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Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the Root and descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

It may not be as explicit a reference to the deity of Christ as other verses, but it is worth asking, what being other than God can command the angels? Indeed, this question reminds me of the inquiry of the disciples asked in Matthew chapter 8:

Matthew 8:27, “And the [disciples] marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?’”

Though not referencing each other or being conterminous in an obvious way, Revelation 22:16 and Matthew 8:27 show us that Christ has the authority over creation and the rulership over the angels. Again, we ask, who else or what else could that be other than God Himself?

Even if we ascribe a god-like state to Christ, like some Christian denominations or sects do, then we need to admit some form of polytheism with roots in mythology (that is the deification of mere humans into godlike forms, a motif which is so prevalent in mythological tales).

It is a possibility that ‘angel’ simply refers to ‘messenger’ in Revelation 22:16 but I don’t think this is the case. In the heavenlies, it seems apparent that angels preside over churches or even locations, i.e., nations and towns. This is suggested in the book of Daniel:

Daniel 10:13, “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me for twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia.”

Daniel 12:1, “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who was in charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at the time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”

Regarding Revelation 22:16, a phrase worth focusing on is, “I am the Root and descendant of David.” The Greek word for root here is rhiza. Rhiza can have a couple definitions, a literal one, and a more figurative one. The literal meaning is, “a shoot; source; that which comes from the root; a descendant.” Figuratively, it means “source.” If we assign the literal meaning to root in this verse, the passage becomes somewhat tautologous. Repetitive verses or those that are tautologous in their content aren’t arbitrary, but rather repetition, at least in the context of biblical exegesis, impresses upon the reader an issue of utmost importance. Yet, here it would seem somewhat erroneous for Christ to state to John something like, “I am the descendant and descendant of David.”

Yet, if we use the figurative meaning, it reads, “I am the Source and descendant of David.” This latter rendering is pretty amazing, but what if we take the words at their face value? What is a root? Is it not that from which things, vegetation and fruit, for example, spring forth?

According to the English dictionary, the noun of root (Christ is using it in this noun context) means, “the part of the plant that attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches or fibers.” Also, a root is defined as the “basic cause, source, or origin of something.” Do not these definitions give us insight into the nature of our Lord? Let us consider them for a moment:

The Part of The Plant That Attaches It To The Ground or To a Support

While seeking an intimate relationship with God, we quickly discover this is an impossible task if we wish to approach God of our own accord. It becomes apparent that we need an advocate or some form of spiritual support to keep us firmly planted in God. This advocate for our faith is Jesus Christ and it is in Him we remain grounded that we might be reconciled unto the Creator of all things. Colossians, according to the NKJV states:

Colossians 1:21–23, “And you, that were once alienated and enemies [of God] in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight: If you continue in the faith founded and settled, and not be moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I Paul am made a minister.”

Typically Underground

That which is underground is generally invisible to those above ground. Yet, evidence of that which lies beyond the surface may show signs of its presence and be perceivable to those above. Although the glory of our Lord, for a duration, spent time above ground, on the surface with His creation, He has risen and now rests at the right hand of the Father. God’s presence may be invisible, but evidence of His existence and His attributes surround us continually. The apostle Paul makes this clear:

Romans 1:18–20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

This shows that whatever we are grounded in will produce a harvest according to its kind. If we are grounded in unrighteousness and ungodliness then the truth will be suppressed in us and we will discourage and suppress it among others. However, if we are grounded in God, then godliness and righteousness shall be the result, which will produce the appropriate harvest within the self and among all man.

Conveying Water and Nourishment To The Rest of The Plant

Let us consider a plant to be representational of the church. Likening the church to a plant isn’t absurd given Jesus’ numerous parables emphasizing trees, plants, and vegetation, which was extremely relevant at the time with many of the Jews being well familiar with agriculture and agricultural practices. Even today, individual churches, when expanding, are said to branch off or plant other churches.

Jesus, in the book of John, says:

John 15:5, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in Him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Thus, Christ truly is the root of our salvation and faith, not to mention our very existence (John 1:3). It is in Him we are grounded. Whenever a branch is removed from the vine, or a plant is detached from its root, it withers and dies. So too does our hope in the gospel when we remove ourselves from the Lord. Christ Jesus provides the spiritual nourishment that we may be reconciled unto the Father and apart from Him, this is an impossibility. He nourishes us and provides to us the living water necessary for eternal life. The apostle John records:

John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Revelation 22:1, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as a crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

Via Numerous Branches or Fibers

In the conveyance of spiritual nourishment, the Lord uses several different means. The church itself expresses and shares this same nourishment, but it is Christ who is the source. If a church comes to lose focus or somehow parts from Christ, it is no longer of the river of life from which one drinks to quench their thirst, but rather a stagnant puddle.

Another fiber or branch used are those blessed individuals who have important gifts who serve this water to others. They are essentially the cup-bearers of the church, but again the source of this water is found in the Lord. The prophets of renown and those of today, for instance, are cup-bearers of the living water. The book of Hebrews mentions these cup-bearers:

Hebrews 1:1-2“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets, but in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom He also created the world.”

Yet, this represents just one gift. In truth, we are all called to be the cup-bearers and branches of this living water, to not hoard it, but convey and transmit it unto others, both inside the church and outside it.

Christ encouraged His disciples:

Matthew 28:18–20, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Yes, Christ is our basic cause. Our source. Our origin. One might be tempted to ask, ‘Being such, wouldn’t the word for seed work better?’ Seed might impart the idea of origin better, but when it comes to all the other attributes we have discussed, I believe that root is the best analogy given the whole scope of the metaphor. Regardless, the one who asks this question is somewhat justified and I would point them to the book of 1 Peter which says:

1 Peter 1:20–25, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory is like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

The Greek word used for seed here is spora, which according to Joseph H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament means, ‘a sowing; figuratively, origin.”

It is my contention that Christ is referring to Himself as the Root in Revelation 22:16 in a more figurative manner, indicating He is the source of David, for both his existence and faith. As the book of Hebrews states:

Hebrews 12:2a, “[Look] to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

It was Christ Himself that was the founder of David’s existence and faith, and Christ perfected this faith in Him. This can be difficult to grasp or wrap our minds around, but only because human thought is trained and often based upon a chronological framework, while Jesus Christ transcends our human understanding of time and chronology, for Christ is not bound to time, but rather is timeless, aka., eternal. Christ is the Root because He is the Creator and Savior. As the gospel of John records:

John 1:3, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not made anything that was made.”

John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’”

To get the most accurate understanding of the nature of Christ we need both the source figurative interpretation of root as well as the descendant element. Each one on its own will not suffice. The former gives us the nature of Christ which is shared with the Father, His eternal nature, and divine substance, and the latter emphasizes the incarnation of Jesus Christ as man. The two are congruently needed to provide the best representation of Jesus Christ.

To continue with Revelation 22:16, the phrase “the bright morning star” raises some questions due to what is recorded in Isaiah chapter 14:

Isaiah 14:12, “How you are fallen from heaven, O day star, son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low.”

Some believe that the phrase, “the bright and morning star” or “day star, son of the dawn!” refers to Lucifer, which is a Latin transliteration of the phrase. Understandably, a few find it odd that Christ would take this name in Revelation 22:16. Yet, there are a couple things I would like to point out: The name Lucifer isn’t even in our most ancient manuscripts. However, concerning the renderings where the name is included, this translation becomes immediately suspect due to the Latin name being included within an otherwise Hebrew text. In these cases, it is apparent that the meaning of Isaiah 14:12 was already presupposed by translators, which supposedly, according to the proponents, references the devil being cast out of heaven, and the phrase was transliterated providing the name.

It is my belief that the context concerns the judgment of the nation or the king of Babylon, which is referred to as the “bright morning star” or “day star, son of the dawn.” It being a worldly kingdom, it is a possibility that Christ referred to Himself as such because He has overcome the world. As the book of John says:

John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Even if Isaiah chapter 14 refers to the casting down of the enemy, which I don’t believe it does, taking over the name, which in itself is not evil, given its meaning, in the same way, can be symbolic of the defeating or overtaking of the enemy.

However, Isaiah 14:12 is clearly about Babylon, for verse 4 says:

Isaiah 14:4, “[Y]ou will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: ‘How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased.’”

One might argue that there is the possibility that the passage in Isaiah is a kind of veil for both the prophecy and the spiritual truth concerning our shared enemy, but in the strictest of terms, Isaiah 14 refers to Babylon. In my opinion, the motive one might have for holding to this view is that they personally put a great emphasis on church doctrine, but we must be wary of even church doctrine, for this too can go astray. Sadly enough. Let us not be like those sects of Christianity, the names of which I will omit, that put a greater emphasis on their literature than on the Word of God. The cup-bearers of these sects threaten to poison their followers with stagnant water, rather than the ever-flowing water of life which pours from the throne room of our great Lord and Savior.

Thank you all for reading and God bless.

—Brandon

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Psalm 45:7, “You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”

In addition to Psalm 45:7, Ecclesiastes says:

Ecclesiastes 9:8, “Let your clothes be white all the time, and never let oil be lacking on your head.”

If, as in Psalm 45, oil represents a content joy, and we are told never to have this lacking, then it needs to be asked how this content joy can be achieved? Psalm 45 makes the connection between loving justice and hating evil with the blessing of “the oil of joy.” This is an anointing of a “contended joy” if you will. This relation isn’t as explicit in Ecclesiastes, but there can be an alike connection made.

In the Scripture, garments are symbolic of one’s spiritual condition. For instance, sackcloth is representational of mourning or a state of despondency or being destitute, and white garments represent a state of righteousness, that is a condition of being free from sin or cleansed of sin. I believe, then, that Solomon in Ecclesiastes is saying to be righteous always before the Lord, and never let our contented joy be lacking.

