A Scout is…Reverent

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts since I joined Cub Scouts in 1969. At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, we recited the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Reverent

A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

The twelfth and final point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is reverent.”

Reverence involves showing honor and respect toward God. Of the 10 Commandments, the first three all deal with reverence toward God:

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Exodus 20:3-7

Many of the Psalms are songs of reverence toward God:

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 29:1-2

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:7-9

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises toYour name.”

Psalm 66:1-4

Praise the Lord!Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.

Psalm 113:1-3

Reverence not only involves showing honor and respect toward God; it also involves faithful obedience. 1 John 2:3-6 says,

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

As a Christian, I should respect the beliefs of others, even though they are wrong. 1 Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” Respect does not mean we agree with other belief systems, but that we show respect to those who hold them.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, believed that reverence to God was the most important value in Scouting. He once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917). When he was once asked where religion came into Scouting, Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

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A Scout is…Clean

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts since I joined Cub Scouts in 1969. At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, we recited the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917). When asked where religion came into Scouting, Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Clean

A Scout keeps his body and mind fit. He chooses friends who also live by high standards. He avoids profanity and pornography. He helps keep his home and community clean.

The eleventh point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is clean.”

Being clean isn’t just about taking regular showers. It involves a clean body, and a clean mind. It involves a clean lifestyle, clean language, and clean environment.

The phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” isn’t in the Bible. But, being clean in the sense of body and mind is a Biblical principle. Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul writes,

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Having a clean lifestyle is also a Biblical principle. Paul again writes in Romans 13:13-14,

Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

The book of Proverbs talks a lot about having clean speech:

Proverbs 10:31The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out.

Proverbs 15:2The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

Proverbs 21:23Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.

Proverbs 21:6Getting treasures by a lying tongue Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.

Taking care of the environment – keeping it clean – is also a Biblical principle:

Genesis 2:15 – Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Ezekiel 34:17-18 – And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: … “Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?

A Scout is clean; and so is a follower of Jesus Christ. Psalm 51:7 says,

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I can stand before a holy God clean and spotless, not because I have lived a perfectly clean lifestyle, but because Jesus did. I have been “washed by the blood” of Jesus Christ; my sins have been “washed away.” I cannot be saved by clean living; but I can honor my Lord and Savior by living a clean lifestyle, having clean thoughts, and keeping His earth clean.

A Scout is…Brave

I have spent most of my life involved with the Boy Scouts. However, it wasn’t until I became a Christian as an adult that I realized that the values of Scouting are deeply rooted in the Bible.

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Brave

A Scout faces danger even if he is afraid.

The tenth point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is brave.” The word “brave” means “having or showing courage.”

Bravery and courage are virtues that the Bible esteems. Joshua 1:6-7 says:

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

The Bible makes it clear that courage comes not from ourselves, but from God. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”

A key characteristic of bravery and courage is inspiring them in others. Acts 28:15 says, “And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” A Scout can use Isaiah 41:6 as an example:

Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “Be of good courage!”

Bravery can be quite contagious. When others see us taking a stand for what we believe, or facing dangerous situations courageously, it can inspire similar behavior in others.

Fear is a very strong motivator. Bravery involves acting the right way despite fear. In Exodus 20:20, Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”

It takes bravery and courage to stand up for what you believe. Both the Christian and the Scout face opposition for doing and saying what they know is right. Both can take courage from the words of the Bible. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:13:

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

A Scout is…Thrifty

At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, each Scout recites the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law.  Many Scouts don’t realize the connection between the Scout Law and Oath and the Bible.  Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917).

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Thrifty

A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others.  He saves for the future.  He protects and conserves natural resources.  He is careful with his use of time and property.

The ninth point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is thrifty.”

Thrifty living is encouraged in the Bible.  Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”  The Personal Management Merit Badge, which is required for the Eagle rank, requires the Scout to create a budget and track income and expenses for a period of time.  In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul writes, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  Scouts also help raise the funds for troop expenses, as well as camping trips and other activities.

Thriftiness not only applies to money, but also to natural resources.  Scouts are taught to both use and conserve the environment.  Genesis 1:28 says, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”  Genesis 2:15 says, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”  The Biblical principle is for mankind to take care of the earth, but also to use its resources in a thrifty manner.  Having dominion implies ownership; subduing the earth involves learning how to use it; tending and keeping involves taking care of it.

The value of thriftiness is one of the key values held by Scouts, based on Biblical values.  Baden-Powell considered Biblical values to be the key to proper living; this is why the values of Scouting were based on these principles.

A Scout is…Cheerful

At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, a Scout recites the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law.  Many Scouts do not realize the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.  Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917).

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Cheerful

A Scout looks for the bright side of life.   He cheerfully does tasks that come his way and tries his best to make others happy, too.

The eighth point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is cheerful.”

Cheerfulness implies an optimistic, positive outlook on life that rubs off on those around us.  It doesn’t mean that a Scout is supposed to be happy that unpleasant things happen, but that he should have a positive outlook despite unfortunate circumstances.

