What does Ethics mean in the Bible?

Dictionary

1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Ethics
(Greek: ethos, character)
The natural science of the morality of human acts, which considers the moral actions or conduct of man primarily in the light of human reason rather than in the light of supernatural revealed truth. Moral theology is sometimes termed Christian Ethics. The deliberate free actions of man in their relation to right rational nature and the Divine Reason form its subject matter. The liberty of the human will and the existence of God, the Creator, End, and Rewarder of man, constitute its two most important fundamental postulates. God is the surety for morality, and without free will man could perform no ethical acts either good or bad; there would be no responsibility, no imputability, no virtues or vices, merit nor guilt, no eternal reward for a life of self-sacrifice and virtue. Ethics is preeminently a practical and directive science, setting before man not only the absolute obligation of doing good and avoiding evil, but indicating as well how he is to act if he wishes to be morally good and attain the end of his being. The establishment of the right rules of human conduct and their embodiment in everyday life then forms the primary purpose of ethics, which is generally classified as general or theoretical ethics, dealing with the nature of morality, the end of conduct, its norm, laws, etc., and special or applied ethics, dealing with the relation of such principles and rules to man's personal everyday activities whether individual or social. Every phase of free human activity, personal, social, economic, political, and international, comes within the scope of ethics, and is regulated by the moral law and made to harmonize with right rational nature or the moral order as Divinely constituted.
Chabad Knowledge Base - Ethics of the fathers
("Pirkei Avot" in Hebrew) The Ethics of our Fathers, the tractate of the Mishnah which contains the ethical teachings of our Sages.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Ethics
The doctrine of manners, or the science of moral philosophy. the word is formed from mores, "manners, " by reason the scope or object thereof is to form the manners.
See MORALS.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Ethics
The study of good behavior, motivation, and attitude in light of Jesus Christ and biblical revelation. The discipline of ethics deals with such questions as: “What ought I do?” “How should I act so as to do what is good and right?” “What is meant by good?” “Who is the good person?” Biblical ethics likewise addresses some of the identical questions. While neither Testament has an abstract, comprehensive term or definition which parallels the modern term “ethics,” both the Old Testament and the New Testament are concerned about the manner of life that the Scripture prescribes and approves. The closest Hebrew term in the Old Testament for “ethics,” “virtue” or “ideals” is the word musar , “discipline” or “teaching” (Proverbs 1:8 ) or even derek , “way or path” of the good and the right. The closest parallel Greek term in the New Testament is anastrophe , “way of life, life-style” (occurring nine times in a good sense with 2 Peter 3:11 being the most significant usage). Of course the Greek terms ethos or ethos appear twelve times in the New Testament ( Luke 1:9 ; Luke 2:42 ; Luke 22:39 ; John 19:40 ; Acts 6:14 ; Acts 15:1 ; Acts 16:21 ; Acts 21:21 ; Acts 25:16 ; Acts 26:3 ; Acts 28:17 and Hebrews 10:25 ). The plural form appears once in 1 Corinthians 15:33 . It is usually translated “conduct,” “custom,” “manner of life,” or “practice.”
The Biblical Definition of Ethics is Connected With Doctrine The problem with trying to speak about the ethics of the Bible is that ethical contents are not offered in isolation from the doctrine and teaching of the Bible. Therefore, what God is in His character, what He wills in His revelation, defines what is right, good, and ethical. In this sense then, the Bible had a decisive influence in molding ethics in western culture.
Some have seriously questioned whether there is a single ethic throughout the Bible. Their feeling is that there is too much diversity to be found in the wide variety of books and types of literature in the Bible to decide that there is harmony and a basic ethical stance and norm against which all ethical and moral decisions ought to be made. Nevertheless, when following the claims made by the books of the Bible, some conceive their message to be a contribution to the ongoing and continuous story about the character and will of God. This narrative about the character and will of God is the proper basis for answering the questions: “What kind of a person ought I to be?” “How then shall we live so as to do what is right, just, and good?”
As some have pointed out, the search for diversity and pluralism in ethical standards is as much the result of a prior methodological decision as is the search for unity and harmony of standards. One may not say the search for diversity is more scientific and objective than the search for harmony. This fact must be decided on the basis of an internal examination of the biblical materials; not as an external decision foisted over the text.
Three Basic Assumptions Can ethical or moral decisions rest on the Bible, or is this idea absurd and incoherent? Three assumptions illustrate how a contemporary ethicist or moral-living individual may be able to rest his or her decision on the ethical content of the biblical text from a past age. The three are: (1) the Bible's moral statements were meant to be applied to a universal class of peoples, times, and conditions, (2) Scripture's teaching has a consistency about it so that it presents a common front to the same questions in all its parts and to all cultures past and present; (3) the Bible purports to direct our action or behavior when it makes a claim or a demand. In short the Bible can be applied to all people. The Bible is consistent. The Bible seeks to command certain moral behavior.
To take Scripture's universalizability first: every biblical command, whether it appeared in a biblical law code, narrative text, wisdom text, prophetic text, gospel, or epistle was originally addressed to someone, in some place, in some particular situation. Such particulars were not meant to prejudice their usage in other times, places, or persons. Lurking behind each of these specific injunctions can be found a universal principle. From the general principle a person in a different setting can use the Bible to gain direction in a specific decision.
Are our problems, our culture, and our societal patterns so different that even though we can universalize the specific injunctions from Scripture, they have no relevance to our day? Can we assume consistency between cultures and times for this ethic? All that is required here is that the same biblical writer supplied us elsewhere with a whole pattern of ethical thought that has led up to this contextualized and particular injunction. If we may assume that the writer would not change his mind from one moment to the next, we may assume that he would stand by his principle for all such similar situations regardless of times or culture.
Finally, the Bible claims to command mortals made in the image of God. Whether the ethical materials are in the imperative or indicative moods makes little difference. The writers of Scripture intended to do more than offer information; they purported to direct behavior.
Five Basic Characteristics of Biblical Ethics In contrast to philosophical ethics, which tends to be more abstract and human—centered, biblical morality was directly connected with religious faith. Hence immoral men and women were by the same token irreligious men and women, and irreligious persons were also immoral persons (Psalm 14:1 ).
Biblical ethics are, first of all, personal . The ground of the ethical is the person, character, and declaration of an absolutely holy God. Consequently, individuals are urged, “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2 ). The moral and ethical commands of the Bible are no less personal in their subject, for they are addressed to individuals who must decide. Thus, “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands” (Leviticus 26:3 NIV); or “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” ( Philippians 4:8-9 NIV).
In the second place, the ethics of the Bible are emphatically theistic . They focus on God. To know God was to know how to practice righteousness and justice. Jeremiah 22:15-16 (NIV) taught: “He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and the needy, and so all sent well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord?” Compare Proverbs 3:5-7 .
Most significantly, biblical ethics are deeply concerned with the internal response to morality rather than mere outward acts. “The Lord looketh on the heart” ( 1 Samuel 16:7 ) was the cry repeatedly announced by the prophets (Isaiah 1:11-18 ; Jeremiah 7:21-23 ; Hosea 6:6 ; Micah 6:6-8 ).
Scripture's ethical motivation was found in a future orientation . The belief in a future resurrection of the body (Job 19:26-27 ; Psalm 49:13-15 ; Isaiah 26:19 ; Daniel 12:2-3 ) was reason enough to pause before concluding that each act was limited to the situation in which it occurred and bore no consequences for the future. Peter gave the New Testament summary: “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:11-12 NIV).
The fifth characteristic of biblical ethics is that they are universal . They embrace the same standard of righteousness for every nation and person on earth. Abraham's question was, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25 ). The five Gentile cities of the plain “were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Genesis 13:13 ) and thereby invited the inevitable judgment of God if they did not repent.
Long sections in the Old Testament text are specifically addressed to the nations at large including Isaiah 13-23 ; Jeremiah 45-51 ; Ezekiel 25-32 ; Daniel 2:1 ; Daniel 7:1 ; Amos 1-2 , Obadiah; Jonah; and Nahum. The living God revealed in Scripture set the norm for all peoples, nations, and times.
The Organizing Principle: God's Character That which gives wholeness, harmony, and consistency to the morality of the Bible is the character of God. Thus the ethical directions and morality of the Bible were grounded, first of all, in the character and nature of God. What God required was what He Himself was and is. The heart of every moral command was the theme that appeared in Leviticus 18:5-6 ,Leviticus 18:5-6,18:30 ; Leviticus 19:2-3 ,Leviticus 19:2-3,19:4 ,Leviticus 19:4,19:10 ,Leviticus 19:10,19:12 ,Leviticus 19:12,19:14 ,Leviticus 19:14,19:18 ,Leviticus 19:18,19:25 , Leviticus 19:31-32 ,Leviticus 19:31-32,19:34 ,Leviticus 19:34,19:36-37 , “I am the Lord” or “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” Likewise, Philippians 2:5-8 agreed: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, ;b3 yet he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death—even the death of the cross.”
The character and nature of the holy God found ethical expression in the will and word of God. These words could be divided into moral law and positive law . Moral law expressed His character. The major example is the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17 ; Deuteronomy 5:6-21 ). Another is the holiness code (Leviticus 18-20 ). Positive law bound men and women for a limited time period because of the authority of the One who spoke them. Positive law claimed the peoples' allegiances only for as long and only in as many situations as God's authority determined when He originally gave that law. Thus the divine word in the Garden of Eden, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17 NIV) or our Lord's, “Untie [1]” ( Luke 19:30 ) were intended only for the couple in the garden of Eden or the disciples. They were not intended to be permanent commandments. They do not apply to our times. A study of biblical ethics helps us distinguish between the always valid moral law and the temporary command of positive law.
The moral law is permanent, universal, and equally binding on all men and women in all times. This law is best found in the Decalogue of Moses. Its profundity can be easily grasped in its comprehensiveness of issues and simplicity of expression. A few observations may help in interpreting these Ten Commandments. They are:
[2] The law has as a prologue. This established the grace of God as seen in the Exodus as the basis for any requirement made of individuals. Ethics is a response to grace in love not a response to demand in fear.
[3] All moral law is doublesided, leading to a positive act and away from a negative one. It makes no difference whether a law is stated negatively or positively, for every moral act is at one and the same time a refraining from a contrary action when a positive act is adopted.
[4] Merely omitting or refraining from doing a forbidden thing is not a moral act. Otherwise, sheer inactivity could count as fulfilling a command, but in the moral realm this is just another name for death. Biblical ethics call for positive participation in life.
[5] When an evil is forbidden in a moral command, its opposite good must be practiced before one can be considered obedient. We must not just refuse to murder, but we must do all in our power to aid the life of our neighbor.
The essence of the Decalogue can be found in three areas: [2] right relations with God (first command, internal worship of God; second, external worship of God; third, verbal worship of God); [3] right relations with time (fourth command), and [4] right relations with society (fifth command, sanctity of the family; sixth, sanctity of life; seventh, sanctity of marriage and sex; eighth, sanctity of property; ninth, sanctity of truth; and tenth, sanctity of motives).
Three other major blocks of legislation may be added to the Decalogue; the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20:22-23:33 ); the Law of Holiness (Leviticus 18-20 ); and the Law of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 12-25 ). These laws serve as illustrations and further amplification of the basic morality found in the Decalogue.
The Law of Holiness sets forth the holiness of God as the central attribute in the whole character of God by which all ethical judgments are to be made. Holiness is the mark of His uniqueness and moral otherness from His creatures. Practically every one of the Ten Commandments is raised in the most amazing nineteenth chapter of Leviticus.
The Content of Biblical Ethics Biblical ethics is based on the complete revelation of the Bible. The Decalogue and its expansions in the three other basic law codes join the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6:17-49 as the foundational texts of the Bible's teaching in the ethical and moral realm. All other biblical texts—the narratives of wrongdoing, the collection of Proverbs, the personal requests of letters—all contribute to our knowledge of biblical ethics. The Bible does not offer a list from which we pick and choose. It hammers home a life-style and calls us to follow.
Several examples of the content of biblical ethics may help to better understand how the character of God, especially of His holiness, sets the norm for all moral decision-making.
Honor or respect for one's parents was one of the first applications of what holiness entailed according to Leviticus 19:1-3 . This should come as no surprise, for one of the first ordinances God gave in Genesis 2:23-24 set forth the monogamous relationship as the foundation and cornerstone of the family.
Husband and wife were to be equals before God. The wife was not a mere possession, chattel, or solely a childbearer. She was not only “from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14 ) and her husband's “crown” (Proverbs 12:4 ), but she also was “a power equal to” him (the word “helper” (Genesis 2:18 NIV) is better translated “strength, power”). The admonition to honor parents was to be no excuse to claim no responsibility to help the poor, the orphan, and the widow ( Leviticus 25:35 ; Deuteronomy 15:7-11 ; Job 29:12-16 ; Job 31:16-22 ; Isaiah 58:1 ; Amos 4:1-2 ; Amos 5:12 ). The oppressed were to find relief from the people of God and those in authority.
Similarly, human life was to be regarded as so sacred that premeditated murder carried with it the penalty of capital punishment in order to show respect for the smitten victim's being made in the image of God (Genesis 9:5-6 ). Thus the life of all persons, whether still unborn and in the womb (Exodus 21:22-25 ; Psalm 139:13-6 ) or those who were citizens of a conquered country (Isaiah 10:1 ; Habakkuk 3:1 ), were of infinite value to God.
Human sexuality was a gift from God. It was not a curse, nor an invention of the devil. It was made for the marriage relationship and meant for enjoyment (Proverbs 5:15-21 ), not just procreation. Fornication was forbidden (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 ). Sexual aberrations, such as homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22 ; Leviticus 20:13 ; Deuteronomy 23:17 ) or bestiality (Exodus 22:19 ; Leviticus 18:23-30 ; Leviticus 20:1 : 15-16 ; Deuteronomy 27:21 ) were repulsive to the holiness of God and thus condemned.
Finally, commands about property, wealth, possessions, and concern for the truth set new norms. These norms went against the universal human propensity for greed, for ranking things above persons, and for preferring the lie as an alternative to the truth. No matter how many new issues were faced in ethical discourse, the bottom line remained where the last commandment had laid it: the motives and intentions of the heart. This is why holiness in the ethical realm began with the “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7 ; Proverbs 9:10 ; Proverbs 15:33 ).
The greatest summary of ethical instruction was given by our Lord in Matthew 22:37-39 : it was to love God and to love one's neighbor. There also was the Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12 . The best manifestation of this love was a willingness to forgive others (Matthew 6:12-15 ; Matthew 18:21-35 ; Ethics
The ancient world did not consider religion to be morally inspiring, creative, or corrective; the reputed behavior of gods and goddesses repelled cultivated minds. Even in Israel the Wisdom Literature (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach), while never abandoning a religious outlook, made little of worship rituals or the traditional law. Their teaching is prudential: Since God made us, it is common sense to discover what he wants and then to do it (Proverbs 9:10 ; Ecclesiastes 12:1,13-14 ). Job does emphasize responsibility to God, and his self-defense (chap. 31) forms a noble ethical creed, but of religious observances he says nothing.
Immoral Religion and Prophetic Protest . The prophets opposed the popular religion and even temple worship, resenting not only the use of images but the total divorce of such "worship" from morality. The Canaanite baals were fertility-spirits whose favor ensured increase of families, flocks, and herds as well as the fruitfulness of fields and vineyards. At their shrines they were "worshiped" with orgies of drunkenness and sexual license (male and female cult prostitution, incest). "A spirit of harlotry" thus gained religious sanction; greed and drunkenness degraded men and women; the people cast off discipline, defiled the land, and "knew not how to blush." Standing pillars (? female figures; "Asherah" = Ishtar, the mother-goddess) and the bull-calf represented deities, and infant sacrifice was frequent. Wizardry, sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and soothsaying flourished under the patronage of such religion, and eventually even the Jerusalem temple housed similar rights, together with sun-worship, astrology, and altars to foreign gods (1 Kings 12:28-32 ; 14:23-24 ; 2 Kings 17:7-18 ; 21:1-7 ; Isaiah 8:19 ; Jeremiah 2:20-25 ; 3:1-13,23 ; 5:1 ; 6:15 ; Hosea 2:5-8 ; 4:12,18 ; 5:3-4 ; 8:4-6 ; 13:1-2 ; Amos 2:7-8 ; 6:4-6 ; Micah 5:10-15 ; 6:6-7 ).
Orthodox worship could also be immoral when unrelated to behavior in society. The prophets called constantly for justice; they condemned perjury and bribery, the selfish luxury of women, the scarcity of upright men, the lack of trust between neighbors through lies, deceitfulness, and fraud, as people preferred lies to truth and nourished "the lie within the soul." Avaricious moneylenders exploiting hardship, wealthy landlords dispossessing small landowners, merchants who oppressed the poor by ruthless competition and unjust balances, those who sold debtors into slavery or prostitution or exacted forced labor—all are indicted. So is the prevalent theft, murder, violence, adultery, and constant neglect of widows, orphans, strangers. The ultimate condemnation was that God's people saw no contradiction between the state of their society and the crowded shrines. God hates the feasts, assemblies, offerings, and music. Micah says that only a prophet preaching drink will be welcomed! Isaiah calls Jerusalem "Sodom, " and declares God's utter rejection of her worship. Jeremiah threatens that the temple will become ruinous as Shiloh of old. Malachi pleads for someone to slam the temple doors and let the sacred fire go out (Isaiah 1:10-15 ; 29:13-14 ; Jeremiah 7:1-15 ; Amos 4:4 ; 5:21-24 ; Micah 2:11 ; Malachi 1:10 ).
Thus both "religious perversion" and religion without ethical fruits are rejected by God. To watch each prophet elaborating this argument is to retrace the discipline that ultimately made Jewish ethics the envy of the ancient world. No prophet argued from psychological or social consequences, nor (until Jeremiah) did any cite divine law. They contended that such practices totally misapprehended YahwehYahweh was not like that. Surrounding nations or primitive Canaanites might offer immoral "worship" to their vicious, characterless deities; to offer it to Yahweh was to insult him.
Appealing simply to his own moral insight Amos demands that Israel turn from her petty gods to seek him who made heaven and earth, day and night; who through repeated recent catastrophes has wrestled with Israel's waywardness, and will yet bring judgment upon all crimes against humanity, wherever committed. If Israel refuses, nothing can save her (1:2-3:2; 4:6-13; 5:6-9,14-15).
Hosea declares repeatedly that Israel does not know her God. Yahweh is no sex-crazed drunkard! Israel's worship has numbed her moral sense, otherwise she would know that God loved her from the beginning as father, provider, and lover, and will not let her go. Sad domestic experience had taught Hosea that love outlasts unfaithfulness (2:8,14-16,19; 3:1; 4:1,6; 5:4,11; 6:3,6; 11:1-4,8-9).
Micah appeals briefly to nature and history to testify what God is like, but rests his argument chiefly on his own indignation at injustice, his inner sense of the kind of world God wants and will achieve if only people listen to their own hearts (6:1-5,8). Isaiah repeats that Judah "does not understand" that God is "the Holy One of Israel" (eleven times in early chapters, twenty-four times in all). He learned that, unforgettably, at his call within the temple. "Holy" implies here perfect purity, freedom from fault, the absolute good. Only worship offered by those worthy to survive as nucleus of a holy nation could ever be acceptable to him (1:3; 5:16,24; 9:2-7; 10:20; 11:1-11).
Jeremiah attained a daring familiarity with God, partly (as a poet-naturalist) from nature, partly (as a trained priest) from Israel's history, but mainly through forty years of struggle, protest, and disappointment, sometimes charging God with deceiving him, sometimes near despair, and so learning to know God (15:10-21; 20:7-18). Thereafter Jeremiah knew it was "not for man to direct his steps": he needed to know the Lord who practices and delights in kindness, justice, and righteousness. Such "knowledge of God, " the essence of religion and life's highest good (9:23-24), included a knowledge of God's law, of the "homing instincts" within human nature, of God's "hand" in one's experience, what God can accomplish, and his true "name" or character. It demands "a heart to know, " and a simple, contended, just, and generous mind. In coming days all will thus know God, without instruction. That will prove the panacea for all evils.
