Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”

1 Corinthians 15:33

“…bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

No doubt many of us are familiar with the old saying, “Beware the company you keep!”

Parents often use it as a warning to their children to be careful in their choice of friends because they understand how powerful their influence is – they want their children to “keep company” with those who will encourage an attitude of responsibility in them, not one of rebellion.

The advice is as old as the hills!

You find it throughout the wisdom literature of the Jews:

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” (Proverbs 13:20)

“Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.” (Proverbs 14:7)

The same advice was also given by Greek and Roman philosophers and Paul quotes a well-known version of it here in 1 Corinthians 15:33.

At first glance, it seems like an odd thing for Paul to be quoting when he is in the middle of defending the resurrection. What in the world does the company I keep have to do with Jesus’ resurrection?

It all makes sense, however, when we remember what Paul said in the previous verse. Paul argued there that if there is no hope of life beyond the grave, then we may as well live it up now because it will be the only chance we get. Of course, he exposed the futility of such a lifestyle by underscoring the fact of the resurrection.

The ancient Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead and they associated this belief with the living of a strong moral life – the belief that they would be raised to give an account of their life to God impelled them to live according to His will in this life.

People who say otherwise – “There is no resurrection, live it up now!” – are people you do not want to keep company with; they will have a corrupting influence on your character and lead you astray.

Instead of living our lives according to the ideas of others or the “wisdom” of the age, let’s live them in the light of the resurrection, because one day we will be called to stand before God and give an account!

Q. How powerful has the influence of friends been in your life? How has this influence helped/not helped you?

No doubt many of us are familiar with the old saying, “Beware the company you keep!”

Parents often use it as a warning to their children to be careful in their choice of friends because they understand how powerful their influence is – they want their children to “keep company” with those who will encourage an attitude of responsibility in them, not one of rebellion.

The advice is as old as the hills!

You find it throughout the wisdom literature of the Jews:

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” (Proverbs 13:20)

“Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.” (Proverbs 14:7)

The same advice was also given by Greek and Roman philosophers and Paul quotes a well-known version of it here in 1 Corinthians 15:33.

At first glance, it seems like an odd thing for Paul to be quoting when he is in the middle of defending the resurrection. What in the world does the company I keep have to do with Jesus’ resurrection?

It all makes sense, however, when we remember what Paul said in the previous verse. Paul argued there that if there is no hope of life beyond the grave, then we may as well live it up now because it will be the only chance we get. Of course, he exposed the futility of such a lifestyle by underscoring the fact of the resurrection.

The ancient Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead and they associated this belief with the living of a strong moral life – the belief that they would be raised to give an account of their life to God impelled them to live according to His will in this life.

People who say otherwise – “There is no resurrection, live it up now!” – are people you do not want to keep company with; they will have a corrupting influence on your character and lead you astray.

Instead of living our lives according to the ideas of others or the “wisdom” of the age, let’s live them in the light of the resurrection, because one day we will be called to stand before God and give an account!

Q. How powerful has the influence of friends been in your life? How has this influence helped/not helped you?