Scriptural Tests for Modern Dilemmas
How Can I Decide What is Right?
Original Author Unknown
Edited and preached by Pastor Claude Madle
People’s Baptist Church,
Kelowna, BC, Canada
1. The Definite Command Test.
a. Is there a command or principle of Scripture that clearly and definitively addresses the issue in question? If so, the issue is settled once and for all.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
b. Where there is no direct reference to the issue in question, the issue should be put under the scrutiny of the following tests listed below.
2. The Glory of God Test.
- Can I do it to the glory of God?
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23
b. Can I do it in the name of Christ with His approval?
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17
3. The Love Test.
a. Does genuine concern for others predominate over rationalization – (intellectual justification)?
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. 1 Corinthians 8:1
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:8
b. Will love for others prevail over my own personal desires?
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16
4. The Testimony Test.
a. Can it easily be construed to be evil or wrong?
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1
b. Will it cast a negative shadow on the good I am doing?
Romans 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
5. The Identify Test.
a. Will it reflect adversely on my identity as a child of God?
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29
b. Is it identified in the minds of others with that which is evil or wrong? Does it communicate a wrong message about me?
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. John 8:29
How about my music? What does it sound like at a distance? (ie. When you can’t understand the words.)
6. The Clear Conscience Test.
a. Is it doubtful?
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23
b. Can I do it without reservation of conscience?
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16
7. The Total Commitment Test.
a. Is love for God the ultimate basis of determination of every issue?
But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 1 Corinthians 8:3
b. Is God’s approval more important than anything else to me? (Am I selling out?)
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21
8. The “Temple” Test.
a. Does it result in harm to my physical body? (examples: drugs, alcohol, junk food, medical drugs, not getting enough sleep, etc.)
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
b. Does it give due reverence to this “dwelling place” of the Holy Spirit?
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
9. The Stumbling Test.
a. Will it offend the conscience of a sincere Christian brother?
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13
b. Will it cause someone, whether saved or unsaved, to stumble?
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:25-33
Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:7-13
Concern for the other guy. Does my example help others walk to or away from Jesus?
10. The Edifying Test.
a. Does it contribute positively to my own spiritual upbuilding and strength?
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23
b. Does it contribute positively to the upbuilding and strengthening of others?
Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Romans 15:2
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4
11. The “Others First” Test.
a. Is it pleasing (helpful, inoffensive, acceptable) to others?
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. Romans 15:1-3
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:3-5
b. Does it consider the feelings of others first?
Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. 1 Corinthians 10:24
Example: Sunday is viewed as a “Holy Day” to the lost. What do I do on that day?
12. The Enslavement Test.
a. Is it addictive? It can be a good thing, but am I addicted to it? (Food, entertainment, internet, computer…..What or Who really has first place in my heart?)
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1 Corinthians 6:12
b. Will it bring me into bondage?
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19
13. The Heart Motive Test.
a. Does it come out of a pure (unmixed) heart?
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matthew 15:18-20
b. Does it come out of pure motives?
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15
14. The Fruit Test.
a. What is the product of the proposed course of conduct?
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23
The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin. Proverbs 10:16
b. Am I willing to put aside the immediate for the sake of the permanent?
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26
15. The Defrauding Test.
a. Am I taking for my own pleasure that which really belongs to another?
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
b. Am I taking for my own pleasure at the personal expense of another – his or her purity, sanctity, testimony, or life?
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5
16. The “Garbage In” Test?
a. Am I willingly participating in my own temptation or in the corrupting of my own mind?
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. Psalms 101:2-3
Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Psalms 119:137
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
b. Am I protecting my own heart and mind in a responsible manner?
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? Job 31:1
17. The Intrinsic Value Test.
a. Is it good, worthy, of significance or of permanent value?
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
b. Is it a waste of time and effort in the light of real needs and eternal valued?
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
18. The Wisdom Test.
a. What is the wisest thing to do in light of God’s will and considering the future vs. the present?
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:5-7
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16
He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good. Proverbs 19:8
b. What is the counsel from wise, godly people over me?
Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Proverbs 8:33
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20
If there’s any doubt, lean to the conservative side!
That which cools down or hinders my zeal for God is sin!