So the prophets argued: as Israel went after false idols and became false (2 Kings 17:15 ), so to know and worship the true God would ensure righteousness in individuals and society. They did not add ethics to religious piety; for them religion and morality matured together, under God's guidance, through experience. But it took the exile to make Judah listen.
A Changed Atmosphere . Turning to the Psalter, one finds nothing remotely resembling the indecencies, license, and infanticide of popular preexilic religion. Discussion of ethical problems would be out of place in a worship manual, but a much deeper sense of personal consecration and concern for social righteousness is evident in Judah's praise and prayer.
Many psalms celebrate the glory and majesty of the Creator, revealed in nature. All scenes, all living things exhibit his power and declare his glory. No one who joined in Psalm 8,19 , 29,65 , 89,96 , 104 could imagine that God would take pleasure in sexual promiscuity, drunkenness, infant sacrifice or emotional frenzy. He is high above all human imagination, clothed in majesty, light, and power; worship must be dignified, reverent, and exalted to be worthy of him.
In the psalms God is holy (seven times); so is his name (= character, six times), his temple, mountain, arm, city, heaven, throne, hill, and promise, and God swears by his holiness. Hence holiness alone is fitting for God's house (93:5); anyone who would stand in the holy place must have clean hands, a pure heartthe implications are fully analyzed in 24:3-6,15:1-5. This clearly reflects the teaching of the "Holiness Code" (Leviticus 17-26 ), with its theme "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." The code expounded "holiness" in terms of love to God, the fellow Israelite, and the neighbor, shown in honesty, integrity, and charity. How seriously this demand was taken may be judged from the most searching confession ever penned (Psalm 51 ), and the moving testimonies to God's forgiveness (103:8-14, five times).
In the psalms cries for righteousness are heard repeatedly, sometimes impatiently, demanding that God will arise, wake up, stir himself to intervene within his world. Even when her prophets were silent, Judah's worship effectively kept alive the hope of a world governed by her righteous king.
With this conception arose a wholly new evaluation of the Divine King's law (mentioned thirty-four times, with varied synonyms almost two hundred times, in AV/KJV), as the rule of life and of society. This idea was to dominate Jewish thought for centuries. Though "the law" had come from Moses, from Joshua to the eve of the exile (Jeremiah, and the historian of 1-2Kings) no prophet appealed to its authority. In the Psalter and afterwards the law becomes Judah's chief source of the knowledge of God.
The King's Law . The ground of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17 ; Deuteronomy 5:6-21 ) is what God has already done for Israel. The first commandment asserts God's supremacy, forbidding worship of other gods; the second, his spirituality. The third safeguards the oath in court and marketplace; the fourth asserts God's claim on human time, with humanitarian overtones. The fifth protects the order of primitive society; the sixth, seventh, and eighth, the sanctity of life, marriage, and property (on which life might depend). The ninth commandment protects an individual's good name, and the tenth forbids undisciplined desire.
The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20:22-23:19 ) presupposes a simple agricultural background; vengeful impulses of primitive society are here moderated by a sense of proportion and justice. The eye-for-eye rule was originally a limitation on unmeasured retribution. The book tolerates slavery but civilizes it; kidnapping slaves deserves death, and so do sorcery, idolatry, and bestiality. Compensation for neglected dangerous animals or buildings depends on circumstances, and restitution for theft is controlled. Seduction involves marriage and dowry. Oppression of widows, orphans, and foreigners and perversion of justice are strictly forbidden. Moderation, equity, and philanthropy, reinforced by religious reverence, are the Book's guiding principles: God defends justiceand is compassionate.
The Book of Deuteronomy stressed humanitarian concerns and an inward devotion to God. God is ever impartial, just, caring for the fatherless, the widow, and the alien: so must his people be. When slaves are freed, provision must be made for their immediate needs. Holiness, and lives worthy of sons of God, are required, from motives of gratitude and love toward God (6:5,20-25). Prostitution, child sacrifice, and divination are suppressed; the right to glean, to receive wages before evening, regular provision for the poor, and reverence for the aged, are all enacted. Animals share in such consideration (22:1-4). All punishments must be strictly limited (25:3). Law and ethics have here coalesced.
Old Testament ethics are admittedly unsystematic, and largely unreflective. Developing in each generation from Israel's growing understanding of God, its insights possess a universality, and authority, conferred by long experience. The moral principles are the conditions of individual and social welfare, not an arbitrary prize for being virtuous but as the natural consequence of obeying the inner laws of well-being implanted by Him who made us.
Intertestamental Influence . In the years before Jesus, foreign occupation narrowed and hardened moral attitudes. God's kingship fed nationalistic hopes of deliverance through Messiah; delight in God's law sank into rigid legalism, fostering self-righteousness or despair. The law was "hedged" with innumerable minor rules, to express the whole duty of man; enthusiasts (Hasidim, later Pharisees) defended it, devoted scribes expounded it, synagogues inculcated it, exaggerated claims held it to be "superior to prophecy, " "light and life of all, " and "eternal." Essenes outdid Pharisees in strictness, discouraging marriage, sharing possessions, and rejecting the temple. Covenanters at Qumran sought "absolute" holiness through monastic discipline, based on moral dualism (light/darkness, truth/falsehood).
The standard was high, in sexual purity, piety, and charity; loyalty to the law did produce saints and martyrs. But legalism became self-serving, claiming merit before God; ethics became casuistry; for the weak, ignorant, poor, or sinful, legalism had no message and no mercy.
The Baptist's manner, his demand for repentance, and his regime of fasting and prayer appealed to the new ascetic tendency (Matthew 11:16-18 ; Mark 7:14-23 ; Luke 11:1 ), adding prophetic authority. Luke summarizes his practical ethical emphases (3:10-14). The priesthood meanwhile maintained the elaborate ritual of sacrifice and festivals; many common people worshiped at synagogues and sustained a simpler domestic pietyas at Nazareth. Into this confusion of ethical insights and tendencies Jesus stepped.
Jesus' Method . Jesus did not abate the divine law's ideals, but he severely criticized Judaism's legalism as academic (Luke 11:52 ), cruel (forbidding Sabbath cures, banishing the mentally ill and lepers from society), having wrong priorities, external in judgment, and burdensome (Matthew 23:23-28 ; Mark 2:18 ). It fostered self-righteousness and contempt for the weak and sinful (Luke 7:36-50 ; 15:25-32 ; 18:9-14 ; John 8:1-11 ). Jesus did not legislate.
Nor did Jesus cite authorities (Matthew 7:28-29 ). He appealed to the common moral judgment, very often by questions. Even his assertions often ended with "He that has ears let him hear." Jesus assumes the capacity of the sincere to recognize truth when presented with it. Such consent of the enlightened conscience ensures that obedience is free, spontaneous, approving.
The Kingly Father . As in the Old Testament, so for Jesus ethics derives from a right relationship with God, rendering obedience filial. Yet not all live as sons; some are disobedient, wayward, lost. But God remains Father, and sonship remains available; the Father welcomes their return. In such a context legalism must wither, and the moral life gain new motivation, quality, and tone.
One implication of sonship is likeness: Resemblance proves relationship. The peacemakers, the merciful, those who love their enemies and persecutors, being as impartial and inclusive in their love as God is, those who do good, and lend, hoping for nothing againall are, and are recognized as, children of the father (Matthew 5:9,44-48 ; Luke 6:35-36 ). By this simple domestic simile Jesus initiates the supreme Christian ideal of Christlikeness, the imitation of God as beloved children, conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29 ; Ephesians 5:1 ).
Second, the language of sonship is relentlessly plural. Such brotherliness forbids insult, and criticism, though brotherly rebuke may be necessary (Matthew 5:22 ; 7:1-3 ; Luke 17:3 ). It requires initiative toward reconciliation and understanding, and ready forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24 ; 18:21,35 ), and, in any need, service as for Christ (Matthew 25:40 ). At all times the duty of brethren is to strengthen each other (Luke 22:32 ).
The Fatherly King . In God's kingdom the supreme law must be to love the King with the whole personality (Matthew 22:36-38 ). The kingdom's second law commands love toward whoever is near enough to be loved, with a transferred self-love that makes our wants the criteria for our neighbors' (Matthew 7:12 ; 22:39-40 ). Such love fulfills the whole law. Illustrations of its practical meaning are the cup of (scarce) water, visiting the sick, helping any mugged victim, clothing the naked, befriending the ill-deserving in prison, doing good, lending without interest. The nature of the King determines the law of the kingdom, a kingdom of love (Matthew 11:2-6 ; Luke 4:16-21 ).
Yet Christ's example of love includes sternness against evil enjoyed or inflicted; it sets high standards, warns of consequences, exposes hypocrisy, speaks of judgment. It is neither sentimental, soft, nor stupid, but a resolute moral attitude that seeks another's good, whether by gentle or ungentle means.
Jesus was a realist. To his mind, sinfulness was more, and more serious, than trespass against formal laws; it included sins of thought and desire, of neglect, of failure to love, and of sin against light (Matthew 5:27-28 ; 6:22-23 ; 12:35 ; 23:13-26 ; 25:41-46 ; Mark 3:22-30 ; Luke 10:31-32 ; 13:6-9 ). Life in God's kingdom, therefore, involves personal resistance, protest, conflict, and suffering, occasioned by loyalty to God in a godless world (Mark 8:34-38 ; Luke 22:35-36 ). But the citizen of the kingdom will seek peace with all where possible, never returning evil for evil (Matthew 5:9,38-40 ).
In all situations the will of the King is to be the ultimate rule of life. And the King's will shall triumph in the end. Human beings may choose whether to live under God's reign or not, but he remains King. In parables (Matthew 21:33-43 ; 25:14-46 ; Luke 12:16-21 ; 13:6-9 ; 16:19-31 ) and numerous phrases the truth is made clear that people cannot trifle with God indefinitely. What is good news for the responsive is warning for the obdurate: The Father is King.
Even so cursory a review reveals how rich, varied, realistic, and practical is the ethical teaching of Jesus, and how directly it derives from the perceived character of God and from relationship with him. The good life is lived before God, by his help, in gratitude for his goodness; shorn of these religious roots, Christian values must die and Christian motivation fail. And all is illustrated, unforgettably, by the living example of Jesus, and therefore summed up in his "Follow me."
New Testament Moral Theology . Those who walk, live, and set their minds "according to the Spirit" find freedom, peace, acceptance with God, and constant renewal as sons of God (Romans 8:5-17 ). This new, Spirit-ruled life is characterized by the absolute lordship of Christ over all attitudes and conduct (Romans 1:3-4 ; 10:9-13 ; 14:7-9 ; 1Col 6:13-20, ; etc. ). Human personality being "open" Godward, as well as toward social forces that corrupt, the soul united to Christ becomes the vehicle of the divine Spirit, by whose guidance and enabling it is made capable of otherwise unattainable virtue (Romans 8:9-14 ; 1Col 6:17-20; 2Col 4:7-18). Paul presents a perpetually progressive ideal, developing constantly in its scope of love, its depth of consecration, and in likeness to Christ. Paul does not claim to have attained the goal, only to be straining forward at the ever-upward call of God in Christ, toward the stature of Christ, being by degrees changed "into his likeness" and "conformed to his image" (Romans 8:29 ; 2Col 3:18; Ephesians 4:13 ; Philippians 3:12-14 ).
Human ethics, based on philosophical, sociological or psychological premises, or intuitive responses to isolated "situations, " attain only a consensus of good advice acceptable to people already virtuous in intention. Such moral counsel lacks permanence, authority, and motive power. Biblical ethics, deriving from knowledge and experience of God but forged always in historical real-life situations, problems and needs, reveals unchanging absolutes, inarguable authority, effective motivation, and redemptive power. The Old Testament emphasizes that God's requirements enshrine the secrets of total human welfare; the New Testament points to the man Jesus Christ and his intensely human story as embodiment of the ultimate ideal. Thus biblical ethics prove more truly human in the end, enshrining the Creator's intention for his highest creatures.
R. E. O. White
See also Deuteronomy, Theology of ; Jesus Christ ; Law ; Salvation ; Sanctification ; Sermon on the Mount ; Ten Commandments
Bibliography . W. Barclay, Ethics in a Permissive Society ; P. Carrington, Primitive Christian Catechism ; C. F. H. Henry, Christian Personal Ethics ; W. Lillie, Studies in New Testament Ethics ; J. T. Sanders, Ethics in the New Testament ; E. F. Scott, Ethical Teaching of Jesus ; R. E. O. White, Biblical Ethics .
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ethics
ETHICS . The present article will be confined to Biblical Ethics. As there is no systematic presentation of the subject, all that can be done is to gather from the Jewish and Christian writings the moral conceptions that were formed by historians, prophets, poets, apostles. The old history culminates in the story of the perfect One, the Lord Jesus Christ, from whom there issued a life of higher order and ampler range.
I. OT Ethics . As the dates of many of the books are uncertain, special difficulty attends any endeavour to trace with precision the stages of moral development amongst the Hebrews. The existence of a moral order of the world is assumed; human beings are credited with the freedom, the intelligence, etc., which make morality possible. The term ‘conscience’ does not appear till NT times, and perhaps it was then borrowed from the Stoics; but the thing itself is conspicuous enough in the records of God’s ancient people. In Proverbs 8:1-362 we have the two categories ‘good’ and ‘evil’; the former seems to signify in Genesis 1:31 ‘answering to design’ and in Genesis 2:18 ‘conducive to well-being.’ These terms applied sometimes to ends, sometimes to means probably denote ultimates of consciousness, and so, like pain and pleasure, are not to be defined. Moral phenomena present themselves, of course, in the story of the patriarchs; men are described as mean or chivalrous, truthful or false, meritorious or blameworthy, long before legislation Mosaic or other takes shape.
1 . In Hebrew literature the religious aspects of life are of vital moment, and therefore morals and worship are inextricably entangled. God is seen: there is desire to please Him; there is a shrinking from aught that would arouse His anger ( Genesis 20:6 ; Matthew 9:5-640 ). Hence the immoral is sinful. Allegiance is due not to an impersonal law, but to a Holy Person, and duty to man is duty also to God. Morality is under Divine protection: are not the tables of the Law in the Ark that occupies the most sacred place in Jehovah’s shrine ( Exodus 40:20 , Deuteronomy 10:5 , 1 Kings 8:9 , Hebrews 9:4 )? The commandments, instead of being arbitrary, are the outflowings of the character of God. He who enjoins righteousness and mercy calls men to possess attributes which He Himself prizes as His own peculiar glory ( Exodus 33:18-19 ; Exodus 34:6-7 ). Hosea represents the Divine love as longing for the response of human love, and Amos demands righteousness in the name of the Righteous One. Man’s goodness is the same in kind as the goodness of God, so that both may be characterized by the same terms; as appears from a comparison of Psalms 111:1-10 ; Psalms 112:1-10 .
2 . The OT outlook is national rather than individual. The elements of the community count for little, unless they contribute to the common good. A man is only a fractional part of an organism, and he may be slain with the group to which he belongs, if grievous sin can be brought home to any part of that group ( Joshua 7:19-26 ). It is Israel the people as a whole that is called God’s son. Prayers, sacrifices, festivals, fasts, are national affairs. The highest form of excellence is willingness to perish if only Israel may be saved ( Exodus 32:31-32 , Judges 5:15-18 ). Frequently the laws are, such as only a judge may administer: thus the claim of ‘an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ ( Deuteronomy 19:21 ), being a maxim of fairness to be observed by a magistrate who has to decide between contending parties, is too harsh for guidance outside a court of law ( Matthew 5:38-39 ). When Israel sinned, it was punished; when it obeyed God, it prospered. It was not till Hebrew national life was destroyed that individual experiences excited questions as to the equity of Providence (Job, Psalms 37:1-40 ; Psalms 73:1-28 ) and in regard to personal immortality. In the later prophets, even when the soul of each man is deemed to be of immense interest ( Ezekiel 18:1-32 ), national ideals have the ascendency in thought. It is the nation that is to have a resurrection ( Isaiah 25:8 , Ezekiel 37:1-14 , Hosea 13:14 , Zechariah 8:1-8 ). This ardent devotion to corporate well-being a noble protest against absorption in individual interests is the golden thread on which the finest pearls of Hebrew history are strung.
3 . The Covenant is always regarded as the standard by which conduct is to be judged. Deference to the Covenant is deference to God ( Hosea 6:7 ; Psalms 139:2-39 , Amos 3:1-3 ). As God is always faithful, His people prosper so long as they observe the conditions to which their fathers gave solemn assent ( Galatians 6:1-2 ; Exodus 24:7 ). The Decalogue, which is an outline of the demands made by the Covenant on Israel, requires in its early clauses faith, reverence, and service; then ( Exodus 20:1-26 , Commandments 5 to 9) the duty of man to man is set forth as part of man’s duty to Jehovah, for Moses and all the prophets declare that God is pleased or displeased by our behaviour to one another. The Tenth Commandment, penetrating as it does to the inward life, should be taken as a reminder that all commandments are to be read in the spirit and not in the letter alone ( Leviticus 19:17-18 , Deuteronomy 6:5-6 , Psalms 139:1-24 , Romans 7:14 ). Human obligations details of which are sometimes massed together as in Exodus 20:1-26 ; Exodus 21:1-36 ; Exodus 22:1-31 ; Exodus 23:1-33 , Psalms 15:1-5 ; Psalms 24:1-10 include both moral and ceremonial requirements. Nothing is more common in the prophets than complaints of a disposition to neglect the former ( Genesis 39:9 f., Jeremiah 6:20 ; Jeremiah 7:21 f., Hosea 6:6 , Amos 5:21 f.). The requirements embrace a great number of particulars, and every department of experience is recognized. Stress is laid upon kindness to the physically defective ( Leviticus 19:14 ), and to the poor and to strangers ( Deuteronomy 10:18-19 ; Deuteronomy 15:7-11 ; Deuteronomy 24:17 ff., Job 31:16 ff., Job 32:1-22 , Psalms 41:1 , Isaiah 58:6 ff., Jeremiah 7:5 ff; Jeremiah 22:3 , Zechariah 7:9 f.). Parents and aged persons are to be reverenced ( Exodus 20:12 , Deuteronomy 5:16 , Luke 9:59-60 ). The education of children is enjoined ( Hosea 8:18 f., Exodus 13:8 ; Matthew 25:41-455 , Deuteronomy 4:9 ; Deuteronomy 6:7 ; Deuteronomy 6:20-25 ; Deuteronomy 11:19 ; Deuteronomy 31:12-13 ; Proverbs 6:6-11 , Psalms 78:5-6 ). In Proverbs emphasis is laid upon industry ( Deuteronomy 32:46 ), purity ( Proverbs 7:6 etc.), kindness to the needy ( Proverbs 14:21 ), truthfulness ( Proverbs 17:7 etc.), forethought ( Proverbs 24:27 ). The claims of animals are not omitted ( Exodus 23:11 , Leviticus 25:7 , Deuteronomy 22:4 ; Deuteronomy 22:6 ; Deuteronomy 25:4 , Psalms 104:11-12 ; Psalms 148:10 , Proverbs 12:10 , John 1:3-4 ). Occasionally there are charming pictures of special characters (the housewife, Proverbs 31:1-31 ; the king, 2 Samuel 23:3-4 ; the priest, Malachi 2:5-7 ). God’s rule over man is parallel with His rule over the universe, and men should feel that God embraces all interests in His thought, for He is so great that He can attend equally to the stars and to human sorrows ( Psalms 19:1-14 ; Psalms 33:1-22 ; Psalms 147:3-6 ).
