The Problem with Proverbs

A bribe is a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper! ~Proverbs 17:8

So, the key to success is bribery! The Bible says so, right?

Uh, no.

The problem with proverbs is when people view them as promises or godly commands when they are not. Most Proverbs aren’t promises. Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that describe reality. In the case of 17:8, reality is that money talks.

fortune-cookies-936584_640I like to think of Proverbs as biblical fortune cookies. You (hopefully) don’t believe that fortune cookies are promises for the future. They are general, and sometimes funny, sayings that describe life. We must be careful not to take them for biblical commands unless they are reiterated elsewhere in the Bible. There is no place in Scripture that condones bribery.

This verse provides a perfect example of the danger of fly by theology (i.e. taking a verse out of context). If we keep reading in chapter 17, we come to this verse:

The wicked take secret bribes to pervert the course of justice. ~Proverbs 17:23

And one that is a promise because it mentions God specifically and agrees with the rest of Scripture:

Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – both are detestable to the LORD. ~Proverbs 17:15

An important distinction, and hopefully a helpful one as well.


I hope you are enjoying your summer, my friends. I’ve transitioned from blog posting to prayer journaling. I’ll still post here occasionally as I feel compelled. In the meantime, let me know how I can pray for you. <Hugs>

Also, if you enjoy Kung Fu Panda and fortune cookies this site is fun. Don’t go there if you believe fortune telling is unbiblical, of course. 🙂

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