29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
1901 ASV Translation:
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
There is one textual variation between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26. It is that the Textus Receptus has the word "fornication" and the Nestle/Aland 26 does not.
I. The Particulars of the Text...Continued from Study # 11.
A. Summary from Study #11: Paul pictures man "having been filled" with opposition to the four pillars of Life as presented by the major portrayals of Jesus in the Gospels.
1. Unrighteousness is an attack upon Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Preserver of Righteousness in the Kingdom of Righteousness.
2. Wickedness is an attack upon Jesus as the Bull of the Tribe of Joseph, the Servant Ruler of the Servant Kingdom.
3. Covetousness is an attack upon Jesus as the Preeminent Man of the Tribe of Reuben, the Kinsman Redeemer of the Heirs of the New Jerusalem.
4. Maliciousness is an attack upon Jesus as the Eagle of Heaven, of no Tribe of Israel (Dan had the ensign of Scorpio/Serpens -- a pictorial presentation of "the malicious one"), the Provider of Life through Death for the Heirs of Life.
B. The Issues of "Wickedness".
1. The word translated "wickedness" is used 7 times in the New Testament.
a. In Matthew 22:18 it is the term that describes the nature of the attempt to "ensnare Him in His words (22:15). It is clear that they seek His destruction through the "legal system". They seek to make Him the evil-doer while posturing themselves as the Law-abiding. Their "wickedness", then, consists of having murderous intent while posturing as saints.
b. Mark 7:22 is a list that is not helpful when looked at superficially.
c. Luke 11:39 records Jesus' response to an unspoken criticism by a Pharisee who was fixated upon the fact that Jesus did not "wash Himself" before He ate. In this response, Jesus accused Pharisees of having inward parts full of extortion and wickedness while attempting to make the outward parts appear to be very clean. The nature of the "wickedness" is not specified, but it is attached by this context to fundamental hypocrisy in attempting to make oneself appear to be one thing while actually being exactly the opposite thing. This harmonizes with the Matthew 22:18 context of harboring murderous intent while trying to look like a saint.
d. Acts 3:26 promises that Jesus will "turn everyone of you from your 'wickednesses' (translated "iniquities"), but the context is not specific enough to define "wickednesses". This verse specifically addresses Jesus as "God's 'raised up' Servant" and is notable for that fact.
e. Romans 1:29 is the fifth use in the New Testament and is the focus of our present inquiry.
f. I Corinthians 5:8 ties "leaven" to "malice and wickedness" and "unleavened" is tied to "sincerity and truth". This is a pointed parallelism that put "wickedness" in contrast to "truth", which harmonizes exactly with Matthew 22:18 and Luke 11:39 in their focus upon the attempt to present a false reality on the basis of external appearances.
g. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul characterizes the nature of our "wrestling" as "against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies". This is in direct relationship to the "wiles" of the devil (6:11) and the "fiery darts of the 'evil'" (6:16); the word "evil" being the adjectival form of the very word under our specific scrutiny ("wickedness").
2. The word "wickedness" is the noun form of a word which is used 76 times in 71 verses of the New Testament in an adjectival form. The following are some samples.
a. Matthew 5:11 addresses "evil" as "slander" -- putting forth a lie as if it was the truth (harmonizing with the focus upon hypocrisy in the noun as well as the focus upon the intent to destroy).
b. Matthew 5:37 says that anything more than a simple "yea" or "no" has roots in "the evil".
c. Matthew 5:39 puts the focus upon the violent treatment to which the "evil" often subject the undeserving.
d. Matthew 5:45 is instructive because it contrasts "evil" with "good" in a parallelism that juxtaposes the "good" with the "just" and the "evil" with the "unjust".
e. Matthew 7:11 quotes Jesus as summarizing mankind's "problem" with "being evil". This means that the word "evil" has some fundamental characteristics that pull most, if not all, of man's depravities into a single summary term.
f. Matthew 7:15-20 uses "evil" to describe "false prophets" -- playing right into the idea that the essence of "evil" is "a false impression with the intent to destroy".
3. Summary: the word group tied to "wickedness" is heavily invested with the twin notions of "destructive intent" and "saintly appearance". The heart and soul of "wickedness" is the deliberate attempt to destroy someone, in the guise of doing righteousness, so that the destroyer may be the Sovereign Lord over All.
II. The Relationship of "Wickedness" to "Unrighteousness".
A. It is our claim that Paul is presenting man's aggressive "fullness" of opposition to the Four Pillars of the Focus upon the Divine Glory ("...having been filled with unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, and maliciousness...").
B. The primary issue of unrighteousness is a very broad-based attack upon Justice and is generated by the lust for status in the eyes of men.
C. The primary issue of "wickedness" is a very broad-based attack upon the entire notion of being a Servant and it consists of the attempt to be seen as a "servant of Justice" while actively seeking to destroy the guiltless servants of Justice.
D. Thus, there are these correlations...
1. There is "status-lust" in both scenarios (seeking to be apprised by others in a positive light).
2. There is an aggressive attack upon Justice in both scenarios (doing injustice while attempting to appear to be doing justice).
3. But, whereas "unrighteousness" focuses upon the active attempt to establish oneself in the driver's seat, "wickedness" focuses upon the active attempt to destroy the one currently in the driver's seat through false impressions. Whereas "unrighteousness" could be seen as a competition of "let the best man win", the issue of "wickedness" is disallowing the other competitor to survive. Unrighteousness would seek to subject the opposition to one's own status; wickedness would seek to destroy the opposition altogether. The difference seems to be found in the motives of "self-exaltation" as opposed to "other-destruction". Thus, the frontal attack upon Justice is now a pernicious, subtle attack upon the Servant. The charge of unrighteousness unmasks the behavior; the charge of wickedness unmasks the destructive motive. Unrighteousness is overt and external; wickedness is covert and internal.