from TACT

Tact, Talents and abilities, Taxes, Teaching, Temptation, Testing God, Thieves, Tolerance, the "Tongue", "Tongues", Trials of life, the Truth, Turning the other cheek, Unique claims of Christ, Unmarried people, Vegetarianism ........


Philemon v1-25 (a model letter of forgiveness, love, and tact) - PAUL, prisoner for the sake of Jesus Christ, and brother Timothy to Philemon our much-loved fellow-worker, Apphia our sister and Archippus who is with us in the fight; (Philemon and Apphia - Philemon, a man of property and affluence is probably married to Apphia. They are also the parents of Archippus, all of them living in Colossae) to the church that meets in your house - grace and peace be to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

A personal appeal

I always thank God for you, Philemon, in my constant prayers for you all, for I have heard how you love and trust both the Lord Jesus himself and those who believe in him. And I pray that those who share your faith may also share your knowledge of all the good things that believing in Jesus Christ can mean to us. It is your love, my brother, that gives us such comfort and happiness, for it cheers the hearts of your fellow Christians. And although I could rely on my authority in Christ and dare to order you to do what I consider right, I am not doing that. No, I am appealing to that love of yours, a simple personal appeal from Paul the old man, in prison for Jesus Christ's sake. I am appealing for my child. Yes I have become a father though I have been under lock and key, and the child's name is - Onesimus! Oh, I know you have found him pretty useless in the past but he is going to be useful now (Onesimus means "useful" - or "profitable" in Greek), to both of us. I am sending him back to you: will you receive him as my son, part of me? I should have dearly loved to have kept him with me: he could have done what you would have done - looked after me here in prison for the Gospel's sake. But I would do nothing without consulting you first, for if you have a favour to give me, let it be spontaneous and not forced from you by circumstances!

It occurs to me that there has been a purpose in your losing him. You lost him, a slave, for a time; now you are having him back for good, not merely as a slave, but as a brother-Christian. He is already especially loved by me - how much more will you be able to love him, both as a man and as a fellow-Christian! You and I have so much in common haven't we? Then do welcome him as you would welcome me. If you feel he has wronged or cheated you put it down to my account. I've written this with my own hand: I, Paul, hereby promise to repay you. (Of course I'm not stressing the fact that you might be said to owe me your very soul!) Now do grant me this favour, my brother - such an act of love will do my old heart good. As I send you this letter I know you'll do what I ask - I believe, in fact, you'll do more.

Will you do something else? Get the guest-room ready for me, for I have great hopes that through your prayers I myself will be returned to you as well!

Epaphras, here in prison with me, sends his greetings: so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, all fellow-workers for God. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, amen. PAUL


1 Peter 4:10-11 - Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you, as faithful dispensers of the magnificently varied grace of God. If any of you is a preacher then he should preach his message as from God. And in whatever way a man serves the Church he should do it recognising the fact that God gives him his ability, so that God may be glorified in everything through Jesus Christ. To him belong praise and power for ever, amen!


Matthew 17:24-25a - .... when they (Jesus and his disciples) arrived at Capernaum the Temple tax-collectors came up and said to Peter, "Your master doesn't pay Temple-tax, we presume?" "Oh, yes, he does!" replied Peter.

Matthew 22:16b-21 - "Master ( .... Pharisees and Herodians addressing Jesus), we know that you are an honest man who teaches the way of God faithfully and that you don't care for human approval. Now tell us - 'is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not'?" But Jesus knowing their evil intention said, "Why try this trick on me, you frauds? Show me the money you pay the tax with." They handed him a coin, and he said to them, "Whose face is this and whose name is in the inscription?" "Caesar's," they said. "Then give to Caesar," he replied, "what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God!"

Romans 13:6-7 - It is right, too, for you to pay taxes for the civil authorities are appointed by God for the good purposes of public order and well-being. Give everyone his legitimate due, whether it be rates, or taxes, or reverence, or respect!


James 3:1 - Don't aim at adding to the number of teachers, my brothers, I beg you! Remember that we who are teachers will be judged by a much higher standard.


