Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9)
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9).
Paul continues this
warning against these false teachers with a one verse parable. It takes just a little bit of
yeast to make the whole mass of bread dough to rise.So, a little bit of false teaching can get
mixed into the whole lump and spread its nefarious influence throughout the
whole, not to produce something good (a loaf of bread) but to ruin the whole.
BTW, here is a place
where I think we see that Paul directly knew the teachings of our Lord from the
Gospels, because Jesus so often appealed to yeast in such a parabolic way.Compare:
Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Luke 12:1 In the meantime, when an innumerable
multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of
all, "Beware of the leaven
of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."
Also, behind this
metaphor is the idea of the Jewish practice of the Passover when all unleavened
bread had to be removed from the house.You will not be spiritually pure, as long as you tolerate false
teaching, Paul is saying. Compare:
1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not
good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out
therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For
even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the
feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness;
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The image that came to
mind when I meditated on this verse was the recent chemical spill into the
drinking water in Charleston, WVA.Back
on January 9, 2014, seven to ten thousand gallons of MCHM leaked into the water supply
affecting hundreds of thousands of people, and, by many accounts, it is still
affecting their water. A little leaven
leavens the whole lump.A little false
teaching can infiltrate and ruin the whole body of teaching and harm