Four Key Adjectives
Written by Leland Ping on Apr 06, 2017
By the time a child enters middle school, there are some key language arts concepts that should be firmly set in the child’s mind. By the time sixth grade rolls around, a child should be able to define an adjective as a word that describes a noun and in doing so, adds to the meaning and context of a statement. Bible students don’t necessarily need to be experts in the field of grammatical studies but we do need to recognize the important role that adjectives often play in the writings of God’s inspired men.
Note the power of four key adjectives in Philippians 2:15:
“that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as light in the world.”
The appearance of these four adjectives in many ways summarizes the great struggle of Christianity. That is, saints strive to be righteous, holy, and focused on living for God all while living in a world filled with unrighteous, uncaring, and non-spiritually minded people. To highlight this struggle and the importance of recognizing the need to always remain strong, the apostle Paul employs these four words that deserve a few thoughts to themselves.
Blameless … The goal for Christians is, simply put, to be blameless. It’s our objective that not only God sees us this way but, equally important, to live in such a way that the world sees us as blameless. When a Christian is accused of wrongdoing, it’s our desire that the initial reaction from others is one of disbelief and dismay, knowing that such an accusation does not match the character of the person.
Harmless … Paul’s admonition brings back memories of Christ’s command that we be, “harmless like doves” (Matthew 10:16). Elsewhere in the Bible, this word is translated as “simple” and carries with it the reminder that in a world complicated with sin and its devastating effects, we are to remain as untainted as possible. Christians should try to live comparatively simple lives in service to our Creator.
Crooked … The word crooked is perfect descriptor. It’s an adjective that we often reserve for certain businessmen and politicians. By definition, to be crooked is to be “warped.” That is, there is something definitely and notably “wrong” with whatever we’re describing. When we stop and consider the injustice associated with the world, there IS something wrong. We need to never think of the world as okay but instead be reminded that it’s warped!
Perverse … The root of perverse is to be distorted. At the base of distortion is dishonesty. Simply put, a perverse generation is one that lies to itself. How true that is! In times lacking godliness, mankind stresses things that don’t matter all while minimizing the important things that do matter. We deceive ourselves into thinking that money, friends, and social fun are all more important than devotion to God. Indeed, that’s a distorted way of seeing things! As Christians, let’s work diligently to see things the way God sees them and in doing so, live more righteously in a difficult and sinful world.