Overcoming Sin through Christ: Busybody

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Busybody

We have probably all known of a person or two who is always prying into someone else’s affairs. They are not content with simply knowing the superficial but they want to know what others do and why they do something. This may be combined with a propensity to condemn. While we should know much about brothers ans sisters in the family of God and even know what their lifestyle is like (away from the meetings), we need not know the private areas of one’s life. But a busybody is not content with this. Being a busybody often leads to gossip. Just what is a busybody?

A common word in our language, a busybody is “a person who meddles or pries.”[1]  This is similar to the Greek allotrioepiskopos, meaning a “busybody” or “meddler.”[2]  Peter urges the believers not to suffer as “a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler” (1 Peter 4:15).  Literally, this means “one who oversees others’ affairs.”[3] 

One writer says that this refers to “someone who intrudes into matters that belong to someone else. . . . It might also refer to being a troublesome meddler in the workplace.  As a general rule, a Christian living in a non-Christian culture is to do his work faithfully, exalt Jesus Christ, and live a virtuous life, rather than try to overturn or disrupt his culture.”[4]

Another term in the Greek would be the verb pereirgazomai, which literally means, “to be working round about, instead of at one’s own business.”[5]  Paul was deeply concerned about the disruption of certain men at Thessalonica who refused to work.  He writes, “We hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

These brothers were interfering with other people’s business, and thus, were busybodies.  Vine paraphrases this, “Some who are not busied in their own business, but are overbusied in that of others.”[6]  They were not only idle, but they also disturbed others with their visiting, bothersome meddling, and busyness.

A further word is the adjective periergoi, which Vine says means “taken up with trifles” or “meddling in other persons’ affairs.”[7]  It means “one who moves around,”[8] or “paying attention to things that do not concern one, meddlesome.”[9]  Paul uses this term to describe certain young widows who are idle and “go around from house to house, and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention” (1 Timothy 5:13).

In all three of these situations, we find people who are not content to do their own business but want to pry into other people’s lives.  Surely this is not speaking of a legitimate concern for the needs and problems and sins of other people, for Christians are to be deeply concerned about helping their brothers and sisters.  At the same time, we need not know the details of certain people’s lives if it is just to pry and investigate for no good reason.  The busybody frequently falls into gossip—the sharing of information with others who have no right or need to know.

 



[1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[2] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[3] NASB Study Bible, margin.

[4] MacArthur Study Bible, note.

[5] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[6] Expository Dictionary.

[7] Expository Dictionary.

[8] MacArthur Study Bible, note.

[9] The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.

 

 

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