If the biblical term “offend” or “offense” meant that we were not supposed to make a judgement about someone’s actions or not to hurt someone’s feelings, then the apostle Paul wouldn’t have called an unrepentant believer who was having sexual relations with his step-mother “that wicked person”.
Paul also wouldn’t have rebuked and instructed the church at Corinth to separate themselves from that person until he came to God by confession, repentance and full reconciliation. Jesus wouldn’t have called Peter “Satan” or the scribes and the Pharisees “serpents and vipers” as did John the Baptist.
I do believe that one of the definitions of offend does mean being upset, unhappy or feeling hurt because we have these examples about Jesus:
“And THEY WERE OFFENDED in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”
“Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, ‘Knowest Thou that the Pharisees WERE OFFENDED, after they heard this saying?’”
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And THEY WERE OFFENDED AT HIM.”
But there are multiple meanings to the biblical terms offend, offense etc. and we need to understand all of them; because when we do, we will have a better understanding about God, what pleases Him and what He expects us to do and not do. God teaches us and defines these terms for us in His word in the 1611 King James Bible.
(Please read the bottom half to hear how this affected the Body of Christ when Paul called out Peter’s sin, as well as some other Jews and even Barnabas too.)
GOD Defining “Offend” and “Offense”
(Old English spells it “offence”)
1. Offended: Harmed and sinned against someone else:
“Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I OFFENDED thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.”
2. Offended: To disobey an order or command from someone in authority:
“And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had OFFENDED their lord the king of Egypt.”
3. Offence: to sin. In this usage God is defining and describing offense as being sin. If King David had avenged himself instead of allowing God to do that (because God has said “vengeance is Mine, I will repay”; then David would have sinned against God by taking God’s rightful place and usurped the LORD’s commandments and authority. That sin would have later been a grief to David. By avenging himself in the way he had intended to do, he would have also sinned severely by killing innocent people who were not responsible for sinning against David, “innocent blood” or “blood causeless”.
“That this shall be no GRIEF unto thee, nor OFFENCE of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast SHED BLOOD causeless, or that my lord hath AVENGED himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.”
(Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: FOR IT IS WRITTEN, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”)
4. Offenders: lawbreakers
“Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted OFFENDERS.”
5. Offended: to sin, to transgress God’s laws:
“And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have OFFENDED against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our SINS and to our TRESPASS: for our TRESPASS is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.”
6. Offend: to sin against.
“Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not OFFEND any more”
“If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should OFFEND against the generation of thy children.”
7. Offend: nothing shall cause them to sin because they are rooted in and are abiding in God’s commandments. (Matthew 7:24)
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall OFFEND them. LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.”
8. Sinning against your brother
“A brother OFFENDED is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
Making Word Connections
Ought: having a just cause (or case) because of someone sinning against them (breaking God’s commandments thereby causing harm to another person) In some cases under the Old Testament the person who sinned against another owed that person for the wrong or the damages. (Luke 19:8). To be reconciled to your brother after sinning against him, should include an apology (confession and repentance) and his subsequent forgiveness according to God’s commandments.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that THY BROTHER HATH OUGHT against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first BE RECONCILED to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
Remember “owing” someone has to do with sinning against them.
“OWE NO MAN ANY THING,
but to love one another:
for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not steal,
Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Thou shalt not covet;
and if there be any other commandment,
IT IS BRIEFLY COMPREHENDED in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Love WORKETH NO ILL to his neighbour:
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Working “ill” is the same thing as sinning against them and that is what the apostle Paul is explaining to the Romans in chapter thirteen here. When you love them you don’t sin against them which also means harm them.
The fulfillment of the law isn’t the abolishment of the law but the doing and performing of God’s good and righteousness laws. This is the rendering, the production of the fruit of the Spirit which distills down to God’s definition of love, the obedience to His laws and commandments.
We are instructed not to offend in word or deed; we are instructed not to sin in word or deed.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and IN TRUTH.”
“Giving no OFFENCE in any thing,
that the ministry be not BLAMED”
is an everlasting righteousness,
and THY LAW IS THE TRUTH.”
Making More Word Connections and Paul Calling Out Sin
Blamed is a key word here which means to be defiled by sin, as in “to be blamed”. When Peter sinned and Paul called him out on that sin, Paul described it in terms that Peter was “to be blamed”. The opposite term is to be found “blameless” which means sinless (cleansed and forgiven not that we have never sinned).
“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was TO BE BLAMED.”
What did Peter do wrong? Paul says that Peter broke the law of God by being a respecter of persons. Basically Peter showed partiality (favoritism) to the Jews over the Gentile converts.
“For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles:
but when they were come,
he withdrew and separated himself,
fearing them which were of the circumcision.
And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
But when I saw
that they WALKED NOT UPRIGHTLY
ACCORDING TO THE TRUTH of the gospel,
I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”
Being dissembled and the dissimulation is Peter sinning. By sinning he not only physically separated himself but he also spiritually separated himself from God. His actions caused others to also sin and separate themselves too. When we sin and separate ourselves from God, at that point we are guilty of breaking His law and we are rightfully “to be blamed” for breaking God’s commandments. Let love be without sin (dissimulation); when we truly love we are not sinning against God or others.
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”
Getting back to the example of Peter’s sin, when Paul said that he saw that “they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” he is saying that they were all guilty of committing a sin. The truth he speaks about is the same thing as the law (Psalms 119:142).
The gospel law that was broken is found not only in James, but it is first found in the Old Testament from where James is making his reference.
“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, YE COMMIT SIN, and are convinced of the law as TRANSGRESSORS. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet OFFEND in one point, he is GUILTY of all.”
“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”
“And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. YE SHALL NOT RESPECT PERSONS in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. THOU SHALT NOT WREST JUDGMENT; THOU SHALT NOT RESPECT PERSONS, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.”
If this had been written into our Constitution and kept, how much death, misery and trouble could we have prevented? God’s people need to realize and understand that we are under God’s laws and they are for our good and protection. God’s people need to repent from false teachings, because false teachings are causing death and destruction not only in this world also at the final judgement too.
If God’s laws were no longer valid and binding on us under the New Covenant then sin and the curses wouldn’t exist but they do. Isaiah 24 is proof. Paul said if there was no law then there would be no sin (Romans 4:15). Paul said specifically that the wife is bound by God’s law to her husband and if she transgressed GOD’s law she would be called an adulteress (Romans 7:2, 1Corinthians 7:39).
God’s laws still exist and the death penalty also still exists for all people, for Christians and non-Christians, who are practicing unrepentant sinning. (Matthew 7:21-23, Revelation 2&3)
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof;
BECAUSE they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
THEREFORE hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate:
THEREFORE the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”