Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (Phillipians 4:5)
We have often heard the saying “moderation in all things.” But the words moderate, moderation and moderately only appear sparingly in the scriptures and the phrase “moderation in all things” does not appear at all. Then again, on second glance, this may simply be an interpretive or editorial choice. The King James Version prefers the words tempered, temperate and temperance and the Book of Mormon follows the KJV’s example. Thus we see the phrase “temperate in all things” more than once scripturally (1 Corinthians 9:25, Alma 7:23, Alma 38:10).
As one ponders these phrases, “moderation in all things” or “temperate in all things”, a question may arise. Is it possible that these sayings fall prey to the human tendency to use superlatives (as Bob Caswell pointed out so well in this comment), to over-magnify the importance of a principle being taught? Is there ever a time when the moderate (or temperate) person is wrong and the extremist is right? Is there a situation where pure idealism utterly vanquishes practical wisdom? Or in other words, to phrase things in the predictable annoyingly absurd way, should we ever be moderate in our use of moderation, temperate in our use of temperance?