Proverbs

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, May 22, 2006.

  1. drfuss

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    Can statements in the Book of Proverbs be taken as: God's promises, sayings that are usually true, sayings that are sometimes true, or sayings that have some truth in them?

    I have seen some christians get upset when someone says that the Book of Proverbs if just proverbs, not promises.
     
  2. Helen

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    Proverbs is considered one of the books of wisdom. They were written primarily by Solomon for his son(s) and reflect what he learned in his own walk with God through the years. No, they are not 'promises from God.' To consider that they are is to fall prey to the health and wealth doctrine. To read them is a lot like having a much older brother or sister in the faith share with you about his or her own walk in faith as an encouragement and warning to you. For instance, one widely mis-used verse is the 'spare the rod and spoil the child' passage. This has been used by some to have an excuse to beat their children! It does not mean that corporal punishment is necessary for discipline, however. It does mean that discipline itself is necessary. The passage is presenting a point of wisdom about child rearing, not a command from God to spank your children! (In our own family, there was one son who seemed to require physical punishment at times; another who, if I had touched him in discipline, would have had an internal meltdown. Kids are different and parents need to respond to the child him or herself, simply understanding that some form of discipline is called for with each child at various times.)
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Label the words in Proverbs how ever you want to. But in the end it is the Word of God. It is not weak, nor is it questionable. It is authoratative, powerful, and living.

    Pr 23:13 - Show Context
    Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die

    Pr 23:14 - Show Context
    Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

    These are promises,. admonitions, and can be counted on.
     
  4. webdog

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    I agree, revmitchell. Proverbs is always dismissed as only a book of "wise sayings" and not fully truthful. This is slap in God's face. Something cannot be "wise" unless it is also truthful. BTW, I don't think the entire book has only "wise" sayings...

    Pro 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
    Pro 1:2 For gaining wisdom and being instructed; for understanding insightful sayings;
    Pro 1:3 for receiving wise instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity;
    Pro 1:4 for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced, knowledge and discretion to a young man--
    Pro 1:5 a wise man will listen and increase his learning, and a discerning man will obtain guidance--
    Pro 1:6 for understanding a proverb or a parable, the words of the wise, and their riddles.
    Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    I think we have to be careful in labeling Proverbs as promises that are good at all times in all situations.

    For example, Prov. 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

    How do you explain this to godly parents who have a child that rebels form the Lord and never comes back to him even when he is old?
     
  6. webdog

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    I think it depends on what "train a child in the way he should go" is referring to. If it's training a child to love the Lord, and through this they accept Christ as their Saviour, even if they go through a period of being backsliddden, they are still saved and in no way can "depart from it". I don't think this is speaking about NEVER not walking with the Lord throughout life, but the condition and end result of how they were raised.
     
  7. Helen

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    Just a note on the 'rod.' It was a shepherd's tool for protecting and disciplining the sheep. And for guiding them. If you 'spare the rod' you are simply NOT protecting them, NOT disciplining them, NOT guiding them. It has NOTHING to do with corporal punishment per se.

    A good idea about the idea of 'rod' (remember that Solomon was a shepherd's son...) folks might be interested in Philip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks a Psalm 23". Remember, "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me"...? One is not comforted by the thought of being beaten! One IS comforted, however, by the thought of being protected, cared for, guided, and, as well, disciplined when necessary, -- see Hebrews 12. But I think we find that God rarely resorts to 'corporal' punishment -- and yet we still are comforted by His rod.
     
  8. drfuss

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    If Proverbs are promises and authoratative, what about Pr. 26: 4&5? Should we answer a fool according to his folly or not?
     
  9. Gold Dragon

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    Proverbs are wise sayings that are a slice of truth. Looking for magical formulas in proverbs would be poor exegesis that doesn't take into consideration the context with which it is written.

    Of course it is part of God's inspired and authoritative scriptures and we should treat it like we treat all scripture. We should not pull it out of its context to make it say something it wasn't meant to say.
     
  10. drfuss

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    Gold Dragon, I agree.
     
