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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Reading Proverbs 5 during family devotion time – yikes!

photo credit: .craig via photopin cc

photo credit: .craig via photopin cc

I’m a writer (or trying to be one) and I know that you’re not supposed to start with backstory, HOWEVER, I need to set the stage…

Our church has challenged us to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a month. We, my husband and I, haven’t been that great on keeping up with daily study, but what we have done is to read and discuss a chapter of Proverbs as a family after dinner. Our daughters (Daughter #1 and Daughter #2, to protect the innocent), have started to enjoy it, and even D#2 (she’s 7) will ask for us to read the Bible. So far, so good.

Today, we got to chapter 5. Have you read Proverbs 5? Check it out (go ahead, I’ll wait) especially verses 15-20.

Here’s a nice conversation snippet to let you know how tonight went:

Me: So what do you think that means?

D#1: Uh…

Me: What is sex?

D#1: I don’t know. I didn’t understand it when they talked about it in church today. (Note: our church tells it like it is. And today, there was a small discussion on how married people have the best sex, but that’s for another post…)

Me: Do you remember when we talked about what cycles are? There’s a biological process behind sex, but I’m not sure you want to hear it.

(The last time I took 9 yo D#1 to the doctor, the nurse asked if she was having cycles yet. My answer “no way!” caused an interesting biological discussion in the car on the way home that pretty much mortified D#1. Although, she now knows that one day there will be bleeding…)

D#1: I don’t want to know.

Me: Well, sex is what a man and woman do to make babies.

D#1: Oh.

So here’s some helpful definitions from that section of Proverbs:

amoral woman – a woman who does bad things

promiscuous woman – a woman who does baby-making things with someone besides her husband

Now the whole breast stuff–geez. Anyone noticed the Bible is definitely not G-rated? My explanation: God made men to like the way women look. But God only wants men to look at and do baby-making things with their wife.

D#1 - men should stay loyal to the wife of their youth

D#1 – men should stay loyal to the wife of their youth

And that, my friends, is what Proverbs 5 is all about: self-control. What is wisdom? Sometimes it’s knowing when to say no to something you want. That could be women, dessert, cigarettes, or watching too much TV. And if we fail to say no, then what happens? That’s in Proverbs 5 too.

D#2 self-control on eating

D#2 self-control on eating

Do you read the Bible with your kids? Have you had any difficult discussions like the one above? How did you do? I would love to hear about it!