My goodness, two posts in one day? After two weeks of silence? What’s gotten into me?!?
So, here’s the issue: Does 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tell us to abstain from everything that even appears evil to some people? That’s how people sometimes read the KJV translation: “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”
In an entry at Parchment and Pen, Dr. Dan Wallace–author of the standard text Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, and chief translator of the New English Translation (with its wonderful footnotes)–explains why it doesn’t. In modern English, it says something closer to “Avoid every form of evil.”
Not only that, but in context, it looks like it’s talking about false teaching & prophecy. The ESV says:
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thes. 5:19-22
“Abstain from every form of evil” is the counterpart to “hold fast to what is good”, and both refer back to “test everything”.