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Abstinence

ABSTINENCE (ăb’stĭ-nĕns, Gr. apechomai). The verb abstain occurs six times and means “hold oneself away from.” The noun abstinence occurs once in the KJV (Gr. asitia, Acts.27.2) and means abstinence from food. The decree of the Jerusalem council (Acts.15.20, Acts.15.29) commanded abstinence from “food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality,” practices abhorrent to Jewish Christians. Paul (1Thess.4.3) connects abstaining from fornication with sanctification. In 1Thess.5.22 he exhorts abstinence from all appearance of evil. In 1Tim.4.3 he refers to false teachers who commanded believers “to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” In 1Pet.2.11, Peter exhorts, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”