4 . The sanctions of conduct are chiefly temporal (harvests, droughts, victories over enemies, etc.), yet, as they are national, self-regard is not obtrusive. Moreover, it would be a mistake to suppose that no Hebrew minds felt the intrinsic value of morality. The legal spirit was not universal. The prophets were glad to think that God was not limiting Himself to the letter of the Covenant, the very existence of which implied that Jehovah, in the greatness of His love, had chosen Israel to be His peculiar treasure. By grace and not by bare justice Divine action was guided. God was the compassionate Redeemer ( Deuteronomy 7:8 , Hosea 11:1 ; Hosea 14:4 ). Even the people’s disregard of the Law did not extinguish His forgiving love ( Psalms 25:6 ff; Psalms 103:8 ff., Isaiah 63:9 , Jeremiah 3:12 ; Jeremiah 31:3 ; Jeremiah 33:7 f., Micah 7:18 f.). In response to this manifested generosity, an unmercenary spirit was begotten in Israel, so that God was loved for His own sake, and His smile was regarded as wealth and light when poverty and darkness had to be endured. ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee?’ ‘Oh, how I love thy law!’ are expressions the like of which abound in the devotional literature of Israel, and they evince a disinterested devotion to God Himself and a genuine delight in duty. To the same purport is the remarkable appreciation of the beauty and splendour of wisdom recorded in 1619114893_67 .
II. NT Ethics . While admitting many novel elements ( Matthew 11:11 ; Matthew 13:17 ; Matthew 13:35 ; Matthew 13:52 , Mark 2:21-22 , John 13:34 , Ephesians 2:15 , Hebrews 10:20 , Revelation 2:17 ; Revelation 3:12 ; Revelation 5:9 ), Christianity reaffirmed the best portions of OT teaching ( Hebrews 6:4-83 , Romans 3:31 ). Whatsoever things were valuable, Christ conserved, unified, and developed. The old doctrine acquired wings, and sang a, nobler, sweeter song ( John 1:17 ). But the glad and noble life which Jesus came to produce could come only from close attention to man’s actual condition.
1 . Accordingly, Christian Ethics takes full account of sin . The guilty state of human nature, together with the presence of temptations from within, without, and beneath, presents a problem far different from any that can be seen when it is assumed that men are good or only unmoral. Is our need met by lessons in the art of advancing from good to better? Is not the human will defective and rebellious? The moral ravages in the individual and in society call for Divine redemptive activities and for human penitence and faith. Though the sense of sin has been most conspicuous since Christ dwelt among men, the Hebrew consciousness had its moral anguish. The vocabulary of the ancient revelation calls attention to many of the aspects of moral disorder. Sin is a ravenous beast, crouching ready to spring ( Genesis 4:7 ); a cause of wide-spreading misery ( Genesis 3:15-19 ; Genesis 9:25 ; Genesis 20:9 , Exodus 20:5 ); is universal ( Genesis 6:5 ; Gen 8:21 , 1 Kings 8:46 , Psalms 130:3 ; Psalms 143:2 ); is folly (Prov. passim ); a missing of the mark, violence, transgression, rebellion, pollution ( Psalms 51:1-19 ). This grave view is shared by the NT. The Lord and His Apostles labour to produce contrition. It is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin ( Matthew 18:23-35 ). It is not supposed that a good life can be lived unless moral evil is renounced by a penitent heart. The fountains of conduct are considered to have need of cleansing. It is always assumed that great difficulties beset the soul in its upward movements, because of its past corrupt state and its exposure to fierce and subtle temptations.
2 . In harmony with the doctrine of depravity is the distinctness with which individuality is recognized. Sin is possible only to a person. Ability to sin is a mark of that high rank in nature denoted by ‘personality.’ Christianity has respect to a man’s separateness. It sees a nature ringed round with barriers that other beings cannot pass, capacities for great and varied wickednesses and excellences, a world among other worlds, and not a mere wave upon the sea. A human being is in himself an end, and God loves us one by one. Jesus asserted the immense value of the individual. The Shepherd cares for the one lost sheep ( Luke 15:4-7 ), and has names for all the members of the flock ( John 10:14 ). The Physician, who (it is conceivable) could have healed crowds by some general word, lays His beneficent hands upon each sufferer ( Luke 4:40 ). Remove from the Gospels and the Acts the stories of private ministrations, and what gaps are made ( Colossians 3:5-98 ff., Jonah 4:11 , Acts 8:25-39 ; Acts 8:16 , etc.). Taking the individual as the unit, and working from him as a centre, the NT Ethic declines to consider his deeds alone ( Matthew 6:1-34 , Romans 2:28-29 ). Actions are looked at on their inner side ( Matthew 5:21-22 ; Matthew 5:27-28 ; Matthew 5:17 ; Matthew 6:4 ; Matthew 6:6 ; Matthew 6:18 ; Matthew 12:34-35 ; Matthew 23:5 ; Matthew 23:27 , Mark 7:2-8 ; Mark 7:18-23 , Luke 16:15 ; Luke 18:10-14 , John 4:23 f.). This is a prolongation of ideas present to the best minds prior to the Advent ( 1 Samuel 16:7 , Psalms 7:9 ; Psalms 24:3-4 ; Psalms 51:17 ; 1619114893_7 ; Psalms 139:23 , Matthew 5:23-24 ; Jeremiah 31:33 ).
3 . The social aspects of experience are not overlooked. Everyone is to bear his own burden ( Romans 14:4 , Galatians 6:5 ), and must answer for himself to the Judge of all men ( 2 Corinthians 5:10 ); but he is not isolated. Regard for others is imperative; for an unforgiving temper cannot find forgiveness ( Matthew 6:14-15 ; John 16:8 ), worship without brotherliness is rejected ( Jeremiah 17:10 ), and Christian love is a sign of regeneration ( 1 John 5:1 ). The mere absence of malevolent deeds cannot shield one from condemnation; positive helpfulness is required ( 1619114893_87 , Luke 10:25-37 ; Luke 16:19-31 , Ephesians 4:28-29 ). This helpfulness is the new ritualism ( Hebrews 13:16 , James 1:27 ). The family with its parents, children, and servants ( Ephesians 5:22 to Ephesians 6:9 , Colossians 3:18 to Colossians 4:1 ); the Church with its various orders of character and gifts ( Romans 14:1-23 ; Romans 15:1-33 , Acts 10:25-26 , 1Co 13:1-13 ; 1 Corinthians 14:1-40 ; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 ); the State with its monarch and magistrates ( Mark 12:14-17 , Romans 13:1-7 , 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ), provide the spheres wherein the servant of Christ is to manifest his devotion to the Most High. ‘Obedience, patience, benevolence, purity, humility, alienation from the world and the “flesh,” are the chief novel or striking features which the Christian ideal of practice suggests’ (Sidgwick), and they involve the conception that Christian Ethics is based on the recognition of sin, of individuality, of social demands, and of the need of heavenly assistance.
4 . The Christian standard is the character of the Lord Jesus Christ , who lived perfectly for God and man. He overcame evil ( Matthew 4:1-11 , John 16:33 ), completed His life’s task ( John 17:4 ), and sinned not ( John 8:46 , 2 Corinthians 5:21 , Heb 4:15 , 1 Peter 2:22 , 1 John 3:5 ). His is the pattern life, inasmuch as it is completely (1) filial, and (2) fraternal. As to (1), we mark the upward look, His readiness to let the heat of His love burst into the flame of praise and prayer, His dutifulness and submissiveness: He lived ‘in the bosom of the Father,’ and wished to do only that which God desired. As to (2), His pity for men was unbounded, His sacrifice for human good knew no limits. ‘Thou shalt love God’; ‘thou shalt love man.’ Between these two poles the perfect life revolved. He and His teachings are one. It is because the moral law is alive in Him that He must needs claim lordship over man’s thoughts, feelings, actions. He is preached ‘as Lord’ ( Luke 14:26-27 ), and the homage which neither man ( Exodus 24:8 ) nor angel ( Revelation 22:8-9 ) can receive He deems it proper to accept ( John 13:13 ). Could it be otherwise? The moral law must be supreme, and He is it. Hence alienation from Him has the fatal place which idolatry had under the Old Covenant, and for a similar reason, seeing that idolatry was a renunciation of Him who is the righteous and gracious One. Since Jesus by virtue of His filial and fraternal perfectness is Lord, to stand apart from Him is ruinous ( Luke 10:13-16 , John 3:18 ; John 8:24 ; John 15:22-24 ; John 16:8-9 , Hebrews 2:3 ; 1619114893_43 ; Hebrews 10:26 ). Wife or child or life itself must not be preferred to the claims of truth and righteousness, and therefore must not be preferred to Christ, who is truth and righteousness in personal form ( Matthew 10:37-39 , Leviticus 19:32 ; 2 Corinthians 4:5 ). To call oneself the bond-servant of Jesus Christ ( Romans 1:1 , James 1:1 , 2 Peter 1:1 ) was to assert at once the strongest affection for the wise and gracious One, and the utmost loyalty to God’s holy will as embodied in His Son. The will of God becomes one’s own by affectionate deference to Jesus Christ, to suffer for whom may become a veritable bliss ( Matthew 5:10-12 , Acts 5:41 , 2 Corinthians 4:11 , Philippians 1:29 , 1 Thessalonians 2:14 , Hebrews 10:32-34 ).
5 . Christian Ethics is marked quite as much by promises of assistance as by loftiness of standard. The kindliness of God, fully illustrated in the gift and sacrifice of His Son, is a great incentive to holiness. Men come into the sunshine of Divine favour. Heavenly sympathy is with them in their struggles. The virtues to be acquired ( Matthew 5:1-16 , Galatians 5:22-23 , Colossians 3:12-17 , 2 Peter 1:5-7 , Titus 2:12 ) and the vices to be shunned ( Mark 7:21-22 , Galatians 5:19-21 , 1619114893_93 ) are viewed in connexion with the assurance of efficient aid. There is a wonderful love upon which the aspirant may depend ( John 3:16 , Romans 5:7-8 , 2 Corinthians 5:19 f.). The hearty acceptance of that love is faith, ranked as a virtue and as the parent of virtues ( 2 Peter 1:5 , Romans 5:1-2 , 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 , Hebrews 11:1-40 ). Faith, hope, love, transfigure and supplement the ancient virtues, temperance, courage, wisdom, justice, while around them grow many gentle excellences not recognized before Christ gave them their true rank; and yet it is not by its wealth of moral teaching so much as by its assurance of ability to resist temptation and to attain spiritual manhood that Christianity has gained preeminence. Christ’s miracles are illustrations of His gospel of pardon, regeneration, and added faculties ( 1619114893_4 ). The life set before man was lived by Jesus, who regenerates men by His Spirit, and takes them into union with Himself ( John 3:3 ;
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ethics (2)
ETHICS.—A very little reflexion will reveal the unusual difficulties that lurk in a subject like the present—the Ethics of Jesus, or, of the Gospels. Even the uninitiated is aware that we cannot in strictness speak of the ‘Ethics’ of Jesus at all—in the sense, that is, of a doctrine systematically developed according to principles, and exhaustively applied to the facts of life. For His was no scientific or methodical spirit; His significance lies rather in the realm of personality, in the unique quality of His moral feeling and judgment, in the peculiar way in which men and things moved Him, and in which He reacted upon them. Hence we need not look for either an orderly arrangement of, or even an approximate completeness in, His ethical ideas. From the drama of His life we are unable to compile a system of morals, but we may see how a great Personality creates a moral standard by what He does and suffers, and how He elucidates it in His words.
But are we justified in connecting with Him the term ‘ethical’ at all? We speak accurately of Ethics or Moral Science only when we regard the conduct of men in their mutual relations as something by itself, abstracted from religious feeling and action, and when ethical ends and maxims are disengaged from religion, in virtue of their inherent worth; and such an independent position of Ethics, whether it appear worth attaining or not, is simply beside the mark in the case of Jesus. His moral and His religious principles are so closely interwoven, His moral feeling, e.g. His love for man, is so inseverable from the religious basis of His belief in the Fatherhood of God, that it would seem to be impossible to delineate His ‘Ethics’ without at the same time treating of, say, the Kingdom of God, the Divine grace, or the final judgment. And if, nevertheless, we venture upon the task, we must never lose sight of the connecting lines that run between His ethical teaching and His religious principles.
Then there is the question whether our sources are at all sufficient for the full and accurate representation of the moral personality of Jesus. In restricting ourselves to the Synoptic Gospels, we are doing nothing more than recognizing the claims of historical science. But now, to what extent can we regard the three older Gospels as adequate sources for our theme? If we investigate the oldest of all, viz. Mark, we find that it nowhere makes any attempt to portray the Ethics of Jesus as such. In reporting His conflict and controversy with the Judaism of His time, it casts but an indirect light upon this side of His character, and that, moreover, in a series of isolated scenes. Of these the most outstanding are the Rabbinical disputations regarding the Sabbath (Mark 2:23 to Mark 3:6), purity (Mark 7:1-23), divorce (Mark 10:1-12); then come the important passages narrating the conversation with the rich man (Mark 10:17-27) and regarding the ‘first commandment’ (Mark 12:28-34). Various other aspects of His conception of life are vividly illustrated by such utterances as that to the paralytic (Mark 2:5 f.), about the physician and the sick (Mark 2:17) the true kinship (Mark 3:35), children (Mark 10:15 f.), and tribute-money (Mark 12:13-17). In the section dominated by the three predictions of His death (Mark 8:27 to Mark 10:45) we have a mass of admonitions to the disciples—concerning readiness to suffer, loyalty, courage, humility, reverence for childhood, etc. We have here something of the nature of a primitive Christian catechism; not instructions (as in the Didache, let us say) for tranquil seasons and everyday life, but rather articles of war for the ecclesia militans of the persecutions, a manuale crucis.* [1]
An entirely different kind of appeal is made by the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. In its extant form the Sermon is the promulgation of a great programme, in which the Evangelist seeks to give a definitive and approximately complete statement of Jesus’ relation to the Law, with a reference, moreover, to the representatives of the anti-legalistic standpoint, who think that He is come ‘to destroy the law.’ It is the purpose of the writer to convince these that Jesus, being in a general way the Fulfiller of Prophecy, is, as a lawgiver, the fulfiller of the prophecy regarding the second Moses, whom God was to raise up in the last days (Deuteronomy 18:15), and who, so far from abrogating the Law, will rather consummate and even transcend it.† [2] In our reading of the Sermon we cannot afford to ignore this design of the writer; we must draw a distinction between what its words purported to him, and what they meant in the tradition he utilized. Similarly, in reading St. Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, we must bear in mind that he has materially abridged his material, not alone by discarding the Jewish and preserving only the typically human elements, but by considerably transforming it under the influence of his pronounced ascetic view.‡ [3] Both Mt. and Lk. thus throw us back upon the source of our Lord’s words, in which the primitive Jewish-Christian community had grouped the Logia of Jesus for its own instruction. Hence we are forced to distinguish between the Ethics of the Evangelists and the Ethics of their source. Further, we must make a searching examination of the characteristically Lukan tradition as it appears in the parables of the Rich Man and Lazarus, the Good Samaritan, etc.;§ [4] only so shall we be justified in attempting to answer the question, What was the ethical position of Jesus? An extremely complicated critical process must thus be gone through before we use our present authorities as documents for the solution of our problem. But as it is impossible to reproduce here the details of such investigation, only the results can be stated, with references to other works of the present writer.
In an account of the Ethics of Jesus, the reader also looks for a comparison and contrast between Him and His Jewish, perhaps also His Graeco-Roman, contemporaries. The fresh and original elements in His moral thought and feeling must be set over against traditional views. The favourite procedure in this connexion, that, namely, of placing His luminous figure on a background as sombre as possible, is one we cannot follow. Above all, the task of describing the ethical conditions of contemporary Judaism would take us beyond our allotted space, and is, moreover, beyond our capacity. Often as it has been tried, in more or less ingenious sketches, to reproduce some cross-section through the moral conditions of later Judaism, it has never been accomplished without subjective caprice and violent tendency-interpretations. Nor is this result to be wondered at; for it is quite impossible to describe faithfully, or estimate justly, the characteristic ethical complexion of a period so extensive as the two and a half centuries from b.c. 180 to a.d. 70, of the inner history of which we still know so little, which is represented by a literature so multiform, and of which the dominant currents veered so much—a period, moreover, meagrely equipped with first-rate or distinctly recognizable personalities. True, we can observe the behaviour of the circles from which sprang the Psalms of Solomon, we can lay our hand upon the devout breast of the pseudo-Ezra, we can enter into the spirit of the author of 1 Maccabees or Sirach; but how diverse are even these few casual types, and how impossible is it to make them fit into one harmonious picture! What, again, do we know of the Ethics of the Greek or Sadducean party? What vogue had the Essenes among the people? Are the Pharisees of the Psalms of Solomon identical with those of the time of Jesus? And, above all, what significance for our problem has the Talmud, so often named, so little known? Here, in sober truth, so many unsolved enigmas await the historian, that one cannot but marvel at the assurance of those who, in face of them all, are ready to sketch the Ethics of later Judaism as a foil for the Ethics of Jesus. We for our part renounce any such design. We have not the daring to institute a comparison between the Ethics of Jesus and the complicated historical phenomena of the period, and then, as impartial judges, to proceed to measure out the light and shade. We content ourselves with the question, How did Jesus regard and estimate the Judaism of His time? It is beyond doubt that His moral sense was chafed by many things, and in particular by Pharisaism, and that a material part of His teaching was formulated in antagonism to the Rabbis. We too must feel this antagonism, if we are ever to understand Him.
If, again, we are required to answer the question as to wherein consists the new and original element in the Ethics of Jesus, we are brought to a complete standstill. In His conflict with Rabbinism He is in close alliance with the Prophets, and is certainly not outside their influence. But to assume that a great gulf is fixed between the religion of the Prophets and Psalmists and that of later Judaism, is to forget that a goodly part of both the Prophets and the Psalms was a contribution of the post-exilic period, and, above all, to overlook the fact that these writings form the background, or, we might even say, the native soil of Judaism. However profoundly they were misunderstood, still it was not possible to prevent the intermittent welling up, from the soil, of many a copious spring; and many a document of the later period bears clear testimony to their influence. Thus we can do full justice to the moral creed of Jesus only by giving adequate consideration to the circumstance that He lived in intimate sympathy and steadfast accord with the noblest and devoutest thoughts of His people’s Bible. Hence, if in view of these facts we inquire concerning the originality of Jesus, the result will be a surprise. For we shall find that of almost all His ethical ideas there are anticipations, precedents, and even parallels in the OT, as also in contemporary Judaism. A mere glance at any collection of parallels, such as that of Wetstein, will be sufficient to purge us of the notion that the uniqueness or greatness of Jesus consists in the novelty of His ethical teaching. Theology is still tainted with the propensity, inherited from Rationalism, to see in the production of ideas the all but exclusive factor in the making of history or the progress of man. It often fails to realize how plentiful ideas are in times that are spiritually alive, or how in all ages humanity has been enabled to take a step in advance only by the emergence of a personality who, with unwonted energy, sincerity, and enthusiasm, absorbed, elaborated, and formed anew from his individual experience the choicest products of his age. So with Jesus; His ideas as such are neither so novel nor so revolutionary as to create a new world; they derive their procreative virtue solely from the fact that He made them His own, lived them, and died for them.
