In the time of the Judges in Israel, forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell to their enemies because they could not speak the language of the Gileadites. “And it was so, that when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, ‘Let me go over,’ the men of Gilead said unto him, ‘Art thou an “Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘Nay,’ then said they unto him, ‘Say now Shibboleth’ and he said ‘Sibboleth;’ for he could not frame to pronounce it right..” (Judges 12:5-6).
How convenient it would be if we could determine so easily today by sibilant sounds whether or not a brother was “orthodox” regarding the faith. Since an Ephraimite could not pronounce the “sh” sound, he was known immediately to be an alien. “Shibboleth” was orthodox; “Sibboleth” was unorthodox and suspicious. While “the faith” (Jude 3) is orthodox and true doctrine, departures into error require more than a sibilant slip to discover them. However, truth does have a “certain sound” that is identifiable, while error will be “unsound” (1 Cor. 14:7-11). Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Heresies (Parties)