We are continuing to discuss the origins of verbal strife. The Bible teaches that there is a close correlation between strife and a certain kind of evil suspicion. Speaking of some who were proud and had ungodly attitudes, the apostle Paul warned Timothy about those who dote “about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings (1 Tim. 6:4). The word translated surmising here means suspicion and indicates a mind running ahead of itself and all reasonable evidence. The pattern is clear however-strife leads to suspicion and then to more strife.
Of course there is such a thing as reasonable suspicion — David knew that Saul was after him and Jonathan did not. Wisdom does know how to piece together certain indicators of wrong-doing. But this evil suspicion is like those elementary school exercises, where students are told to write a small story using their ten new vocabulary words. A world is constructed using those given words. In the same way, this destructive kind of suspicion happens when certain bits of data are constructed into a plausible story, but one that is not grounded in wisdom. And of course the strife accelerates whenever that newly-minted story is told.