Matthew 5:29-30 - ".... if your right eye leads you astray pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than that your whole body should be thrown on to the rubbish-heap. "Yes, if your right hand leads you astray cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than that your whole body should go to the rubbish-heap.

Luke 4:13 - .... when he (Satan, after tempting Jesus in the desert) had exhausted every kind of temptation, the devil withdrew until his next opportunity.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has come your way that is too hard for flesh and blood to bear. But God can be trusted not to allow you to suffer any temptation beyond your powers of endurance. He will see to it that every temptation has a way out, so that it will never be impossible for you to bear it.

Hebrews 3:13b - ..... beware that none of you becomes deaf and blind to God through the delusive glamour of sin.

James 1:13-15 - A man must not say when he is tempted, "God is tempting me." For God has no dealings with evil, and does not himself tempt anyone. No, a man's temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive. His own desire takes hold of him, and that produces sin. And sin in the long run means death - make no mistake about that, brothers of mine!


Matthew 4:5-7 - .... the devil took him (Jesus) to the holy city, and set him on the highest ledge of the Temple. "If you really are the Son of God," he said, "Throw yourself down. For the scripture says - 'He shall give his angels charge concerning you,' and 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone'."

"Yes," retorted Jesus, "and the scripture also says 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God'."


Ephesians 4:28 - If you used to be a thief you must not only give up stealing, but you must learn to make an honest living, so that you may be able to give to those in need.


Luke 6:37b - "Make allowances for others and people will make allowances for you."

Colossians 3:12b-13 - .... be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you.

James 2:12-13 - ...... you should speak and act as men who will be judged by the law of freedom. The man who makes no allowances for others will find none made for him. It is still true that "mercy smiles in the face of judgement."

the "TONGUE"

Matthew 12:34-37 - "You serpent's brood (... Jesus speaking to some Pharisees), how can you say anything good out of your evil hearts? For a man's words depend on what fills his heart. A good man gives out good - from the goodness stored in his heart; a bad man gives out evil - from his store of evil. I tell you that men will have to answer at the day of judgement for every careless word they utter - for it is your words that will acquit you, and your words that will condemn you."

Matthew 15:18-19 - ".... the things that come out of a man's mouth come from his heart and mind, and it is they that really make a man unclean. For it is from a man's mind that evil thoughts arise - murder, adultery, lust, theft, perjury and blasphemy."

Ephesians 4:29 - Let there be no more foul language, but good words instead - words suitable for the occasion, which God can use to help other people.

Titus 3:2 - They (Christians) are not to speak evil of any man (Christian or non-Christian), they must not be argumentative but gentle, showing themselves agreeable to everybody.

the "Tongue" - continued

James 1:26 - If anyone appears to be "religious" but cannot control his tongue, he deceives himself and we may be sure that his religion is useless.

James 3:2-12 - We all make mistakes in all kinds of ways, but the man who can claim that he never says the wrong thing can consider himself perfect, for if he can control his tongue he can control every other part of his personality! Men control the movements of a large animal like the horse with a tiny bit placed in its mouth. Ships too, for all their size and the momentum they have with a strong wind behind them, are controlled by a very small rudder according to the course chosen by the helmsman. The human tongue is physically small, but what tremendous effects it can boast of! A whole forest can be set ablaze by a tiny spark of fire, and the tongue is as dangerous as any fire, with vast potentialities for evil. It can poison the whole body, it can make the whole of life a blazing hell.

Beasts, birds, reptiles and all kinds of sea-creatures can be, and in fact are, tamed by man, but no one can tame the human tongue. It is an evil always liable to break out, and the poison it spreads is deadly. We use the tongue to bless our Father, God, and we use the same tongue to curse our fellow-men, who are all created in God's likeness. Blessing and curses come out of the same mouth - surely, my brothers, this is the sort of thing that never ought to happen! Have you ever known a spring to give sweet and bitter water simultaneously? Have you ever seen a fig-tree with a crop of olives, or seen figs growing on a vine? It is just as impossible for a spring to give fresh and salt water at the same time.