Jesus taught His disciples to be cheerful despite their circumstances.  In John 16:33, Jesus said:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The disciples were not to be cheerful because of their tribulations, but in spite of them.  Of the eleven disciples (excluding Judas, who hanged himself), all but John died a martyr’s death.  Peter was crucified upside-down.  John died in exile on the island called Patmos.  Christians have been persecuted throughout history, and continue to be persecuted, imprisoned, and martyred today in many places.  Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that is dedicated to assisting persecuted Christians worldwide.

With all the opposition and persecution, as well as just the everyday issues we all face, what basis is there for a Christian to be cheerful?  Jesus gives us the answer:  “I have overcome the world.”  Without Jesus, there is no real hope, no real peace, and no real reason to be cheerful.  As the bumper sticker says, “Life’s a b****, and then you die.”  But, because Jesus took our sin upon Himself, died, and then rose the third day, the Christian has real hope, can know real peace, and has every reason to be cheerful, despite the garbage and hopelessness around us.  And, by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can give the hopeless world real hope, and a real reason to be cheerful.

This doesn’t mean the Christian will never be in a bad mood, or be apprehensive, or get depressed.  We all have bad days; we live in a sin-filled world, and it can be very disheartening.  Our fallen, sinful bodies can get biochemical imbalances, and we can suffer from depression or other mental illnesses.  However, despite all of these problems, Jesus declares, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The musical group Casting Crowns does a song called “”Praise You In This Storm.”  The chorus says:

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

How can the Christian be cheerful in the midst of all that life throws at us?  By praising God in the midst of life’s storms.

“A Scout is…cheerful” is a value that is firmly rooted in God’s Word.  Cheerfulness is what gets us through the difficult times in life, as well as the good times.  Cheerfulness, optimism, and a positive attitude can make the difference between merely enduring difficulties and growing through them.  Cheerfulness is a trait that benefits both the Scout and the Christian.

A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances. ~ Baden-Powell

A Scout is…Obedient

When asked where religion came into Scouting, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there.  It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Obedient

A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop.   He obeys the laws of his community and country.  If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly manner.

The seventh point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is obedient.”  According to Merriam-Webster.com, the word obedient means, “submissive to the restraint or command of authority : willing to obey.”  When a Scout is obedient, he submits to those in authority over him.  A key component of the Boy Scout program is for Scouts to learn not only to be obedient to authority, but to learn to be a good leader when given authority over others.

The virtue of obedience is found throughout the Bible.  In the book of Genesis, God gave the first man, Adam, a single command:  Do not eat the fruit of one specific tree.  Adam failed to be obedient to God’s one command, and it plunged humanity into centuries of sin, death, and suffering.

In Genesis 22, after Abraham offered to sacrifice his Son Isaac to God, and God told him not to, God told Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”  The author of the book of Hebrews tells us, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

In many places in the Law of Moses, the Israelites are commanded to obey God’s Law.  For example:

9 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:9-10).

A Scout is encouraged to obey his parents.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), and “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).

There are times when a Scout is called on to make a choice between obeying unfair rules or laws, or doing what is right.  In such instances, the Scout is encourages to do what is right, and to work to have unjust rules or laws changed.  In Daniel, chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego chose to obey God rather than King Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown into a fiery furnace as a result.  In chapter 6 of Daniel, Daniel refused to obey an unjust law; He was thrown into a lion’s den as a result. Because of their obedience to God, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, and Daniel were all saved, completely unharmed.

A Scout is called to be obedient to his parents, his troop leaders, his school leaders, and to the laws of his community, state, and country.  A Christian is called to be obedient to those in authority, unless doing so would cause them to be disobedient to God.  The virtue of obedience is yet another example of how the values of Scouting were derived from the values of the Bible.

A Scout is…Kind

I have been involved with Boy Scouting for most of my life.  At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, Scouts recite the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law.  Many Scouts do not realize the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.  Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917).

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Kind

A Scout treats others as he wants to be treated.  He knows there is strength in being gentle.  He does not harm or kill any living thing without good reason.

The sixth point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is kind.” Kindness is a virtue that is repeatedly encouraged in the Bible.

Dictionary.com defines the word kind as meaning, “of a good or benevolent nature or disposition.”  Kindness involves generosity, compassion, and caring.

The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22-23, “22 but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  To the Colossians, he wrote, “12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” Colossians 3:12-13).

The Boy Scout Handbook describes being kind by saying, “A Scout treats others as he wants to be treated. “  Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  The Handbook also says that a Scout “knows there is strength in being gentle.”  Jesus Christ is quoted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

In the Scout Oath, a Scout promises to “help other people at all times.”  The Scout slogan is, “Do a good turn daily.”  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient, love is kind…”  Kindness is a virtue that is commended by God both in the life of the Scout and the Christian.

The values of Scouting were not simply created by Baden-Powell to reflect the culture of his time.  He strategically chose values that reflect the Christian life as applauded in the Bible.  I thank God that the Boy Scouts of America has continued to uphold these values, despite the pressures from the culture to compromise.  Boy Scouting continues to be a tremendously positive influence on the young men of today, because it continues to hold to the values of the Bible.