Going back to Psalm 45:7, we can render the lesson like this: “If you love justice and hate evil, resulting in a righteousness, then you will be blessed by a ‘contented joy.’” Simply, it follows then that if a contented joy is lacking in our lives, then perhaps we are not clean, or sin is still somewhere manifest in our lives. In other words, our garments are dirty.

For the sake of consistency, we should take the full passage in Ecclesiastes into account. It states:

Ecclesiastes 9:7-9, “Go, eat your bread with pleasure, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already accepted your works. Let your clothes be white all the time, and never let oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun.”

The Apologetics Study Bible For Students remarks:

“These verses [Ecclesiastes 9:8-9] resemble passages in the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and the ‘Harper’s Son’ from Egypt. Both were composed long before the time of Solomon, and it seems clear that he knew them. It is not troubling to find that a biblical text reflects knowledge of other well-known literature of antiquity; this international character is a feature of Israelite wisdom. Because of Solomon’s extensive international contacts we would expect him to be familiar with such literature, and the similarities to these other passages reinforce the Solomonic authorship of Ec[clesiastes].” —Duane A. Garrett, “Ecclesiastes 9:8-9,” Apologetics Study Bible For Students.

This indeed can become problematic for Christians whenever this kind of thing occurs, but should it be the case? In the specific example mentioned, it should be noted after reading the Epic of Gilgamesh and a few Harpers’ Songs (from the tombs of Intef, Neferhotep, and Inherkhawy) that Ecclesiastes is far from plagiarizing these other sources. There may be similar motifs, but we need to be careful of comparing the Word with other works from the ancient Near East, for some have a tendency to emphasize the similarities but disregard the differences.

The difficulty some may have in these and like examples arises from a couple of presuppositions which Christians and critics alike make, the most prominent being that sources outside of the Bible are necessarily false, while those in the Bible are necessarily true and sanctioned by God. I know how this may sound, but I implore the reader to let me explain. I will refer to this as a “compound presupposition” because one supposition implies the other. Both parts of this supposition can be problematic.

Concerning the former, sources independent of the Bible are necessarily false, we may run into problems when a contemporary or well-known text, of that time, is cited in regard and relation to the truth of God and we let this become a stumbling block. In terms of the latter, that what is included in the Bible is necessarily true, this becomes problematic when we approach it from the position that anything recorded in the Bible must be concluded to be supported by God when this isn’t always the case. A narrative which is tragic and horrific isn’t always endorsed by God, but rather at times arises because of disobedience to God. The latter part of this “compound presupposition” is a tactic frequently employed by critics of Christianity.

An example would be the account of Jephthah’s Vow found in Judges 11:30-40. It has been forwarded by some critics in their argument against the character of God, but as the Christian or Jew may know, God nowhere gives His approval of such a thing and it is indeed a direct disobedience to God! This is the tragic account of Jephthah’s Vow:

Judges 11:30-40, “And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, ‘If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.’ So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory. He crushed the Ammonites, devastating about twenty towns from Aroer to and area near Minnith and as far away as Abel-keramim. In this way Israel defeated the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. ‘Oh, my daughter!’ he cried out. ‘You have completely destroyed me! You’ve brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.’ And she said, ‘Father, if you have made a vow to the LORD, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.’ ‘You may go,’ Jephthah said. And he sent her away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for a young Israelite woman to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.”

Again, the account is used as an attack on God’s character by critics, which is based on the presupposition that what is recorded in the Bible is endorsed by God. This despite that God clearly forbids such a detestable practice as human sacrifice:

Deuteronomy 12:31, “You must not worship the LORD your God in the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughter as sacrifices to their gods.”

Leviticus 18:21, “Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. I am the LORD.”

Leviticus 20:2b-5, “If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Molech, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. I myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled my sanctuary and brought shame on my holy name by offering their children to Molech. And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Molech and refuse to execute them, I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech.”

It is easy to see that all that which is recorded in the Bible is not endorsed by the Lord, so the Christian should reject this stumbling block outright.

In addition, God’s Word is taught to have supreme authority, which is accurate because it is of God. Thus, when an independent source is included, some may feel this authority is threatened by a lesser authority, one who strictly isn’t God. Yet, we know from the Scriptures that the LORD’s authority stretches beyond the blessed text we hold in our hands. As the apostle Paul implies in the book of Romans:

Romans 2:14-15, “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”

If even the thoughts of the Gentiles could testify and reflect God’s law, then couldn’t God’s truths be known to them as well, recorded in their literature, and then repeated by men of God without any contradiction taking place? We recall what Paul says earlier in the book of Romans:

Romans 1:19-20, “Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.”

Therefore, we should not be concerned about independent wisdom from independent source material being mentioned in the Scriptures. As a casual student of philosophy, it is not uncommon to see truths that align with the Scripture mentioned by some of the great thinkers. As I might cite or borrow from a philosopher when examining or writing on biblical truths, so too could the writers of the Holy text without negating or challenging the truths of our Lord in Holy Bible which represents the greatest of revelations. We should consider it not to be problematic, but a reinforcement.

If we are assembling a dresser we purchased from IKEA, although it may come with its own instructions straight from the manufacturer, and if we look online to search for further support, we are not invalidating those instructions, but rather with the extra-material, reinforcing that original source material that we may accomplish the task more efficiently with that added understanding others have gained.

Thank you for reading and God bless.


2 Corinthians 6:7, “In the word of truth, in the power of God, through the weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” (LITV)

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The development of this verse into its modern form, that is, as it is expressed by the NIV or the NLT, for instance, is an interesting example and raises some compelling questions about Bible translation.  We learn when studying this verse that its exact meaning is quite obscure, though perhaps not unintelligible. What we have is a verse that has some questionable attributes, and the scholarly answers to these questions have provided material for the translation. This raises the question, within biblical translation, how much liberty one might take with the manuscript text. The critic might be tempted to jump on a verse like this to disprove the reliability of translation, but it would amount to a poor argument, for the extant verses that are obscure are greatly outweighed by ones that are clear. In addition, scholars are careful to keep the verse in the context of the latter, that the overall biblical message is not hindered or altered by translation. This verse, in particular, has its historical peculiarities as made evident by the range of translation it has undergone.

Keeping sense of it all, and making sense of it all might prove to be a challenge, but I will attempt to do so for the benefit of the reader, and I will further attempt to extrapolate meaning from the verse. I may have to borrow from several sources to do this, however, and some of the evidence might come from commentaries, from those more familiar than myself with the translation process and as what might be expressed in the Greek. This process will hopefully give us more insight into the verses exact meaning, and show that what can be induced or deduced from it can be seen as Scriptural as applied to the whole of the Word.

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First, it may be constructive for us to first delve into some of the basic philosophies concerning biblical translation. To do this I will borrow a sizeable portion from the introduction to the Life Application Study Bible’s New Living Translation’s introduction. I believe this is a short but comprehensive explanation of biblical translation philosophies which we will see manifest in this study. The Life Application Study Bible in the “Introduction to The New Living Translation” begins by introducing us into the world of biblical translation theory.

“English Bible translations tend to be governed by one of two general translation theories.” –Life Application Study Bible

The first theory we are introduced to is one called, ‘formal-equivalence’ theory.

“According to [formal-equivalence] theory, the translator attempts to render each word of the original language into English and seeks to preserve the original syntax and sentence structure as much as possible in translation.” –Life Application Study Bible

“A formal-equivalence translation preserves aspects of the original text—including ancient idioms, term consistency, and original-language syntax—that are valuable for scholars and professional study.” –Life Application Study Bible

“[Formal-equivalence] allows a reader to trace formal elements of the original-language text through the English translation.” –Life Application Study Bible

The second theory we are introduced to is called, ‘dynamic-equivalence’ theory.

“The goal of [dynamic-equivalence] translation theory is to produce in English the closest natural equivalent of the message expressed by the original-language text, both in meaning and in style.” –Life Application Study Bible

“A dynamic-equivalence translation, . . . focuses on translating the message of the original-language text.” –Life Application Study Bible

“[Dynamic-equivalence] ensures that the meaning of the text is readily apparent to the contemporary reader. This allows the message to come through with immediacy, without requiring the reader to struggle with foreign idioms and awkward syntax.” –Life Application Study Bible

“[Dynamic-equivalence] also facilitates serious study of the text’s messages and clarity in both devotional and public reading.” –Life Application Study Bible

The Life Application Study Bible tells us that work in conjunction with each other and it is impractical to use either/or to the extreme.

“The pure application of either of these translation philosophies would create translations at opposite ends of the translation spectrum.” –Life Application Study Bible

“A purely formal-equivalence translation would be unintelligible in English, and a purely dynamic-equivalence translation would risk being unfaithful to the original.” –Life Application Study Bible

“In reality, all translations contain a mixture of these two philosophies.” –Life Application Study Bible

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The Life Application Study Bible goes on to express that utilization of the dynamic can be formal, and that the formal can prove to be dynamic.

“Translations shaped by the dynamic-equivalence theory are usually quite literal when the original text is relatively clear, and the translations shaped by the formal-equivalence theory are sometimes quite dynamic when the original text is obscure.” –Life Application Study Bible

Further, we can see the methodology of the New Living Translation is in all actually probably applied by most translators.

“The translators [of the New Living Translation] rendered the message more dynamically when the literal rendering was hard to understand, was misleading, or yielded archaic or foreign wording.”Life Application Study Bible

Keeping the principles of both formal-equivalence and dynamic-equivalence in mind, we can see by comparison of different translations, that a translation rendering is dependent upon the degree the translators exercise these two philosophies within any given verse. In our study of 2 Corinthians 6:7, it seems apparent that a great volume of dynamic liberties are taken within the verse in some translations. Perhaps, some borrowing from commentators and/or the scholarly research of the more formal translations, and applying them as deemed fit within the verse itself.