  11. Salamander

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    First of all you should use the right Proverb&lt; "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it"

    The meaning is not thatb the child won't depart from the way he was raised, and it does not say that when he gets old he will return. It just simply says that when he is old, he will not get away from what his godly parents taught him and that is a glimmer of hope that his attitude will change and he will repent of his wicked ways and excercise what he was taught as a child.

    {SNIP}

    [ May 24, 2006, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  12. Salamander

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    Huh? Only a "slice" of the Truth? Don't you mean "Thy Word is Truth" and the Proverbs are the Words of God?

    And I agree that looking for any magical formula is poor exegesis.

    And that would be done by examining the passage and comparing it to the rest of the Bible for method and principle for living. No portion of the Bible is at odds with any other portion. The Bible is in complete harmony, it is man that causes the alter effect.
     
  13. Ransom

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    Can statements in the Book of Proverbs be taken as: God's promises, sayings that are usually true, sayings that are sometimes true, or sayings that have some truth in them?

    Proverbs is wisdom literature: it comprises a number of wise utterances that give a general illustration of how the world works.

    Generally speaking, there are two hermeneutical errors committed when reading Proverbs.

    The first is to treat it as a collection of promises, e.g. "Train up a child the way he will go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." If this is a hard and firm promise, what do you say to good parents whose adult children have nonetheless come off the rails? On the whole, this verse is generally true: children learn wisdom from their parents and apply it when they get older.

    The second is to treat Proverbs like case law, but if you do this, then you will end up with instances where two proverbs are formally contradictory. Drfuss already pointed out one: Prov. 26:4-5. Do you answer a fool, or don't you? Well, obviously, it depends on the situation. Sometimes the situation requires that you answer and refute the fool's foolishness; sometimes you just need to smile, say "Thank you for sharing, brother," and move on to the next person. The verses are wisdom, not law; indeed, it takes a certain measure of wisdom to decide which principle to apply in a given situation!
     
  14. Salamander

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    Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    This verse means to not be in allegiance with his folly as he is asking one to "come along" with him. Just as "Can two walk to gether except they be agreed"? "If sinners entice thee, consent thou not"


    Pro 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

    This verse means to reprove him in his folly and rebuke him if necessary.

    There is no contradiction in the exegesis of these two Proverbs, only a contradiction of the understanding when one thinks that any portion of the Word of God doesn't line up with:

    II Timothy 3:16
    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

    By your estimation, either Paul lied to Timothy, or the Proverbs are not Scripture.

    Neither of those statements above could be true, except it is your estimation.
     
  15. Ransom

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    By your estimation, either Paul lied to Timothy, or the Proverbs are not Scripture.

    You have no idea what my "estimation" is, and I will also thank you for not trying to read my mind {SNIP}

    [ May 24, 2006, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  16. standingfirminChrist

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    Proverbs 26:4,5 do not contradict each other. What Solomon is saying do not answer a foolish person's foolish questions with more foolish questions. But rather, answer them with wisdom lest he think his foolish questions are wise

    Oh, and for the record, the verse referred to earlier in this thread does not say if you 'spare the rod, you spoil the child.' What it actually says is:

    One who will not rightly correct his or her son (or daughter) is showing hate rather than love for that child.
     
  17. TomVols

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    Correct. That's simply not the nature of a proverb. If we believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God, we have to interpret it faithfully. To do that we have to play by the rules of the literature we interpret. Parables are parables, proverbs are proverbs, epistles are epistles, etc.
     
  18. TomVols

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    Too many people assume the Bible contradicts itself and then they seek to prove their assumption true. That is not intellectually honest.
     
  19. TomVols

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    WARNING: Folks, I've had to edit two posts: one where the Bible was attacked, another where a member was attacked. Knock it off or this thread will be closed at the very least.
     
  20. webdog

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    Correct. That's simply not the nature of a proverb. If we believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God, we have to interpret it faithfully. To do that we have to play by the rules of the literature we interpret. Parables are parables, proverbs are proverbs, epistles are epistles, etc. </font>[/QUOTE]However...

    parables are..."profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

    proverbs are..."profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

    epistles are..."profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
     

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