Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Seek Good for One Another

Today’s one another comes from the last half of I Thessalonians 5:15, “always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” Paul has been speaking to the church at Thessalonica about the need for personal holiness in preparation for the Day of the Lord. Here he continues to speak concerning our Christian conduct.

The Greek word used by Paul here for “good” means benevolent, profitable, useful, and beneficial (Zodhiates’ Complete Word Study Dictionary). From this definition, we learn that seeking after someone’s good is more than just the absence of malice; “good” is actually beneficial to the other person. Psalm 118: 68a says both “God is good” and “God does good”.

As we seek good for those around us, we need to keep in mind that God’s ultimate good for us is to be reconciled to Him. Therefore, when we seek after good for others, we witness to the lost and we admonish and rebuke our errant brother or sister in Christ.

The Greek word translated as “seek” is a very interesting choice. There is another more common Greek word used over 70 times in the New Testament translated as seek or seeking. But here Paul chose a word that is most commonly translated as persecute, persecuted, and persecuting. In fact, this is the same word used 10 times (mostly in the book of Acts) to describe how Paul, as Saul, persecuted Jesus Christ and His Church.

But let’s take a quick look at other examples using this same Greek word in a positive sense. Romans 14:19 says “pursue the things which make for peace”. Philippians 3:14 says “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 2:22 says “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace”. When we “seek after” good for someone, it is in this sense of pursuing and pressing onward.

According to Zodhiates, this Greek word means “to follow or press hard after, to pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain.” It would seem then that Paul’s use of this particular word in I Thessalonians 5:15 speaks of the unrelenting passion and zeal we should use when seeking God’s goodness for one another. It is the same passion and zeal that young Saul used when persecuting the early church. But here he wants that energy re-focused on doing good, being beneficial to our fellow believers as well as to all people.

Galatians 6:10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

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