on 1-corinthians 15 :33
Be not deceived - Do not impose on yourselves, and permit not others to do it.
Evil communications corrupt good manners - There are many sayings like this among the Greek poets; but this of the apostle, and which according to the best MSS. makes an Iambic verse, is generally supposed to have been taken from Menander's lost comedy of Thais.
Φθειρουσιν ηθη χρησθ' ὁμιλιαι κακαι·
Bad company good morals doth corrupt.
There is a proverb much like this among the rabbins:
תרי אורי יכישי ותר רטיכא אוקרן יכישי לרטיכא
"There were two dry logs of wood, and one green log; but the dry logs burnt up the green log."
There is no difficulty in this saying; he who frequents the company of bad or corrupt men will soon be as they are. He may be sound in the faith, and have the life and power of godliness, and at first frequent their company only for the sake of their pleasing conversation, or their literary accomplishments: and he may think his faith proof against their infidelity; but he will soon find, by means of their glozing speeches, his faith weakened; and when once he gets under the empire of doubt, unbelief will soon prevail; his bad company will corrupt his morals; and the two dry logs will soon burn up the green one.
The same sentiment in nearly the same words is found in several of the Greek writers; Aeschylus, Sept. Theb. ver. 605: Εν παντι πραγει δ' εσθ' ὁμιλιας κακης κακιον ουδεν· "In every matter there is nothing more deleterious than evil communication." - Diodorus Siculus, lib. xvi. cap. 54: Ταις πονηραις ὁμιλιαις διεφθειρε τα ηθη των ανθρωπων· "With these evil communications he corrupted the morals of men."
Ταυτα μεν οὑτως ισθι· κακοισι δε μη προσομιλο
Ανδρασιν, αλλ' αιει των αγαθων εχεο·
Και μετα τοισιν πινε και εσθιε, και μετα τοισιν
Ἱζε, και ἁνδανε τοις, ὡν μεγαλη δυναμις.
Εσθλων μεν γαρ απ' εσθλα μαθησεαι· ην δε κακοισι
on 1-corinthians 15 :33
Be not deceived - By your false teachers, and by their smooth and plausible arguments. This is an exhortation. He had thus far been engaged in an argument on the subject. He now entreats them to beware lest they be deceived - a danger to which they were very liable from their circumstances. There was, doubtless, much that was plausible in the objections to the doctrine of the resurrection; there was much subtilty and art in their teachers, who denied this doctrine; perhaps, there was something in the character of their own minds, accustomed to subtle and abstruse inquiry rather than to an examination of simple facts, that exposed them to this danger.
Evil communications - The word rendered "communications" means, properly, a being together; companionship; close contact; converse. It refers not to discourse only, but to contact, or companionship. Paul quotes these words from Menander (in Sentent. Comicor. Greek p. 248, ed. Steph.), a Greek poet. He thus shows that he was, in some degree at least, familiar with the Greek writers; compare the note on Acts 17:28. Menander was a celebrated comic poet of Athens, educated under Theophrastus. His writings were replete with elegance, refined wit, and judicious observations. Of one hundred and eight comedies which he wrote, nothing remains but a few fragments. He is said to have drowned himself, in the 52nd year of his age, 293 b.c., because the compositions of his rival Philemon obtained more applause than his own. Patti quoted this sentiment from a Greek poet, perhaps, because it might be supposed to have weight with the Greeks. It was a sentiment of one of their own writers, and here was an occasion in which it was exactly applicable. It is implied in this, that there were some persons who were endeavoring to corrupt their minds from the simplicity of the gospel. The sentiment of the passage is, that the contact of evil-minded men, or that the close friendship and conversation of those who hold erroneous opinions, or who are impure in their lives, tends to corrupt the morals, the heart, the sentiments of others. The particular thing to which Paul here applies it is the subject of the resurrection. Such contact would tend to corrupt the simplicity of their faith, and pervert their views of the truth of the gospel, and thus corrupt their lives. It is always true that such contact has a pernicious effect on the mind and the heart. It is done:
(1) By their direct effort to corrupt the opinions, and to lead others into sin.
(2) by the secret, silent influence of their words, and conversation, and example. We have less horror at vice by becoming familiar with it; we look with less alarm on error when we hear it often expressed; we become less watchful and cautious when we are constantly with the frivilous, the worldly, the unprincipled, and the vicious. Hence, Christ sought that there should be a pure society, and that his people should principally seek the friendship and conversation of each other, and withdraw from the world. It is in the way that Paul here refers to, that Christians embrace false doctrines; that they lose their spirituality, love of prayer, fervor of piety, and devotion to God. It is in this way that the simple are beguiled, the young corrupted, and that vice, and crime, and infidelity spread over the world.
on 1-corinthians 15 :33
15:33 Be not deceived - By such pernicious counsels as this. Evil communications corrupt good manners - He opposes to the Epicurean saying, a well - known verse of the poet Menander. Evil communications - Discourse contrary to faith, hope, or love, naturally tends to destroy all holiness.