Thursday

A Proverbial Mistake

Proverbs, 2 Timothy 2:15, Promises, Wisdom writings
I used to misuse Proverbs. I'd quote them indiscriminately as principles and promises of God.

This is a common misunderstanding and one reason we Christians need to better understand God's Word if we are going to use it properly (2 Timothy 2:15).

The book of Proverbs explains it's purpose in 1:1-6 as Solomon's collection of wise sayings to give wisdom and instruction, "for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise."

The book of Proverbs is God's Word, so we must trust its explanation of its purpose and not go beyond it. 

Some Proverbs are promises, but only those which are also found as such in the New Testament. For example, Proverbs 3:5-6 is a promise (see Hebrews 11). But many Proverbs such as Proverbs 10:22,27 are not promises of God. 

Why is this important to understand? Because using some Proverbs as promises misleads people, confuses them and makes God look like a liar.
~
http://bitesizebiblestudy.blogspot.com/2014/03/ProverbsNotPromises.html
I know that many of you have been taught that Proverbs are promises because I see this misunderstanding often expressed in Christian materials, especially regarding Proverbs 22:6, which is not a promise but a generalization. It can be hard to let go of certain teachings when we want them to be true or when we haven't seen adequate proof that they aren't Biblical. If you are having difficulty with this devotion, I encourage you to read a more thorough post I wrote called "Proverbs Aren't Promises."
But don't take my word for it, also check out these articles by ministries and men with far more education and training than my own:
Richard Pratt of R.C. Sproul Ministries
James W. Mohler of Biola University
Bible Gateway
Got Questions Ministry
Focus on the Family
John Piper Ministries
Christianity Today

Linked to: Modest Mom, Whole Hearted Home, A Wise Woman, and Imparting Grace.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this enlightening post.

    It is interesting that there was a provision for parents, in the Law of Moses, to even give their children to be killed (death penalty) by the community if they engaged in rebellion (Dt 21.18 and following verses). The parents were not punished, which would have been the case if the guilt were theirs.

    Another unfortunate version of this false belief you address here is seen in some churches (such as one I was a member of in my early adult years) which destituted ministers if their children, even adolescents and young adults, got astray "as if" it were the ministers' fault always. Certainly some ministers do a bad job of raising their children, and certainly texts such as 1 Timothy 3.5 do teach that elders, above all other Christians, should raise their children well - but to go as far as concluding that it totally desqualifies a man to be an elder is, definitely, stretching too far.

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    1. Hi João,
      I appreciate the additional thoughts you add here.
      Dt.21:18 is a good verse to show that Proverbs 22;6 isn't a promise. Thanks for pointing that out.
      And I also appreciate your example.
      We once attended church with a very godly missionary family who had 8 children. Some of their children became godly adults, but not all. They all had the same parents and the same upbringing. But God doesn't have "grandchildren." Each person makes their own choices.
      Thanks for your comment,
      Gail

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  2. Very interesting post, Gail. You give me much to think about. :)

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I hope God gives you wisdom as you think it through.
      God bless,
      Gail

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  3. This is so true Gail. I've had encounters with those who didn't understand this principle, and it really led to confusion-and even to me being to made look like I didn't believe God's Word.

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    1. Thanks, Martin. I appreciate your comment.
      I've written about this subject before and had similar responses from people who thought I held liberal views of God's Word because I said the Proverbs aren't promises.
      Thanks for your comments,
      Gail

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  4. Gail, thank you for your wonderful devotionals, and I am delighted to see you site some strong and biblical links to support your words! Praise God! Blessings and hugs, sweet friend!

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl, for your kind words and encouragement.
      Gail

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  5. Thanks for reinforcing this truth, Gail. This is a major mistake in the "name it and claim it" approach to the scriptures. We need to rightly discern the scriptures.

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    1. Yes, Dawn, it can lead to prosperity thinking when certain Proverbs are claimed as promises.
      Thanks for your comment,
      Gail

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  6. Thanks for this reminder! I hope to do an in-depth study of Proverbs in the near future, and I've always wondered how it is that we're supposed to understand and apply that section of Scripture.

    Also thanks for blogging Bible stuff! It's hard to find bloggers who focus their attention on studying and enjoying Scripture. Might have to link to you on my own blog (journeyoftheword.com) so I can encourage others to visit you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lydia, for stopping by. I want to check out your site too.
      God bless you,
      Gail

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