From these preliminaries we turn to the exposition proper, premising that we shall on principle forego any systematic or exhaustive development of the material from a fundamental idea. Our purpose is to survey the figure of Jesus in its specific operation, and what better situation for this can we find than the actual scene of His conflict with His environment? It was the friction with that environment which kindled the fire within Him; it was His unconformity with it that gave Him the conviction of His peculiar heritage. Just as His anger at the profanation of the Temple moved Him to an involuntary display of a religious feeling superior to, and more delicate than, that of His fellows, so His collision with the leading representatives of Judaism evokes from Him not merely an indignant criticism, but also a manifestation of His own inherent character. In this connexion the great discourse against the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 (cf. Luke 11:39-52) furnishes invaluable testimony. Even if its artificial form (cf. the seven Woes) be derivative, still the majority of the sayings grouped in it, so expressive of individual feeling, so original in form, unmistakably show the characteristic touch of Jesus. In any case the discourse clearly reveals the distinction He drew between Himself and the Rabbis, and the traits in the latter by which the disciples, filled with His spirit, felt themselves repelled. It is, above all things, the insincerity of their practice, the contrast between the reality and the appearance, which is so vividly brought out in the metaphor of ‘whited sepulchres’ (Matthew 23:27). The supreme business of the scribes,—to which they apparently devoted themselves with surpassing zeal,—viz. the instruction of the people in the law of God (Matthew 23:4), they discharged in such a way as to superinduce the very reverse of what was intended: instead of bringing men into the Kingdom (Matthew 23:13) they keep them out by imposing intolerable burdens, in the bearing of which they render not the slightest help. It is, in fact, evident that the work of leading men to God was for them a matter of no consequence whatever. A glaring light is thrown likewise upon the propaganda of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:15): under their tutelage a proselyte becomes a child of hell, twice as wicked as themselves (or, as it was probably spoken at first, twice as wicked as he was before). These severe verdicts show at a glance how highly Jesus estimated the sacred and responsible office of the leaders of the people, which they so direly abused. With keen moral indignation He passes sentence upon the complacent and self-seeking father-confessors, who, on the pretext of pastoral zeal, with ‘long prayers’ devour widows’ houses (Mark 12:40). He shows inimitably the unscrupulousness of their over-scrupulosity: straining out gnats and swallowing camels, they are squeamish and strait-laced in regard to trifles, in the great moral matters lax for themselves and lenient to others, even to the point of apathy—and such has ever since been the practice of a hierarchy clothed with authority (Matthew 23:24). In these utterances Jesus reproves chiefly the scribes’ insensibility to the primary moral sanctions; they keep cup and platter clean, but are indifferent to the nature of the contents; non olet, even though it has been accumulated by selfishness and greed, and is gorged with unbridled self-indulgence (Matthew 23:25). While with painful precision they attend to the tithing of the meanest garden produce, they neglect the weightiest matters of the Law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23). In harmony with Micah 6:8 He enunciates the principle that the primary imperatives of morality surpass all ceremonial prescriptions in importance and urgency—a truth which, though ancient, needs ever to be emphasized anew. There can be no dubiety as to the purport of ‘justice’ or ‘mercy’ in this passage; they are meant to cover the great social obligations of the ruling to the dependent classes—the non-perversion of the Law, the succour of widows and orphans, the relief of the poor. As to the third injunction, the Evangelists do not seem to have been sure of its meaning; for ‘faithfulness’ St. Luke (Luke 11:42) substitutes the ‘love of God,’ probably interpreting πίστις as ‘faith’ (as Authorized and Revised Versions). Without doubt, however, Jesus intends this word also to connote a social and moral duty, viz. trustworthiness and candour in human relationships.
Mt. has in this verse inserted a clause (Matthew 23:23 b) which should almost certainly be deleted from Lk. (Luke 11:42), as a gloss involving a certain modification of the command. The preceding verses might lead us to infer that Jesus did not only set less store by the ceremonial law, but was willing to do away with it altogether. This, however, says St. Matthew, is not His meaning: ‘These (moral duties) ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.’ The Evangelist is, in fact, keenly solicitous lest Jesus be regarded as hostile to the Mosaic law, as he shows also in Matthew 5:17 and the prefatory words Matthew 23:2 f. (neither passage in Lk.), implying that the teaching of the scribes is good, but that their works are evil, since they do not practise what they preach. Taking into consideration the writer’s date and point of view, we can quite well understand the words; but we naturally ask whether this conciliatory and conservative attitude towards the ceremonial law truly represents the mind of Jesus?
The words about the cleansing of cups and platters, and about the tithing of mint, anise, and cummin, certainly sound so contemptuous as to compel us to ask whether Jesus set any value whatever upon the ceremonial side of the Law, and, in particular, upon the special casuistical precepts of the scribes. The question may be answered provisionally and generally: Jesus was not a Pharisee, and this means that His attitude towards many of the scribal maxims was a dissentient one; He was not a Judaean, but a son of the Galilaean peasantry, who knew how to evade the authority of Pharisaic doctors and lawyers, and who were, in consequence, liable to the curse merited by those who ‘know not the law’ (John 7:49); and, accordingly, He regards Himself and His followers likewise as above the Pharisees’ rules about purifying. But we also find explicit remonstrances against the ‘traditions of the elders’ so dear to the scribes (Mark 7:5; Mark 7:9; Mark 7:13); He characterizes them summarily as the ‘prescriptions’ (Authorized and Revised Versions ‘tradition’) of men (Mark 7:8), thus contrasting them with the commandments of God. In this He evinces His independent attitude, for a genuine Pharisee could live only by the belief that the additions to and amplifications of the Law, even if devised by human teachers, were yet expressive of God’s will. But Jesus goes still further, affirming positively that in their concern for these traditions the scribes reject, pervert, and even make void the commandment of God (Mark 7:8; Mark 7:13). He gives as an example the gross case of one who evades the plain human duty of supporting his parents by the manœuvre of dedicating to the Temple the money he might have spared for them: once the fateful word ‘Corban’ is spoken, then every penny so consecrated belongs to God, and is, as sacred property, interdicted from all secular uses, and so from that of the parents. It is bad enough that a son should so act; but that jurists and theologians should permit him henceforward to turn his back upon father and mother, should declare his pledge to be inviolable, and refuse to ‘release’ him from it, is neither more nor less than the disannulling of the Fifth Commandment.* [5]
Now the assertion that the great moral demands of God’s law are of more importance than any ceremonial obligations, is primarily directed only against the traditions and prescriptions of the Rabbis; in reality, however, it is a principle which threatens the very foundations of the Mosaic system. Already in the OT we see the strained relations between prophetic piety and priestly legality—brothers again and again at variance. In the personality and preaching of Jesus the prophetic religion reappears with unparalleled force and clearness, and braces itself to the work of overthrowing the fabric of Levitical ceremonialism. To treat the ethical and the ritual law as of equal validity belongs to the very nature of the priestly theocracy: the moment the former is placed on a higher level the whole edifice becomes insecure. In this reference St. Mark preserves a short but pregnant saying of Jesus (Mark 7:15), viz. ‘There is nothing from without the man that going into him can defile him, but the things which proceed out of the man are those which defile him.’ As He is here speaking of clean and unclean meats, He says, ‘Nothing going into the man,’ but He might equally well say, and certainly means, ‘Nothing from without the man coming to him,’ i.e. coming into contact with him. But this is the reverse of what stands in the Law. For the whole complex of the Mosaic-Levitical legislation rests upon the postulate that a man is defiled by outer contact and contamination, or by partaking of certain foods, i.e. that he thereby becomes separated from God, is excluded from the sanctuary and segregated from the sacred community. Now the principle enunciated by Jesus cuts the ground from under all the particular commandments of the ceremonial law. It carries, indeed, a dissolving and explosive force. But His standpoint differs from mere rationalistic ‘illuminism’ by having a profoundly religious basis. Jesus had so intense a conception of man’s relation to God as an ethical one, that He could not tolerate the thought that God would exclude any one from His presence merely because he had touched a corpse or eaten swine’s flesh. It is the evil will, the impure heart, the false nature, that separate men from God.
All this, of course, is self-evident to us; but when Jesus uttered it, and acted upon it, He found Himself at cross purposes with the most exemplary personages of His generation, and compelled to resist the drift of an age-long tradition. He raised His voice not only against the scribes, but against the very spirit of the Law they expounded. Moreover, in actual practice, His bearing towards the Law is quite unconstrained. He adds to the exceptions already conceded by the Rabbis (e.g. works of necessity on the Sabbath), and allows both Himself and His disciples a certain freedom, without taking counsel of the specialists. When challenged, He appeals to the example of David (Mark 2:23-26). It is manifestly gratifying to the narrator that Jesus was able to justify His action so adroitly by the methods of Rabbinical exposition. But this is only an ex post facto justification, of which the disciples certainly were not thinking as they plucked the corn; they had acted without deliberation, simply availing themselves of the freedom which their fellowship with Jesus had made a matter of course. We learn the true meaning of Jesus from the twofold declaration subjoined by St. Mark (Mark 2:27 f.). Doubtless what the writer means is that the ‘Son of man,’ i.e. the Messiah, is Lord of the Sabbath, and can absolve His disciples from its observance; but originally the saying must have run thus: ‘Man has full power also over the Sabbath,’ which, again, is of essentially the same tenor as the other, viz. ‘the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’* [6] This saying, too, is more than an article in a confession; it is really a declaration of war against Mosaism. Scribe and doctor regard the Law as an end in itself, and obedience to it as the final purpose of human life, even if such obedience involve sacrifice, and indeed the surrender of life itself. But the assertion of Jesus that the Law is given for man’s sake, as something designed for his benefit, and the inference that he is free from it whenever its observance conflicts with his welfare, proceed from an entirely different point of view, and have far-reaching implications. The rigid and doctrinaire aspect of the Law is thus cancelled; its behests are viewed as means for the realization of God’s purposes of love towards men. All this, however, shows but the birth-struggle of an entirely new religious conception, destined in its further growth to do away altogether with the Law as law. A similar instance is the declaration (Mark 10:1 ff.) that the Mosaic regulation regarding divorce was a concession to the Israelites’ hardness of heart, and that it stands in antithesis to the statute originally promulgated in Paradise, which alone is the will of God and the precedent for man. Here the Mosaic ordinance is represented as something adventitious, as merely marking a stage meant to be left behind.
The boldness of Jesus in thus essaying to make a distinction within Scripture itself, and to discriminate between the law of God and human accretions, is of great moment for us. He has recourse to a mode of criticism which might be called subjective, but which really merits the attribute prophetic. This ‘Prophet,’ filled with Deity, this great religious Personality, ever directly conscious of His nearness to God, does not shrink from giving judgment as to what is the actual purpose of the Most High. Just as He fervidly announces the royal benignity of God towards both the evil and the good, just as He confidently speaks to the contrite of the Divine forgiveness, and without misgiving assures the wretched of the Divine succour, so He also undertakes, in face of the law of Moses, ‘that which was spoken to the fathers,’ to set forth a new law, in the glad conviction that He is thus expressing the will of God. Hence it is a misapprehension of the tenor and scope of the ‘antitheses’ in the Sermon on the Mount to imagine that in these Jesus is merely impugning the prevailing exegesis of the Law, or merely endeavouring to bring to light the real design of its promulgator. No; the rhythmical repetition of the phrase, ‘But I say unto you,’ makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is here reaching beyond Moses. And this undoubtedly corresponds to the historical situation. Take, for instance, the first two enactments, viz. regarding murder and adultery; it is clear that what Jesus means is that God asks more than mere abstention from these crimes: He demands perfect self-control and integrity of heart. The unheeded moments when the animal nature starts up in a fit of anger or of impure desire are grievously sinful in the eyes of God, as well as the actual misdeeds.
The religious-historical situation is as follows. The Jewish people were under a theocracy, and for them the Law of Moses was by no means restricted to religious or moral matters; it was at once a civil and a penal code, an order of legal procedure and a manual for the priesthood. Now it is the bane of a theocratic constitution that the Divine law, ingrafted as it is upon common life, tends to lose its majesty and inviolability. It has to adapt itself to the varied facts of existence by means of saving clauses and casuistical methods; and such a régime fosters above all the notion that the will and judgment of God reach no further than the arm of the civil magistrate, and that it is only the completed act, and not the intention, that God brings to judgment. Thus the moral relation of man to God sinks to the level of a legal one. Such a deterioration and externalizing of the religious life must all but inevitably ensue when its regulation and guardianship are committed to priests and jurists. It is the ‘Prophet,’ however, who now takes up the word. With incisive force He makes it clear that God looks upon the heart, the thought, the secret motions of the soul, and brings these things before His judgment-seat, and that the sin of intention passes with Him for no less than the overt act. To assert such equivalence of thought and deed may seem to us almost to overshoot the mark; for we rightly place a high value upon the self-command which keeps desire from passing into action. But the apparently partial view is to be regarded as the natural reaction of the heart and the conscience against the legalistic ossification and externalization of religion.
The verdict of Jesus upon divorce points in the same direction. The argument upon which He bases His prohibition of the separation permitted by Moses merits our attention. The statute laid down in Paradise is to be preferred, as the law of God, not merely in virtue of its great antiquity, but also on intrinsic grounds. When a husband puts away his wife, he places her in a position of moral jeopardy; for, should she associate herself with another man, whether in a second marriage or in a passing act of immorality, she thereby completes the dissolution of the first marriage, which hitherto was legally binding. The noteworthy element in this utterance is not that the ruptured matrimonial union is still binding, but in particular that the man is morally responsible for his wife, even after his dismissal of her; he must bear the guilt of her sin. Such is the only judgment possible, if marriage is to be regarded not merely as a legal bond, under the control of the civil magistrate, but as a moral covenant, for whose inviolability men are responsible, not to one another, but to God. See Divorce.
The profoundly irreligious subtlety of the lawyers is also exposed in Jesus’ prohibition of oaths. First of all He shows that the evasions and periphrases by which those who swear hope to escape the danger of profaning God’s holy name, are of no avail; every oath is and remains an adjuration of God. But more: to the finer religious feelings, every oath is a gratuitous and irreverent bringing down of the Most High into the sordid and trivial concerns of the hour—the grossest case being that of the impulsive Oriental who puts his head in pledge, as if he had power over life and death, forgetting his complete dependence upon God, and that life and death proceed from Him alone. Thus Jesus supersedes the scrupulous anxiety and
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ethics
It is proposed in the present article not to discuss the vast subject of ethics in general, but to attempt to ascertain what were the most striking points in which the ethical ideas of the Christiana of the Apostolic Age differed from those of earlier speculators on the subject.
1. Sources of information.-All our first-hand information is contained in the writings of the NT and of the Apostolic Fathers. Indirectly the works of later Christian authors, who treated the subject more systematically, may throw some light by way of inference on the conceptions of the Apostolic Age: for instance, if the treatment of the cardinal virtues by St. Augustine and others shows a marked difference from the treatment found in pre-Christian writers, it may perhaps be rightly inferred that the difference is due to ideas which already prevailed in the first generation of Christians. But inferences of this sort are precarious, for it is hardly possible to ascertain accurately how far the other influences which contributed to the thought of the later writers were operative in the earliest age; and in any case it is probable that later writings would not add anything of great importance to the general outline, which is all that is being attempted here. Attention will therefore be confined to the contemporary documents. And with respect to these, critical questions may be ignored. The accuracy of the historical narrative is not in question, and whatever may be the authorship or the precise date of the documents reviewed, they are all sufficiently early to reflect ethical ideas which belong to the Apostolic Age, and not those which belong to a later period.
2. General characteristics of ethical thought
(1) Absence of systematic treatment.-Ethical questions are constantly touched upon in the NT, but always more or less in connexion with particular cases as they arise, and never in connexion with a complete and thought-out system. Here there is a striking contrast with Greek philosophy. The philosophers tried to find a rational basis for human life in all its relations. In ethics they discussed the question of the supreme good-whether it was knowledge, or pleasure, or virtue; they classified the virtues, and discussed in the fullest manner their various manifestations. There is nothing of this sort in the NT. The morality of the Jews, again, was very different from that of the Greeks, fur the Jews took little interest in purely philosophical problems; but they also had a system, and a very elaborate one, of law and of ceremonial observance, with which their morality was closely bound up. Although the Christians inherited so much from the Jews, this system, after being, as it were, raised to its highest power in the Sermon on the Mount, was definitely set aside in the Apostolic Age. And in the place of a system we find an overpowering interest in certain historical facts. The Synoptic Gospels are occupied with a fragmentary narrative of the life of Christ, in which a good deal of moral teaching is contained. But it is such as arises incidentally from the facts recorded in the narrative, and it is not presented as part of a scheme of ethics. In the Fourth Gospel there is something more nearly resembling systematic moral discussion, but even here the discourses arise out of a historical framework, and the prevailing interest is not ethical but spiritual and mystical. The Acts contains little but narrative, and the teaching recorded in it centres almost monotonously around facts. In the Epistles ethical questions are constantly dealt with, but the problems are practical, and arise out of the circumstances of the time. This is not to say that in these writings there is no new point of view, but that ethics is nowhere treated in a complete and systematic way, and that there appears to be no consciousness on the part of the writers that they are in possession of a new ethical theory or philosophy. The difference, therefore, between pre-Christian and Christian ethics does not consist in a new theory or system. The subject was treated in the Apostolic Age from the practical point of view.
(2) The moral ideal.-A new element is, however, introduced into ethics by that very concentration upon a single historical life which has been noted above. The ideal man had figured largely in earlier ethical systems, but the ideal man of philosophy had been entirely a creation of the imagination, and his actual existence never seems to have been thought of as a practical possibility. Now, however, an actual human life is put forward as a model of perfection, and it is assumed without discussion that all ethical questions, as they may happen to arise, may be, and must be, tested by this.
(3) The new life.-There is, moreover, in the consciousness of the Apostolic Age something more potent than belief in a historical example. There is a sense which pervades every writing of this time that a new force has come into existence. It is not necessary to insist upon the prominence in early Christian teaching of the belief in the Resurrection, The continued life and activity of the Person who is the centre of all their thought were the greatest of all realities to the early Christians. With it was combined the belief in the continual indwelling and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And this seems to explain the apparent indifference to ethical theory which has been noted. For to the early Christians ‘outward morality is the necessary expression of a life already infused into the soul’ (Strong, Christian Ethics, p. 69). It is in this respect that the Christian conception presents the most marked contrast to pre-Christian thought, There was a note of hopelessness in the moral speculation of the Greeks, Even a high ideal was a thing regarded as practically out of reach for the mass of mankind. Plato looked upon the ideal State as a necessary condition for the exercise of the highest virtue, and its conception was a wonderful effort of the philosophical imagination; but it was not considered possible. Even the apparently practical conceptions of Aristotle require a complete reconstruction of society. The Stoic philosophers abandoned this dream, and could suggest nothing better than the withdrawal of the wise man from all ordinary human interests. The Neo-Platonist went further, and sought complete severance from the world of sense, Jewish thought was on different lines, but there was an even keener sense of sin and failure, although this was redeemed from despair by the hope of a Messianic Age which would redress all the evils of the existing order. Above all there was no sufficient solution, and among the Greeks little attempt at a solution, of the problem of how the human will was to be sufficiently strengthened to do its part in the realization of any ideal. In the writings of the Apostolic Age, on the other hand, there is found not only a belief in a perfect ideal historically realized, but also a belief in an indwelling power sufficient to restore all that is weak and depraved in the human will.
(4) The evangelical virtues.-In the NT there is no regular discussion of the nature of virtue, and no formal classification of virtues. The Greek philosophers, while they differed in their views of that constituted the chief good, were agreed in accepting what are known as the four cardinal virtues-prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice-as the basis of their classification. This division, from the time of Plato onwards (and he appears to assume it as familiar), is generally accepted as exhaustive, and other virtues are made to fall under these heads. But although this classification must have been familiar to a large number of the early Christians, and although it had been adopted in the Book of Wisdom (8:7), it is not mentioned in the NT. The cardinal virtues reappeared in Christian literature from Origen onwards, and were exhaustively treated by Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory, and mediaeval writers, but this kind of discussion does not make its appearance in the Apostolic Age. Such lists of virtues us that which occurs in Galatians 5:22 f. are clearly not intended to be exhaustive or scientific, and the nearest approach to a system of virtues is made by St. Paul in 1 Cor., where he expounds what became known as the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. These three are also closely associated in Romans 5:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 1:2 f., and Colossians 1:3-5; and two other NT writers (Hebrews 10:22-24 and 1 Peter 1:21 f.) mention them in conjunction in a suggestive manner. It seems that they were generally recognized as moral or spiritual states characteristic of the Christian life. And the reason for this appears to be that they are regarded as the means by which the Christian is brought into personal relation with the historical facts, and with the new life brought by them into the world, which have been spoken of above as the point on which the Christians of the first age centred their attention. The insistence on these spiritual virtues brings out two distinct characteristics of the ethical thought of the Apostolic Age, which are nowhere defined or discussed in the NT, but which nevertheless appear to be consistently implied. These characteristics are a new doctrine of the end of man, and consequently a new criterion of good and evil, and a new view of human nature.
