15 ¶ There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
This verse is separated by a colon so fold the second part back on the first part and see a contrast or a definition of the first part. Sound confusing? Then look at it this way. The first part of the verse lists some valuable, earthly treasures. The second part contrasts those earthly treasures to things of spiritual value, the lips of knowledge. By the way this is constructed the lips of knowledge, likened to a precious jewel by a metaphor, are of greater importance. In other places where a colon is used, sometimes the second clause defines the first. Just look at the context.
Precious doesn’t only mean valuable which is its usual meaning but it means rare, hard to find. A precious jewel is not only of great value but it is comparatively rare. In other words, we don’t walk out in our yard in the morning and pick up rubies, gold, and other precious jewels. See here.
1Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
The phrase “lips of knowledge” was used before in Proverbs.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Proverbs 1:4 said that one of the purposes of the Proverbs was to give the young person, the inexperienced person, knowledge. Verse 7 of that first chapter says that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
By the construction of that sentence with the colon after knowledge we see that it is defined as wisdom and instruction. We know that Christ is our wisdom.
1Corinthians 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
The lips of knowledge speak of Christ, their words are edifying and uplifting, encouraging and full of praise and honor. Over and over we have seen this in Proverbs and elsewhere. Lips that speak of the knowledge of Christ are precious and rare. But, you say, rare? What do you mean? There are people everywhere, especially in America, speaking of Christ.
But, remember these warnings given to us under the doctrines of grace for the Christian in the New Testament, where we are not under the Law of Moses. There’s a warning about counterfeits.
2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
There’s a warning about those who corrupt God’s word.
2Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
The following warnings are written to a young pastor in the church about the church in context in the last days, as things get worse and worse spiritually.
2 Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
Notice that we are not promised that within our earthly framework of the church’s existence on earth that these things will be ceased. We are promised that the workings of these people within the church will be revealed. Take a look at the sins of Christians that will be revealed to ALL MEN (verse 9).
Remember, the warning that Jesus gave in a parable regarding the invisible kingdom of God (Luke 17:20,21) that each believer is a part of by virtue of his or her having God’s spirit inside of them (John 3:3; John 14:23; Romans 8:9)?
Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
Notice, the fowls (birds) of the air, likened to Devils in type elsewhere (Matthew 13, parable of the sower and explanation). These devils live under the shadow of the church. They are not a part of it but use it to their advantage until God reveals their wickedness to people.
Paul has given us more warnings.
2Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Remember in Proverbs how the simple are inexperienced and naïve? Even Christ in His earthly ministry walking as a flesh and blood human being, God in the flesh, wanted to point something out to us.
John 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
I have shown you what is going on today in the churches that call themselves Christian and you still ask but why are the lips of knowledge rare? I understand the value of speaking the knowledge of Christ, that it is precious, but why is it rare, you continue to ask?
What I am trying to say to you is that many American Christians are following another gospel, a counterfeit, otherwise, they would have a hard time being fooled by the counterfeits who aren’t handling the word of God truthfully because its impossible them to do so.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Galatians 1:6 ¶ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The lips of knowledge are precious and valuable because they speak of the truth of Christ and lead to eternal life. The lips of knowledge are precious and rare because Christians, at least in America, are following a gospel of works, a gospel of hatred and bigotry, a gospel of control and manipulation, a gospel of abuse, a gospel of personal wealth, a gospel of exploitation, and a political gospel that is more concerned with redecorating the waiting room to Hell, putting nice pictures on the wall, spraying it with pleasant smelling things, and making everyone talk nice and be orderly than focusing on the true gospel presented by Paul, speaking by understanding from the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 15:1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
One final word for the Christian in these difficult times. These men who are preaching the counterfeit gospel of works and the other things I stated; they have set themselves up as a special class of people, above and beyond the average Christian; superior in knowledge and spirituality. In the Bible there is a term called Nicolaitanism, which literally translated means “victory over the laity”. It is the making of a separate Christian priesthood that is somehow above and beyond, the untouchable and unanswerable to anyone “man of God” who is to be followed even when he is wrong. What does Christ have to say about them?
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Okay, back to the Proverb. My point is that it is simple to understand, for the Christian, why the lips of knowledge are valuable and of great worth. It is more difficult for them to understand and accept why they are rare. Know the Bible, forward and backward. Make God’s words a part of your mind and heart. Judge everything you hear by them. Question what is said to you and examine it in relation to the scripture’s clear message. Flee those who are trying to manipulate and control you for their own purposes and be wise.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.