YOU CAN’T HELP STUPID

November 1, 2016

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BY THE WAY I THOUGHT THIS MOVIE WAS THE WORST

PROVERBS 10

Sometimes it takes wisdom to use wisdom—like when reading, interpreting and applying proverbs. When reading this foundational book of wisdom literature, it’s helpful to keep these four main principles in mind:

  1. These proverbs are special—What’s the difference between a proverbial saying like “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” and “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him”? The first is a wise saying produced by the poet Alexander Pope, while the second is a wise saying divinely inspired by God (see Pr 26:4). The difference is that the proverbs in Scripture are not only free from error, but they also approve what God approves and condemn what God condemns.

  2. They call us to action—Biblical proverbs call us to respond to God in faith and obedience. Most proverbs, though, are situational. Which advice do we follow: “Answer a fool according to his folly” (Pr 26:5) or “Do not answer a fool according to his folly” (Pr 26:4)? Knowing how such proverbs are to be appropriately applied to the complex and confusing contingencies of life requires that we use our God-given wisdom and discernment.

  3. Most have exceptions—One of the most oft-quoted proverbs about child-rearing is 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Yet all of us know godly parents whose children have turned from the path of righteousness. Do such cases disprove such proverbs? Of course not. Proverbs are neither promissory notes nor case law, but sayings about how life typically works. As D. A. Carson explains, “Proverbs give insight as to how culture under God works, how relationships work, what our priorities should be; they do not put in all the footnotes as to whether there are any individual exceptions, and under what circumstances, and so forth.” Except . . .

  4. Proverbs about God—One group of proverbs does not have exceptions: those that deal with the nature of God. If a proverb describes a quality of God, then that proverb is true without exception.

   Sometimes it takes wisdom to use wisdom—like when reading, interpreting and applying proverbs.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

All questions, comments and prayer requests to the email please

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