watch TV, bathe or shower, and occasionally even when you can talk, go to the bathroom or sleep.

Additionally, the people around you have made a living of not playing by the rules. You would be stuck on their turf. Some are quite violent. It is a crazy, frightening environment for one accustomed to the comforts and control of home.

Would you really be willing to go to jail for your faith? Even when no one seems to understand why you would do such a thing? Would the pressure of facing jail make you change your beliefs? If so, your beliefs are preferences.

Maybe some of you men are saying to yourself, "Yes, I'd go to jail." But would you be willing to stand by and watch your wife go to jail? Some have faced that. Would you then pressure her to change her mind?

Do your beliefs mean so much to you that both you and your wife would go to jail, knowing your children would be taken by the state and raised by foster parents you do not even know?

The Pressure of Death

This final test is obvious, yet some have learned through experience that there is a fate worse than death. When a person's resolve over a belief fails, his guilt can be crushing. Luke 22:34, 59-62 shows Peter in such a circumstance.

Do you see the common factor in these? What does your belief mean to YOU? What are you willing to sacrifice in exercising your belief? If you feel you should do something but have the right not to do it, it is merely a preference.

A belief that is God-ordered is a conviction. It is not merely a matter of resolve or dedication, but a matter of believing with all our heart that God requires it of us. If we hold our beliefs as God-ordered, we will withstand all the above tests.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Are Your Beliefs Preferences or Convictions?


 

Matthew 28:19-20   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The third commandment involves the quality of our personal witness of everything God's name implies. His name represents His position as Creator, Lifegiver, Provider, Ruler, and Sustainer, as well as His character, power, and promises. As Matthew 28:19-20 shows, "God" became our spiritual Family name upon regeneration by His Spirit, and thus we have a responsibility to grow and uphold that name's reputation by bringing honor upon it by our words, deeds, and attitudes.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part One) (1997)


 

Matthew 28:19-20   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The word "in" is better translated "into." At baptism, we are immersed into the name of the Father. We now bear that name and all it implies! As sons of God, we bear our Father's name. "God" is our spiritual family name!

Are we living up to it? Are we "walking" as God would walk were He living our lives so we do not tarnish the reputation of His name? The third commandment concerns the quality of our personal witness in everything that name we bear represents, as it applies to humans.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

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

It is not without validity that most of our impressions or beliefs about our family, close friends, and acquaintances automatically involve knowledge about their character as a part of their reputation. Obviously, our interactions give us insight to these people's characters and reputations, whether our perceptions are true or false. Those who know us best will see any growth of character or lack of it. Even so, some can have blind spots in relation to a particular person (for instance, a mother may ignore her son's flaws), or the person may have a talent for concealing their shortcomings, even from those closest to them.

We see a positive side of this in Acts 6:1-3, where the apostles tell the church to choose seven men to become deacons. One of the criteria was that these men were to be "of good reputation," which translates from the Greek word martureo, meaning "to be a witness, that is, to testify (literally or figuratively)." The KJV also renders martureo as "give [evidence]," "bear record," "obtain a good honest report," "be well reported of."

These men were to show evidence of God's Spirit and wisdom in their lives, a combination of a good name as well as growth in character. It is interesting that, because they knew them best, the people were to select these men according to their character.

Staff
Our Reputation, Our Character


 

1 Corinthians 13:7   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Do we love the brethren enough to bear with them? By using the word stego (meaning "cover, conceal, protect"), Paul means that it is an act of godly love when we keep silent about unfavorable matters; when we restrain ourselves from talking about somebody else's sin; when we delay judgment and keep our brother's reputation in tact; when we keep a sin or a fault "hush, hush" between us and the walls, as it were, so the person has time to repent and to recover from it. We need to be careful not to let any of our brothers' sins become a source of mockery toward the church because we "let the cat out of the bag" and gossiped.

There are peoples' sins and faults that we should take with us to the grave, as Paul says about the man in Corinth: "These things shouldn't even be talked about. Shut up. Keep it to yourself. Cover that person's sin in love." Love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8). Do we love our brother enough to give him a chance to repent? God does. Why can't we?

Such a rush to condemnation causes the church to fly apart! Rather than have the forbearance to allow our brethren to repent, we just want to kick them out, and as quickly as possible. Or, we want to shun them, saying, "Go to some other group. We can't stand you anymore." Why can we not be a little bit more forbearing, as God is? He takes the time to let these matters work out. We need to show a little bit of love, as Paul advises, "Let brotherly love continue" (Hebrews 13:1).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

2 Corinthians 11:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jealousy has a well-deserved bad reputation because it is essentially self-centered. However, it has a positive aspect when the affection and passion that it contains are directed at upholding the well-deserved reputation of the one who is loved.

The third commandment bears directly on this subject. It is a command that is easily and carelessly broken unless we are continually conscious of our responsibility to bring honor upon the name of God, which we will do if we love Him. We will be jealous to uphold the reputation of His name.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

Find more Bible verses about Reputation:
Reputation {Nave's}
 




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