When reading the bible, it can be easy to gloss over words we don’t understand, because we get the gist of what is being said. We may even think we’ll go back and check on the word later, but then life calls us in a thousand different directions and we don’t get back to that word until the next time we come across it in a verse. So much more is available to us if we take time to learn what a word means within the biblical context. It can be life changing. For example, let’s consider the biblical definition of dissipation.
Quick bible study on 1 Peter 4:1-4
To get a broader understanding of the biblical definition of dissipation, let’s take a look at its use within the context of 1 Peter 4:1-6 and ask questions like what, why, when, and who:
- Verse 1: “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (HCSB).
- Verse 2: “So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (HCSB).
- Verse 3: “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries” (HCSB).
- Verse 4: “In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you” (HCSB).
The first verse in this passage tells believers to arm themselves for the same purpose. That tells us who. This is for Christians, but leads to the question what. What is the purpose? The answer is “to suffer in the flesh.”
That certainly doesn’t sound good, and it raises the question why? Why should we suffer in the flesh? This answer is also found in the second half of verse 1 and and continues into verse 2. It deals with the denying of self as we follow Christ. Denying ourselves isn’t natural. According to verse 2, the why is so that we live our lives no longer fulfilling our own lusts. Instead we are to live out the will of God.
Verse 3 describes a timeline and answers part of the question “when?” It tells us that we already lived to pursue our own desires dealing with “sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries” before we belonged to Christ. So what does this have to do with dissipation?
What is the biblical definition of dissipation
Verse 4 holds the answer because people who live with or around Christians should be surprised that we do not “run with them into the same excesses of dissipation” and the result is that “they malign you.” What does dissipation mean? The word in the Greek is asōtia.The Free Dictionary Online offers definitions that bring the meaning into today’s vernacular:
- The act of dissipating or the condition of having been dissipated.
- Wasteful expenditure or consumption.
- Dissolute indulgence in sensual pleasure; intemperance.
- An amusement; a diversion.
What it means in today’s living
Bringing this understanding into the context of this verse, it means we should no longer spend money on things we don’t need, eat or drink more than our bodies need, or immerse ourselves in sensual pleasures, or spend a lot of time amusing ourselves. This certainly goes against our self-indulgent culture, and as a result, if you live this way, don’t be surprised if those who do malign you.