No authorized translation, for reference only

作者:Dr. Brandon D. Crowe

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19–20)

The Bible never explicitly mentions the internet or social media accounts. But that’s not to say the Bible doesn’t speak to these issues. It does. Scripture has much to say about our words and our neighbors, and social media deals with both of these. It is therefore useful to linger for a few moments on some of the ways that Scripture speaks to our usage of social media.


To begin, it’s important to use technology with discernment. Technology itself—the internet, computers, smart phones, and so forth—is neither inherently right nor inherently wrong. Technology can be thought of as neutral in the sense that it can be used for evil or for good. To focus on the positive: Who has not benefited from an online discussion about the Bible, or streamed a helpful sermon, podcast, or video lecture? The tools of technology can be great assets in the Christian life and in the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

That is not, however, to say that all technologies are neutral. Some are designed to pull us in unbiblical directions. My own view is that the big social media platforms lean this way. Though there are clearly positive possibilities with these platforms—such as the ability to speed the spread important news (and prayer requests!) or keep in touch with loved ones who are far away—these platforms are designed first of all with the interests of the owners of the platforms in mind. They are designed to be immersive and to reward those who look away for the least amount of time. Think, for example, of the “streaks” that some apps build in to reward users for not missing any days. Do these have a Sabbath feature? These platforms release notifications in strategic increments to keep users checking the apps or websites as frequently as possible. These design features are meant to hook the users and keep them coming back for more (even when already we do so more than we would like to).


My premise, therefore—one with which I recognize some may disagree—is that much of social media is not “neutral” but is designed in such a way that it tilts the slope away from biblical principles. At the very least, social media can easily exacerbate our tendencies toward self-indulgence.

Social media highlights our opinions and encourages online debates—typically short, staccato conversations—that don’t favor complexity. Yet social media is a perishable format, in which older conversations expire and commenters know they must strike while the iron’s hot or risk irrelevance. These technologies are not designed to reward patience and nuance.

Social media platforms also encourage us to show only the most enviable images of our own lives. These can easily breed narcissism, and can also be damaging to those who read or view them. How many of us have felt inadequate by comparing ourselves to others online? And, if we’re honest, how many of us post only select, edited pictures that don’t give the whole story? What is the effect on others of our own, whitewashed photos? Do we think of others when we post, or are we more concerned with how many “likes” and “comments” we receive? Where is the love for neighbor in this approach?

I remain convinced that social media technologies can be used well, but narcissism and pride are real dangers, and must be guarded against at every turn.


社交媒体鼓励人们立即行动,这与圣经中关于我们应如何说话的原则并不相符。使徒雅各基于旧约智慧文学,教导我们要「 慢慢地说」。很明显,社交媒体并不鼓励或奖赏这样的耐心。Twitter这样的平台往往会奖励那些“快快地说”的人,但雅各教导我们要「快快地听」。社交媒体鼓励我们畅所欲言,圣经却教导我们倾听为先、不要急于表达。当然,我们也可以使用社交媒体来倾听他人,不过我们有意地如此行,而且我们通常会比较容易去倾听同一阵营的声音。这是社交媒体公认的危险之一:创造线上封地,然后沦为回音室。
Social media’s encouragement of immediate action fits uneasily with biblical principles for how we speak. Building on Old Testament wisdom literature, the apostle James instructs us to be slow to speak. To state the obvious, this sort of patience is not encouraged or rewarded in social media. Whereas platforms like Twitter tend to reward those who are quick to speak, James instructs us to be quick to listen. Whereas social media encourages us to speak our minds now; Scripture teaches us to listen first, and not to be too eager to speak. To be sure, we can use social media to listen to others, though we must be intentional in so doing, and it’s typically easier to listen more closely to those who are like ourselves. This is one of the recognized dangers of social media: creating our own online fiefdoms that become echo chambers.

雅各的教导强调了话语的重要性,这也适用于我们的线上写作。「多言多语难免有过,禁止嘴唇是有智慧的。」(箴10:19)我们不仅要慢慢地说,也要「慢慢地动怒」——在雅各的逻辑中,这两项看起来是互相关联的。我们很容易带着愤怒说话或写作,所以避免轻率的言语和推文如此重要。网络的沃土滋生了许多不必要的争论,我们也应多加小心(参 提前3:3提后2:24)。
James’s teaching underscores the importance of our words—which also applies to what we write online. Where words are many, transgressions are many, but the wise will restrain their lips (Prov. 10:19). Not only must we be slow to speak, but we must be slow to anger; these seem to be related in James’s logic. It is easy to speak or write in anger, which is why it is so important that we refrain from rash speaking and posting. We also need to be aware of needless controversies, which find fertile soil online (see 1 Tim 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:24).


Social media also tends to encourage self-promotion. Yet Scripture warns us not to honor ourselves, but to let others praise us (Prov. 27:2). “Humblebragging” is a term that owes its origin to social media, and has become commonplace enough to warrant an entry into modern dictionaries. You know how it goes, “Honored to be considered as worthy of X by Y.” Even more dissonant is the “complaining” humblebrag. For example, “My hand is incredibly sore today from having to sign so many books!”

I don’t doubt that there can be places for noting important events and expressing thanks publicly. But how often are these sorts of posts used as means to promote ourselves? Again, social media does not require we use it in this way, but the culture surrounding the use of social media makes it easy to promote ourselves—even in Christian circles.