1 Corinthians 14:1b-28 - The highest gift you can wish for is to be able to speak the messages of God. The man who speaks in a "tongue" addresses not men (for no one understands a word he says) but God: and only in his spirit is he speaking spiritual secrets. But he who preaches the word of God is using his speech for the building up of the faith of one man, the encouragement of another or the consolation of another. The speaker in a "tongue" builds up his own soul, but the preacher builds up the Church of God.

I should indeed like you all to speak with "tongues", but I would much rather that you all preached the word of God. For the preacher of the word does a greater work than the speaker with "tongues", unless of course the latter interprets his word for the benefit of the Church.

Unless "tongues" are interpreted do they help the Church?

For suppose I came to you, my brothers, speaking with "tongues!", what good could I do unless I could give you some revelation of truth, some knowledge in spiritual things, some message from God, or some teaching about the Christian life? Even in the case of inanimate objects which are capable of making sound, such as a flute or harp, if their notes all sound alike, who can tell what tune is being played? Unless the bugle-note is clear who will be called to arms? So, in your case, unless you make intelligible sounds with your "tongue" how can anyone know what you are talking about? You might just as well be addressing an empty room!

There are in the world a great variety of spoken sounds and each has a distinct meaning. But if the sounds of the speaker's voice mean nothing to me I am a foreigner to him, and he is a foreigner to me.

So, with yourselves, since you are so eager to possess spiritual gifts, concentrate your ambition upon receiving those which make for the real growth of your church. And that means if one of your number speaks with a "tongue", he should pray that he may be able to interpret what the says.

"Tongues" - continued

If I pray in a "tongue" my spirit is praying but my mind is inactive. I am therefore determined to pray with my spirit and my mind, and if I sing I will sing with both spirit and mind. Otherwise, if you are blessing God with your spirit, how can those who are ungifted say amen to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are talking about? You may be thanking God splendidly, but it doesn't help the other man at all. I (Paul) thank God that I have a greater gift of "tongues" than any of you, yet when I am in Church I would rather speak five words with my mind (which might teach something to other people) than ten thousand words in a "tongue" which nobody understands.

You must use your minds in this matter of tongues

My brothers, don't be like excitable children but use your intelligence! By all means be innocent as babes as far as evil is concerned, but where your minds are concerned be full-grown men! In the Law it is written: 'With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear me'.

That means that tongues are a sign of God's power, not for those who are unbelievers, but to those who already believe. Preaching the word of God, on the other hand, is a sign of God's power to those who do not believe rather than to believers. So that, if at a full church meeting you are all speaking with tongues and men come in who are both uninstructed and without faith, will they not say that you are insane? But if you are preaching God's word and such a man should come in to your meeting, he is convicted and challenged by your united speaking of the truth. His secrets are exposed and he will fall on his knees acknowledging God and saying that God is truly among you!

Some practical regulations for the exercise of spiritual gifts

Well then, my brothers, whenever you meet let everyone be ready to contribute a psalm, a piece of teaching, a spiritual truth, or a "tongue" with an interpreter. Everything should be done to make your church strong in the faith.

If the question of speaking with a "tongue" arises, confine the speaking to two or three at the most and have someone to interpret what is said. If you have no interpreter then let the speaker with a "tongue" keep silent in the church and speak only to himself and God.


Romans 8:18,22 - In my (Paul's) opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. .... (Verse 22 ....) It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail (as in labour pains).

Romans 8:35-39 - Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes and food, danger to life and limb, the threat of force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of the ancient text: 'For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter'. No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us.

I (Paul) have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God's whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 12:12b - When trials come endure them patiently ....

2 Corinthians 1:3-9 - Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs. Indeed, experience shows that the more we share Christ's suffering the more we are able to give of his encouragement. This means that if we experience trouble we can pass on to you comfort and spiritual help; for if we ourselves have been comforted we know how to encourage you to endure patiently the same sort of troubles that we have ourselves endured. We are quite confident that if you have to suffer troubles as we have done, then, like us, you will find the comfort and encouragement of God.

Man's extremity is God's opportunity

We (Paul and his companions) should like you, our brothers, to know something of what we went through in Asia. At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead.

