Apostolic Church of Des Arc

Prove All Things

Primary Text

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

What it Means

Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.

  • Despise – Count for nothing.
  • Prophesy – Say something by the inspiration of God.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Don’t just accept whatever is said. Examine, scrutinize, or test it. 

  • If it is good. Hold it fast.
  • If it is wrong. Abstain from it no matter what form it takes.

Appearance is used like…

  • Makes an appearance (shows up).
  • Not has an appearance (looks like).

A Common Misconception

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

If taken out of context, this seems to say: Don’t just avoid evil, but avoid anything that even looks evil. This is not the correct meaning.

Be suspect of sweeping generalizations made from a single verse with no context. 

What is the Harm?

Considering the outward appearance in some cases is wise (1 Corinthians 8:13, Romans 14:16). However, focusing too much on the outward appearance will lead you astray of a very solid biblical principle: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Jesus taught that it is what is in the heart that matters, not the outward appearance. (Matthew 15:7-8)

In Context: Matthew 15:1-20. 

Jesus taught that judging by appearance is not righteous. (John 7:24)

In Context: John 7:19-24.

It is wrong to judge our brothers and sisters (presumably by the outward appearance, which is all we can see). 

James 4:11-12

Appearance is subjective. The apostles taught to please God (not men) and focus on the heart.

Galatians 1:10, 2 Corinthians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 10:7, 1 Peter 3:3-4

Avoid the prison of other peoples’ expectations. 

1 Corinthians 4:3-5