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Again, this raises the issue and question, to what degree can we justifiably apply “liberties” and are we indeed “licensed” to do so? Indeed, this question should be taken on a case to case basis. In this study I will state several translations of 2 Corinthians 6:7, attempt to expound on the reasoning of the rendering, as well as pose some of my own thoughts or questions concerning the more literal translation of the Greek, in that one more knowledgeable that I am may reach or provide answer.

Now, let us go to the Greek to give us a starting point upon which to build.

2 Corinthians 6:7, “In a word of truth, is the power of God, through the weapons of righteousness on the right and of left.” (Greek)

Further, let us relate another translation, the NLT, because the NLT shows us the extent of dynamic-equivalence. I believe these two translations (for even the Greek is translated into English) show us both ends of the spectrum within the formal (Greek) and dynamic (NLT) theories. Let the reader note that it is not a rebuke or correction of the NLT, for I don’t have the wisdom to be able to do so, nor the knowledge. I am merely exploring and posing some questions to the reader for them to make up their own mind.

2 Corinthians 6:7, “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.” (NLT)

A couple things we can note immediately. The Greek, or rather, Greek-to-English translation omits several things in comparison to the NLT. There, for instance, is no mention of hands, nor no mention of anything being in those hands. Rather than “in” within the NLT, The Greek-to-English says “on.” Further, there is no mention in the Greek-to-English about faithfulness and preaching. Also, there is no reference to offense or defense and “in the power of God” is completely reworded to say, “God’s Power is working in us.” However, is this interpretive translation completely erroneous? Not necessarily.

The KJB puts the verse like this:

2 Corinthians 6:7, “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand on the left.”

Much like later in the verse, there is debate about this part of the Scripture, that is, what the KJB states as “by the word of truth.” William MacDonald in The Believer’s Bible Commentary says:

“By the word of truth’ may indicate that all of Paul’s ministry was carried out in obedience to the word of truth, or it may mean that it was an honest ministry, consistent with the type of message which he preached, namely the Word of truth.” –William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

So we are given two options concerning what “by the word of truth” means. It could, as MacDonald points out, refer to the honesty and reliability of the apostle Paul’s message and ministry, as it would be characterized, as free of deceit or falsity. On the other hand, it could mean it was carried out in obedience to the word of truth, which is the Word of God. However, I would argue that the two cannot be divorced from each other. Can the two really be said to be apart from one another in the apostle Paul as regards the correspondence adhering between a word of truth and being in the Word of Truth? In other words, if the apostle Paul let falsity or disobedience creep into his ministry then he would be transgressing against the Word of truth. Thus, the message, his personal character, his obedience and the character of his ministry, in order for it to be classified as truthful, in and of itself, it would need to be in the Word of Truth. Thereby, we can make the following statement, that Paul’s ministry had to be a word of truth, in the Word of truth, by the Word of truth, and of the Word of truth. The two schools of thought cannot divorce one another unless it means, again, trespassing against the Word of truth. What is important, then, is the Word of truth, which Paul subscribed to, preached, and by all accounts, after his conversion, followed. With this standpoint, the two schools of thought concerning Paul’s statement, “by the word of truth” lose their distinction, for it becomes increasingly irrelevant, in light of Paul’s obedience to the Word of truth. Then we can say it references not only the Word of truth but Paul’s obedience to that Word, that is his correspondence with the Word of truth as he shared this Word of truth, covering both the ‘Scriptural’ interpretation, and the ‘honesty’ interpretation. For if Paul’s ministry was dishonest or used trickery then he would no longer be in coherence with the Word of truth, and his message would reflect this cloudy distortion.

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Albert Barnes tells us:

“[‘By the word of truth’ refers to] making known the truths of the gospel. It was [Paul’s] object to make known the simple truth. He did not corrupt it by false mixtures of philosophy and human wisdom, but communicated it had been revealed to him. The object of the appointment of the Christian ministry is to make known the truth, and when that is done it cannot be but that they will commend their office and work to the favorable regards of people.” –Albert Barnes

Matthew Poole says:

“[‘By the word of truth’ is] living up to and keeping our eye upon the word of God, which is the word of truth: this seems to be the sense, rather than speaking truth to everyone, as some have thought.” –Matthew Poole

Charles John Ellicott expands on this further:

“Both words [word and truth] are, in the Greek, without the article, and this throws a slight shade of doubt upon their meaning. With the article, the same combination occurs in Ephesians 1:13 [and] 2 Timothy 2:15; and there can be no doubt that there the sense is objective—‘the word which conveys the truth of God to men.’ Here a subjective meaning, ‘a word of truthfulness,’ or ‘truthful word,’ as distinct from insincerity of speech, is grammatically possible; but in James 1:18, where precisely the same combination occurs, we have ample warrant for retaining the objective meaning even here.” –Charles John Ellicott

According to Ellicott then, we have more than a enough evidence to suppose that the “word of truth” referenced by 2 Corinthians 6:7 is the Word of God. I personally feel we have presented enough evidence to make this part of the verse’s interpretation a non-issue. Paul was simply walking in the truth and preaching this truth, and the truth went out unto the hearts of man that they might turn give their lives to the Lord, turn from wickedness, and be saved. This truth when out unto men, through and by the power of God, which Paul walked in. If we apply these lessons, then we find that this interpretation better fits all translation.

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Next regards the power of God. Paul not only established outright the power of God by doing the miraculous, he also walked in the power of God. Due to his faith and obedience the power of the Holy Spirit became ever more present upon his life and ministry. Though the outward manifestations or miraculous events certainly attest to the power of God, we need to ask ourselves, to interpret this verse, did the physical expressions of God’s power truly display, in Paul’s mind and spirit, the full measure or richness of the Lord our God? How much greater is it probably the case that Paul found more value in the eternal benefits offered by the richness of Christ rather than the temporary and fleeting physical outcomes of the displays offered by the Lord. Most certainly, both do have their place, let no reader misunderstand, but it all moves towards one end or goal, that is the salvation of man, that they may come to Christ and be eternally saved. Thus, the richness of the power of God would be found in the Holy Spirit within Paul, who attempted to move all man unto this end.

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William MacDonald addresses this in the Believer’s Bible Commentary:

“By the power of God doubtless signifies that the apostle did not carry on his work in his own power, but in simple dependence on the strength which God provides.” –William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

While absolutely true, another significant truth we need to keep in mind is how the power of God is imparted upon words. As Paul states in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 2:4-5, “And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”

Further in 1 Thessalonians, Paul says:

1 Thessalonians 1:5, “For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.”

In the church today there is a tendency among pastors to desire to entertain as well as preach the truth. This is not surprising concerning our T.V. laden society. I will stop well short of supposing assigning a value of right or wrong to these tactics, for to do so would suppose limits on the methods of the Holy Spirit how He utilizes certain means to reach people in today’s word. Paul himself relied not only on the power of the message of the pure gospel, but also used great discernment regarding, for instance, when to rely on the simple and “foolish” message of the cross and when to apply reason and argument. The book of Acts, as recorded by Paul’s companion Luke, records more than a couple instances where Paul uses reason in attempt to argue for the validity of the gospel. Acts says:

Acts 17:2-4, “As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, ‘This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.’ Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.”

Acts 17:17, “[Paul] went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.”

Acts 18:4, “[Paul] also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and His resurrection, they said, ‘What is this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.’”

However, it seems apparent that no matter what “tactic” Paul used, He recognized the power of God in the words he preached. Thus, he did not rely on human speech and tactics alone, but sought the power of God in all his words, which the Lord graciously bestowed upon them. At the same time, it is likely, that Paul found the words and reasoning of man alone to be lacking, and the power of God needed to be first and foremost in the message he preached. Concerning these things, the Pulpit Commentary, states:

“[By] the form and matter of [Paul’s] discourse [the apostle Paul] would not attempt to use the keen sword of philosophical dialectics or human eloquence, but would only use the weapon of the cross.” –The Pulpit Commentary

On a personal level I feel that we need to be careful stating things like this, because of the fact that Paul did in fact reason with others. The reconciliation between these two sides, the power of God and the simplicity of the message of the cross, and the reasoning factor, can be merged by simply stating that the message of the cross is included within the reasoning and the power of God is relied upon for the power of the words, and not necessarily that of human reasoning, though God often applies reasoning in His Own arguments. Isaiah states:

Isaiah 1:18, “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.’”

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We often use another word in our defense and reasoning with others concerning Christianity. This word is “apologetics.” Similar charges are made for apologetics, as Norman L. Geisler explains:

“The charge is made that no one ever comes to Christ through apologetics.” –Norman L. Geisler

Here we can use apologetics almost interchangeably with reasoning.

“If this implies that the Holy Spirit never uses apologetic evidence to bring people to Christ, this is clearly false.” –Norman L. Geisler

Norman L. Geisler cites C. S. Lewis as a prime example. C. S. Lewis himself said:

“Nearly everyone I know who has embraced Christianity in adult life has been influenced by what seemed to him to be at least a probable argument for Theism.” –C. S. Lewis

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Geisler also cites the example of St. Augustine.

“Augustine tells in his ‘Confessions’ how he was led towards Christianity by hearing a Christian debate an unbeliever.” –Norman L. Geisler

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In addition, Geisler echoes the statement of Lewis when he says:

“God has used evidence and reason in some way to reach virtually all adults who come to Christ.” –Norman L. Geisler

So, whether in debate, in reason, in the simple message of the cross, and indeed, in all these examples the power of God, and the power He imparts on words must be evident to have an effect or they fall on deaf ears. Thereby, we see that the “power of God” referenced in 2 Corinthians 6:7, is multifaceted and despite the arguments for singular meaning, we find that in all probability it has multi-meaning, some of which we have discussed here. It is likely that Paul found that words alone, without or moving ahead of God and His power, fell on deaf ears. Again, as 1 Thessalonians 1:5 said, “it was not only with words but also with power.” Thereby, words alone, without the power of God were useless to Paul. The power of God needed to be included and, thus, his words needed to be led by the Holy Spirit, whether in reason or in the “simplistic” message of the cross.

