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…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.

A Scout is…Loyal

I was a Cub Scout for 3 years, and a Boy Scout for 7 years, earning my Eagle Scout award in 1979.  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, based the Scouting movement on Biblical principles.

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

A Scout is…Loyal

A Scout is loyal to those to whom loyalty is due.

The second point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is loyal.”

Loyalty is often equated with loyalty with allegiance and faithfulness.  Webster defines the word “loyal” is thusly:

1: unswerving in allegiance: as

             a : faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government

             b : faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due

             c : faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product

The Bible has many examples of each of these kinds of loyalty.

Faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government

For the Christian, we must be faithful in our allegiance to our lawful sovereign – God.  In Exodus 20:3-5a, God spoke to Moses saying, ““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.”  Here, God commands our faithful allegiance to Him, and to Him alone.

Faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due

In 1 Corinthians 4:17, Paul writes, “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”    Who was Timothy, and how was he loyal to Paul?  Paul met Timothy at the time of Paul’s second visit to Lystra in Anatolia.  Timothy became a disciple of Paul, and went with Paul on his journeys through Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, Troas, Philippi, Veria, and Corinth.  Timothy’s loyalty to Paul is evidenced by his remaining with Paul throughout most of Paul’s travels, and by his ministering to Paul while he was imprisoned.  In 1 Timothy 1:2, most likely written shortly before Paul’s death, because of Timothy’s longtime loyalty, Paul refers to Timothy as “a beloved son.”    Throughout the book of Acts and Paul’s epistles, Timothy’s loyalty to Paul is extolled as virtuous.

Faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product

 The Bible contains many references to faithfulness toward such things.  In 2 Chronicles 31:11-12, faithfulness and loyalty to the Temple was commended.  In Nehemiah 13:13, faithfulness to the task of distributing provisions is applauded.  In Proverbs 14:5, loyalty to the truth is encouraged.  In the parable of the talents, the master praises the loyal servant for faithfully investing money.


When the Scout Law declares, “A Scout is loyal,” it builds upon the concepts of faithfulness and loyalty that are celebrated in the Bible.  The ultimate example of loyalty is God’s faithfulness towards His people.  Psalm 117:2 summarizes God’s loyalty and faithfulness:  “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!”  In one of my favorite passages, God’s loyalty and faithful love toward those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior is concisely stated:  “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

A Christian is to model his or her loyalty after the loyalty and faithfulness of Jesus Christ.  The loyalty that a Scout is to demonstrate should imitate the loyalty and faithfulness that is commended in the Bible.