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Curious Arts

The Greek word pronounced per-ee-er-gos means meddlesome, or acting all around. The word is found only twice in the Holy Scriptures. In 1 Timothy 5:13, it is used in its literal meaning. The King James Version translates it here as "busybodies."

"5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (1 Timothy 5:13 KJV)

The other recording of the Greek word per-ee-er-gos is found in Acts 19:19 where the KJV translates it as "curious," as in "curious arts."

"19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver." (Acts 19:19 KJV)

"Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them"

The "curious arts" ("magic arts" in the RSV, "occult practices" in the Complete Jewish Bible) were a matter of people eagerly wasting their time (and themselves) on mysticism and "fortune telling" - men and women busily searching for answers in places where evil, not God's Truth, is found.

Curious Arts

"18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12 KJV)

Some "exorcists" in the time of Paul learned a painful lesson about trying to cast out evil spirits with no other power than their own "curiosity."

"19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (Acts 19:13-16 KJV)

Many of them thereafter repented of their "curiosity" and rid themselves of their familiarity (see the Fact Finder question below) with evil spirits.

"19:17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (Acts 19:17-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: What are "familiar spirits"?
See Familiar Spirits


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