In conclusion of these first two parts of the verse, that is, “In a word of truth,” and “In the power of God,” we see that all words spoken by Paul were in correspondence of truth with his speech. Further, that all his speech was related to the truth made extant by God and that his words were led by the Holy Spirit and thus imparted with power by the Holy Spirit to turn those who obeyed true reason to Christ or bring those affected by the simple message of the cross unto salvation and reconciliation with God. Both represented the power of God and the truth of God, which Paul not only spoke in, but walked in.

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Finally, we get to the last part of the verse, which in the Greek-to-English states, “Through the weapons of righteousness on the right and of left.” There is much debate about this last part of the verse, concerning not only the translation, but what it exactly means. There are a number of commentaries which imply that they agree with the KJV translation which says:

2 Corinthians 6:7, “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.”

We note the last portion of the verse, “by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” This is interesting terminology for many of our current translations say, “With the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.” Even the LITV says, “through the weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.”

We should first ask what the weapons of righteousness are as expressed by Paul. I believe that some of these weapons, or armour are mentioned in the previous verse.

2 Corinthians 6:6, “We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.”

Thus we find these are some of the weapons (armour) of righteousness:

  1. Purity

  2. Understanding

  3. Patience

  4. Kindness

  5. Holy Spirit

  6. Love

In addition, Ephesians 6:13-18 gives us more of the armor of God that we can apply to this list.

Ephesians 6:13-18, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm. Sand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor [breastplate] of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

  1. Truth

  2. Righteousness

  3. Peace

  4. Faith

  5. Salvation

  6. Word of God

  7. Prayer

  8. Alertness

  9. Persistence

Therefore, the Scriptures tell us we have at least 15 weapons or armour of righteousness.

  1. Purity

  2. Understanding

  3. Patience

  4. Kindness

  5. The Holy Spirit

  6. Love

  7. Truth

  8. Righteousness

  9. Peace

  10. Faith

  11. Salvation

  12. Word of God

  13. Prayer

  14. Alertness

  15. Persistence

Some can be classified in argument as armour and others as weapons, so it kind of makes sense why there is a disagreement between scholars as whether 2 Corinthians 6:7 means armour or weapons. I think it can be understood as both, for we have the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God and the breastplate of righteousness. These things we not only put “on,” but hold “in” our hands as weapons. Thereby, we find the NLT’s translation of 2 Corinthians 6:7 useful, but it too needs a little explanation.

2 Corinthians 6:7“We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.

This translation might seem a little odd concerning some of the more “simplistic” translations we have visited within this essay, but in fact it does have a rational basis that is worth examining. The Believer’s Bible Commentary explains:

“One of the more probable explanations is that it ancient warfare the sword was held in the right hand and the shield on the left. The sword spoke of offensive combat and the shield of defense. In that case, Paul would here be saying that a good Christian character is the best offense and defense.” –William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

However, MacDonald himself points out the difficulty in translating this passage:

“There is some doubt as to the exact meaning of the expression on the right hand and on the left.” –William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary

This can be shown by examining some classical commentary concerning the verse. There are a number of different interpretations. These include:

  1. One is fully clothed in the armor of God on the right side and on the left.

  2. One is fully armed and has weapons in the both the right and the left hands.

  3. One is fully prepared for battle by weilding a weapon on the right hand and shield on the left.

“Interpreters bare varied much in the exposition of this passage; and many have run into utter wildness. Grotius says, that it refers to the manner in which the ancient soldiers were armed. They bore a spear [or sword] in their right hand, and a shield in the left. With the former they attacked their foes, with the later they made defense. Some have supposed that it refers to the fact that they were taught to use the word with the left hand as well as the right. The simple idea is, that they were completely armed. To be armed on the right and on the left is to be well armed, or entirely equipped. They went forth to conflict. They met persecution, opposition, and slander. As the solider went well armed to battle, so did they. But the armor with which they met their foes, and which constituted their panoply, was a holy life. With that they met all the assaults of their enemies; with that all slander and persecution. That was their defense, and by that they hoped and expected to achieve their conquests. They had no swords, and spears, and helmets, and shields; no carnal weapons of offense and defense; but they expected to meet their assaults, and to gain all their victories, by an upright and holy life.” –Albert Barnes

It appears, then, that the NLT translation is a profound blend of both theories, that is 1 and 2, and with other biblical evidence such as Ephesians 6:13-18. The fact is that whether or not we consider the list of the fifteen provided armaments as either weapons or armor, that is either offensive or defensive isn’t nearly as important as the fact that these things should be evident in our lives. If evident, then they will serve their place as both offensive and defensive due to the power of God as long as we remain in the truth and speak the truth.

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2 Corinthians 6:2, “For [God] says, ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is the acceptable time! Behold now is the day of salvation.” (LITV)

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Paul here quotes from Isaiah 49:8. It would certainly be beneficial to us to refer to this verse in Isaiah, and the previous one, so that we might understand what the acceptable time means.

Isaiah 49:7-8, “The LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the One who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the One who is the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the LORD, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, Who has chosen You. At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as My covenant with them. Through You I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.”

This chapter in Isaiah is a prelude, foreshadowing or prophecy of what would eventually come to pass. Israel would be in state of enmity against God and His Holy Servant Jesus Christ. Verse 7 gives us insight into this strife, which is extant on man’s part alone, but despite the presence of unbelief and outright hostility against God and God’s Holy One, God sought it fit to impart grace upon mankind.

I would ask the reader to reflect upon the sublimity of these facts, that at one of the most hostile times in history towards God and His Holy One, that God somehow, in accordance with a grace and love far surpassing that of human-kind, purposed a time of His favor through that same Holy One, Jesus Christ. As William MacDonald mentions, the “day of salvation” mentioned, as it pertains to Jesus, “refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

"Resurrection of Christ," by Carl Heinrich Bloch. c. 1875

“Resurrection of Christ,” by Carl Heinrich Bloch. c. 1875

Therefore, this “time of favor” can be said to be situated between the resurrection and Christ’s return. Philip E. Hughes, of the NIV Study Bible, says:

“[This is] an affirmation that is true in a general sense of all God’s saving acts in the history of His people, but that finds its particular fulfillment in this present age of grace between the two comings of Christ.” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

Hughes correctly points out that throughout history there have been manifest times of God’s favor. However, there is an innovative originality concerning the particular age we live in now, where this hallowed salvation is made available to all mankind. Yet, we say this in a general sense, for there is also an individualistic sense in which, by Paul’s words, is not only suggested this blessed grace or salvation, but also it serves as a warning. For we are told that it is a time of God’s favor, but one necessary condition of time is that it passes. The direct consequent, then, is that this time of “acceptability” will pass. Henceforth, we understand the urgency of Paul’s message, that ‘now is the day of salvation.’

Now-Time

The NIV Study Bible points this out when it states:

“[‘Now’] underscores the urgency of the divine invitation.” –Philip E. Hughes, NIV Study Bible

Time is somewhat of a relative term as it is used here. We should realize that time can mean, this moment, today, this week, fifty years from now, a hundred, or, indeed, eons from now. Of course, the verse applies its message for today. Paul does this in probably the full understanding that mankind, when it comes to salvation and holiness are the greatest of procrastinators. We tend to put off these things like obedience and faith because we fool ourselves into thinking that we will always have tomorrow, the next day, or the next, and so on, to come under the grace of our Lord. However, nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, nor ten minutes from now. This strikes me as a rather prideful assertion and delusional assurance, for all evidence points to the contrary. Rather than putting these things off, let us today put on the full armor of God, with its helmet of salvation, shield of faith, shoes to spread the gospel of peace, breastplate of righteousness and belt of truth. Let us put on the shining armor of right living, as the Scriptures tells us:

Romans 13:12, “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”

Ephesians 6:11, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”

Ephesians 6:13-14, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.”

1 Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.”

Let us again consider the general and specific application regarding this “time of salvation” as it pertains to both mankind as a whole (general) and the individual (specific). We find the generality of the time of God’s favor to pertain to all man in this age between the appearances of Christ. It is in this age we are offered salvation by and through faith (in which obedience becomes an integral part) in Jesus Christ. Yet, as we have said, since it is mentioned in the context of time, it will not carry on indefinitely. Rather, this time supposes an end, so, let us run in haste and endurance that race marked out before us, while we still exist within this state or time, for we do not know the time when it will come to an abrupt end.

End

Here is our chance. Here is our opportunity. Let no man suppose that this opportunity will always be there, for if it was the case the Scriptures would not emphasize us coming to the Lord, or obeying His statues, “as long as it is still today.” The Scriptures say:

Hebrews 3:7-8, “That is why the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested Me in the wilderness.’”

Hebrews 3:13, “You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.”

Hebrews 4:7, “So God set another time for entering His rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: ‘Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts.’”

Psalm 69:13, “But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of Your favor, in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.”

Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.”

Psalm 32:6, “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach Him.”

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No, we must run for the goal, which is Christ Jesus, in all due haste. How I cringe when I hear Christians suggest by their words that they can always ask for forgiveness later. How I cringe when I realize I too have done this very thing. Now I am not one to put limits on the grace of the Lord, for this is beyond my scope of knowledge, but this attitude speaks loudly in a resounding tone of arrogance and disrespectful presuppositions. For it supposes God will always forgive us and that He is always willing to forgive. Frightfully enough, the Scriptures, though Jesus tells us if we seek we shall find (Matthew 7:7), Proverbs makes it clear:

Proverbs 1:24-28, “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored My advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for Me, they will not find Me.”

Therefore, let us not suppose we are always fit to be found under the grace of the Lord our God. However, those of us who have been forgiven for our past sins let us rejoice and take a firm hold of the faith. For the Lord has granted us favor, and not by our own works, but by His grace which transcends all understanding of man.