(a) These three virtues all take a man outside himself, and make it impossible for him to be merely self-regarding. They bring him into close relation not only with his fellow-men but with God. So union with God becomes the highest end of man. This union, moreover, is not absorption: whatever may have been the case of some later Christian mystics, the most mystical of the early writers, St. Paul and St. John, never contemplate anything but a conscious union with God, in which the whole individuality of man is preserved. ‘From first to last the Christian idea is social, and involves the conscious communion between man and man, between man and God. And no state of things in which the individual consciousness disappears will satisfy this demand ‘(Strong, op. cit. p. 88). Faith, hope, and love all relate to a spiritual region above and beyond this present life, but the existing world is not excluded from it. The Kingdom of God, which occupies as large a place in the thought of the Apostolic Age, is regarded as future and as transcendental, but it is also regarded as having come already, so far as the rule of Christ has been made effective in this life. Thus a new standard for moral judgments is set up those actions and events are good which advance the coming of the Kingdom, and those are evil which impede it.
(b) Further, the evangelical virtues assume a unity in human nature which pre-Christian systems of thought failed to recognize. Greek thought either regarded human nature as unfallen, or it adopted more or less an Oriental view of evil as immanent in matter. When evil could not be ignored it might be ascribed either to ignorance or to the imprisonment of the soul in an alien environment. In neither ease could human nature be regarded as a whole which in its own proper being is harmonious. The body and the emotions which are closely connected with it were looked upon as things which must either be kept in strict subjection to the intellect, or, as far as possible, be got rid of altogether. In early Christian thought, on the other hand, hope and love are mainly emotional, and faith is by no means exclusively intellectual. In St. Paul’s use of the term it includes a strong element of emotion-it ‘worketh through love’ (Galatians 5:6); and it is almost more an act of the will than of the intellect. And although asceticism played a great part in some departments of later Christian thought, in the Apostolic Age there can be no doubt of the importance assigned to the body. The conspicuous Christian belief in the resurrection of the body assumes a very different point of view from that of Oriental or oven of Greek philosophy. It is clear that the first generation of Christians regarded human nature as fallen indeed, but as capable in all its parts of restoration, and they believed that none of its parts could be left out from the salvation of the whole.
(5) The conception of sin.-Speaking generally, it may be said that the non-Christian view of sin regards it as natural, and that the Christian view regards it as unnatural. This is, however, a broad generalization, and requires further definition. No system of ethical thought can altogether ignore the fact of sin, though it is sometimes minimized. But there are wide differences in the way in which it is regarded. In pre-Christian thought it was often almost Identified with ignorance. It was assumed that a man cannot sin willingly, because no man desires evil for himself. Virtue is therefore knowledge, and the possibility of knowing what is right and doing what is wrong need not be considered. This was the teaching of a large section of Greek philosophy. Again, wherever Oriental ideas had influence, the seat of evil was thought to be in matter. Sometimes the strife between good and evil was explained as a contest between two rival and evenly-balanced powers. Sometimes a good deity was conceived as acting upon an intractable material. The practical conclusion was usually some form of asceticism-an attempt to be quit of the body and all that it implied; and this asceticism, by a process easy to be understood, not infrequently led to licence. These tendencies often make their appearance in Church history, and traces of them are to be found in the writings of the NT, but during the Apostolic Age the dangers of Gnosticism and Antinomianism were but rudimentary. In modern times the view of evil which regards it as undeveloped good, or as the survival of instincts that are no longer necessary or beneficial, has some points in common with the old dualisms. The common feature of all these views is that they regard evil as more or less inevitable and according to nature. It would not be true to say that they altogether disregard the human will, or deny human responsibility, but they treat the body rather than the will as the seat of evil, and they tend to look upon evil as, upon the whole, natural and necessary. The Christian view of sin, as it appears in the writings of the Apostolic Age, is in the sharpest contrast to this. It is the Jewish view, carried to its natural conclusion, and its chief characteristics may be set down under three heads.
(a) First, the freedom of the will is not considered from the philosophical point of view at all. The metaphysical difficulties are not even touched upon, nor is any consciousness shown of their existence. But the responsibility of man is always assumed, Nor is it for his actions alone that he is responsible. The Sermon on the Mount brings home to him responsibility for every thought, and for his whole attitude towards God. And in doing so it brings to its natural conclusion the course of ethical thought among the Jews. If, however, the root of sin is in the will, it follows that it is not in matter, or in the body, or in anything distinct from the will of man. The whole universe is good, because it is created by God, and sin consists in the wilful misuse of things naturally good. Asceticism therefore, except in the sense of such training as may help to restore the will to a healthy condition, is excluded.
(b) Secondly, the idea of the holiness of God, as forming a test of human action and a condemnation of human shortcomings, is another conception inherited from Judaism. Early Jewish ideas about God are anthropomorphic, but the anthropomorphism is of a very different kind from that of the Greeks, The deities of Greek mythology who aroused the contemptuous disgust of Plato were constructed out of human experience with all the evil and good qualities of actual men emphasized and heightened. To the Jew God is an ideal, the source of the Moral Law, rebellion against which is sin. So in the Sermon on the Mount the perfection of God is held up as the ideal for human perfection, and St. Paul makes the unity of God the ground for belief in the unity of the Church.
(c) Thirdly, sin was regarded as a thing which affects the race, and not only individuals. The beliefs of the Apostolic Age with regard to Christ’s redemptive work imply that there is a taint in the race, and that human nature itself, and not only individual men, has to be restored to communion with God, and requires such a release from sin as will make communion with God possible. Some practical results of this belief in the solidarity of mankind are conspicuous in early Christian writings. One is the exercise of discipline. It was left that the actions and character of individuals compromised and affected the whole body, and that they could not therefore be left to themselves. The injury done by the rebellion of one injured and imperilled the whole community. Both, for his own sake and for the sake of the Church a corporate censure was required, extending if necessary to the cutting off of the offending member (1 Corinthians 5, 2 Corinthians 2, Matthew 18:15-20, etc.). Another result of the belief in solidarity is the emphasis laid upon social virtues in connexion with the corporate character of the Church (e.g. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14, Galatians 5, etc.). It partly accounts for that special prominence of humility in Christian ethics which has been so often commented on from different points of view, for humility is regarded not only as a duty enforced by the example of Christ, but also as the practical means for preserving the unity and harmonious working of the body (Philippians 2:3-5, etc.).
3. Conclusion.-Ethics in the Apostolic Age did not consist in a re-statement of old experience or in a system of purely ethical theory, but in the recognition and acceptance in the sphere of conduct of the practical consequences of what was believed to be an entirely new experience of spiritual facts.
Literature.-A. Neander, ‘Verhältniss der hellen. Ethik zur christlichen,’ in Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, 1851, also Geschichte der christl. Ethik (═ Theolog. Vorlesungen, v. [1]); W. Gass, Geschichte der christl. Ethik, 1881; C. E. Luthardt, Geschichte der christl. Ethik, 1888: H. Martensen, Christian Ethics, Eng. translation , (General) 1885, (Individual) 1881, (social) 1882; J. R. Illingworth, Christian Character, 1904; T. B. Strong, Christian Ethics, 1896 (to which this article is especially indebted); H. H. Scullard, Early Christian Ethics, 1907; T. v. Haering, The Ethics of Christian Life, Eng. translation 2, 1909.
J. H. Maude.
Webster's Dictionary - Ethics
(n.) The science of human duty; the body of rules of duty drawn from this science; a particular system of principles and rules concerting duty, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions; as, political or social ethics; medical ethics.
CARM Theological Dictionary - Ethics
The study of right and wrong, good and bad, moral judgment, etc.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ethics
Ethics is a broad subject whose particular concern is with right conduct in human behaviour. This includes every aspect of people’s conduct, whether it involves others or not. People are answerable to God for all that they do (Hebrews 4:13; Colossians 3:9-10).
God’s standards
From the beginning people had within them some knowledge of right and wrong. God gave them a revelation of the standards of conduct he required in human relationships, and each individual’s conscience judged that person according to those standards. This was so even when the person had rejected the knowledge of God (Romans 1:21-23; Romans 2:14-15; cf. Matthew 7:11; see CONSCIENCE; REVELATION).
When God took the people of Israel into a covenant relationship with himself, he gave them a law-code to regulate their national life. This written code was an application of the unwritten principles which God had placed within the human heart from the beginning but which people had neglected. These principles were based on the truth that the moral conduct of people should be a reflection of the moral character of God, in whose image they were made (Revelation 20:128; Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 19:2; Matthew 19:17; cf. Ephesians 4:24; see LAW).
The ethics of this Israelite law-code concerned a person’s relationships with people and with God. In both cases the motive for right conduct was to be genuine love (Leviticus 19:17-18; Deuteronomy 6:3-7). Right conduct concerned all personal behaviour (e.g. Exodus 20:12; Exodus 22:21-27; Exodus 23:1-8; Leviticus 18:6; Leviticus 18:19; Leviticus 18:22), yet it was more than merely a personal matter. People lived not in isolation but as part of a community, and God wanted the community as a whole to follow his standards (Exodus 23:10-12; Exodus 23:17; Exodus 32:7-10; Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 20:10-20).
In giving his law to Israel at Mt Sinai, God’s purpose was not that as Israelites kept it they could earn the right to become his people. Rather he gave the law to a nation that he had already made his people (Exodus 4:22; Exodus 6:6-8; Exodus 24:3-4). Each person was a guilty sinner and received salvation only through coming in faith and repentance to God (Exodus 32:33; Exodus 34:6-7; Psalms 51:1-4; Isaiah 1:16-20). Salvation was a gift of God’s grace, not a reward for keeping moral laws; though the person who received that salvation loved God’s law all the more and had an increased desire to keep it (Psalms 119:14-16; Psalms 119:44-48; Romans 9:31-32; Galatians 3:10; Galatians 3:18).
Likewise in the new era introduced through Jesus Christ, no one is saved through keeping moral instructions, whether those instructions come from the law of Moses, the teachings of Jesus or the writings of the early Christian leaders. Salvation is by God’s grace, and repentant sinners receive it by faith. But again, having received it they should be diligent to produce good works (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-12; Matthew 10:34-39; James 2:26; 1 Peter 2:9-12; see GOOD WORKS).
Genuine love is once again the source of right behaviour. As new people indwelt by the Spirit of God, Christians can now produce the standard of righteousness that the law aimed at but could not itself produce (Romans 8:1-4; Romans 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 2:3-6; see SANCTIFICATION).
Ethical teachings of Jesus
The foundation of Christian ethics is not what men and women themselves might choose to do, but what God through Christ has already done. Jesus was not primarily a teacher of ethics who showed people how to live a better life, but a Saviour who died and rose again to give repentant sinners an entirely new life (Romans 6:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:18-23; 1 Peter 4:1). God has made believers his children, and they must now show this to be true in practice. Because God has acted in a certain way, Christians must act in a certain way (1 Corinthians 6:20; Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 3:9-10; 1 John 4:7).
Jesus’ teaching must therefore be understood in relation to his mission. He was not a social reformer, but the Saviour-Messiah who brought the kingdom of God into the world. He did not draw up a code of ethics, but urged people to humble themselves and enter the kingdom of God. He knew that people would have worthwhile change in their behaviour only when they were truly changed within (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 12:28; Matthew 15:19-20; Matthew 18:4; Philippians 3:17-215; see KINGDOM OF GOD).
In dealing with standards of human behaviour, Jesus did not introduce any new set of values. He referred people back to the values which were already clearly set out in the Old Testament but which people had either ignored or distorted (Matthew 5:17; Matthew 5:43-44; Matthew 19:8-9; Matthew 22:37-40; see SERMON ON THE MOUNT).
Neither did Jesus present his teaching in the form of regulations applicable to all people in all circumstances, as if it were the law-code of a civil government. His requirement, for example, that people sell their houses or leave their families applied not in all cases, but only in those where people had put their interests before God’s (Matthew 19:16-22; Luke 9:57-62). But the principle on which that particular instruction was based (namely, that discipleship involves sacrifice) applies to everyone (James 2:18; Matthew 16:24-26).
If Jesus had set out a law-code, its regulations would have been suited to the way of life in first century Palestine, but unsuited to other cultures and eras. Instead, as each occasion arose, Jesus emphasized whatever aspect of God’s truth was related to the circumstances (e.g. Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 14:8-11). He also left behind with his followers the gift of the Holy Spirit who, generation after generation, helps Christians to interpret his words and apply their meaning. The teaching of Jesus never goes out of date (John 14:15-17; John 16:13-15).
Motives and behaviour
Because God’s work of redemption through Christ is the basis of Christian ethics, the relationship that believers have with Christ will largely determine their behaviour. Their understanding of Christian doctrine will enlighten them concerning Christian conduct. Their appreciation of what Christ has done will deepen their love for him and give them the desire to please him. They will want to obey his teachings (John 14:15; John 15:4; John 15:10; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 6:3; 1 John 3:2-31).
This obedience is not the fearful keeping of stern demands, but the joyful response to Christ’s love (1 John 2:1-5; 1 John 4:10-12; 1 John 5:3; cf. Matthew 11:29-30; see OBEDIENCE). It is not bondage to a new set of laws, but a freedom to produce the character that no set of laws can ever produce (Romans 13:1-71; Galatians 5:1; Galatians 5:13; Colossians 2:20-23; see FREEDOM).
The fact that Christian obedience is free from legalism is no excuse for moral laziness. Christians have a duty to be obedient (2 Timothy 2:10-15; 1 Corinthians 9:21; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Peter 1:14-16). They need to exercise constant self-discipline (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), and they will be able to do this through the work of Christ’s Spirit within them (Galatians 5:22-23; see SELF-DISCIPLINE). The work of the Holy Spirit helps believers produce that Christian character which is the goal of Christian ethics. The motivating force behind the conduct of Christians is their desire to be like Christ and so bring glory to God (Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1619114893_88; Colossians 3:17; cf. Matthew 5:48).
Being like Christ does not mean that Christians in different cultures and eras must try to copy the actions of the Messiah who lived in first century Palestine. It means rather that they have to produce the sort of character Jesus displayed and be as faithful in their callings as Jesus was in his (John 13:15; Matthew 25:14-30; Ephesians 4:24; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). Christians know that in some bodily way they are to become like Christ at his return, and this should encourage them to become more like him in moral character now (1619114893_53; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Titus 2:11-14; 1619114893_20).
Christians live with the sure expectation that a better life awaits them in the heavenly kingdom. This, however, is no reason to try to escape the problems of the present life (1 Corinthians 15:54; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 1:23-24; Romans 6:16). On the contrary, the affairs of the present life help develop personal character and communion with God, which give meaning to life now and will last through death into the age to come (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 1 Peter 1:3-9).
The awareness of future judgment creates for Christians both expectancy and caution. This is not because they want rewards or fear punishment, but because the day of judgment is the climax of the present life and the beginning of the new (John 15:12; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; see JUDGMENT; PUNISHMENT; REWARD).
Applying Christian ethics to society
Christian ethical teaching is aimed, first of all, not at making society Christian, but at making Christians more Christlike. Their character and behaviour must reflect their new life in Christ (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 2:6-7). But Christian ethics are not a purely private affair. Christians are part of a society where Christ has placed them as his representatives, and they must apply their Christian values to the affairs of that society (Matthew 5:13-16; John 17:15-18; see WITNESS; WORLD).
The immediate community in which Christians must give expression to their standards is the family (Ephesians 5:22-33; Ephesians 6:1-4; see FAMILY; MARRIAGE). Beyond the family is the larger community where they live and work, and where they inevitably meet conduct that is contrary to their Christian understanding of righteousness, truth and justice (Ephesians 6:5-9; see JUSTICE; WORK). Over all is the civil government. Although Christian faith does not in itself make people experts on economics, politics or sociology, it does teach them moral values by which they can assess a government’s actions (1619114893_53; see GOVERNMENT).
Since the Creator knows what is best for his creatures, Christian ethics are the best for people everywhere. Christians should therefore do all they can to promote God’s standards. A society will benefit if its laws are based on God’s standards (Exodus 20:13-17; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Romans 13:8-10), though Christians should realize that it is not possible to enforce all those standards by law. Civil laws can deal with actions that have social consequences, but they cannot deal with the attitudes that cause those actions (cf. Matthew 5:21-22; Ephesians 4:25-32).
In addition, the ethical standards of a society may be so poor that laws have to be less than ideal in order to control and regulate an unsatisfactory state of affairs (e.g. Exodus 21:1-11; Deuteronomy 5:29; see DIVORCE; SLAVERY). This does not mean that Christians may lower their moral standards to the level of the civil law; for something that is legal according to government-made laws may still be morally wrong (cf. Matthew 19:7-9). Nor does it mean (as the system known as Situation Ethics claims) that nothing is absolutely right or wrong, and that in certain situations Christians are free to disobey God’s moral instructions, provided they feel they are acting out of love to others. The more knowledge Christians have of God’s law, the more he holds them responsible to obey it (Luke 12:48; John 9:41; James 2:10-12; cf. Amos 3:2).

Sentence search

Ethicist - ) One who is versed in Ethics, or has written on Ethics
Morality - See Ethics
Morality - See Ethics
Ethics - ) The science of human duty; the body of rules of duty drawn from this science; a particular system of principles and rules concerting duty, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions; as, political or social Ethics; medical Ethics
Morality, Moral Law - —See Ethics, and Law
Theft - See Crimes and Punishment; Ethics ; Law, Ten Commandments, Torah
Midrash shmuel - commentary on Ethics of the Fathers by Rabbi Shmuel Uceda; 1540-1600; Sefad...
