Op-Ed: The 5 Biblical Characteristics That Define a Good Person

We often refer to someone as a “good person.” That compliment is given to someone we like while we still keep in mind that everyone is fallen and possesses a sinful nature. That dichotomy begs the question — is our definition of a good person the same as God’s? Just how does the Bible characterize a good person? King Solomon takes up this topic in the book of Proverbs. But before we examine what the smartest man who ever lived has to say, a foundation should be laid regarding the biblical directive to us all to become better people. There is no substitution for the power of God’s Word to transform lives. Therein is the engine that drives us toward becoming good people. Unfortunately, many today fail to give God’s written Word its proper place of prominence. Even pastors avoid in-depth Bible teaching because they falsely think numbers define success. Their reasoning is that Scripture’s truth sometimes takes positions contrary to today’s trendy beliefs and offends and ends up turning people away. But such is to be expected and was the case with Jesus, the Apostle Paul and others whose ministries are portrayed in the Scriptures as both authentic and normative (cf. Matthew 10:4; Acts 15:38; Philippians 2:20; 2 Timothy 4:10, 16). To put it another way, there are numerous “ministers” and “ministries” today who are less than theocentric. Likened to soft drinks sweetened with phenylalanine or saccharin, many “ministries” falsely sweeten their appeal with what I call “anthropocentricsin.” (I’m guilty here of creating a new word to explain my thinking.) Antropocentric means “man-centered,” and sin means “to miss the mark.” Accordingly, anthropocentricsin is “the sin of being self-centered versus God-centered.” Ministers who suffer from this play to people. They make their listeners’ desires central rather than remaining faithful to their prophetic calling to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2-5). As a result of consuming and digesting too much anthropocentricsin, a disease, a spiritual malnutrition, a plague in the land results. Further, the easiest way to detect anthropocentricsin is wisdom atrophy. Accordingly, the greatest need on the Hill and in America’s churches is for good Bible exposition! If not spiritually dead, people are atrophied all around us! The scriptural cure is clear: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). A common desire of all who are genuinely called of God — a desire that all true believers possess — is a desire to learn the Word of God. The first Christians intensely hungered for the apostles’ teaching because they were genuinely converted. This is normative Christianity! But while many in the Capitol and in America’s churches name Christ, they are lackadaisical when it comes to desiring the pure milk of his Word. Keep in mind that one of the fruits of the people of God is a longing to be fed the Word of God. The Living Word and the written Word are inseparable, intrinsically intertwined. After this foundation is laid, this week’s Bible study focuses on the ingredients of a good person according to Solomon in the book of Proverbs: He relishes godly ways, he desires to help the poor, he is a good influence on others, he chooses godly friends, and he is the recipient of godly behavior. Also examined is what Solomon has to say about misconceptions about how to get to heaven, including that all it takes is to be a “good person” or that a believer can work his way to heaven. The study shows through Scripture that both of these rogue ideas are false. It is my prayer that as you study this intriguing issue, you will be thinking of at least one aspect of your life that God wants to remove and another (from his book) that he wants you to add to your life on your way to becoming a better person. Click here to read the full study. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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