与此相反,我们必须考虑自己的帖子(包括文字和图片)对他人有何影响。雅各谈到「 要爱人如己」的律法(雅2:8)时也提到了这一点,他是在引用耶稣有关第二大诫命的教导(见利19:18)。我并不认为对社交媒体的使用存在一刀切的标准,但我们的首要目的不应是自吹自擂。相反,我们应利用这些平台,造就他人(见弗4:29)、荣耀基督(见林前10:31)。
Instead, we must think about how our posts (both words and photos) will affect others. James also mentions this, when he speaks of the royal law to love your neighbor as yourself (James 2:8)—a reference to Jesus’s teaching about the second great commandment (see Lev. 19:18). I’m not suggesting that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to how social media must be used, but our primary goal of our use of social media should not be self-promotion. Instead, we should use the platforms as opportunities to encourage others (see Eph. 4:29) and promote the honor of Christ (see 1 Cor. 10:31).

If I’m honest, I’m not sure how often humblebragging succeeds in doing this.


首先得澄清,我不是在论证要 “不惜一切代价避免使用社交媒体”,我是在说,当今最为流行的那些社交平台,其功效往往偏离圣经伦理,而正是这些伦理告诉我们应如何与他人交往、如何使用语言。我在《过好每一天》(Every Day Matters)中也有相关论证,即社交媒体提供的消遣也许并不值得我们花费时间。如果确实如此,那么最明智的行动方案就是避免使用。但如果社交媒体起到了积极作用,使我们多结果子,那么花费时间就是值得的。每个人都必须自行权衡利弊。不过,我们都明白网络消遣导致的摸鱼是怎么一回事。即使我们并未因此分心,我们也要思考:在网上论坛花费时间是否值得?例如,就某个争议话题在Facebook上发表一篇研究透彻、细致入微的文章,这有何回报?人们会耐着性子仔细阅读吗?还是随便浏览一下就跳过了?帖子(或许极短)的保质期,值得你努力吗?或许吧,但或许推荐论及各种那些主题的材料书籍能帮你更有效利用时间。
To be clear, I am not arguing that social media must be avoided at all costs. But I am suggesting that the functionality of the most popular platforms tend to be slanted away from the biblical ethics of how we engage one another and how we use our words. And, as I argued in Every Day Matters, it is quite possible that the distraction of social media is not worth our time. If that’s true, then the wisest course of action is to avoid it. But if social media serves a positive role and allows us to be more fruitful, then it is worth it. Each person must weigh that choice. But we all know what it’s like to be less productive because of online distractions. Even if we’re not distracted, we have to ask whether the investment of time into online forums is worth it. For example, what is the payoff for a well-researched and nuanced post on Facebook arguing about a controversial issue? Will people read it with care and nuance? Or will they scan it and keep scrolling? Will its (perhaps short) shelf-life be worth the effort? It might be. But it might be a better use of your time to point others to published materials on various topics.

Engaging social media well requires great diligence and wisdom. We must be intentional about our time there, consider how our actions affect others, and use the tools strategically for positive ends. To adapt a famous quote from John Owen: We must be using social media strategically, or social media will be using us.

Engaging social media well requires great diligence and wisdom. We must be intentional about our time there, consider how our actions affect others, and use the tools strategically for positive ends. To adapt a famous quote from John Owen: We must be using social media strategically, or social media will be using us.


Finally, how we use social media is not abstracted from our union with Christ. For Christ himself embodied biblical wisdom. He was not quick to anger, and when reviled, he did not revile in return. Instead, he entrusted himself to his Father who judges all things righteously (1 Pet. 2:22–23). To be united to Christ means to be united to him by his word (see John 15:7; Col. 3:16). Our hearts should be so filled with gracious, Christlike words that they overflow from our hearts when we speak—or post (see Matt. 12:34).

Even more significantly, we must remember that our words are not the source of eternal life—Christ’s words are (John 6:68). In the end, our words are only as good as the Savior they point others to. Why not use social media to point as many to Christ as possible? Who knows? Maybe our imperfect, online words will somehow yield a response that mirrors that of the Samaritans in Gospel of John:

「那城里有好些撒玛利亚人信了耶稣,因为那妇人作见证说:“他将我素来所行的一切事都给我说出来了。”于是撒玛利亚人来见耶稣,求他在他们那里住下,他便在那里住了两天。因耶稣的话,信的人就更多了,便对妇人说:“现在我们信,不是因为你的话,是我们亲自听见了,知道这真是救世主。” 」(约翰福音4:39-42
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39–42)

This Savior of the world can use all things, including the words of his people on the worldwide web, to draw all people to himself (see John 12:32).

Let us therefore endeavor to use the gifts of technology for building others up and for pointing them to Christ. That’s a wise move.

  1. 编注:范泰尔所说,“……我们认为圣经在其所谈及的⼀切事上都具有权威性。⽽且圣经的确谈及⼀切事(it speaks of everything)。我们并不是说圣经直接谈到了橄榄球赛,原⼦等等,但我们确实是表达,圣经直接或间接地谈及⼀切……”(Van Til,Christian Apologetics (syllabus), 2),以及“……例如说,当圣经说,神创造天地,就告诉我们除了神以外的万物都是受造的……”(Van Til & KSO, The Defense of Fatih, footnote8)。

作者:布兰登 D. 高尔 博士(Dr. Brandon D. Crowe)

高尔博士 (Dr. Brandon D. Crowe)是威斯敏斯特神学院(Westminster Theological Seminary)的新约教授和威斯敏斯特神学期刊的评论编辑。他也是PCA按立的教导长老。