Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 14
October 5, 2004
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
1901 ASV Translation
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful:
As noted in a prior study, there is an additional descriptor in the Textus Receptus (fornication) that is not in the Nestle/Aland 26 in 1:29. In 1:31 there is also an additional characterization (implacable) that is not in the Nestle/Aland 26.
- I. Having been filled with the "oppositional forces" of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, and maliciousness, they are now "full" of "envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malignity".
- A. The verse presents a foundational "fullness" and, then, a secondary "fullness" that becomes the primary "methodology" of that foundation.
- 1. The deep-seated antagonism of man toward the four basic pillars of "Life" that is manifest in the "foundational fullness" is addressed by Paul by means of another "set" of characteristics of which man is "full".
- a. The complementary words "filled" and "full" are used in reverse order and in reference to goodness in Romans 15:14 in a deliberate contrast to the fallen world. There doesn't seem to be a discernible difference between them except that the one is used "as a verb" and the other is used "as an adjective".
- b. This "set" consists of five characteristics.
- 1) Envy
- 2) Murder
- 3) Debate
- 4) Deceit
- 5) Malignity
- c. This "set" sets forth an "attitude" (envy) that is followed by four "methods of expressing that attitude" (murder, debate, deceit, malignity).
- 2. A question arises: is there a correlation between the "foundational fullness" and this "secondary fullness"?
- a. The foundational fullness seemed to be aimed at the basic issue (life) and the three ways life can be destroyed...unrighteous behavior, antagonism toward the servant mindset, and a disdain for humanity in favor of "stuff" (material prosperity).
- b. Now, in this second set of characteristics, Paul puts forth a basic attitude (envy) and then follows that with four activities (murder, debate, deceit, and malignity).
- 1) Envy seems to stand out as a "motivator" of the subsequent actions.
- a) "Envy" is the basic cause of the antagonism toward Christ [Matthew 27:18 and Mark 15:10].
- b) "Envy" is linked to "murder" in 4 of the 9 New Testament references that contain it.
- 2) Murder is a powerful aggression against the physical life of the person who is "envied" (this is stark opposition to the "life" of another).
- a) "Murder" is the illegitimate taking of a person's physical life (the implication being that the person did not "deserve" to die).
- b) "Murder" is the most physically violent "method" of those listed for neutralizing someone so that they cannot take action "against" the murderer.
- 3) Debate is an intellectual aggression against the mental life of the person who is "envied" (this is competition with another for "life").
- a) In 3 of the 9 New Testament references that include "debate", there is a direct linkage with "envy".
- b) The background of "debate" is the attempt to put oneself forward in competition with another.
- 4) Deceit is an attempt to persuade the "envied" to be occupied with a false perception of something (this is the introduction of confusion to direct the activities of another so he may be misdirected).
- a) 1 Peter 2:22 and Revelation 14:5 make "deceit" a major issue that, avoided, eliminates "sin".
- b) The main idea is to lead another into a false position by making that position seem to be "true".
- 5) Malignity is an attempt to persuade others that the "envied" is more corrupt than they might think (this is an aggressive attack upon the character of another so that others will be reluctant to give aid).
- a) "Malignity" is only used this one time in the New Testament.
- b) It is, by etymology, associated with both the "maliciousness" of the early "set of four" and a word that focuses upon "traditional behavior" so that the etymological concept is a "habitual practice of malice".
- c) Thus, "malignity" seems to be an all-inclusive summation of man's disposition to murder, competition, and deception.
- i. If we take "murder" as overt destruction of the body, and "competition" as aggression against the spirit, and "deceit" as aggression against the soul, we have, once again, a whole-man issue of animosity.
- ii. If we take "envy" as the root cause of this whole-man animosity, we have Paul setting forth a root cause that sponsors intense opposition toward others.
- iii. Then, if we take "malignity" in the same way we understood Paul's use of "maliciousness", what we have is a one-word summary of man's sinful condition in respect to his dealings with others that signals a "destroy however you can" commitment.
- B. Summary.
- 1. Man was "filled" with active aggression against both the fundamental commitment of God to "Life" as well as the three main methodologies of life (righteousness for the soul, servanthood for the spirit, and a priority on humanity for the physical life).
- 2. Then, having been filled with those aspects of total aggression, he was "full" of envy (having died and having lost what he most needs, he looks with envy upon anyone else who seems to have a better experience than his own), and that drives his intention to eliminate the "competitors for life" that he comes across (murdering some, as unworthy of human life; contending with some, as inferior to one's self and, thus, unworthy of value; and attempting to deceive some because their skills may not be "inferior" and can only be defeated if one pretends to love them so that they will be more easily led into destruction). The summary of this is that man is "full of" malignity (the intention to destroy body, soul, and spirit).