The Berean Expositor
Volume 25 - Page 30 of 190
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sun, "together with" and eideo, "to know". The following passage show the occurrences
and the usage of the verb suneideo:--
"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and
kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it" (Acts 5: 1, 2).
"And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary" (Acts 12: 12).
"They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe" (Acts 14: 6).
These three references show the primary meaning of the word. In each case the idea is
"to know together", either with someone else (as in Acts 5: 1, 2), with oneself (as in
Acts 12: 12), or, in a general way (as in Acts 14: 6). The one occurrence of this verb
that we find in the epistles is in the middle perfect, sunoida: "I know nothing by myself:
yet am I not hereby justified" (I Cor. 4: 4). The A.V. does not make the intention of the
apostle very clear. From the first clause we might gather that the apostle was ignorant
and depended upon the teaching of others, but the added words, "Yet am I not hereby
justified" would correct such an impression, and help to shew the true meaning of the
passage. A careful examination of the context will shew considerable light upon the
negative side of our subject--"conscience is not a law":--
"Let a man so account of us as subordinate ministers (huperetes, literally, an
under-rower) and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards
that a man be found faithful. But for me it is the very smallest matter, that I should be
examined of you, or of man's day, yea, I do not even examine mine own self. For I am
conscious of nothing in myself, but I am not justified by this. But He that examines me is
the Lord. So then judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who shall both
bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and shall make manifest the counsels of
hearts: and then shall each have his praise from God" (I Cor. 4: 1-5).
The Corinthians prided themselves on their eloquence and their philosophy, and the
apostle, knowing this and knowing their spiritual immaturity, determined to know
nothing among them save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This resolve was not made
without some inward shrinking on the apostle's part, for he knew that his attitude would
offend them. With the perfect he could go forward and enter into the mysteries of God;
but he could not deal with such holy themes just to please his hearers (I Cor. 2: 1-6). He
was, after all, one under orders, an under-rower, not the Captain; he was a steward, and
the first thing required of a steward is faithfulness. Although the apostle knew that his
action with regard to what he taught and what he withheld would be censured, he assured
the Corinthians that this was a very small matter;  but his conscience was not the
standard, it was but a monitor. His own conscious innocence would not of itself justify
any of his actions; all judgment belonged to the Lord.
We propose in subsequent articles to examine other scriptures dealing with conscience
from various points of view. We pray that they may be a means of blessing to us all,
leading us to realize the blessedness of having no more conscience of sins, and helping us
always to have the answer of a good conscience toward God.