Brocard - ) An elementary principle or maximum; a short, proverbial rule, in law, Ethics, or metaphysics
Ethics - Moral theology is sometimes termed Christian Ethics. Ethics is preeminently a practical and directive science, setting before man not only the absolute obligation of doing good and avoiding evil, but indicating as well how he is to act if he wishes to be morally good and attain the end of his being. The establishment of the right rules of human conduct and their embodiment in everyday life then forms the primary purpose of Ethics, which is generally classified as general or theoretical Ethics, dealing with the nature of morality, the end of conduct, its norm, laws, etc. , and special or applied Ethics, dealing with the relation of such principles and rules to man's personal everyday activities whether individual or social. Every phase of free human activity, personal, social, economic, political, and international, comes within the scope of Ethics, and is regulated by the moral law and made to harmonize with right rational nature or the moral order as Divinely constituted
Eudaemonism - ) That system of Ethics which defines and enforces moral obligation by its relation to happiness or personal well-being
Philosophy - The study of seeking knowledge and wisdom in understanding the nature of the universe, man, Ethics, art, love, purpose, etc
Ethics of the fathers - ("Pirkei Avot" in Hebrew) The Ethics of our Fathers, the tractate of the Mishnah which contains the ethical teachings of our Sages
Pirkei avot - ("Pirkei Avot" in Hebrew) The Ethics of our Fathers, the tractate of the Mishnah which contains the ethical teachings of our Sages
Ethology - ) A treatise on morality; Ethics
Rigorism - ) Strictness in ethical principles; - usually applied to ascetic Ethics, and opposed to ethical latitudinarianism
Maxims of the Fathers - (Maxims of the Fathers) Name given to various collections of aphorisms and anecdotes illustrative of the spiritual life, of ascetic and monastic principles, and of Christian Ethics; attributed to the more prominent hermits and monks who dwelt in the Egyptian deserts in the 4th century
Apophthegmata Patrum - (Maxims of the Fathers) Name given to various collections of aphorisms and anecdotes illustrative of the spiritual life, of ascetic and monastic principles, and of Christian Ethics; attributed to the more prominent hermits and monks who dwelt in the Egyptian deserts in the 4th century
Construct - ) To devise; to invent; to set in order; to arrange; as, to construct a theory of Ethics
Humanism - Secular Humanism is a late development emphasizing objectivity, human reason, and human standards that govern art, economics, Ethics, and belief
Devas, Charles Stanton - He treats political economy from a Catholic standpoint, opposing the current teaching in so far as it considers Ethics and history irrelevant
Charles Devas - He treats political economy from a Catholic standpoint, opposing the current teaching in so far as it considers Ethics and history irrelevant
Oakley, Frederick - His chief works include: Aristotelean and Platonic Ethics; The Subject of Tract XC examined; Life of Saint Augustine; Historical Notes on the Tractarian Movement
Frederick Oakeley - His chief works include: Aristotelean and Platonic Ethics; The Subject of Tract XC examined; Life of Saint Augustine; Historical Notes on the Tractarian Movement
Deeply - ) Profoundly; thoroughly; not superficially; in a high degree; intensely; as, deeply skilled in Ethics
Humility - In Ethics, freedom from pride and arrogance humbleness of mind a modest estimate of one's own worth
Gaetano Sanseverino - After a comparative study of philosophic systems he determined to restore the study of the Schoolmen, especially of Thomas Aquinas, and taught logic and metaphysics in the seminary at Naples and Ethics in the university
Sanseverino, Gaetano - After a comparative study of philosophic systems he determined to restore the study of the Schoolmen, especially of Thomas Aquinas, and taught logic and metaphysics in the seminary at Naples and Ethics in the university
Jouin, Louis - His works include "Evidences of Religion" and a number of excellent text-books on philosophy and Ethics
Examination For Holy Orders - The Evidences of Christianity, Christian Ethics and DogmaticTheology
Louis Jouin - His works include "Evidences of Religion" and a number of excellent text-books on philosophy and Ethics
Bar-Hebraeus - His principal works are: The Storehouse of Secrets, a doctrinal and critical commentary on the entire Bible; The Cream of Science, an encyclopedia of human learning; Chronicon, a universal history; compendiums of logic, dialectics, physics, and metaphysics; treatises on theology, canon law, Ethics, rhetoric, mathematics, medicine, and other sciences; and an autobiography
Abulfaraj - His principal works are: The Storehouse of Secrets, a doctrinal and critical commentary on the entire Bible; The Cream of Science, an encyclopedia of human learning; Chronicon, a universal history; compendiums of logic, dialectics, physics, and metaphysics; treatises on theology, canon law, Ethics, rhetoric, mathematics, medicine, and other sciences; and an autobiography
Ethics - The discipline of Ethics deals with such questions as: “What ought I do?” “How should I act so as to do what is good and right?” “What is meant by good?” “Who is the good person?” Biblical Ethics likewise addresses some of the identical questions. While neither Testament has an abstract, comprehensive term or definition which parallels the modern term “ethics,” both the Old Testament and the New Testament are concerned about the manner of life that the Scripture prescribes and approves. The closest Hebrew term in the Old Testament for “ethics,” “virtue” or “ideals” is the word musar , “discipline” or “teaching” (Proverbs 1:8 ) or even derek , “way or path” of the good and the right. ”...
The Biblical Definition of Ethics is Connected With Doctrine The problem with trying to speak about the Ethics of the Bible is that ethical contents are not offered in isolation from the doctrine and teaching of the Bible. In this sense then, the Bible had a decisive influence in molding Ethics in western culture. ...
Five Basic Characteristics of Biblical Ethics In contrast to philosophical Ethics, which tends to be more abstract and human—centered, biblical morality was directly connected with religious faith. ...
Biblical Ethics are, first of all, personal . ...
In the second place, the Ethics of the Bible are emphatically theistic . ...
Most significantly, biblical Ethics are deeply concerned with the internal response to morality rather than mere outward acts. ...
The fifth characteristic of biblical Ethics is that they are universal . A study of biblical Ethics helps us distinguish between the always valid moral law and the temporary command of positive law. Ethics is a response to grace in love not a response to demand in fear. Biblical Ethics call for positive participation in life. ...
The Content of Biblical Ethics Biblical Ethics is based on the complete revelation of the Bible. All other biblical texts—the narratives of wrongdoing, the collection of Proverbs, the personal requests of letters—all contribute to our knowledge of biblical Ethics. ...
Several examples of the content of biblical Ethics may help to better understand how the character of God, especially of His holiness, sets the norm for all moral decision-making
Politics - ) The science of government; that part of Ethics which has to do with the regulation and government of a nation or state, the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity, the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals
Self-Control - See Ethics ; Freedom
Sceptic - One of the greatest sceptics in later times was Hume; he endeavoured to introduce metaphysics, history, Ethics, and theology
Deeply - Profoundly thoroughly as deeply skilled in Ethics or anatomy
Evolution, Cultural - The theory of organic evolution extended to social life, religion, law, morality, marriage, the family, Ethics, etc
Chaste - Purity is an essential element of Christian Ethics (Philippians 4:8 ; James 3:17 )
Slander - See Devil, Satan, Evil, Demonic ; Ethics
Morality - ) The doctrines or rules of moral duties, or the duties of men in their social character; Ethics
Ethics - Ethics is a broad subject whose particular concern is with right conduct in human behaviour. ...
The Ethics of this Israelite law-code concerned a person’s relationships with people and with God. ...
Ethical teachings of Jesus...
The foundation of Christian Ethics is not what men and women themselves might choose to do, but what God through Christ has already done. Jesus was not primarily a teacher of Ethics who showed people how to live a better life, but a Saviour who died and rose again to give repentant sinners an entirely new life (Romans 6:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:18-23; 1 Peter 4:1). He did not draw up a code of Ethics, but urged people to humble themselves and enter the kingdom of God. ...
Motives and behaviour...
Because God’s work of redemption through Christ is the basis of Christian Ethics, the relationship that believers have with Christ will largely determine their behaviour. The work of the Holy Spirit helps believers produce that Christian character which is the goal of Christian Ethics. ...
Applying Christian Ethics to society...
Christian ethical teaching is aimed, first of all, not at making society Christian, but at making Christians more Christlike. But Christian Ethics are not a purely private affair. ...
Since the Creator knows what is best for his creatures, Christian Ethics are the best for people everywhere. Nor does it mean (as the system known as Situation Ethics claims) that nothing is absolutely right or wrong, and that in certain situations Christians are free to disobey God’s moral instructions, provided they feel they are acting out of love to others
Virtue - Mackintosh, Christian Ethics, London, 1909, p. ; Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, Edinburgh, 1892; T. Strong:, Christian Ethics (BL Epicureans - Physics he studied, to explain phenomena and dispel superstitious fears; Ethics he regarded as man's proper study, since they conduce to supreme and lasting pleasure
Guild of Saint Luke, Saint Cosmas, And Saint Damia - Its quarterly organ is "The Catholic Medical Guardian," devoted mainly to medico-moral jurisprudence, deontology, and medico-ethics
Baal - Paton in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; W
Epicureans - In his Ethics Epicurus denied that there was a creator of the world; still he believed that there were gods, to be worshipped for the excellence of their nature: they lived in quiet, and did not interfere with the government of the universe
Ethics - To watch each prophet elaborating this argument is to retrace the discipline that ultimately made Jewish Ethics the envy of the ancient world. They did not add Ethics to religious piety; for them religion and morality matured together, under God's guidance, through experience. Law and Ethics have here coalesced. ...
Old Testament Ethics are admittedly unsystematic, and largely unreflective. But legalism became self-serving, claiming merit before God; Ethics became casuistry; for the weak, ignorant, poor, or sinful, legalism had no message and no mercy. As in the Old Testament, so for Jesus Ethics derives from a right relationship with God, rendering obedience filial. ...
Human Ethics, based on philosophical, sociological or psychological premises, or intuitive responses to isolated "situations, " attain only a consensus of good advice acceptable to people already virtuous in intention. Biblical Ethics, deriving from knowledge and experience of God but forged always in historical real-life situations, problems and needs, reveals unchanging absolutes, inarguable authority, effective motivation, and redemptive power. Thus biblical Ethics prove more truly human in the end, enshrining the Creator's intention for his highest creatures. Barclay, Ethics in a Permissive Society ; P. Henry, Christian Personal Ethics ; W. Lillie, Studies in New Testament Ethics ; J. Sanders, Ethics in the New Testament ; E. White, Biblical Ethics
Ethics - It is proposed in the present article not to discuss the vast subject of Ethics in general, but to attempt to ascertain what were the most striking points in which the ethical ideas of the Christiana of the Apostolic Age differed from those of earlier speculators on the subject. In Ethics they discussed the question of the supreme good-whether it was knowledge, or pleasure, or virtue; they classified the virtues, and discussed in the fullest manner their various manifestations. But it is such as arises incidentally from the facts recorded in the narrative, and it is not presented as part of a scheme of Ethics. This is not to say that in these writings there is no new point of view, but that Ethics is nowhere treated in a complete and systematic way, and that there appears to be no consciousness on the part of the writers that they are in possession of a new ethical theory or philosophy. The difference, therefore, between pre-Christian and Christian Ethics does not consist in a new theory or system. -A new element is, however, introduced into Ethics by that very concentration upon a single historical life which has been noted above. For to the early Christians ‘outward morality is the necessary expression of a life already infused into the soul’ (Strong, Christian Ethics, p. It partly accounts for that special prominence of humility in Christian Ethics which has been so often commented on from different points of view, for humility is regarded not only as a duty enforced by the example of Christ, but also as the practical means for preserving the unity and harmonious working of the body (Philippians 2:3-5, etc. -Ethics in the Apostolic Age did not consist in a re-statement of old experience or in a system of purely ethical theory, but in the recognition and acceptance in the sphere of conduct of the practical consequences of what was believed to be an entirely new experience of spiritual facts. Martensen, Christian Ethics, Eng. Strong, Christian Ethics, 1896 (to which this article is especially indebted); H. Scullard, Early Christian Ethics, 1907; T. Haering, The Ethics of Christian Life, Eng
Essenes - There is no evidence that they rejected the Ethics of marriage
Proverbs Book of - This is a collection of wise maxims woven into a didactic poem, and making up a popular system of Ethics
Instruction - ...
The church teaches Christian Ethics . See Ethics in the Bible
Duty - ’ Kant‡
A
Manliness - The starting-point of pagan Ethics is the analysis of the term ‘happiness’ (εὐδαεμσνία), regarded not as a subjective state of feeling, but as an objective form of being. The Ethics of Greek and Roman writers may be generically described as the science of the relation of man to his environment. of Christian Ethics, i. (c) This idea or manliness corresponds very closely to the ideal of manhood to be found in the Ethics of Evolution. of Ethics; Paulsen, A System of Ethics; Knight, The Christian Ethic; Martensen, Christian Ethics; Luthardt, Hist. of Christian Ethics; Benjamin Kidd, Social Evolution; Ecce Homo, chs
Nation - Martensen, Ethics, ‘General,’ p. von Haering, The Ethics of the Christian Life, London, 1909, p. Martensen, Christian Ethics, ‘General,’ Edinburgh, 1873, pp
Ethics (2) - ETHICS. —A very little reflexion will reveal the unusual difficulties that lurk in a subject like the present—the Ethics of Jesus, or, of the Gospels. Even the uninitiated is aware that we cannot in strictness speak of the ‘Ethics’ of Jesus at all—in the sense, that is, of a doctrine systematically developed according to principles, and exhaustively applied to the facts of life. ...
But are we justified in connecting with Him the term ‘ethical’ at all? We speak accurately of Ethics or Moral Science only when we regard the conduct of men in their mutual relations as something by itself, abstracted from religious feeling and action, and when ethical ends and maxims are disengaged from religion, in virtue of their inherent worth; and such an independent position of Ethics, whether it appear worth attaining or not, is simply beside the mark in the case of Jesus. His love for man, is so inseverable from the religious basis of His belief in the Fatherhood of God, that it would seem to be impossible to delineate His ‘Ethics’ without at the same time treating of, say, the Kingdom of God, the Divine grace, or the final judgment. Mark, we find that it nowhere makes any attempt to portray the Ethics of Jesus as such. Hence we are forced to distinguish between the Ethics of the Evangelists and the Ethics of their source. ...
In an account of the Ethics of Jesus, the reader also looks for a comparison and contrast between Him and His Jewish, perhaps also His Graeco-Roman, contemporaries. True, we can observe the behaviour of the circles from which sprang the Psalms of Solomon, we can lay our hand upon the devout breast of the pseudo-Ezra, we can enter into the spirit of the author of 1 Maccabees or Sirach; but how diverse are even these few casual types, and how impossible is it to make them fit into one harmonious picture! What, again, do we know of the Ethics of the Greek or Sadducean party? What vogue had the Essenes among the people? Are the Pharisees of the Psalms of Solomon identical with those of the time of Jesus? And, above all, what significance for our problem has the Talmud, so often named, so little known? Here, in sober truth, so many unsolved enigmas await the historian, that one cannot but marvel at the assurance of those who, in face of them all, are ready to sketch the Ethics of later Judaism as a foil for the Ethics of Jesus. We have not the daring to institute a comparison between the Ethics of Jesus and the complicated historical phenomena of the period, and then, as impartial judges, to proceed to measure out the light and shade. ...
If, again, we are required to answer the question as to wherein consists the new and original element in the Ethics of Jesus, we are brought to a complete standstill
Sto'Ics - Their Ethics were a protest against moral indifference, and to live in harmony with nature, conformably with reason and the demands of universal good, and in the utmost indifference to pleasure, pain and all external good or evil, was their fundamental maxim
Courage - Green, comparing Greek and Christian ideals of virtue ( Prolegomena to Ethics , p
Sermon on the Mount - ...
Ethics of the kingdom of God...
Jesus’ teaching set out for his followers the quality of life and behaviour that he required of those who entered his kingdom and came under his rule. It does not lay down a legal code of Ethics, but aims to work within people to produce a standard of behaviour that no law-code can produce, no matter how good it might be (Matthew 5:17-18)
Stoics - , made no addition to its Ethics. The teaching of the Stoics may be divided into the following branches: Logic, Physics, Ethics, and Religion. Ethics was likened to the yoke of an egg, physics to the white, and logic to the shell. Again, physics was said to resemble the trees in a field, Ethics the fruit which the trees produced, and logic the fence around the field. ...
(c) Ethics. It may certainly be acknowledged that in these two pagan writers we reach the high-water mark of non-Christian Ethics. Grant, The Ethics of Aristotle, 2 vols
Stoics - Yet Stoicism and Christianity ran parallel rather than came into contact with one another, until through the weakness inherent in its theology and its Ethics the current of Stoic philosophy was dissipated and lost
Loan - See Borrow, Borrowing; Coins ; Ethics in the Bible; Jubilee, Year of; Justice ; Law; Poor, Widows, Orphans, Levites ; Sabbatical Year ; Slavery; Stranger ...
David Nelson Duke...
...
Sermon on the Mount - During the Roman Catholic church's history in the Middle Ages, only those living within the monastery were held responsible for keeping the Ethics of the sermon; everyone else was bound only to keep the Ten Commandments. Scofield held that the Ethics of the sermon were fully valid only for the new dispensation after the return of Christ. See Beatitudes ; Ethics ; Jesus, Life and Ministry
am ha'Arez - Even the touch of the garment of an ‘am hâ’ârez was defiling; and Lazarus (Ethics of Judaism) quotes a saying, ‘An ‘am hâ’ârez may be killed on the Sabbath of Sabbaths, or torn like a fish. 295; Lazarus, Ethics of Judaism, English translation i
Desire - ...
Coming more closely to the subject, we take a description of Desire from Professor Mackenzie: ‘In the case of what is strictly called desire, there is not merely the consciousness of an object, with an accompanying feeling of pleasure and pain, but also a recognition of the object as a good, or as an element in a more or less clearly defined end’ (Manual of Ethics3 [1] , p. For Desire, the analysis of it, and the place assigned to it, mark off the schools of philosophy from each other, and, according as they view it, it gives the keynote to different systems of Ethics. In a signilicant passage in the Nicomachcan Ethics he says (we quote the paraphrase of Sir A. After deliberating we decide, and form a desire in accordance with our deliberation’ (Grant’s Aristotle’s Ethics, vol. Some valuable remarks occur in Spinoza’s Ethics, but the current of modern speculation on the topic was set agoing by Hobbes. In the posthumous work of Professor Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, there is a lengthened and incisive analysis of Desire; and in the posthumous work of Professor Sidgwick, The Ethics of T. Martineau, as also in the various editions of the Methods of Ethics, we find a criticism of Green. On this Sidgwick remarks: ‘As a matter of fact, it appears to me that throughout the whole scale of my impulses, sensual, emotional, and intellectual alike, If can distinguish desires the object of which is something other than my own pleasure’ (Methods of Ethics, p. In the Prolegomena to Ethics and in the Introduction to Hume, Green has brought the self in its concrete reality within the vision of English thinkers. He has been ably helped by such writers as Professor Muirhead in his manual The Elements of Ethics, by Professor Watson in Hedonistic Theories, and Professor Mackenzie in the Manual of Ethics. Other writers might be mentioned, but these will suffice to show the significance of the new departure in Ethics, and of the introduction of the self into English philosophy. ...
‘There is one subject or spirit, which desires in all a man’s experiences of desire, understands in all operations of his intelligence, wills in all his acts of willing; and the essential character of his desires depends on their all being desires of one and the same subject which also understands, the essential character of his intelligence on its being an activity of one and the same subject which also desires, the essential character of his acts of will on their proceeding from one and the same subject which also desires and understands’ (Prolegomena to Ethics4 [1] , p. But does not the self-conscious being, in making a choice, sometimes choose unwisely and wrongly? As Sidgwick points out, ‘It seems to me to be fundamentally important to distinguish between choice (even deliberate choice) and judgment as to choice-worthiness, since they may diverge’ (The Ethics of T
Conscience - And while adherents of the sensational school of Ethics may dispute Kant’s right to describe the imperative of morality as ‘categorical’ in its nature (Metaphysic of Ethics, p. Paul’s own Epistles are full of instruction as regards both the broad principles of Christian Ethics and their application under varying circumstances to all the details of personal, family, and social life. The Ethics of the NT are not the ingenious elaboration of a beautiful but abstract moral scheme; they are practical through and through. Thus, in the view of the NT writers, Ethics passes into religion, and the Christian conscience is the conscience of one who lives the life of faith and love, and who can say with St. Kant, Metaphysic of Ethics, Eng. Green, prolegomena to Ethics, Oxford, 1883, p. ; H, Martensen, Christian Ethics, Edinburgh, 1881-82, i. ; Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, do
Oxford Catholic Worker's College - Students receive tuition from university tutors, attend university lectures, and are enabled to prepare for the university diploma in economics and political science; their studies also include moral philosophy, social Ethics, and philosophy of religion
Self-Surrender - ‘Every real sacrifice is at the same time self-preservation, namely, preservation of the ideal self’ (Paulsen, System of Ethics , p
Happiness - Very early in the history of Greek philosophy, happiness became the center of keen speculation and the science of Ethics had its origin in these theories
Ethics - Ethics . The present article will be confined to Biblical Ethics. OT Ethics . NT Ethics . Accordingly, Christian Ethics takes full account of sin . ‘Obedience, patience, benevolence, purity, humility, alienation from the world and the “flesh,” are the chief novel or striking features which the Christian ideal of practice suggests’ (Sidgwick), and they involve the conception that Christian Ethics is based on the recognition of sin, of individuality, of social demands, and of the need of heavenly assistance. Christian Ethics is marked quite as much by promises of assistance as by loftiness of standard
Imitation - Christian Ethics was roughly constituted in the early centuries by the recognition of two moralities—common morality, requiring a minimum of obedience to law from those living in the world, and first-class morality, the super-legal or supererogatory goodness of those who practised asceticism. This reinterpretation—imitation of Christ rather than of angels—took place within Catholic Ethics, with a great gain in the direction of living Christian truth. Christian Ethics presuppose the Christian gospel. of Christian Ethics (English translation)
Anointing - 233, 383; Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Hastings’ Single-vol. -See the articles ‘Anointing’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , and Encyclopaedia Biblica ; and, for the development of the doctrine of Extreme Unction in the Church, J
Christian Life - It is not primarily a new code of Ethics which they unfold; it is a new Personality. We must go for our enlightenment, not to any general studies of Christian Ethics, but to the extant authorities of the age, which treat of the Christian life in: (1) the Jewish-Christian period; (2) the Pauline period; and (3) the post-Pauline period. His insistence on Ethics reveals his abhorrence of antinomianism, even when that abhorrence is not as expressly stated as it is in Romans 6:15 and Galatians 5:18 f. Paul held as to the Person of Christ; wherever the Deity of our Lord is proclaimed, as in the Fourth Gospel and 1 John, 1 Peter, and the Ignatian Epistles, we find, as McGiffert notes (see article ‘Apostolic Age’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ), that the Pauline idea of moral transformation by the indwelling of the Divine becomes prominent. With the truth of the Incarnation several of his greatest precepts are allied (2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 2:5, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:13, Romans 15:7), and there is often a direct connexion between his Ethics and his theological and christological doctrine. The gentler virtues which found no place in pagan Ethics, such as sincerity, humility, reasonableness (Philippians 4:5), patience, meekness, brotherly love, kindness (Galatians 5:22), are united with love and temperance or self-control; while joy, peace, and thankfulness (cf. In dealing with social and civil responsibilities, the Ethics of Pauline Christianity are opposed to revolt or agitation
Mithra - Among the more prominent are: December 25 the god's birthday, Sunday the holy day, baptism, a sacred meal, categorical Ethics, belief in a final judgment with eternal life for the righteous and punishment for the wicked, and that the world would finally be destroyed by fire
New Heavens And a New Earth - Second Peter 3:13, while in a context that addresses eschatological issues, is actually focused on Ethics. The call to Ethics is a prominent theme in New Testament prophetic passages
Punishment - Bowne, Principles of Ethics, New York, 1892, ch. Barbour, A Philosophical Study of Christian Ethics, Edinburgh and London, 1911, pp
Justice - In his analysis of justice (δικαιοσύνη), Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, bk
Abaddon - in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Encyclopaedia Biblica ; article ‘Abyss’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; Expository Times xx
Shame - ]'>[5] however, regards it not as a virtue, but an emotion (πάθος), which he does not consider very valuable to Ethics. ...