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1My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – 3indeed if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure, 5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

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In my last entry I discussed, or rather the Scripture discussed, the consequences that occur when one doesn’t fear the Lord. What is this fear of the Lord and why is it so profound? I yet do not know in the profound measure it deserves, but I have the understanding that despite the clues I have gotten concerning the fear of the Lord, in truth its much deeper than I can fathom at this point. This is why I have yet to do any recent writing on the topic. I pray the Lord will lead me in discovery about this often wondered about phrase? What is it to fear the Lord? I invite the reader to stay tuned. One thing we do know about the fear of the Lord, however, is that it is elsewhere too aligned with a knowledge, which again speaks to its profound nature. Isaiah 11:2 says,

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.”

An interesting thing occurs to me. Both in Isaiah and the aforementioned Proverbs 2:5 mention BOTH the fear of the Lord, understanding, and a, or the, knowledge of God. In addition, how Isaiah talks of it suggests it being a fruit of the Spirit.

Regardless, despite the missing profound variable about the fear of the Lord, I believe there are a number of conclusions and important points we can extrapolate from these verses. First, to dissect the collection of verse a bit, there are eight conditions, or antecedents, and two consequents. The eight conditions are, to accept the Lord’s words, store up His commands, turn your ear to wisdom, apply your heart to understanding, call out for insight, cry aloud for understanding, seek it as silver, and search for it as hidden treasure. The two consequents are, an understanding of the fear of the Lord, and finding the knowledge of God.

I would like to do something a little different for this current entry and analyze the Scripture by these conditions and consequents. First, I will cite the conditions, slightly paraphrased, and immediately after write upon them. After the conditions are finished, I will then do likewise for the consequents mentioned in Proverbs 2:5. I pray this translates well into a blog post.

Accept The Lord’s Words

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I believe there are quite a few of us guilty, including myself, of approaching the Scripture with a presupposed message in hand. Simply, we go through times in our life where we encounter challenges, reap calamity, are distressed, brought low, and seemingly trampled underfoot by any number or matter of things. Of course, being of a somewhat juvenile in faith, as even the most faithful can be at times, outside Christ, we turn to our Bibles to bring us a positive message or, at the very least, one that will make us “feel better” somewhat. In a time such as this, we may be in danger of not accepting what the Lord is really trying to tell us. We find something scary, or something convicting, and we turn the page. Searching for that other verse to give us our needed exhortation. If this isn’t describing you at all my friend then God bless you!

However, I only write from personal experiences and I know the tricks of the self, as well as the enemy, are not original temptations at all. For, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

When getting a Word from the Lord sometimes we don’t want to hear it and we fool ourselves in thinking that intuitive scripture that came to us must be mistaken or misheard. Yet, we are called not only to accept those things which make us feel good, like grace, but also those things which frighten us, like judgment. However, this is all for our own good. The Lord doesn’t want calamity to fall upon us and gives us stern warnings in order that we might have it “the easy way” rather than the “hard way.” This is simply due to his unfathomable love, much like how a parent might warn and discipline their children when they have done wrong.

Store Up The Lord’s Commands Within You

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To tap into a little bit of my own testimony, I attended a Christian private school while I was in high school, but didn’t become a Christian until after. At the time, while in school, I found one of the most ridiculous academic activities to be memorization. This ranged from vocabulary quizzes and exams to even, dare I say it, Bible verse memorization. Be assured I feel ashamed for this now, and certainly you can tell how depleted my ability to reason was at this time in my life. I mean, why would I need to memorize the Bible if I had to always have it on me anyway? Surely, the Holy Word would warrant an open book test right? Now its easy to see from my vantage point where the ridiculousness really lied.

Certainly, some of this came from just a sluggard kind of lifestyle and its paramount laziness, but whatever the causes, the effects were the most important. That whole time when I could have been soaking in God’s Word, I disregarded its importance, and thus missed out on an opportunity to be more versed than I am currently in biblical doctrine or writ. In addition, it is obvious to me, that I missed out on a great opportunity to build up a surplus of faith, which would have helped me out more during those times when I crawled through the darkness, often of my own accord.

Not only must we accept all things God reveals in His Divine Revelation, but we must also store up His commands in our hearts. This is not only for conviction purposes as one might suppose by the word “command,” but rather they are also means of following God’s perfect advice, and means of attaining blessing in our lives. This seems paradoxical that a command might act as a blessing. In and by our simple humanity, it remains a fact that we often do not like to be told what to do. Yet, we should not be so hesitant about following what the Lord tells us to do, for in that there is the aforementioned blessing. If the Lord didn’t want us to know that was the case, He wouldn’t have told us. Yet, since He did, we can have complete assurance in what the Lord says is truth. To simplify, we need to store up His commands in our hearts that we may avoid trouble and be blessed by our observance.

Turn Your Ear To Wisdom

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I recall as a small child getting in fights with my sister. On one particularly inspired mature moment, I covered my ears as she spoke and mumbled something like, “La,la,la,la,la…” to drown out her counter-argument. Whatever that might have been. Regardless, there are those times when we don’t want to hear what wisdom has to say. Moreover, we have a choice to listen to wisdom, or ignore it and drown it out. There is action and choice in this, which is made evident in Proverbs 2:2 when it tells us to turn. To turn towards something is to turn away from something else. This is much akin to the message of true repentance.

Apply Your Heart To Understanding

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The message here, to apply one’s hear to understanding, is one of commitment. We should commit to understanding. There are those questions that arise when studying the Holy Writ which are difficult to understand. We human beings tend to get discouraged or write off questions if we do not understand them. Indeed, I too went through a season where questions arising from study were discouraging to me, in the vein that such questions would arise the ever more dangerous question if what I believed was false. I had not yet understood that just because I had not the answer, didn’t mean there was no answer to be found. This is not a commitment to understanding, but rather a fleeting faith which is void of understanding and even the possibility of understanding. We are called to something much greater. A commitment to understanding that though questions arise, the Lord has many ways in which to deal with questions. These range from an understanding to a greater faith despite our questions. We almost live under the presupposition that if truth exists then we must have all the answers pertaining to that truth. Yet, the very idea of faith is that in spite of our questions we yet do still believe. Thus, we must not only commit to understanding, but to faith as well despite a

ll the unanswered questions that may arise within us. Let us have a greater faith in the Lord that He surpasses our questions and our abilities to understand. For as the scripture states, let us not lean upon our own understanding, but transcend it as the Lord transcends all.

Call Out For Insight

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Insight is more than a knowing, it is a discernment which grants us an aptitude for both the answers to questions and the direct application of the lessons found within, which can be understood as a wisdom. However, to call out for insight is to acknowledge a lack of insight and to call upon God in steadfast prayer for holy inclination. We acknowledge our lack of Godly insight, for His insight is as infinite as He is, and us being creations of His are necessarily below His enormity. So we are not to call out to the sciences, but rather God Himself who surpasses all human knowledge and man’s practicality. There are, of course, those insights of worldly or practical matters, but how much greater are those insights of spiritual matters which apply to everything? For God is everything! To call out is to desire in earnest. We don’t mutter or have some intellectual arbitrary want for insight, but we call out in a fervent heartfelt aspiration.

Cry Aloud For Understanding

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This is much similar to the one above, that is to call out for insight. It reiterates the above committing us to the importance of the lesson, that we should in earnest cry out for understanding. Furthermore, are we are not to consider it being ever fully gained, for the understanding of the Lord is as limitless as He is. Let us, therefore, take refuge in our Lord when we come unto a situation that demands further understanding. Moreover, let us be discerning in being able to identify those areas in which we lack in understanding, not lean on our own, and may the Lord grant us the understanding to be able to approach any subject or situation in a Godly knowledge which far surpasses that knowledge of man.

Look For it as Silver

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To look for something as silver is to already understand its intrinsic value and worth. Beneath the earth lie vast amounts of precious metals which when mined produce a vast storage of wealth. Likewise, at times, this understanding remains hidden from us in the same vein as one of silver or gold and we must be steadfast in our approach to find these caverns of wealth and understanding. Let us not rush after the gold of fools but rather those precious gems and metals which line outcroppings of knowledge and wisdom.

Search For it as Hidden Treasure

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There are those who dedicate their lives to the seeking of vast fortunes of wealth which have been lost over the ages. Such people invest their time, their money and even their wellbeing in order to discover hidden treasure buried within soil, sand or under the oceans. These treasure seekers not only find a thrill of discovery in such efforts, but also know that if successful then their endeavors will be greatly rewarded. Our endeavors will be greatly rewarded if we seek understanding like those who seek the treasures of old.


24But since you refuse to listen when I call and nobody pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – 27when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28‘Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. 30Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke. 31They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them, 33but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.'” –Proverbs 1:24-33

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Though Proverbs contain many verses which can cause elation, there are those scary ones as well, which warn and rebuke. Some of these like verses share in telling of the potential consequences of a life of sin. This group of verses however I think we are dealing with one sort of sinner. That doesn’t mean not all sinners can reflect upon the verses of course, for they are applicable to just about anyone. Yet, going into the text, I believe there is a group of sinners which are referenced here. To coin a term, assuming it hasn’t already been coined, I will call this group of individuals, “God’s bad weather friends.” We all know the idiom concerning a, “fair weather friend,” obviously signifying that a particular individual only has a relationship with you when the atmosphere is to his or her liking. God’s bad weather friends are exactly the opposite. These folks seek a relationship with God only in times of trouble. The rest of the time they go on sinning, yet when trouble comes along they look to God for deliverance.
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I hope to explain how the Lord drew me to these conclusions. First, however, to really follow the way my thought process was guided, we need to start from the beginning of this collection of Scripture. Verse 24 says:

24But since you refuse to listen when I call and nobody pays attention when I stretch out my hand,”

Foremost, what we see is that this verse, and those following it, are not only directed to an individual, but also a group of individuals. “You,” commonly is used to target a singular individual, though it can be used for a class of people, but “nobody” specifically refers to more than one person. Not only does this suggest a plurality, but an absolute as well. “Nobody,” as a term is negated whenever there is exception.

