1 Thessalonians 5:22

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Template:Verses in 1 Thessalonians 5

(Textus Receptus, Novum Testamentum, Theodore Beza, 4th folio edition. Geneva. 1598)

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

(King James Version, Pure Cambridge Edition 1900)

(King James Version 2016 Edition, 2016)




There is a translational difference in many modern versions in comparison to the KJV. This is even seen among TR based bibles:

1900 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (KJV 1900)
1982 “ Abstain from every form of evil.” (NKJV 1982)
2016 “Abstain from every appearance of evil.” (KJV 2016)

The NKJV says we should abstain from every form (or kind) of evil. With this rendering, the thing has to be evil itself and not just have the “appearance” of evil.

Concerning this, James White says:

"Here is the difference between the NKJV's "Abstain from every FORM of evil" and the KJV's "Abstain from every APPEARANCE of evil." The word that is translated differently, 'eidos,' can mean "form, outward appearance," but it also can mean "kind." The NKJV captures both possibilities with "form," while the KJV's rendering limits us to only one of the two possible meanings of the term." (The King James Only Controversy, page 116.)

James White is in error here, as the NKJV's "form" is the one that actually limits it to that which is actually evil, while the KJV reading of "appearance" refers to that which may not be evil in itself, but it can appear to be so to others and cause them to stumble in some way. The NKJV does not "capture both possibilities" as White claimed at all. The meaning of the NKJV and KJV are not synonymous here. Daniel Wallace has also written an erroneous article on this topic. [1]

Not being a textual variant issue, but a translation issue, understanding the Greek definition helps clear up this issue. The Greek word for “appearance” (or form) is the same - ειδους. This word idos is only found 5 times in the New Testament and it comes from the verb “to see”. So the basic meaning of the word has to do with “that which is seen”. In the KJV has:

Luke 3:22 - “the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove”
John 5:37 - “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”
Luke 9:29 - “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered”.
2 Corinthians 5:7 - “For we walk by faith, not by sight”.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 - “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

The NASB 1995 that James White and Daniel Wallace worked on reads “Abstain from every form of evil.” Yet it footnotes “or appearance”.

Appearance was clearly understood by commentators of the scriptures. Matthew Henry said:

We should therefore abstain from evil, and all appearances of evil, from sin, and that which looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of sin, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to sin, will not long abstain from the actual commission of sin.

John Gill said:

Abstain from all appearance of evil. Of doctrinal evil. Not only open error and heresy are to be avoided, but what has any show of it, or looks like it, or carries in it a suspicion of it, or may be an occasion thereof, or lead unto it; wherefore all new words and phrases of this kind should be shunned, and the form of sound words held fast”

Adam Clarke has:

Abstain from all appearance of evil - Sin not, and avoid even the appearance of it. Do not drive your morality so near the bounds of evil as to lead even weak persons to believe that ye actually touch, taste, or handle it. Let not the form of it, ειδος, appear with or among you, much less the substance.

Matthew Poole’s Annotations says:

as in worship to abstain from the show of idolatry; as to eat meat in an idol’s temple was not always gross idolatry, but had some appearance of it, and therefore the apostle forbids it, 1 Corinthians 10:14.


Textus Receptus

See Also 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Complutensian Polyglot 1514

Desiderius Erasmus


Stephanus (Robert Estienne)

Theodore Beza

See Also 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Beza 1598 (Beza)

  • 1604 (Beza Octavo 5th)




  • 1894 (? ????? ???T???)

Other Greek

  • 1857 (Tregelles' Greek New Testament)
  • (Tischendorf 8th Ed.)
  • 1881 (Westcott & Hort)
  • (Greek orthodox Church)

Anglo Saxon Translations

  • 1000 (Anglo-Saxon Gospels Manuscript 140, Corpus Christi College by Aelfric)
  • 1200 (Anglo-Saxon Gospels Hatton Manuscript 38, Bodleian Library by unknown author)

English Translations

  • 1535 (Coverdale Bible)
  • 1745 (Mr. Whiston's Primitive New Testament)
  • 1770 (Worsley Version by John Worsley)
  • 1790 (Wesley Version by John Wesley)
  • 1795 (A Translation of the New Testament from the Original Greek by Thomas Haweis)
  • 1835 (Living Oracles by Alexander Campbell)
  • 1851 (Murdock Translation)
  • 1865 (The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ 1865 by American Bible Union)
  • 1869 (Noyes Translation by George Noyes)
  • 1885 (Revised Version also called English Revised Version - Charles Ellicott editor)
  • 1902 (The Emphasised Bible Rotherham Version)
  • 1902 (Translation of the New Testament from the Original Greek by William Godbey)
  • 1904 (Twentieth Century New Testament by Ernest Malan and Mary Higgs)
  • 1911 (Syrus Scofield)
  • 1912 (Weymouth New Testament)
  • 1918 (The New Testament Translated from the Sinaitic Manuscript by Henry Anderson)
  • 1923 (Edgar Goodspeed)

Foreign Language Versions


  • امتنعوا عن كل شبه شر. (Arabic Smith & Van Dyke)


  • (Aramaic Peshitta)


  • Gaizquiaren irudi orotaric beguira çaitezte.


  • 1940 (Bulgarian Bible)


  • 1 各 样 的 恶 事 要 禁 戒 不 做 。 (Chinese Union Version (Simplified))
  • 1 各 樣 的 惡 事 要 禁 戒 不 做 。 (Chinese Union Version (Traditional))


  • Abstenez-vous de toute forme de mal. (French Darby)
  • 1744 Abstenez-vous de toute apparence de mal. (Martin 1744)
  • 1744 (Ostervald 1744)


  • 1545 (Luther 1545)
  • 1871 (Elberfelder 1871)
  • 1912 Meidet allen bösen Schein. (Luther 1912)


  • 1649 Astenetevi da ogni apparenza di male. (Giovanni Diodati Bible 1649)
  • 1927 astenetevi da ogni specie di male. (Riveduta Bible 1927)



  • 1527 (Erasmus 1527)
  • 1527 (Erasmus Vulgate 1527)


  • 1996 (Pidgin King Jems)


  • 2010 (Biblia Traducerea Fidela în limba româna)




  • (RVG Spanish)


  • 1917 avhållen eder från allt ont, av vad slag det vara må. (Swedish - Svenska 1917)


  • 1905 Layuan ninyo ang bawa't anyo ng masama. (Ang Dating Biblia 1905)

Tok Pisin

  • 1996 (Tok Pisin King Jems)


  • 1934 Bất cứ việc gì tựa như điều ác, thì phải tránh đi. (VIET)

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