Does Bad Company Really Corrupt Good Character?

Separating ourselves from the world includes more than staying away from the individuals who actively choose to sin, it implies remaining near to God. As Christians, we can focus on keeping and living God’s Word.

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 30, 2022
Does Bad Company Really Corrupt Good Character?

"Bad company corrupts good character." Keeping associations with the individuals who deny or contradict the resurrection could ruin and destroy the good character of a Christian person. We ought not to let our affiliation with unbelievers lead us away from Christ or cause our confidence and faith in Christ to waver.

This passage of Scripture asks those in Corinth who deny the Christian resurrection to acknowledge what is valid and true. Presently Paul cautions every one of them not to be tricked by the people who do not trust in the resurrection.

He might be citing a famous expression of the day when he says, “Good morals are ruined by bad company.” As it is being utilized here, that is an opinion Paul is supporting. There are particular, spiritual threats to partner with the individuals who are not in line with God.

In chapter 5, Paul cautioned the Corinthians not to connect with believers who practice different sorts of impropriety (1 Corinthians 5:11). He echoes that guidance again here. Investing energy with individuals who constantly broadcast false doctrine, including lies about the resurrection of the believers, has a method of wearing out even the most devoted Christian.

The consequence of releasing one’s hold on right conviction unavoidably prompts extricating one’s ethical feelings (moral convictions) also. It probably will not bring about full apostasy, yet it very well may be harming.

The Corinthian Christians were being deluded by the people who scrutinized the resurrection. They were paying attention to the people who had quite a lot to say yet had no information on God.

Paul is saying that if they listen to and receive the erroneous information, they will begin to act wrongly. He reproves them to quit erring. He wants them to understand that there is a resurrection of the saints to come one day.

What Does 'Bad Company Corrupts Good Character' Mean?

I know many of you have heard the expressions, “Like peas in a pod,” “Birds of a feather flock together,” “One bad apple or one bad potato spoils the rest,” or “Cut from the same mold.”

We have been told during our childhoods how we might be influenced by the associations that we keep, and that we should stay away from people with unhealthy habits.

“Guilty by association” was one that I heard and had to deal with as a child, even if I had not done anything wrong, or at least that is what I thought. There are many unpleasant habits from the world that can “rub off on us” if we Christians let them. Or maybe we learned those rude habits from before we became Christians.

Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Separating ourselves from the world includes more than staying away from the individuals who sin, it implies remaining near to God (2 Corinthians 7:1-2). It includes more than keeping away from diversion that prompts sin, it stretches out into how we invest our energy and money.

It is absolutely impossible to isolate ourselves totally from every single corrupt impact. In any case, we are to oppose the transgression around us, do not surrender, and yield to it.

Believers are not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. Darkness and Light cannot be in cooperation with each other. Christians are God’s sanctuaries on earth since His Spirit lives in them. That is the reason they should isolate themselves from any sort of formal, restricting relationship with unbelievers.

In this verse, Paul is telling Christians to separate themselves from what surrounds them. All the more explicitly, he is directing the Corinthians to isolate themselves from any association with the worship of icons. Worshipping idols is putting anything between us and God.

Paul is citing from a couple of Old Testament verses (Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:41), to present this defense. God liberated the Israelites from bondage to different countries and advised them to isolate themselves from the people around them and to keep up with their virtue by not contacting things that were forbidden. Then, at that point, the Lord would invite them.

How to Be of Good Character

God calls Christians to live in independence and freedom from wrongdoing and the law and to live a life that is holy. The thing that matters is that God has already welcomed those who believe in Christ, His Son.

We are His children with an everlasting life with Christ in Heaven. Paul portrayed in his letter to Titus how God has helped us in Christ and how we should live accordingly:

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:12-14).

Reject every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

As Christians, we cannot stay away from all evil since we live in a broken world. We can notwithstanding, ensure that we do not let evil attractions have a chance to gain footing in our lives by abstaining from enticing circumstances and focusing on submitting to and obeying God’s Word.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, Paul tells us that we should evaluate things before we either reject or accept them. We can do this with the things that we encounter in our everyday lives.

When we are presented with a situation, we should ask ourselves how it will affect our witness for the Lord. The Bible is an impeccable authority for what we believe in, yet additionally for how we should act.

As Christians, we are told this, “So that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15).

The psalmist wrote that there was a question and answer on how and what we are to do. “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word (Psalm 119:9). “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). This applies to all of us, man, woman, and child, old and young.

What Does Bad Company Corrupts Good Character Mean for Us Today?

Wherever we look we discover an impulse to have a life separated from God. The psalmist posed an inquiry that haunts all of us: how do we keep clean in a broken climate?

We cannot do this all alone, however, we do have advice and strength more powerful than the enticing impacts and situations around us. Where would we be able to find that wisdom and strength? By studying God’s Word and doing what it says we are to do.

Putting God’s Word in our souls is an obstacle to sin. This by itself ought to move us to retain Scripture in our minds.

Yet, retention alone will not keep us from sin and transgression; we should likewise utilize God’s Word to work in our lives; making the Bible an indispensable guide for all that we do.

For further reading:

How Do We Show Love to Toxic People?

What Does the Bible Say about Abusive Relationships?

Why Should We Not Be Conformed to This World?

What Does the Bible Say about Sowing Bad Seeds?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Prostock-Studio

Chris SwansonChris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. He is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. You can check out his work here.


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