Coals Of Fire

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

There is a verse in the book of Romans that talks about doing some things for your enemy that will “heap coals of fire on his head.”  Some think that this is referring to some sort of revenge.  No, it means nothing of the sort.

Understanding the culture and how coals from a fire were carried unlocks this simple verse.  A young boy would take hot coals in the morning from the first fire in the village.  Those coals would be put into a piece of pottery.

The young boy would then carry the pottery, with the hot coals inside, balanced upon his head to the other households.  They would in turn take a hot coal to start their own fire.  The young boy would then go to the next family so they could get a coal to start their fire.

Doing this task on cold mornings would be a very pleasant task.  The heat from the coals in the pottery would warm the young boy.  As he went from family to family, he was very warm while performing this simple duty.

The scripture talks about doing certain things for your enemy, and that by doing those things, you are heaping coals of fire on their head.  This doesn’t mean revenge, but rather, in doing those things you might warm his or her heart and they just might change.

You and I may never know how a smile, a kind word, or a loving action may impact someone else’s life.  As God’s children we endeavor to exhibit our Father’s love to everyone we come in contact with.  The Bible instructs us that, if at all possible, live peaceably with all people.

Romans 12:18-21:
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.

Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head.

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Mike Verdicchio

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There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Coals Of Fire

  1. Reference to Matthew 10:14
    I read your article on line on this scripture ,guess I am trying to find out if I am doing the right thing ?
    Thanksgiving Dinner ,I have enjoyed providing for all My Family ,for 26 years ,My Husband and I have had everyone here ,have always enjoyed having them here, , but the last few yrs, we have been thinking of saying , No to them , We are believers and they are starting to believe , but not much. This year I am struggling with it and told all ,We are not having the meal here this year .We are disgusted with Family and their ways . Our Children not following ,Eph 6:1,2. etc… It makes me feel sad ,but there comes a time when you must draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough . We just don’t want to be around them ! Matthew 10 : 35,36 This is so True !

    • Mo,
      I know that despite what people say and do, I am never wrong when I love people, no matter who they are.
      I am comforted to know that the Scriptures say that nothing can ever separate me from God’s love.
      I am also deeply grateful that God’s forgiveness of me is based on His Son paying the price for all my sins.
      And, I sometimes remind myself of what Jesus said, while hanging on the tree; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
      God bless you.

  2. Mike,
    Learning this lesson in God’s Word delivered me from many of the problems I was experiencing. My life totally changed as I practiced loving and praying for my enemies. It is a joy to love as He loves us. 1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
    People need love, but especially our enemies!
    Love You so much Mike and I thank God for your tremendous stand for God and His Family! Lynnae