Trials of life - continued

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 - This priceless treasure (Christ) we hold, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar - to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out! Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. Yes, we who are living are always being exposed to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal lives. We are always facing death, but this means that you know more and more of life.

2 Corinthians 4:15-18 - We wish you could see how all this (the suffering of Paul and others) is working out for your benefit, and how the more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to his glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.

Colossians 1:11-12 - As you live this new life, we pray that you will be strengthened from God's boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to pass through any experience and endure it with courage. You will even be able to thank God in the midst of pain and distress because you are privileged to share the lot of those who are living in the light.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4a - We did not want any of you to lose heart at the troubles you were going through, but to realise that we Christians must expect such things. Actually we did warn you what to expect .....

2 Timothy 2:3 - Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ's army.

Trials of life - continued

2 Timothy 3:11b-13 - ... you know how the Lord brought me (Paul) safely through them all (his many difficulties). Persecution is inevitable for those who are determined to live really Christian lives, while wicked and deceitful men will go from bad to worse, deluding others and deluding themselves.

2 Timothy 4:5a - ..... stand fast in all that you are doing, meeting whatever suffering this may involve.

Hebrews 12:3-4 - Think constantly of him (Jesus) enduring all that sinful men could say against him and you will not lose your purpose or your courage. After all, your fight against sin has not yet meant the shedding of blood ....

James 1:2-8 - When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God - who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty - and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God's help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.

James 1:12 - The man who patiently endures the temptations and trials that come to him is the truly happy man. For once his testing is complete he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to all who love him.

1 Peter 2:21-25 - .... this (being punished even when in the right) is part of your calling. For Christ suffered for you and left you a personal example, and wants you to follow in his steps. 'Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth'. Yet when he was insulted he offered no insult in return. When he suffered he made no threats of revenge. He simply committed his cause to the one (God) who judges fairly. And he personally bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we might be dead to sin and be alive to all that is good. It was the suffering that he bore which has healed you. You had wandered away like so many sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.


John 8:31-32 - ... Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, "If you are faithful to what I have said, you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!"


Matthew 5:38-39 - "You have heard that it used to be said 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth', but I tell you, don't resist the man who wants to harm you. If a man hits your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well."


Matthew 3:12 - "He (Jesus, according to John the Baptist) comes all ready to separate the wheat from the chaff and very thoroughly will he clear his threshing-floor - the wheat he will collect into the granary and the chaff he will burn with a fire that can never be put out."

Matthew 10:32-39 - "Every man who publicly acknowledges me I (Jesus) shall acknowledge in the presence of my Father in Heaven, but the man who disowns me before men I shall disown before my Father in Heaven."

The Prince of Peace comes to bring division

"Never think I have come to bring peace upon the earth. No, I have not come to bring peace but a sword! For I have come to 'set a man against his own father, a daughter against her own mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law', and 'a man's foes will be those of his own household'.

"Anyone who puts his love for father or mother above his love for me (Jesus) does not deserve to be mine, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and neither is the man who refuses to take up his cross and follow my way. The man who has found his own life will lose it, but the man who has lost it for my sake will find it."

Matthew 12:30 - "The man who is not on my side is against me, and the man who does not gather with me is really scattering.

Matthew 28:18 - ... Jesus came and spoke these words to them (his disciples), "All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to me."

Unique claims of Christ - continued

Mark 16:15-16 - (After Jesus' resurrection) .... he said to them, "You must go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. He who believes it and is baptised will be saved, but he who disbelieves it will be condemned."

John 1:17b - ... love and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:29b - "Look (said John the Baptist referring to Jesus), there is the lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world!"

John 3:16 - "... God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life."

John 3:36 - "The man who believes in the Son has eternal life. The man who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; he lives under the anger of God."

John 4:3b-14 - (Jesus) left Judea and went off again to Galilee, which meant passing through Samaria. There he came to a little town called Sychar, which is near the historic plot of land that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph, and "Jacob's Spring" was there. Jesus, tired with his journey, sat down beside it, just as he was. The time was about midday. Presently, a Samaritan woman arrived to draw some water. "Please give me a drink," Jesus said to her, for his disciples had gone away to the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How can you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans).

