Bible Topics: Partiality and Favoritism

Definitions: Partiality is to be inclined to like one more than another; biased. Favoritism is showing favorable treatment of some to the neglect of others.

1. Partiality and favoritism are carnal, worldly traits.

* 1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

* Galatians 5:19,20 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; 20 … hatred, variance [discord], emulations [jealousy], wrath, strife. … [See also Titus 3:3.]

2. Playing favorites always bears bad fruit.

* Genesis 25:27,28 [Favoritism of each parent led to bickering and deceit which eventually resulted in Esau’s determination to kill his brother.] And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. [See Genesis 27:6-41 for more of this story.]

* Genesis 29:30b [Jacob favored his wife Rachel over his other wife Leah, which led to long-standing jealousy and animosity between the sisters.] And he [Jacob] loved also Rachel more than Leah.

* Genesis 37:3,4 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

* Genesis 43:34a [Joseph favored his brother Benjamin over his other brothers.] And he [Joseph] took and sent messes [portions of food] unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs.

* 1 Samuel 1:4-6 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: 5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy [double] portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. 6 And her adversary [Peninnah] also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.

3. Partiality and favoritism are often selfishly motivated — for personal gain or to win the favor of others.

* 1 Samuel 8:3 [The Prophet Samuel’s spoiled and corrupt sons took bribes as judges in Israel, causing the people to lose faith in their government.] And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. [See verses 5-7.]

* Amos 5:12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.

* Luke 6:32-34 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. [See also Matthew 5:46-47.]

* Jude 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
[See also Bribery, page 68.]

4. The impartiality and fairness of a loving God:

* 2 Chronicles 19:7b For there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

* Job 34:19b Him [God] that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? For they all are the work of His hands.

* Matthew 5:45b For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

* Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. [See also Acts 10:34.]

* Ephesians 6:8,9 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them [servants], forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in Heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him.

5. We are not to base friendship or respect upon success or wealth.

* Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

* 2 Chronicles 19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, Who is with you in the judgment.

* Proverbs 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all.

* James 2:1-4,9a My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? … 9a But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin.

6. We are not to base our love for others on natural abilities or attributes.

* 1 Corinthians 12:20-26 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

* Deuteronomy 1:17a Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great.

* Romans 12:16a Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.

* Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

7. God’s Law of Love overcomes partiality.

* John 13:34,35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.

* John 15:12 This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

* Romans 12:9a,10 Let love be without dissimulation [hypocrisy]. … 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

* Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

* Romans 13:9b,10 If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

* Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

* 1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

* James 3:17,18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

* 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned [sincere] love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.

* 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.

8. Impartiality strengthens unity.

* Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. [See also Acts 2:44,45.]

* 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

* 1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

* Ephesians 4:16 From Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

* Colossians 2:2a That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love.

* Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
[See also Cliques, page 130.]

Copyright (c) 1998 by Aurora Productions

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