In keeping with our theme for today, I would like to look at three passages containing the word, conversation. Starting with a question that was asked of the Christians in the book of James, “Who isa wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” (3:13) Then the writer of the book of Hebrews tells us the behavior of a godly man (13:1-5) while reminding them where they should look for that example. (13:7)
To answer the first question, “Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). Later in the chapter James questions a man’s heart. How can a man have bitter envying and strife in his heart (the biblical mind) and it not be earthly, sensual and devilish? This type of mind or wisdom is not from above and causes confusion and is motivated to abound in every evil work. Again let us ask the question, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” How will it show forth unto the world? The Strong’s number for this word, conversation, is 391. Its definition is “behavior,” but more in keeping with this passage, he will show forth out of his noble living which displays his godly disposition and upright character. His works will be righteous works and those that are pleasing to God. They will not be displayed arrogantly or boastfully, but with meekness or humility of wisdom. The behavior, or conversation, of a Christian tells all that this man or woman is set apart from the world and is dedicated to the God of all who is above all, in such a way that his character displays the wisdom that is from above, in a time where it is least wanted or appreciated. (James 3)
Another place to find our word of study is the book of Hebrews. This book is unique in its dialogue just for the fact that it is written to Jewish Christians desiring to leave the faith, yet it gives us today a ton of valuable instruction. Right off the bat chapter thirteen hits us with the behavior of a Christian:
- Let brotherly love continue.
- Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.
- Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.
- Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.
- Let your conversation be without covetousness;
Yes, the word here is behavior again, but only in the broadest sense of the word. The Strong’s number is 5158. To get closer to its definition, it is “manner, character, way of life.” Please notice the italicized words that are used in verse 5. The simplest term to use for the word, conversation, is, “Be ye.” 5 Be ye without covetousness. Most translate the word “covetousness” to be the love of money, but the context is to be “without wanting; content with such things as ye have.” The general principle we teach is to be content with the least of the world’s possessions, and be appreciative of the many spiritual blessings we have in Christ.
To continue on in verse 5, I must go somewhere other than the King James translation. There it is rendered correctly, but not with the fullness it should be. The promise to Christians is, “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] God assuredly, with no doubt, will bless those that put their joyful trust in Him and are obedient to His Word. God does this so we may boldly say, as in verse 6, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Finally, how were the faint hearted and weak in the faith supposed to be assured of their Savior’s sacrifice for them and His teachings? By the apostles and elders that were setting the example before them in their teaching and in their behavior. “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7) The Strong’s number here again is 391, meaning “behavior.” The apostles and those that taught the doctrine of Christ were to show through their conduct, their faith, and their
character that they were of a spiritual disposition. No more, no less. They were spiritual leaders concerned with doing the will of God. They were the same, day in and day out. Just as we can be assured that, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.”
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?”
Let it show through his conversation and obedience to Christ.