One of these notable exceptions in Scripture is the exception of Lot. In Genesis 18 we find the fascinating account of Abraham bartering with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In an effort to help save Sodom and Gomorrah from God’s wrath, Abraham argues with the Lord.

25Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’ 27Then Abraham spoke up again: ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?’ ‘If I find forty-five there,’ He said, ‘I will not destroy it.’

From Abraham’s questions I can’t help wonder if Abraham was trying to discover the value of a human life to God. Regardless whether or not Abraham even had that inkling, we do find out the answer. Every human life is important and holds immense value to God. The bartering and humble boldness of Abraham continues as the Lord eventually concedes that He will not destroy the city if there are ten righteous people. Of course, God couldn’t find ten righteous people, so the cities came under His righteous wrath. However, it was not the case that nobody there was righteous. A man named Lot lived in Sodom. It was for his sake that God, though He didn’t relent from His anger, but for the sake of one righteous individual, the Lord called him and his family out of the city delivering him another way.

In the study of Proverbs we have already discovered some city imagery, which I believe carries over into the verses addressed here. Right now we are hearing from the point of view of “wisdom,” which is literary personification of a concept, that is wisdom. Yet, it is much more than that. This wisdom is God, for Proverbs 2:6 says:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

It is God that is “wisdom,” for absolute wisdom is an attribute of God Himself.

Concerning verse 24, they refuse to listen when God calls, and do not pay attention when God stretches out his hand. What does it mean for the Lord to stretch out His hand? It can mean several things. Out of the short list I have compiled, and I do not claim to have all the possibilities written down, I noticed that a lot has to do with the position of the palm when conceptualizing the Lord’s outstretched hand.
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It can be a reference to omniscience, an offering, acceptance, judgment, compassion, help, or the means of bringing about an event, either as a blessing, or as a calamity. “Since you refuse to listen when I call,” indicates that God has offered Himself to these people first, and they have not paid attention even when the Lord outstretches His hand. In this context, I believe the Lord’s outstretched hand to have the attributes of judgment, compassion, help and a means of bringing about a calamity. Meaning the people talked about here had a “bad weather” relationship with God. They reaped just consequence and then asked the Lord for his help. The Lord in His compassion, helped the folks in their time of distress, but they immediately went back to simple lives.

The term, “since,” indicates a upcoming consequent. Proverbs gives us several reasons why this judgment is to occur. Aforementioned there is the refusal to listen to God and the fact that nobody pays attention when the Lord stretches out His hand. I myself have been guilty of this very thing. At times I will pray for something in earnest and when it is answered from God by His very hand, I have forgot about the Lord. Simply, I have forgotten to give praise and credit where it is due. Furthermore, I don’t always act the way I should when receiving deliverance or rebuke from the Lord. This is only one reason why this group of Scriptures is so convicting to me.
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In addition, to not listening and not recognizing the Lord’s outstretched hand, a couple more reasons are given as to why negative consequence will befall such people. These are because there is a complete disregard of the Lord’s advice and a non-acceptance of the Lord’s rebuke. How interesting it is that we are confronted with the term, “advice.” Many have the conception of God, that he is some omniscient arrogant deity that sits up on His thrown and just throws out commandments with a, “follow me or else,” type attitude. Though this is true to a degree, the fact is that such an unflattering view of God negates one of the most important attributes about God. That is His love and His desire to be in a relationship with every single individual that humbles themselves before Him. So while it is true the Lord has made commandments, at the same time it is also true that He desires a relationship. This is the meaning behind the term, “advice.” The Lord could have said, “Since you don’t obey me, then . . .” However, The Lord did not say such a thing, but makes His rebuke telling the objects of the Scripture that they have ignored His “advice.” When we juxtapose “command” with “advice” we find quite the striking difference. Advice suggests a deeper personal relationship. A relationship with somebody who cares about what direction the object towards which this advice is offered and is going.
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26I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – 27when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.” –Proverbs 1:26-27

To better extrapolate the meaning behind these two verses, it is necessary to jump down a bit to verse 31 and 32:

31They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”

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Although there is much contrast within this group of verses, there is also a coherence between who a man is and what consequence is to come to pass. The term fruit here is the consequent of these peoples state of heart and being. Their ways bring about a punishment which is corollary to their very behavior. “Simple,” in practical terms, refers to the indulgence of carnal desires. Such a simple man, no matter what Lynard Skynard might think, is completely wayward, for their ways suddenly shift in an effort to fulfill those carnal desires. Neither the wayward momentum of the simple, nor the stagnant ways of the complacent fool, will save them. Indeed, it will become their very downfall.

Even mockers will have their just and corollary reward. Mockers are brought up specifically just previously in Proverbs 1, Verse 22:

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”

There are at least three classes of folks dealt with in our group of verses. The simple, the fool, and the mocker. As said before the simple indulges in the carnal desires. The fool is complacent and lacks knowledge, by choice, for there is a relationship between the simple and the fool. The mocker is included as well and more likely than not this has to do with a person who through behavior or by his spirit mocks God. God answers such as these in verses 26 and 27.

Yet, the Bible tells us in Ezekiel 18:32, that God takes no delight in even the punishment of the wicked. However, Proverbs specifically mentions God mocking and laughing. God also laughs which in turn can be a form of mocking. Is this God taking pleasure in the punishment of the wicked. We have somewhat of a paradox here, and when studying the Word, I love paradoxes. Why? Instead of writing them off as contradictions, the exploration of paradox gives us a deeper understanding into the Word of God and even God Himself.

Here we have a paradox between the absence of pleasure when God punishes the wicked, and His ability to mock. To settle this paradox we need to ask ourselves is it necessarily the case that mockery must be a form of pleasure. In practical applications, that is concerning human behavior, we find this not to be the case. Every mockery is not motivated by a joy. Quite the contrary, most mockery is a form of displeasure. Mockery, in human terms, seeks to lower another for a prideful purpose, as opposed to God whose motives are for just purposes. Since it is just, mockery from God seeks not to lower, but to reveal truth. God mocks the prideful, for next to God we are nothing. It is the pride He mocks. It is not directed at the punishment itself. Mockers mock due to prideful purposes, and because of that pride, God will mock the pride of the proud and bring them low. Thus, mockers too will eat the fruit of their ways. They will mock and in turn be mocked by God. For how misplaced is pride when compared with the Lord?
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There is much imagery shared here concerning storms and weather. Keeping along the lines of our current themes the storms too must signify something. Since it comes upon the sinners it must be a part of the sinners God is mentioning specifically. Simply, we find the punishment fits the crime in that the fruits of the sinner will be the very ones to befall them. So, mockery for the mockers, the simple, the carnal desires, and the fool, the lack of knowledge. Since we have all this corollary fruit, so too would the storms mention be representational of those spoken of in Proverbs. How can a storm be representational of an individual as regards sin?
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Let us take the waywardness of the simple for example. To be wayward, according to Dictionary.com, is to have turned away from what is right and proper; willful; disobedient. Swayed or prompted by caprice; capricious. Turning or changing irregularly; irregular. To be capricious is to be given to sudden unpredictable change, as one’s mind or the weather. Both these apply to the simple, in that they frequently change their mind to follow their own wayward carnal appetites and upon such the Lord will bring a storm of calamity. This storm will hit from all sides and the simple will make their plea to God for deliverance. Yet, the shifting storm is of their own doing much like their shifting desires and wills. It is this plea that will not be heard from by God. They will eat of their own just deserts. Verse 28 says:

“Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.”

In this arises another paradox for the Bible also tells us in Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9, “Seek, and ye shall find.” Aren’t these men seeking God by their plea? Is the Holy Word contradicting itself? Not at all. Rather than this being the case, we receive insight into the heart of such individuals. Verse 29 and 30 read:

29Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. 30Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke.”

Such people hate knowledge, don’t fear the Lord, don’t accept his advice, nor his rebuke and being the case have not a heart for God, but a heart of self. It is only out of self-preservation that they cry out to God, not for the knowledge that they have done wrong and sinned. Nor is it for a healthy fear of the Lord. The Lord understands the human heart better than we ourselves do. Is the Lord bound to redeem those who have not heart for Him? Certainly not, though He does deliver the sinner at times to make Himself known unto them, but we should be wary of relinquishing ourselves to our basic “needs” and then begging the Lord for deliverance and forgiveness when consequence comes upon us. Such a repetition of behavior suggests a focus on self and not on the Lord.

To give scriptural evidence of this, the Book of James says in Chapter 4, Verse 3:

“Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

This is an amazing verse for it shows that the Lord doesn’t answer prayer if it is to encourage sinful behaviors. The people in Proverbs sought sinful behavior and ask for deliverance from trouble in order that they may continue to indulge in their lusts.

31They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” —Proverbs 1:31

Scheming certainly has its bad connotation. Yet, there are blessed schemes as well. Dictionary.com defines a scheme as a plan, design, or program of action to be followed, project, an underhand plot, intrigue. A visionary or impractical project. A body or system of related doctrines, theories, etc. Any system of correlated things, parts, etc, or the manner of its arrangement. A plan, program, or policy officially adopted and followed, as by government or business, an analytical or tabular statement. God has his own Holy schemes as is made evident in the sacred doctrine, but beware the underhand schemes of man which seek to deceive, if not self, then others including our Lord, but the Lord cannot be deceived due to His infinite perfection. What people desire in sin is often the very same means unto which they will meet their ends.

