Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Proverbs 19:2 commentary

2 ¶ Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
Back in verse 15 of the last chapter it says that the prudent and the wise seek and get knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A person without the knowledge of God, well, that is not a good thing. Lack of knowledge of any matter with which you must contend is not good. Linked to this is the statement that the person who does things in haste, without knowledge, sins. Back in verse 13 of the last chapter we had a similar statement about acting without knowledge.
Proverbs 18:13 ¶ He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
There are great things done in the world without knowledge and great errors committed by people who think they know it all. For example, James Madison, the “father of the Constitution”, thought that what he and the other men had prepared was the answer to the nation’s problems. But, in his haste, in their haste, they had created a great document that was a boon to the rich and powerful as is evidenced in histories like Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution but overlooked some important things. It did not appear that Madison was going to be voted in to be able to get the Constitution approved by Virginia.
Patrick Henry was opposed to the document because, first, it said “We the People” rather than referring to the states thereby creating a National entity that would crush the rights of the states and the people and that there was no Bill of Rights to protect you and me with freedom of religion, the press, of speech, and a guarantee of a trial by jury among other things. But, Henry couldn’t have prevented Madison from supporting his work in Virginia. However, one man had the influence to ensure Madison’s participation or to deny it.
About 7 miles east of Orange, Virginia, on Route 20, I am told there is a monument dedicated to a meeting between Madison and this man, Baptist Pastor John Leland. He, too, wanted guaranteed rights in this Constitution. But, he had influence over the many Baptists of Virginia and Madison, who, like the other powerful and influential men had rushed to put forward this Constitution, in their arrogance assuming it was best for the country (and their class, I might add) rushed to its approval without knowledge and hastily. With Madison’s agreement, though, to add a Bill of Rights, amendments that guaranteed the rights of the common man and all of us, Leland helped get Madison elected to the group of men in Virginia who, along with Patrick Henry, would vote on whether or not Virginia would ratify the Constitution. How could they think that the people would accept this document without a guarantee of fundamental rights which they had fought to retain in the “Revolution”? Another Proverb we’ve recently studied shows that “the first tale is good until the second tale is told” and there is always more to the story.
Proverbs 18:17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
In our Proverb, and in several others, it is shown that it’s not good to hastily run to accomplish something without knowledge. Many pastors, men who claim to be called by God to preach His word, mistakenly rush to a pulpit, having a head knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, and history, but not having ever read God’s words through even once. I wouldn’t vote on a Pastor who couldn’t with confidence, regardless of his college training, say that he had read the Bible through several times. Since the Scriptures are the main way that God speaks to His people, not through their often seared by the world consciences (1 Timothy 4:2), or their intellect and reason often destroyed by vain, deceitful philosophy (Colossians 2:8) and the vain babblings of fake science (1 Timothy 6:20), any pastoral candidate who was not willing to let God speak to Him through God’s word would be ineligible for the post. The soul that lacks knowledge, that’s not good, and feet that make haste, sin.
The greatest preparation for the ministry, the greatest preparation for a life focused on Christ, is to have a thorough knowledge of His words written in the Bible. I listened to a BBC radio show in three parts, over two hours long, commemorating the 400th anniversary of our Bible’s translation. Some great scholars of the Bible were on that show, men whose books I read as I started on my journey as a believer in Christ. You would think they would know the Bible inside and out and would have read it many times. I’m sure that Shakespearean scholars have read Shakespeare through and can quote it well. But I caught many mistakes in this show and it was very disappointing that these people weren’t aware of their errors. For instance, one scholar quoted the Bible’s many sayings that have become a part of our language. He quoted “bald as a coot” as one of them. But, that saying is not found in the Authorized Version or any version that I’m aware of. In fact, it is found in William Tyndale’s notes, but, as I understand it, never made it into a Bible version. If I’m mistaken let me know. However, my point is that an expert, even a secular expert on the King James Bible, should never have made the error of quoting something that wasn’t there. He lacked knowledge and that isn’t good. I say he sinned because he misled people about the Bible and that is a grievous error. God was very angry with Job’s friends because they misrepresented him in Job’s anguish.
It’s not good that the soul be without knowledge and that the feet run hastily and sin. Take up and read the Book, Christian. Know it forward and backward. Memorize of it what you can. There is no greater knowledge than the knowledge of God, not the god you invent with your mind and heart, but the God of the Bible, for He it is that made you and who wants a relationship with you. I’m sure there are many other takes on this verse and I’d love to hear your opinion, not the regurgitated opinion of some Bible “scholar” who may never have read God’s Book.
Christians all over America are deceived for a lack of knowledge of the Bible. Among Independent Baptist Churches I have actually been told, as my wife has learned, that there are ignorant preachers preaching lies to ignorant Christians; for an example such nonsense as a woman can’t get pregnant if she’s been raped unless she enjoyed it. This is part of the misogyny I have warned about in independent churches led by men with a strong charisma using the Bible as a bludgeon to reinforce their power over the congregation making their church a cult, not the church of God. A little knowledge would prevent this kind of garbage from being used to control people, particularly women and children. Over and over again, I hear of abusive fundamentalist pastors whose congregations are too ignorant of the literal statements of the Bible. You, Christian, have no excuse for your ignorance. You can’t read Hebrew or Greek? So what? How many times have you read God’s word and let God speak to you through it? Your abuse is not just the fault of these wolves in sheep’s clothing that graduate from factory seminaries started by charismatic preachers who also were abusive liars, but your own fault for being ignorant of God’s word and not using common sense when you hear trash from the pulpit.
We fought the idea of the “Divine Right of Kings” but some of us have no problem upholding the divine right of pastors to lie and manipulate. These kinds of men would not be successful against a Bible reading congregation with knowledge of God and His words in the Book He gave us. I should think that a good Pastor would want his congregants to read the Bible and know it well. The soul needs and hungers for the knowledge of God. Find a church body to unite with whose Pastor loves God’s Book and would never manipulate it or use it against God’s people but lets it use him to edify, encourage, and uplift God’s people. Get that knowledge.

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