Shame is not, then, a motive which we shall expect to find prominent in Christian Ethics
Shame - ]'>[5] however, regards it not as a virtue, but an emotion (πάθος), which he does not consider very valuable to Ethics. ...
Shame is not, then, a motive which we shall expect to find prominent in Christian Ethics
Ideal - ...
In the history of Ethics, discussion has always centred in this question of the ideal, the summum bonum, the ‘chief end of man. Ethics (1. And Herbert Spencer, in his Data of Ethics (p. ’ Newman Smyth criticises Spencer’s statement as a confusion between the form and the substance of the moral intuition (Christian Ethics, p. Ethics, pt. Ethics, i
Corinthians, First Epistle to the - ...
...
In the third part he discusses various questions of doctrine and of Christian Ethics in reply to certain communications they had made to him
Tongue - ...
Early Christian Ethics seems to have found it necessary to emphasize the control of the tongue; it is even made the sine qua non of religion (James 1:26) and the condition of life (1 Peter 3:10; 1 Peter 3:1 Clem
Business - Greek Ethics regarded only certain occupations as being fit for these leading the highest life, and from these commercial activity was excluded (Plat
Abyss - -The Commentaries and Bible Dictionaries; article ‘Abyss’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Preface - There are articles on the Biblical theology and Ethics, on the antiquities, and on the languages English as well as Hebrew and Greek
Tongue - ...
Early Christian Ethics seems to have found it necessary to emphasize the control of the tongue; it is even made the sine qua non of religion (James 1:26) and the condition of life (1 Peter 3:10; 1 Peter 3:1 Clem
Abyss - -The Commentaries and Bible Dictionaries; article ‘Abyss’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Selfishness - 94–182; Martensen, Christian Ethics, ii. ; Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, p
Circumcision - The origin of circumcision and its practice by the Jews and other peoples may be studied in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics . -articles on ‘Circumcision’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , Dict
Circumcision - The origin of circumcision and its practice by the Jews and other peoples may be studied in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics . -articles on ‘Circumcision’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , Dict
Free Will - Our freedom, indeed, as Martensen (Christian Ethics, § 31, pp. ‘Will’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible; Martensen, Christian Ethics; T. Green, Prolegomena to Ethics; Sir W
Pagan - Aristotle, founder of systematic Ethics, started from experience rather than theory; he maintained that true ultimate happiness could be had only by the most perfect activity of the reason, which springs in turn from virtue
Paganism - Aristotle, founder of systematic Ethics, started from experience rather than theory; he maintained that true ultimate happiness could be had only by the most perfect activity of the reason, which springs in turn from virtue
Vengeance - ...
In the Ethics of Christianity the Golden Rule solves the problem of private and personal revenge. Mackenzie, Manual of Ethics4, London, 1900, p
Brotherly Love - See Love ; Hospitality ; Ethics
Games (2) - The Christian ideal of a life temperate and just does not include a life whose first interest is amusement, or one in which ‘distraction’ is necessary to prevent ennui (see Dorner, Christian Ethics, English translation p
First-Fruit - ; Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vi
Ephesians, Book of - ...
Analysis of the Epistle: Theology and Ethics Following the pattern of all of his epistles, Paul introduced himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God—not by human will, not even by his own will, but God's will. Second there follows a major section in Ethics growing out of the theological theme. In the New Testament, theology and Ethics are bound together; they are never to be separated. Ethics: Redemption is applied in church life, personal life, and domestic life (Ephesians 4:1-6:24 )
Motives - Meier...
See also Ethics ; Heart ; Ten Commandments ...
Bibliography . , Toward Old Testament Ethics ; B
Self-Examination - Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, p. Green’s Prolegomena to Ethics, Bk
Book of Life - ’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ) has pointed to the Bab. ; A, Jeremias, article ‘Book of Life’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; W
Ordination - ’ At a later date this word and χειροθετεῖν and others (for which see Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘Ordination’) acquired a technical sense; but this is not the case in the NT. This method (not without a certain veto attached) continued for many centuries, and to a large extent, with geographical and local variations, exists to this day (see article ‘Laity,’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vii. See on this subject Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘Ordination. See Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , articles ‘Invocation (Liturgical)’ and ‘Ordination. 17), in the Church Orders (see Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v. 5) and in the Church Orders (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v
Right (2) - It is this that differentiates Christian Ethics from all others
Labour - Alexander, The Ethics of St
Cerinthus - Peake, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics iii
Dream - of Christ and the Gospels , and ‘Dreams and Sleep’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; J
Arbitration - There is no valid distinction of private and public right; the code of Ethics that is binding for the private individual is equally obligatory on kings and the representatives of peoples
Psychology - rendered ‘ conscience ,’ is used in the NT consistently for what Kant called the practical reason, man’s moral consciousness ( Acts 23:1 ; Acts 24:16 , Romans 2:15 ; Romans 9:1 ; Romans 13:6 , 1Co 8:7 ; 1 Corinthians 8:10 ; 1 Corinthians 8:12 ; 1 Corinthians 10:25 ; 1Co 10:27-29 , 2 Corinthians 1:12 ; 2 Corinthians 4:2 , 1 Timothy 1:5 ; 1 Timothy 1:19 ; 1 Timothy 3:9 ; 1 Timothy 4:2 , 2 Timothy 1:3 , Titus 1:15 , Hebrews 9:9 ; Hebrews 9:14 ; Hebrews 10:22 ; Hebrews 13:18 , 1Pe 2:19 ; 1 Peter 3:16 ; 1 Peter 3:21 ), and is an instance of the influence of the Stoic Ethics on ‘the moral vocabulary of the civilized world at the time of the Christian era
Stranger, Alien, Foreigner - Bonet-Maury in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vi. von Haering, Ethics of the Christian Life, London, 1909, p. Martensen, Christian Ethics [7], Eng
Ten Commandments - Ethics is not about what will advance one's self-interest, but about maintaining an all-important relationship with God. Ethics are a religious matter, and worship of the true God is the foundation of all nonmanipulative Ethics. If persons can ever realize that they are not the suppliers of their needs, but that God is, and surrender those needs to him, then Ethics will move to a new plane
Friendship - —Friendship was esteemed among the pagans and received memorable treatment at the hands of Aristotle (Ethics, Bks. Christian Ethics is not the successor to the virtues of paganism, but the new spirit that turned patriotism into brotherhood, elevated friendship into universal love; φιλία becomes ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦίΑ. —Aristotle, Ethics; Cicero, de Amicitia; PRE Evil - This essay uses the term "moral evil" to include both social offenses (ethics—murder, theft) and cultic sins (those offenses aimed directly against the deityblasphemy, idolatry). Deuteronomy 6:5 ); Ethics are considered in the last six of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12-17 ; Deuteronomy 5:16-21 ) and by the second "Great Commandment" (Leviticus 19:18 ). There can be no biblical Ethics that stand apart from cult nor a biblical morality apart from theology. Because of this, cult and Ethics often appear fused in the Bible, as in Cain's admission of guilt for a faulty sacrifice and the murder of his brother (Genesis 4:13 ); a similar fusion of the cultic and the ethical occurs in Genesis 15:16 ("the sin of the Amorites"), where idolatry and unethical activity are considered as one. In both Testaments, proper worship and social Ethics are subsumed in a common covenant that ties the people of God to him and to one another
Self-Denial - —When we consider the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are at once struck by His definite and marked departure from the Ethics of classical antiquity. Sittenlehre; Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics (1894); Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living and Holy Dying; J
Alms - of the Bible 2; ‘Charity, Almsgiving (Christian)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; G
Courage - ‘Courage’; Aristotle, Ethics, iii
Courtesy - Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs; Geikie, Holy Land and the Bible; Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine [1]; Martensen, Christian Ethics, i
Ark - Kennedy), and especially Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (R
Immorality, Sexual - ...
The New Testament contains far less teaching about sexual immorality than the Old Testament, on which Christian morals and Ethics are based. Harrison...
See also Ethics ; Homosexuality ...
Bibliography . Bailey, Sexual Ethics ; H. Thielicke, The Ethics of Sex ; H
Justice (2) - of Salvation; the Christian Ethics of Martensen (Social), Dorner, Newman Smyth; Luthardt. Ethics; Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, vol. In the following works on General Ethics, ‘Justice’ is, in the main, treated from the Christian standpoint: Hegel. to Ethics, also Principles of Polit
Bible, Methods of Study - The “historical and literal sense” became predominant, not only since the time of the Protestant Reformation, but even before, despite the many attempts in the Middle Ages to detect “deeper” meanings in the text (about doctrine, Ethics, and eschatology). What could have happened if these words had not been given to Jeremiah's or James' generation? What would be lacking if that message had not been preserved by Luke? Which details would cause us to suffer clarity or completeness in our knowledge about Jesus Christ, the church, or Ethics? In so asking the interpreter will get a better glance of the specific value of the text
Boldness - Russell Scott, article ‘Boldness (Christian)’ In Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ii
Economics - He opposed economic teaching that ignored Ethics; piety, i
Obedience - Alexander, Christianity and Ethics, 1914, p
Hospitality - Hospitality plays no small role in the realm of biblical Ethics. Duke...
See also Ethics ...
Bibliography
Philosophy - Ethics occupied in his investigations the primary place which had hitherto been held by Physics. This difference necessarily found its chief expression in Ethics
Golden Rule - of Ethics3 [1] , p. Ethics, ix. Zahn refers the addition to the Didache; but, as Rendel Harris says, ‘the negative precept turns up everywhere in the early Church, having been absorbed in the first instance from Jewish Ethics. ’ Harless (Christian Ethics, p
Adoption - But, though the preventing of the extinction of a family was thought important by the Israelites, and though adoption was a legal custom among the Babylonians (Box, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i. It was at first largely connected with the desire that the family worship of dead ancestors should not cease-a cultus which could be continued only through males (Wood-house, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i. Box, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘Adoption (Semitic)’; W
Strong And Weak - Simmons...
See also Corinthians, First and Second, Theology of ; Ethics ; Freedom ...
Bibliography
Blasphemy - Dictionary of the Bible , and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , with the literature there cited, see the relevant Commentaries, esp
Blessedness (2) - Smyth, Christian Ethics, 118ff
Proverb - The proverb is patriarchal government in the region of Ethics
Nationality - Nationality was at first constituted under the aegis of the national deity, and provided the practice-ground and range for social Ethics. What nationality had hitherto done for religion, in providing the scope for its practice of social Ethics, humanity was to do henceforth
Inspiration - ( c ) The dynamical theory recognizes the exercise of human faculties in the author, but maintains their illumination, stimulation, and purification by the Spirit of God, in order that in doctrine and Ethics the Divine mind and will may be correctly and sufficiently expressed; but this divorces literature from life
Sanctification - ” See Ethics ; Hebrews ; Salvation
Humour - —Martensen, Christian Ethics, i
Consecrate, Consecration - of Christ and the Gospels (Tasker), Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) (Hastings), and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Feltoe)
Ambition - And because it is capable of being bent towards lofty as well as sinister, or at least selfish ends, Christian Ethics seems from one point of view to be the exaltation of Ambition, from another its deposition
Proverbs - "The moralists of the east," says Sir William Jones, "have, in general, chosen to deliver their precepts in short sententious maxims, to illustrate them by sprightly comparisons, or to inculcate them in the very ancient forms of agreeable apologues: there are, indeed, both in Arabic and Persian, philosophical tracts on Ethics, written with sound ratiocination and elegant perspicuity; but in every part of the eastern world, from Pekin to Damascus, the popular teachers of moral wisdom have immemorially been poets: and there would be no end of enumerating their works, which are still extant in the five principal languages of Asia
Homosexuality - In this view, the place to begin a truly Christian consideration of sexual Ethics is not with Genesis and the legal code but with Exodus and freedom from law proclaimed by Jesus. Schmidt...
See also Ethics ; Immorality, Sexual ...
Bibliography . Grenz, Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective ; R
Minister, Ministration - —These sayings of Jesus virtually create a new standard of social Ethics. of Ethics, 120), but this was really inconsistent with the hard isolation of the individual that was the fundamental basis of Stoicism (Lightfoot on Philippians 2, ‘St. 291), ‘an expression or a maxim, which detached from its context offers a striking resemblance to the Ethics of the Gospel, is found to have a wholly different bearing when considered in its proper relations
Dispersion - ‘The Law and the Prophets and the Psalms’ went with them everywhere, but ‘in the Greek Diaspora … strict canonicity was accorded only to the Torah’ (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ii. The old dream of a theocracy was forgotten, and Messianism aroused no interest’ (Inge, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i. 2286 (Guthe), Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i
Dispersion - ‘The Law and the Prophets and the Psalms’ went with them everywhere, but ‘in the Greek Diaspora … strict canonicity was accorded only to the Torah’ (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ii. The old dream of a theocracy was forgotten, and Messianism aroused no interest’ (Inge, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i. 2286 (Guthe), Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i
Humility - Contrast between Greek and Christian Ethics. ‘Ethics,’ by H. ’...
Greek Ethics, as expressed and systematized by Aristotle, the ancient master of moral analysis and definition, fostered pride, the genius of later Stoicism, and regarded the humble as contemptible, mean-spirited, and without force or aspiration. Strong’s Christian Ethics, Bampton Lect
Happiness - Was it in knowledge, pleasure, virtue, freedom from pain, wealth, or well-doing? The record of the answers to this forms the history of ancient Ethics. The comparison between ancient and Christian Ethics must not be made on verbal or literary lines, but the systems must be judged by their actual contribution to well-being or happiness
Demon - Pass in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘Demons and Spirits (Christian)’; for those of other nations see the various articles under the same title in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Greek Language - Similarly Plato, Aristotle, and other writers from the Golden Age of Greece have influenced modern philosophy, logic, Ethics, and even science
Walk - Gerig...
See also Ethics ; Sanctification ; Spirituality ...
...
Nehemiah, Theology of - ...
Ethics . Before the wall was even finished a crisis concerning Ethics must be dealt with
James, Theology of - It is the eschatological tension of that "already but not yet" that is the basis for James' Ethics. As we stressed earlier, James' Ethics are firmly rooted in his eschatology
Epicureans - His theoretical teaching treated of Man and the Universe (his Physics); his practical teaching used the knowledge so gained for the regulation of human conduct (his Ethics). ...
(c) Ethics
Righteousness - See Ethics ; Grace ; Law; Mercy; Salvation
Ignorance - Paul, and was associated with their low Ethics, their heathen intimacies, and their disbelief in the Resurrection
Neighbor - This lawyer-scribe unknowingly expresses a fundamental issue in all of Ethics: For whom are we responsible in issues of justice and mercy? Jesus' answer was the parable of the Good Samaritan and the fundamental ideas of the parable find their roots in both Old Testament and Jewish soil
Enlightenment - Wickham, and article ‘Baptism (Early Christian)’ by Kirsopp Lake in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Honesty - —This virtue does not take the prominent place in the teaching of Jesus Christ that it assumes in most systems of Ethics
Deceit, Deception, Guile - —In addition to the books already referred to, the reader may consult Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics; Prof
Government - The laws of the state may represent the minimum requirements for an ordered society; Christian morality goes beyond that, even to a person’s thoughts and motives (Acts 22:25; see Ethics)
Nazarene - -Article ‘Ebionism’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics and DAC; A
Humility - Contrast between Greek and Christian Ethics. ‘Ethics,’ by H. ’...
Greek Ethics, as expressed and systematized by Aristotle, the ancient master of moral analysis and definition, fostered pride, the genius of later Stoicism, and regarded the humble as contemptible, mean-spirited, and without force or aspiration
Pharisees (2) - Religion and Ethics were in perfect harmony. The idea of religion as a supreme impulse from the depths of man’s nature, as Jesus taught it, independent of both superstition and Ethics, was peculiarly foreign to the Pharisaic Jew (cf. Pharisaic Ethics taught to hate Gentiles as enemies; their morality had no unifying principle of application to man as man—while Jesus taught love even to enemies and Gentiles. He brought a new cup of blessing full of the wine of the Kingdom, a sweet blending of religion and Ethics as inseparable in thought as the inside and outside of the holy cup itself
Retribution (2) - ...
Accordingly we may say that Christ destroyed the distinction which existed in the Jewish thought of His time, and which still exists in popular Ethics, between rewards in this world and the next. The connexion of virtue with the desire for happiness is one of the ultimate problems of Ethics, and cannot be fully treated here
Rufus - Paul when he wrote, under Nero (but in the earlier and better part of his reign), his weighty exposition of the Ethics of citizenship (Romans 13:1-7). Ethics (viii
Exorcism - 650; Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘Abrenuntio,’ vol. , and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , iv
Rufus - Paul when he wrote, under Nero (but in the earlier and better part of his reign), his weighty exposition of the Ethics of citizenship (Romans 13:1-7). Ethics (viii
Purity-Purification - See Holiness; Levite; Priest; Sacrifice; Atonement ; Ethics ;...
W
Lake of Fire - For a fuller account of the early history of the conception see ‘Introductory’ and ‘Christian’ sections of ‘Cosmology and Cosmogony’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , and ‘Hinnom, Valley of,’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ; and, for the fuller discussion of the general subject, articles Hell and Fire in the present work
Arabia - Nöldeke, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Formalism - -While religious observances and credal orthodoxy are always to be submitted to the test of Ethics, the last hiding-place of formalism is within the ethical domain itself
Sabbath - This inevitably resulted from transferring the sanctions and some of the features of the Jewish Sabbath to the Lord’s Day, and from the incorporation of the unaltered Decalogue as a norm in Christian Ethics. Carleton), in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Virgin Virginity - The reader is referred for further information on this topic to article ‘Agapetae,’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i. Achelis, in article ‘Agapetae,’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i
Sabbath - This inevitably resulted from transferring the sanctions and some of the features of the Jewish Sabbath to the Lord’s Day, and from the incorporation of the unaltered Decalogue as a norm in Christian Ethics. Carleton), in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Perseverance - Such a stance— Paul boasting of the believers because of their steadfastnessstands in contrast to the Ethics of the Greek world, which regarded this as demeaning behavior
Lie, Lying - , Toward Old Testament Ethics
Grave Gravity - For Kant’s view, see The Metaphysic of Ethics, translation Semple3, Edinburgh, 1871; J. Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics7, London, 1907; A
Fruit (2) - ’...
