5-Minute Bible Studies

TOLERANCE-A Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Ron Wallie
Husband and Father of Eight, Southington, OH

January 16, 2002


The concept of tolerance in American culture has deteriorated. Rather than meaning to respect the right of another to hold a different view, it for many today means to accept almost any belief system or behavior of another as equally valid, even if morally wrong. For example, we are told to accept all “lifestyles,” including homosexuality, behavior the Bible clearly records as sin (I Corinthians 6:9-10) and describes a specific instance of judgment (Genesis 19). What attitude should a Christian have toward people involved in immorality? What response is appropriate and Christ-like?

John the Baptist is our example. John the Baptist was a prophet at the time of Jesus’ entry into His ministry, a prophet Jesus listed among the greatest. John the Baptist confronted the immorality of a king, Herod the Tetrach, committing adultery with his brother’s wife.¬†“For John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ “¬†(verse 8)

As a result, Herod had John imprisoned. This action only enhanced the relationship between King Herod and John; for we read that, although Herod was perplexed and afraid of John, he kept John safe and gladly listened to all of John’s teachings. This shows the tolerance of John who must have been explaining God’s truth to Herod in a kind and loving way:

“…let our lives lovingly express truth in all things – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly…”.¬†Ephesians 4:15


Keeping in mind that tolerance never includes compromising on the truths in God’s Word, here are five “I will” principles whose practice will help incorporate the character quality of tolerance into our lives:

  1. I will not confuse what is right with what is popular.
  2. I will expect the same of myself as I expect of others.
  3. I will look for ways to help others mature.
  4. I will accept my own unchangeables and the unchangeables of others.
  5. I will listen before I form an opinion.

Questions for discussion:

  • What are some areas in which Christians today need be watchful to not compromise their own biblical principles but, while respecting the right of others to their view, speak the truth in love?
  • What are some of the reasons Christians don’t speak the truth in love?
  • What are some of the reasons Christians are intolerant in not being willing to permit others to hold their own views? (Possible answers: fear, pride, lack of trust in God, ignorance.)


Spend a few minutes in personal reflection:

  • Ask the Lord to show you matters and individuals to whom you are to speak the truth in love this week.
  • Commit to speaking the truth in these situations, and ask the Lord to help you.
  • Ask a trusted friend to pray for you and hold you accountable.




This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.

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