Use The Right Term

Words mean something. It’s very important that we use the right word in the right context. This is especially true when we are talking about things that are or aren’t in the Bible. 

Specifically, here are the three terms that I think are vitally important:

  • Biblical. These are things the Bible specifically tells us that we must do. 
  • Unbiblical. These are things the Bible specifically tells us that we must not do. 
  • Non-biblical. These are things the Bible doesn’t specifically address.

For example, I tell a story in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter about a friend of mine who wanted to discuss particular titles for people in the church. I simply explained that the titles of “senior pastor” or “lead pastor” aren’t in the Bible, so I didn’t have a strong opinion on which one should be used. This is a non-biblical issue. 

However, we can create a big problem if we insist on making non-biblical issues seem like they are biblical issues. Jesus confronted the Pharisee and the teachers of the law on this issue. These religious leaders had non-biblical traditions, but they gave them biblical authority (Mark 7:1-13). As a result, they begin to behave in unbiblical ways.

The ceremonial washing of hands is a tradition that is non-biblical. But the way that they looked down on people who didn’t wash their hands this way, is an unbiblical attitude.

One biblical commandment is to honor parents, but Jesus called out the Pharisees for honoring another one of their non-biblical traditions that caused them to turn their backs on their parents. As a result they became guilty of the unbiblical practice of dishonoring their parents. 

Before you begin adopting certain attitudes, practices, or beliefs, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have learned whether they are biblical, unbiblical, or non-biblical.

5 Responses to “Use The Right Term”

  1. “Doing” Church | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] Jeff and I talked about some of the changes pastors and churches were forced to confront during the COVID shutdowns. For me, this was a time for my leadership team to examine why we “do church” the way we do. These shutdowns helped us identify the things that were biblical and non-biblical.  […]


  2. God Bless America? | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] this 4th of July weekend, is it right for us to pray for God’s blessing on America? I have blogged before about being careful with our terms that are biblical, unbiblical, or non-bibli…. Clearly, the phrase “God bless America” is non-biblical—that is, this phrase doesn’t […]


  3. When Non-biblical Becomes Unbiblical | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] have written before about the difference between terms that are biblical, unbiblical, and non-biblical. It is very important for us to keep these terms straight, especially so for those in leadership […]


  4. Links & Quotes | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] Be careful with non-biblical rules! I went much deeper with this idea in an exclusive video for my Patreon sponsors. If you want to get access to these exclusive lessons, it’s just $5/month. Check out my Patreon page to subscribe → […]


  5. Unity Enhances Our Witness | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] wrote much more about biblical, unbiblical, and non-biblical issues here, and how to correctly apply the principle of confrontation […]


Tell me what you think about this...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: