Early Christian documents contain many indications of a sensitivity towards the presence
of non-Christians in their environment, a sensitivity which increased as the expectation of
an imminent end receded. This study concentrated on those paraenetic texts which maintain
that Christians, in the shaping of their lifestyle, should reckon with the reaction of outsiders.
Two trajectories, a negative as well as a positive one, were identified. Subsequently the double
perlocutionary aim of these ‘outsider sayings’ was scrutinised. A final word summarised the
hermeneutic implications of these sayings for today. Since in many societies the credibility of
the gospel message is under pressure, exemplary living is a sine qua non.