32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them, 33but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

In addition, let us be wary of the complacency of the fool, complacency being foolish in and of itself. Being void of knowledge, wisdom, and is moreover given to sin. There are many things that bring about complacency. Drinking and drugs being two prime examples. We find that when these things are evident in life, complacency creeps into the lifestyle of the individual. Due to the dangers of idle hands we see an implicit and even explicit relationship between complacency and sin.

Despite some of the scary moments in Proverbs, there are messages of hope as well. The fact is we can choose to fear the Lord. We can choose to be non-complacent and non-foolish. We can chose not to be simple and not mock. We can repent and turn our hearts away from evil and towards the Lord. Such that do this will live in safety, be at ease, and be free of the fear of harm. Now that doesn’t mean that harm will not come to us, but in history time and time again we see those blessed men and women of the Lord who did not fear what harm was to come to them by the hands of man. Matthew 10:28 says:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

We can be free of the fear of this harm simply by fearing the Lord. This brings ease and rest to the soul. Due to the fact that we can count on this salvation, we can live in safety, knowing our salvation is secure in the Lord our God by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
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20Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square. 21On top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech. 22How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?23Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” —Proverbs 1:20-23

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There are many things that set the Holy Bible apart from other books of antiquity. One simply is how people respond to it. Out of all books of antiquity it is unique in that almost every world view attempts to come to the Holy Bible, have it validate their belief system, or, on the other hand, they attempt to use it against itself to disprove it’s authenticity. These arguments run the gamut from being absurd and silly, to requiring extensive study by believers to provide an adequate answer against the charges. This charge, in particular, has surprised me for a couple reasons. First, due to its absurdity, and because I have heard it more than once. One would be most inclined to think the more absurd a charge is the rarer it becomes. Yet, there are those examples where there are shallow and boundless absurdities which we hear time and time again. This is one such charge.
 photo 383_zpsac971fa1.gifThe charge regarding Proverbs is that it denotes and thus “proves” a kind of polytheism. Polytheism is simply the belief in many gods, appropriately from the Greek’s, who had their own mythology concerning many gods and demi gods, “Polys” meaning “many.” At any rate, it has been argued that wisdom, which is personified more than once in Proverbs, is indeed reference to another god rather than an attribute of God. I find this to be quite an odd argument because of the fact that personification of concepts within forms of writing is such a prevalent instrument. From pop lit to the archaic, personification has been used in everything from these abstract concepts, like wisdom, to nature and animal forms. This being the case, to jump to such a literal conclusion is quite silly. Yet, here it is.

To somewhat prove the case that this isn’t a separate god speaking, but rather the one and true God, we only need to look at the gender of this personification. Wisdom is regarded as a female, while God is almost always depicted as male, when we take into account the personal pronouns which reference God Himself. This is nothing against the female gender mind you, quite the contrary, but what it does symbolize is God’s role when we come to him for salvation. He provides for us and we, the church, are His bride. The irony of this view, made even more ironic because it is argued from the point of view of feminists, is that if one is to hold that the female gender is derogatory in symbolism, and that we, that is all human kind, are referred to in a the female gender, it requires a derogatory view of the self if one is remain in complete coherence with that view.

What we have here is not a literal personification, but rather an abstract personification of one of the attributes of God. Verse 23 says:

“Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.”

To, “pour out,” is a not uncommon phrase in Scripture which is attributed to God, for God holds the cup of wisdom and pours it out to anyone who repents. Thus, the wisdom spoke of here is not a deity, but a part of God, not apart. There are a couple other curiosities to this verse which speak of and to wisdom. One of these I believe to be so profound that I have not grasped the real gravity of it. Thus, if there are any out there with insight, I would appreciate further clarification in the comments section immediately below this post.

It is interesting, but wisdom is said of speaking in four locations. This is the profoundness of which I speak. These are, out in the open, in the public square, on the top of the wall, and at the city gate. Instead of the Scripture saying, “Wisdom cries out…,” it gives us these four specific locales. Why? Though I do not claim to understand the full significance, and I have an inkling there is more, I think there are a few things we can safely and scripturally determine to be the case here. “Out in the open,” may refer to the fact that even outside men, independent of them, this Godly wisdom exists. “In the public square,” can signify that among men God’s wisdom calls to us.

“At the city gate,” I believe may need some clarification. Unlike contemporary cities, cities of antiquity were often surrounded by a wall and often had one or several gates that led into or out of the city. These gates were closed at times at certain hours and most definitely when the city was under siege. When someone was said to be at the gates, it is equivalent to saying, “Someone is at the door.” Meaning that one was or is on the other side. Thus, when wisdom calls out from the city gate, she is not crying out from inside, but from outside! This is symbolic of the human heart who has erected walls or strongholds against the wisdom of God, and God Himself. Despite this wisdom still cries out. “She” cannot be silenced.
 photo atthegates_zps04295a45.jpg“On top of the wall,” is a metaphor for this wisdom being loftier than man’s wisdom. Though it can be among men, it is greater than man and his own knowledge, reason or logic. As I had said before, the polytheistic argument is used other places in Proverbs. This includes Proverbs chapter 9. Here, in Verse 3, the lofty metaphor is repeated once more.

“She (wisdom) has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city.” —Proverbs 3:9

Saint Thomas Aquinas quotes it another way:

“Wisdom sent her maids to invite to the tower.” —Proverbs 3:9

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Aquinas himself uses the verse to attempt to prove that the Sacred Doctrine is more noble than other sciences, but does liken the metaphor to its transcending nature:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others whether speculative or practical.” —Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is interesting to note that chapter 9 holds a lot of similarities to chapter 1. However, what we can gather from all this is that there is this transcending nature to wisdom and not only that but, there is also the apparent meaning that wisdom is everywhere, though not all men choose to recognize or hear it. This is utmost importance do to it being repeated. As we continue in chapter 1 this becomes more apparent.

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mocking and fools hate knowledge.” —Proverbs 1:22

It is quite fascinating that we are able to define what we are simply on what we love or hate. That’s worth repeating. We define what we are simply on what we love or hate. If we love to mock we become mockers. If we hate knowledge we become fools, and if we love our simple carnal ways, we become exactly that. This extends to even truth in general, of which God is a part. Those who love truth will see it, while those who hate the truth will avoid it altogether. Yet, truth and wisdom call out to us from their lofty positions to change our ways. To hate mockery, the carnal, and to love knowledge. All this so we might become respectful, spiritual and wise.


10My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. 15My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. 17How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! 18These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 19Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.” -Proverbs 1:10,15-19

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There are many things we find when studying the word. One of these is the honesty in which the Word addresses sin. What I mean is that it offers a kind of paradox. On one hand the warnings against sin are stern, but on the other hand the desire we have to sin or become disobedient is made evident. This paradox of course is settled by the grace of Jesus Christ. Here it is no different in sharing the tempting natures of sin. Verse 10 points out how sin and even the sinful can entice one. Sin can look glamorous or even fulfilling, but we know from both empirical evidence, namely our experience, and from the Scripture, that there is nothing further from the truth. Our enemy is not beyond using others to temp us and we should constantly keep this in remembrance. We should not give into the enticing appearance of sin, for the path that following sin puts us on is one that leads straight to death. Those who are of a sinful nature stroll upon these paths to ruin. Their paths are not straight, but crooked, winding and unsafe. How swift to shed blood and resort to violence are they who stroll upon this path. In addition, all forms of sin become their traveling companions and one should look to avoid such company. These men sabotage and ambush themselves.

“How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it.” —Proverbs 1:17

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For a moment Verse 17 confused me. Yet, when I read 18 it began to make sense. The man whose feet rush quickly into evil are their own enemy. Going back to verse 15 it got me to thinking, “Do all sinners enjoy shedding blood?” No, I believe there exists a distinction here. Not a distinction that allows excuse to be made, for all men will be without excuse, but rather there are several types of sinner the Bible mentions. Elsewhere in Scripture we are given distinctions of outward rebellion in sin, conceptual sin, grievous sin, habitual sin, and finally sins of iniquity. There can be another distinction made concerning Verse 10. These are those who struggle against sin and accept the Lord’s grace for sinning, for purposes of distinction I will refer to this as reluctant sin and the other as willful sin. I do not say “reluctant” because I wish to belittle the personal responsibility in sin. Rather, I use this term for lack of others at the top of my head, and for strictly distinction. Reluctance denotes a slowness or hesitation to sin, which means one is slow in sinning and quick to receive grace offered. Willful sin however, as is the category those whose feet rush into evil belong, denotes a quickness to sin and a slowness to receive grace offered. A major component of receiving grace properly is to repent, or turn from sin. Grace offers us the ability to do so, and not to excuse indulgence in sin.

The willful and “fast” sinner is the one who is quick to shed blood. Even “reluctant” sinners are not so quick to shed blood and still can detest violence and in fact be peacekeepers. The paths of these willful sinners end in ruin. They will not see success, for verse 17 says they will sabotage themselves. Casting an obvious net to catch a bird conflicts with one’s desire. If one wishes to be successful in such an endeavor, they need to cast a concealed trap and after run and hide. We too should run and hide from sin, lest we be as the man who casts an obvious net only to be met with no success whatsoever.

Success is an interesting paradox with profound meaning, in that the more a person strives for it, the more distant it can become. In his book, “Man’s Search For Meaning,” holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl states:

“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success; you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge, then you will live to see that in the long run – in the long run I say! – success will follow precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.” —Viktor E. Frankl

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The success of the sinner fails in that the success is based on the self, rather than on something greater than the self. Even those entrepreneurs who hold vast wealth because of the establishment of goods and company, do so because they believe in a cause greater than themselves. Of course this cause can be almost anything to supplying that which the world lacks to wanting to change or better things that already exist. The Christian has an even greater cause and this dedication is based on God’s will and not the will of the self. This leads to success.

