Purloining

Purloining

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Today I walked in on someone purloining. I told them that I would think of some ways that they could recompense the situation, but the only way I could think to forgive them was if they were willing to give me some money as a propitiation. 

Did that sentence confuse you? Then you’re in luck because in this article we are going to be covering a very confusing word. The Bible is the most valuable possession we can have here on earth. So our goal should be to understand what it says. If I’m honest there have been times that I’ll read verses that use some confusing words, and instead of trying to understand what it means, I just skip over it and keep reading. 

There are some valuable insights that we can gain from looking more in depth at these words. 

Let’s define this biblical term “purloining” using scripture. Titus 2:10 says, “not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” 

The Greek word “nosphivo” is only found 3 times in New Testament and only translated as purloining in one verse. It’s defined as, “to put aside for oneself, to keep back, to steal.” It was actually a term used as a description of what Roman soldiers would do when they were looting. They would be tempted to hold back treasure for themselves. And that’s exactly what this word means. 

Going back to this verse, what does it mean in context? Verse 10 is the launching point for the rest of Paul’s point in chapter one. When he says purloining, he’s referring to bondservants and their attitude towards their masters. Rather than pilfering and stealing, they should show faith in God to take care of them. 

In essence this verse is an appeal to live in accordance with the teachings of God in everything. 

Servants who were not Christians would steal and cheat their masters at any chance they could get. Paul’s appeal for these servants to keep from purloining is still relevant today. We can be tempted to slack off and do as little work as possible. This mentality is the same as stealing since our employers pay us to do a job. If we are lazy and avoid working, that is a form of stealing. As Christians we are to have a faith in God to provide for us, not stealing and being dishonest.

In summary, if you were to use this in everyday conversation, you could say…

“I have never purloined in my life,” “Purloining is wrong,” and “I’m going to teach my kids to be honest and not run around purloining.” 

P.S. Or you could just say “steal” or “withhold.” 

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