Bad Company Corrupts Good Character: What Does 1 Corinthians 15:33 Mean?


1 Corinthians 15:33 reads, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation1 Corinthians 15:33
ESVDo not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
NASBDo not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
NIVDo not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
NLTDon’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

Also see Pray for Your Enemies to learn more.

Bad Company Corrupts Good Character: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

15:20-34 All that are by faith united to Christ, are by his resurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of the first Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him the same sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ, shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and the spiritual nature, revive, and live for ever.

There will be an order in the resurrection. Christ himself has been the first-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raised before others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then will be the end of this present state of things.

Would we triumph in that solemn and important season, we must now submit to his rule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall we rejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God may receive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for ever serve him, and enjoy his favour.

What shall those do, who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhaps baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom, as Mt 20:22,23.

What is, or will become of those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the apostle’s argument was understood by the Corinthians.

And it is as plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession, if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness to God; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may be everlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do not die like them.

It must be ignorance of God that leads any to disbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a God and a providence, and observe how unequal things are in the present life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannot doubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set to rights.

Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn all around us, especially children and young persons, to shun them as a pestilence. Let us awake to righteousness, and not sin.

Also see As For Me And My House to learn more.

1 Corinthians 15:33 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

33. evil communications corrupt good manners—a current saying, forming a verse in Menander, the comic poet, who probably took it from Euripides [Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 3.16]. “Evil communications” refer to intercourse with those who deny the resurrection.

Their notion seems to have been that the resurrection is merely spiritual, that sin has its seat solely in the body, and will be left behind when the soul leaves it, if, indeed, the soul survive death at all.

good—not only good-natured, but pliant. Intimacy with the profligate society around was apt to corrupt the principles of the Corinthians.

Also see Count It All Joy to learn more.

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