To Hegel, ‘the great aphorism (of John 12:25), in which the Christian Ethics and theology may be said to be summed up, is no mere epigrammatic saying, whose self-contradiction is not to be regarded too closely; it is rather the first distinct, though as yet undeveloped, expression of the exact truth as to the nature of spirit
Perfection (Human) - Ethics, 108; G
Sirach - Many thoughts are borrowed from the works of Aristotle: the sleeplessness of the stars (43:10) from de Caelo, 284 A 32; the changeableness of the fool (27:11) from Eudemian Ethics, 1239 B 12; the comparison of a friend to wine (9:10) from ib. 614 A 13; the pleasing effect of green vegetation on the eye (40:22) from Problems, 959 A 25; the description of a friend as ‘one whose soul is like thine’ (37:12c) from Great Ethics, 1211 A 32; the affection between animals of the same species (13:14) from Problems, 896 B 10. Ethics, 1100 A 11), though it is constantly quoted as a proverb
Expediency - -Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 1892; H. Martensen, Christian Ethics (Social and Individual), 1881-82; G
Jonah, Theology of - ...
Ethics
Habakkuk, Theology of - "...
Ethics
Heathen - The Apostle also does justice to heathen Ethics in Philippians 4:8 -‘an exhortation,’ as Weizsäcker says (Apostolic Age, ii
Spirits in Prison - ...
The objection of Loofs (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics iv
Celibacy (2) - ; Martensen, Christian Ethics, iii
Epicureans - The Ethics of Epicurus are much less exceptionable than his physics; of which we may judge from the following summary: The end of living, or the ultimate good, which is to be sought for its own sake, according to the universal opinion of mankind, is happiness; which men generally fail of attaining, because they form wrong notions of the nature of happiness, or do not use proper means for attaining it
Purification (2) - Some must have dated from a prehistoric period when religion had but little to do with Ethics, and concerned itself rather with maintaining the favour of a deity, thought of as arbitrary, by avoiding practices that might trench upon his holiness
Apocrypha - Its realm is Ethics, not metaphysics. The Ethics is not discussed theoretically; there is no theory of Ethics
Forgiveness (2) - But it would be utterly misleading, even to the subversion of the very foundations of Ethics, if the inference were drawn that it matters nothing how deeply a man sins, provided that when his evil course is over he regrets his errors and asks for pardon, and that there is no reason in the moral government of the Universe why such a man should not be at once forgiven without infraction of the eternal law of righteousness. In Pagan Ethics to revenge an injury and punish an enemy to the utmost was manly, to forgive was mean-spirited. Such forgiveness of injuries was based upon two fundamental principles of Christian Ethics: (a) the duty of repressing all personal resentment, closely connected with the virtues of meekness and humility; and (b) that love to all men, including enemies, which—paradoxical as it might appear—Christ enjoined as fundamentally incumbent on all His disciples (Matthew 5:44)
Hypocrisy - 43–48; Martensen, Christian Ethics, 1st Div. ‘Individual Ethics,’ 1881 [5], pp
Paul - Paul expressed a concern for Ethics. See Ethics
Hypocrisy - 43–48; Martensen, Christian Ethics, 1st Div. ‘Individual Ethics,’ 1881 [5], pp
Inspiration of Scripture - Both its quotations and its motifs are found in our literature, oratory, art, music, politics, law, and Ethics
Judge Judging (Ethical) - This passage appears to combine the two ideas which enter into the NT treatment of the subject: the Christian must avoid censorious judgment and yet courageously exercise his judgment in the realm of Ethics and doctrine; he is happy in the strength of his faith, which enables him so to act as to escape self-condemnation or misgiving
Divorce (2) - ; Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 410 ff
Drunkenness - The words were probably written about the time of the first appearance of the Encratites (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v
Christianity - The Ethics of Jesus are the Ethics of His own example; ‘the mind of Christ’ is the Christian’s indwelling law ( Philippians 2:5 )
Anthropology - To understand adequately the doctrine of humanity is to understand, at least in some measure, the doctrines of creation, the image of God, salvation, sin, death, eternal life, Ethics, and many, many more. See Salvation ; Sin ; Ethics ; Death ; Eternal Life ; Creation
Philo - ...
In Ethics Philo accepts the doctrine of the four main virtues as proposed by Plato, and the Stoic principle of life according to nature; he discovers both in the Mosaic Law, which represents to him the true reasonable morality. It is by his identifications in connexion with the manifold significance of the Logos that Philo’s interpretation gains further variety by application to physical cosmology, to anthropological psychology, and to human Ethics
Property (2) - Ethics, iii. Ethics, 448 ff
Titus (Emperor) - Hense, Leipzig, 1905) preach the noblest Ethics of classical antiquity, was recalled to Rome, though Vespasian had banished him
Renunciation - ‘Self-Surrender’; Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, p
Vengeance (2) - ‘Anger (Wrath) of God,’ ‘Avenge,’ ‘Ethics,’ ‘Forgiveness,’ ‘Goel’; JE Love-Feast - Maclean, article ‘Agape’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; J
Hymns - Abbott, Light on the Gospel from an ancient Poet, 1912; see also the series of articles on ‘Hymns (Christian)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Aeon - ; Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘aeons’ and ‘Ages of the World’; F
Promise (2) - 104; Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics? (1907), 295; Somerville, Precious Seed (1890), 233; Spurgeon, Twelve Sermons on Precious Promises
Woman - ...
Jesus' Ethics preserve and intensify the strong Old Testament emphasis on sexual propriety (Matthew 5:27-30 ; 19:1-12 ), but for the first time make clear that women and men will be judged by identical standards (Matthew 5:32 ; Mark 10:11-12 ). , Toward Old Testament Ethics ; R
Character - ’ From which it will be seen that there is no ordered system of Ethics in the New Testament; but the sum and substance of it is that life is primarily to be the gradual demonstration of the Divine indwelling, that the world may see that Christians are alike possessed and controlled by a power and spirit not their own. However erroneously it was conceived, there can be no doubt that it exercised a powerful effect upon the moral qualities of the early Christian community (1619114894_46), and its essential truth is still responsible for much that is unique in Christian Ethics
Daniel, Book of - It provides the highest example of Old Testament Ethics and the climax of Old Testament teaching about the future of God's people
Sermon on the Mount - Scaer...
See also Beatitudes ; Ethics ; Golden Rule ; Jesus Christ ...
Bibliography
Goodness (Human) - Luthardt, History of Christian Ethics, Eng
Alexandria - The Greeks were merely reproducers of Hebrew Ethics, and Hebrew religious and moral conceptions
Blasphemy (2) - βλασφημία, βλασφημὲω; and in particular on blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, Martensen, Christian Ethics, ii
Pride (2) - It is one of the faults most distinctly incompatible with the Ethics of the NT
New Moon - -Besides the works alluded to in the article, see articles ‘New Moon’ and ‘Time’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ; ‘New Moon’ and ‘Month’ in Encyclopaedia Biblica ; ‘Festivals and Fasts (Hebrew)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; ‘New Moon’ in Jewish Encyclopedia ; J
Offence (2) - This is a final if not the supreme maxim of Christian Ethics; there must be nothing in the Christian’s conduct which could mislead, disconcert, or repel any person seeking or enjoying relations with Christ. Ethics, i
Jesus Christ - His followers must go and tell; His followers must unite the hope of eschatology and the life of Ethics in a fashion that will share the gospel with all the world (Matthew 28:19-20 )
Tithes - Not that the duty of Christian giving was not recognized as binding, or that the discharge of that duty was considered outside of, or an unspiritual encroachment upon, the region of Christian Ethics
Leviticus - ...
A number of the instructions in the Holiness Code relate to Ethics and faithfulness to the Lord
Evil (2) - The subject is discussed in most systematic treatises on theology, Ethics, and metaphysics
Excommunication - of Christ and the Gospels , ‘Discipline (Christian)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , ‘Excommunication’ in Dict
Discipline - Henson, Apostolic Christianity, do, 1898; article ‘Discipline (Christian)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Ideas (Leading) - ’ It is the doctrine which modern Ethics expresses when it declares that the goodness or badness of conduct depends upon the motive. It is the doctrine which philosophical Ethics expresses, when it declares that every person is to be regarded as an end in himself, never as a means only
Sexuality, Human - Foundations This essay is based on the following premises: (1) Those functions founded in the unfallen created order that God proclaimed good ( Genesis 1:31 ) may be seen as normative for matters touching theological Ethics. Accordingly, human social Ethics are not founded exclusively on a person's organic relationship to other human beings through participation in a common ancestor or a covenant community such as Israel or the church
Hellenism - Gardner, article ‘Art (Greek and Roman)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i. R Farnell, article ‘Greek Religion’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vi
Complacency - ’ The appropriateness of such a word in the department of Biblical theology is suggested by what we know to be its recognized use in the sphere of Ethics. ...
In Ethics, complacency is considered as one of the forms of love, and as such is distinguished from benevolence
Daniel, Theology of - ...
In other words, the details of eschatology are not as crucial as eschatological Ethics: behaving Christ-like now in this world, and living in the expectation and anticipation of Christ's return
Clean, Unclean - ...
Jesus condemned those who placed ritual above Ethics
Proverbs, Theology of - His teachings about wealth in 10:2-5 are not to be read in isolation but together: verse 2 pertains to wealth and Ethics, verse 3 to wealth and religion, and verses 4-5 to wealth and prudence
Heart - ; Martensen, Christian Ethics (Individual), 80 ff
Laughter - Ethics, i
Games - Nettleship and Sandys); ‘Games, Classical,’ in Encyclopaedia Britannica 11; ‘Games and Sports’ in Jewish Encyclopedia , ‘Games (Hebrew and Jewish)’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; E
Commandments - ’ See also Ethics
Excommunication (2) - ‘Bann’; Martensen, Christian Ethics, iii
Family (Jesus) - ...
(c) In another region of family Ethics—the sphere of filial duty—our Lord again attacked contemporary Jewish conventions
Heart - ; Martensen, Christian Ethics (Individual), 80 ff
Law - It is a severer not a laxer Ethics that Jesus introduces, a searching in place of a superficial discipline; ‘Your righteousness,’ He says, ‘must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. The abolition of the distinction of ‘meats’ ( Mark 7:19 ), making a rift in Jewish daily habits and in the whole Levitical scheme of life, is the one instance in which Jesus laid down what seemed to be a new principle of Ethics
Education - Büchler, The Economic Conditions of Judœa after the Destruction of the Second Temple, 1912 article ‘Education (Jewish)’ by Morris Joseph in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v. Murison in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v
Bible, Authority of the - Second, the Bible's testimony is sustained by the use of the Bible in the church, as its authority has been recognized and found to be effective for the definition of doctrine and Ethics, the public preaching of the gospel, and private devotion
Discipline - Schmidt...
See also Church, the ; Ethics ...
Bibliography
Children of God, Sons of God - and article ‘Adoption’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Rome And the Roman Empire - Judaism, with its monotheistic emphasis, and Christianity, with its Judaistic origin and equally high code of Ethics and morals, were anomalies
Repentance - Dorner, System of Christian Ethics, Eng
Righteousness - ...
Peter Toon...
See also Ethics ; God ; Justice ...
Bibliography
Ebionism - [4] 100; Church Histories or Neander, Kurtz, Schaff, and Moeller; articles ‘Ebionism’ and ‘Elkesaites’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ; ‘Ebioniten’ and ‘Elkesaiten’ in Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche 3; ‘Ebionites’ in Jewish Encyclopedia ; ‘Ebionism’ in Dict
Cross, Cross-Bearing - ‘Cross’ in Hastings’ forthcoming Dictionary of Religion and Ethics
Divination - Myers, on ‘Greek Oracles,’ in Essays, 1883, and to the series of articles in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vi
Mary Magdalene - For a man is more to himself, on such inward matters, than the whole Commedia and the whole Ethics to boot, with all their splendid treasures of truth, and power, and experience, and eloquence
Individuality - ...
This insistence on the importance of individuality by Romanticism, nevertheless, bore large fruit in both Ethics and religion
Individuality - ...
This insistence on the importance of individuality by Romanticism, nevertheless, bore large fruit in both Ethics and religion
Oaths - Ethics, ii
Romans, Book of - See Ethics ; Salvation
Woman - , Ephesians 5:3), so characteristic of early Christian Ethics, is based on the principle that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19); the condemnation of extramarital sexual relationships is the natural complement of the attitude to marriage itself (1 Thessalonians 4:4)
Eschatology - OT Ethics was not concerned with immortality
Paul the Apostle - Against most pagan religions Paul presented a God concerned with social morality and personal Ethics; God is not a cipher for a spirit experienced through rites of worship, ascetic denial, or mystical sensuality
Zechariah, Theology of - ...
Ethics
Will of God - He also endeavored to make all of God's will (counsel) known, both theology and Christian Ethics (Acts 20:27 )
Antichrist - translation , Edinburgh, 1912; articles ‘Antichrist’ in Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche 3, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , and Encyclopaedia Biblica , and ‘Man of Sin’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ; H
Pentateuch - Worship and social Ethics are the concerns of Exodus 25:1Numbers 21:14-15,21—10:10
Abortion - Ramsey, The Ethics of Fetal Research ; F
Kingdom of God - McDonald, Jesus and the Ethics of the Kingdom ; O
Individual - —The whole of modern philosophy is concerned with the problem of the individual, but special mention may be made of: Spinoza, Ethics; Hume, Human Nature; Leibnitz, de Principio Individui; Kant, Anthropologie; J
Light - Sirach 48:1), with all a shallow nature’s delight in transient impressions (see Martensen’s Individual Ethics, p
Self-Control - As exhibited in Christ, it means not only steadiness and freedom from irritability, a calm temper unruffled by influences from without, but the inflexible direction of the spirit and will upon the accomplishment of purposes than which neither Ethics nor religion can disclose any worthier
Jesus Christ - He wanted to change people inwardly and so produce a quality of life and character that no law-code could ever produce (Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 5:27-28; Matthew 7:29; see Ethics; SERMON ON THE MOUNT)
Timothy, First And Second, Theology of - Consequently, the Scriptures for Paul were, as God's Word, the authoritative and inerrant foundation stone upon which all other Christian doctrines and Ethics rest
Faith - The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7 ), as the Ethics of those who are to live under the rule of God as Father, concludes with Jesus' admonition to be wise and to put these words into practice (7:24-27; Eternal Life, Eternality, Everlasting Life - ...
Ethics and Worship
Canon of the Old Testament - to the list of books which the Church acknowledged to be authoritative as the source of doctrine and Ethics
Logia - ); to the former not only the ‘Sayings of the faith’ or ‘of the Lord Jesus’ (1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:3) compiled by Matthew and others, but examples of Christian catechesis, such as the little manuals of Ethics or ‘teachings of baptisms’ which survive to us under such titles as ‘the Two Ways,’ or the ‘Teaching’ (Διδαχή, Διδασκαλία) of the Apostles
Emperor-Worship - Iverach, article ‘Caesarism’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics iii
Ascension - Bernard, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ii
Oath - See also the text-books on Ethics by I
Teaching - While it may be straining the niceties of philosophical terminology to speak of the ‘ethics of the NT’ as though it constituted a system of moral principles and precepts based on human reason, yet no one can be blind to the substantial body of ethical teaching contained in the NT
Righteous, Righteousness - Aristotle defines it as ἀρετὴ τελεία καὶ οὐχ ἁπλῶς ἀλλὰ πρὸς ἕτερον … οὐ μέρος ἀρετῆς, ἀλλὰ ὅλη ἀρετή (Ethics, v
Government - , Aspects of Christian Social Ethics ; K
Holiness Purity - (For the Greek conception of ὄσιος see article ‘Holiness [14]’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Christ in the Seventeenth Century - His meaning may be profoundly spiritual, but his language is a perverse interweaving of physics and chemistry with Ethics and theology
Anger - Anger provoked by personal injury may have a protective value in a lower stage of the world’s life, but the attitude of Christian Ethics to this type is governed by the law of non-resistance laid down by the Sermon on the Mount
Progress - Ethics, 56; Liddon, Serm
Propitiation - Lofthouse, Ethics and Atonement, do
Perseverance - ’ The Christian faith and Ethics co-exist in inseparable unity
Marriage - ...
No benediction of the marriage is mentioned in the NT, though it will be remembered that the feast itself was a religious act, as was the Agape (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics i
Immortality (2) - ...
Upon a priori grounds, therefore, bearing in mind the character of the people among whom Christ lived and with whom He had to deal, we should expect to find the speculative and philosophic side of doctrine but slightly represented, while stress is laid more upon Ethics and the practical conduct of life
Gospels (Uncanonical) - Wells, in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics vi
Immortality - of Christ and the Gospels , and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics
Anger (2) - Men are angry, as Aristotle puts it (Ethics, iv
Abstinence - See Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v
Biblical Theology - The four Gospels concur in presenting the climax of Jesus' coming, not in his miracles, wisdom, or Ethics, great as these are, but in his atoning death and vindicating resurrection
Lord's Day - 357) marks this as the only instance he knows of in which a Christian writer uses the term ‘Sunday’ in pre-Constantine times (see also Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article ‘Festivals and Fasts [4]’)
Gospel (2) - The Church’s teaching of the Christian Ethics must be a changing message
Gospels (2) - Christian Ethics is derived from and dependent upon the Person of Jesus the Son of God manifested in time
Day of Judgment - In some cases it was never carried over into the field of individual Ethics, and in others it shared in the moral growth of its possessors
Job - the group which deals with questions of practical Ethics, religious philosophy, and speculation
Work - Wright, An Eye for an Eye: The Place of Old Testament Ethics Today
Ascension (2) - The NT documents set forth much in the way of new truths and new Ethics, but their distinctive testimony is to a new intense experience, which has altered the entire character of those who share it
Sanctification - The expression is at times quaint, but the words are not only true in art, but supremely true of Christian Ethics
Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy - Thus, to speak prophetically was to speak boldly against every form of moral, ethical, political, economic, and religious disenfranchisement observed in a culture that was intent on building its own pyramid of values vis-a-vis God's established system of truth and Ethics
Socialism - Of that system Professor Ashley says: ‘No such sustained and far-reaching attempt is being now made, either from the side of theology, or from that of Ethics, to impress upon the public mind principles immediately applicable to practical life’ (Econ
Arius the Heresiarch - of Religion and Ethics , i
Christ in Art - ‘Cross’ by Count Gohlet d’Alviella in Hastings’ forthcoming Diet, of Religion and Ethics
Jesus Christ - Paul shows that he could cite His teaching on a point of Ethics ( 1 Corinthians 7:11 ), and give a detailed account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper ( 1 Corinthians 11:23 ff
Freedom of the Will - of Morals,’ in Theory of Ethics, ed
Divinity of Christ - ’ It is a cry dear to all who desire a simpler gospel than that set forth in the Creeds; all who are wearied with speculation on the elements of Christian truth, or are distraught with the variety of interpretation offered of it; all who are eager to embrace the Ethics and as eager to abjure what they term the metaphysics of the Christian system
Christ in Modern Thought - ...
Opposition to Kant’s interpretation of religion as mere Ethics and of Christ as a Moral Example, impelled more genial minds like Hamann, Herder, Jacobi, and others to reactionary insistence on the immediacy of the religious consciousness and the speciality of the Christian revelation; but with neither critical nor philosophical depth
Art - ...
It is certain as a historic fact that the early Church had no suspicion of art, but accepted without scruple the decorative motives and forms of the classical civilization to which, apart from religion and Ethics, she belonged, eliminating only such themes as bore an idolatrous or immoral meaning
Back to Christ - We interpret religious relations now in terms of Ethics and psychology
Paul (2) - ) Aristotle’s Ethics or Calvin’s Institutes are systems; for such coherent logical construction is alien to the Semitic mind, and St
Tertullianus, Quintus Septimius Florens - ...
Other points, however, dealing with Christian life and Ethics, came before him in his work in Carthage as a priest