I could use my very blog as an example. Whenever I focus on writing for an audience, rather than extrapolating the deep mysteries found within the Scripture and how it speaks to me personally, I find my writing, as well as my contemplation to wane to a vast degree. The more I forget about the audience which may or may not find their way to my blog, the better my writing and logical analysis. Whenever I try to impress with wit or wisdom, I find it all the more lacking, than when I humbly approach the Word and let it lead me in the way the Lord wills. However, if I have a particular goal greater than myself, as in sharing the message the Lord has deemed important, and focus on that alone, the more success I feel I have in my blog entry.

Quick to sin men are prideful, arrogant and violent according to the Word. His focus is so on the self, in the end, he will see no success by his sinful endeavors. They lie in wait, says Verse 18, to ambush only themselves. Their own actions testify against them so that their bitter means cannot bring sweet results. There are results which pacify, so let us not deny. Yet, where and by what means do these ends eventually lead. As we have mentioned, they lead to ruin, destruction, and death. By spilling other’s blood for gain, they spill their own. They contradict self, seeking to further self, they deteriorate it. The ultimate self-treason.


“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” —Proverbs 1:8

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The family is a structure and system that is very important to God. This is made evident all throughout the scripture. In fact, it is part of the ten commandments which not only show us our need for salvation, but give us clear insight into the being and character of God.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” —Exodus 20:12

God’s design for the family is really quite amazing, especially when one considers the Lord within it. Simply, the family system is directly representational of the relationship we have with God. Now, I realize that some of what I am about to write will offend some of those with greater feminist sensitivities. What I mean is feminism, and I do agree with some aspects of this title, but I disagree with what we will call radical feminism. It could be said those points I do agree with I feel extend beyond feminism to greater questions concerning equality, not necessarily limited to women.

Like it or not society has it’s conceptions of what the family system entails. Mainly, the father is a provider and mother a nurturer. It seems that despite the efforts of some we cannot get rid of these “roles” manifest in the family. Why that is is simple. It’s how God designed it. It is we who have put levels of importance on these roles, not God. To God, both are of extreme and equal importance in that they should edify each other in a proper family system. As I said before it is representational of God, both the father and mother roles. The Lord provides, nourishes, nurtures, and so too do the father and mother within the family. It is so representational in fact, that one could substitute God, for “father,” and “mother” in both verses written above and not contradict scripture one bit.

In contemporary society, why is it we feel the need to vilify the mother’s role above all else? The paradox of this is that a lot of the current mode of thinking was enticed by women and the radical feminist movement, which supposes such an honorable role is lesser then the one imposed or taken by the male. To me this is absurd, for they even vilify those who focus on nurturing by choice. On a philosophical and logical level they are in essence shooting themselves in the foot.

Of course, because it was designed by God, everyone has a inkling this is or may be the case. That’s why the Scripture is attacked above all else by radical feminists for a variety of reasons. They claim that God and His Word is a form of backwards thinking, that it is holding the world back from development into some utopia, or that it speaks of intolerance and inequality. Their claims and arguments are false. The Father/Mother relationship is one that is representational as we have said. Are we to say that God in His perfect nature is unequally yolked with Himself? How absurd an idea! Yet, they don’t find it absurd because they don’t find God a reality. We find God a reality and thereby know Him as perfect, equally great in all His attributes.

I implore the reader to change their mindset. Don’t listen to radical feminists who talk about our God being unequal and His design being flawed. The only flaw is what man brought upon himself, not God. Yes, believe in equality and strive for it that you may show the love of Christ unto all in an equal measure, but don’t suppose one is more important than another based on what God has designed. Are we called to do this among the body of Christ? No! In fact, we are told to strive against it! We are to unify in our differences and not separate because of them.

All roles manifest in the Father/Mother relationship are of equal importance, and when unified rear a child in ways denoting greatness. What makes it great and important is not one role or the other, but the working of the two as one. Am I saying then that a single mother cannot rear a child properly and that the offspring is destined for something less then great. By the grace of God, no I am not. Is there a likelihood though that if not in a proper family system, a child may be raised without a particular element which provides a means of struggle? Yes, in all likelihood. However, I am stopping way short of calling this an absolute, for I know many examples of the contrary.

I know of many great kids and young adults who have been raised by single parents.

This leads to another argument. This argument is logically near equivalent in that it has to do with importance of roles. The argument in our contemporary society is that the father and mother roles are of such little importance that either one can be negated in the rearing of a child. This is equally absurd as the first argument that states one must be greater than another. If we negate both, as sad as it is this can be the case at times, then we often find developmental issues associated with the lack of having parents and guidance. Again, I won’t state this as an absolute, but it is much more apparent then if we negate just one or another of the father/mother relationship. If it is much more apparent, then can’t we well say that because if two are absent, there is a detrimental consequent, then doesn’t it follow that if one or the other is absent, then there may be a consequent? We certainly can and being the case we see that both roles are important in the rearing of a child.

Lastly, these verses tell us not all responsibility falls on the parental figures. Rather, we as children are called to honor our parents and listen to them as in accordance with God’s will and His very nature.


1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- 5let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance- 6for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” –Proverbs 1:1-7

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After having a rather difficult night last night, I sought out the Bible for comfort and opened it to Proverbs. Not only was I comforted, but rather convicted as well. We often turn to the scriptures in times of difficulty or trouble, but how much less do we do sometimes during periods of comfort? This was my own personal conviction, I am so willing to open the bible in such times of hardship, either spiritual, emotional, or physical, but I am much less apt to do so in times of peace. I am glad for this conviction because conviction is a form of instruction which leads unto a beneficial end. Though, I must admit, it isn’t always comfortable in and of itself.

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I realized something else as well. I have read Proverbs completely through (and indeed all of the sacred doctrine), but I have never embarked on a deep study of Proverbs, which shocks me somewhat. I am a fan of studying philosophy and philosophies. I find man infinitely interesting including the formulation of belief structures and sciences. This is generally speaking and does not reflect on what my viewpoints are concerning a particular philosophy, but studying them I do enjoy. Even in the study of opposing viewpoints, I feel I have honestly gained some wisdom and this is both to my benefit and my shame, for the Lord has shown me that I can continue to study, do what I enjoy, but focus more on the Holy Writ rather than on the words of ancient dead men. How much more important are the words of He who is still alive and those who live in Him?

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So this is what I embark upon now, to study the words of one of the wisest men who has ever lived. King Solomon. If I love philosophy so much, why is it that I have put this off or it has never occurred to me. Partially its because, although I have always enjoyed the book, and speaking to its credit, it is one of the perfect books for randomly opening and reading. I could say the same about Psalms as well. This was my main method of study in Proverbs, the closing of eyes and pointing of the finger to illuminate verses contained within. This does serve some benefit, but I feel I have missed some of the fullness of the knowledge contained within.

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During Solomon’s time, as it has been said, Israel was as close as it ever has got to being a world, “superpower.” King Solomon reigned during this time and his wealth of spirit, wisdom and material is unequaled. Therefore, he and his writings are great candidates for deep philosophical reflection. They are comforting, sweet, funny at times, insightful, contain deep mysteries, and can be even scary. Yet, all emanates from this man who deeply loved the Lord, as did his father David, and it is seen throughout. His love of the Lord is not only the love directed at the Lord Himself, but extends indeed to the Lord’s ways, means, and the knowledge or wisdom of the Lord.

It is a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. In fact, one could be reminded of the writings of Marcus Aurelius and his “Meditations,” when reading Proverbs, if one were so tempted to make a comparison. Yet, in reality, there is no comparison, for the wisdom of the world and the knowledge of God are two different things altogether. While one may be practical in the ways of the world, the other concerns divine things and thus is all the much greater. Yet, even these divine revelations have practical applications, for the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

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Proverbs starts out giving a “mission statement” about the book as a whole. In this Solomon gives us his desire and intention for the book:

1The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 2for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair.” —Proverbs 1:1-3

Man is a master at self-deception. Despite evidence to the contrary, we often think we have everything under control. That we have provided a safe house against enemies, catastrophe, heartbreak, hardship and temptation. How arrogant and silly we can be! More often then not, despite our best efforts, we find ourselves in great tribulation and challenge. Some of this, at times, is due to our own ignorance and self-pacification. In times of comfort, we let our guard down and are assaulted sometimes as a consequent of those ignorant choices we have made. This is why prudence is so important. To be prudent is to be careful and wary of the future in our choices. Sure, we can never completely stop these hardships, but we can protect ourselves from being our own worst enemy in being prudent. This prudence only comes through instruction, especially that which comes the divine source.

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Solomon never shies away from his mission. Simply, it is Solomon’s conviction to teach. Not only on these principles of wisdom, but also on how to understand the words. Further, he desires to provide instruction on prudent behaviors, of which are included moral choices, justice and fairness.

4For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- 5let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.” –Proverbs 1:4-5

There is an interesting juxtaposition which can be made here. This shows the true extent of the wisdom shared in Proverbs. In verse 4, Solomon mentions the simple and the young. Those who lack knowledge and wisdom. Not only is this book for them, but also, in verse 5, Solomon mentions the wise, the learned and the discerning. This is an ingenious way to basically say that these words will never be irrelevant or untrue, nor is there any end to the wisdom contained within. If the wisdom can apply to both the simple and learned then there is no end to the extent of the wisdom and thus can only be divine in nature. King Solomon is not sharing the wisdom of man, practicality, but the wisdom of the Lord.

6For understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” —Proverbs 1:6-7

First off let me say that the fear of the Lord and what it is exactly is a rather large topic and one I hope to visit further, for as soon as I think I understand it, some other element becomes apparent. Yet, it is interesting to note that elsewhere Solomon mentions the fear of the Lord as being a kind of humility. Being the case, we can see humility as well is the beginning of wisdom or knowledge. Yet, fools are haughty and despise wisdom and instruction, for such things strike against their pride. Again, to my shame I can see this lesson evident in my own life. I have forsaken knowledge and wisdom before for the mere purpose of preserving my pride. How interesting that pride can be more false than it already is.

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