"If you knew what God can give," Jesus replied, "and if you knew who it is that said to you, 'Give me a drink', I think you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water!" "Sir," said the woman, "you have nothing to draw water with and this well is deep - where can you get your living water? Are you a greater man than our ancestor, Jacob, who gave us this well, and drank here himself with his family, and his cattle?"

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. For my gift will become a spring in the man himself, welling up into eternal life."

Unique claims of Christ - continued

John 8:58 - "I tell you in solemn truth ..... before there was an Abraham, I AM!" ("I am who I am", that is God!)

John 11:25-26 - "I myself am the resurrection and the life," Jesus told her (Martha). "The man who believes in me will live even though he dies, and anyone who is alive and believes in me will never die at all. Can you believe that?"

John 12:44b-46 - "Every man who believes in me (Jesus), is believing in the one (God) who sent me; and every man who sees me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me need remain in the dark.

John 14:6 - "I myself am the road (or the way)," replied Jesus, "and the truth and the life. No one approaches the Father (God) except through me.

Acts 4:12 - In no once else (but Jesus) can salvation be found. For in all the world no other name has been given to men but this, and it is by this name that we must be saved!"

Ephesians 1:18-23 - (.... this is my - Paul's prayer)..... that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realise how great is the hope to which he (God) is calling you - the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians - and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead and gave him the place of supreme honour in Heaven - a place that is infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or the world to come. God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set him up as head of everything for the Church. For the Church is his body, and in that body lives fully the one who fills the whole wide universe.

Ephesians 3:17b-19 - ..... I (Paul) pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ - and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!

Philippians 2:11 - ... that (the humility and obedience of Jesus), is why in the end, "every tongue shall confess" that Jesus Christ" is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Unique claims of Christ - continued

Colossians 1:15-20 - ... Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through him, and for him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now he is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live, and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross.

Colossians 2:2b-3 - May your spiritual experience become richer as you see more and more fully God's great secret, Christ himself! For it is in him, and in him alone, that men will find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:9-10 - is in him (Christ) that God gives a full and complete expression of himself (within the physical limits that he set himself in Christ). Moreover, your own completeness is only realised in him, who is the authority over all authorities, and the supreme power over all powers.

Colossians 2:13b-14 - He (God) has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross.

1 Timothy 2:3-6 - In the sight of God our saviour this (all people, including their rulers) is undoubtedly the right thing to pray for; for his purpose is that all men should be saved and come to realise the truth. And that is, that there is only one God, and only one intermediary between God and men, Jesus Christ the man. He gave himself as a ransom for us all - an act of redemption which happened once, but which stands for all times as a witness to what he is.

1 Timothy 3:16 - No one can deny that this religion of ours is a tremendous mystery, resting as it does on the one (Jesus) who showed himself as a human being, and met, as such, every demand of the Spirit in the sight of angels as well as of men. Then, after his restoration to the Heaven from whence he came, he has been proclaimed among men of different nationalities and believed in all parts of the world.


Matthew 19:10-12 - His disciples said to him, (Jesus, after his teaching on marriage and divorce), "If that is a man's position with his wife, it is not worth getting married!" "It is not everybody who can live up to this," replied Jesus " - only those who have a special gift. For some are incapable of marriage from birth, some (such as eunuchs) are made incapable by the action of men, and some have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let the man who can accept what I have said accept it."


Romans 14:1-4a,20b-21 - Welcome a man whose faith is weak, but not with the idea of arguing over his scruples. One man believes that he may eat anything, another man, without this strong conviction, is a vegetarian. The meat-eater should not despise the vegetarian, nor should the vegetarian condemn the meat-eater - they should reflect that God has accepted them both. After all, who are you to criticise the servant of somebody else, especially when that somebody else is God? ......

(Verse 20b ....) I freely admit that all food is, in itself, harmless, but it can be harmful to the man who eats it with a guilty conscience. We should be willing to be both vegetarians and teetotallers if by doing otherwise we should impede a brother's progress in faith.

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J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate