In Understanding Be Men – 1 Corinthians 14:20

1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

Maturity is an important character trait.  When a child shows that she is more mature than her age might indicate, we laud her as a goodly child.  By contrast, when an adult acts immaturely, he is considered childish. Interestingly mature was not used in English until around the 15th century.  Even then it was derived from a Latin word meaning ripe though today it can refer to a responible character.

In the Bible, the word perfect is used in the place of mature, and its meaning is essential to our understanding.  Today, perfect is used almost exclusively to describe something as flawless or with error, while in the Bible, this word is often used to say that a person or thing is mature, whole or sound.  Noah was described as perfect in his generation (Genesis 6:9) though we can see that he was not without sin.  Rather Noah found grace in the eyes of God as did Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Miriam, Joshua, Deborah, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Mary, Martha, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, and countless other children of God.  What made them perfect or mature was their demonstration of faithful obedience.  They can be aptly described as wholesome.

Jesus Christ showed the greatest maturity when He was merciful to those who abused and crucified Him.  Likewise, the wisdom and truth that He taught showed again how He acted for the greater good and not simply in His own selfish interests.  As a result of His obedience, He was given a name above every name (Philippians 2:5-11).

Consider these things as you go about your day.  Think like a man and love like a child.  “…Of such are the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14).


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