Future Israel: Book Review

I wi46275_1_ftc_dpsh to premise this review with the disclosure that I have long been convinced of a Dispensational hermeneutic. While I would label myself a Progressive dispy (with a small “d”), I recognize many readers of this review are not of the same conviction and hold to the traditional Reformed views. I chose this book, as it is a topic of interest – and for my desire to continually re-examine my position to assess the weaknesses and strengths.

I have long caught flack from many holding to a Covenantal position, likening all Dispensationalists to John Hagee or tenets akin to Christian Zionism. I enter in this discussion of the review with the hopes of being able to navigate what tends to be a rather heated, yet ignorant debate. Far too often, false characterizations take place, exegetical arguments are dismissed, and jokes are made to deflect a probing question. We are dealing with a serious topic, and I hope to give this book a fair shake, yet also usher a gentle plea for my Covenantal brothers and sisters to simply think further about this.

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Rather than break the book down by specific chapter contents, it seems pertinent to divide the book into two portions containing these. The first, which I would break from chapters 1-7 detail an extensive look through the historical development of supercessionism. The second, chapters 8-12, detail Horner’s thesis exegetically, closing the book with a pastoral plea in chapter 12.

While I appreciated Horner’s careful consideration to the historical development of anti-Judaic tendencies, I feel as if this portion of the book could have been condensed. However, this is not a detriment to the overall thesis of his work, in consideration of the content within the following chapters. It seems as if the first seven chapters deal with setting the cause of re-examination to an age-old hermeneutic. When challenging long-standing interpretations, we ought to have good reason; this is precisely what Horner does in laying the historical roots of these theological presuppositions.

The fruit of this work is displayed especially in his treatment of Romans 11 in chapters 10-11. This is the passage seemingly overlooked by many, or distorted in favor of a spiritualization of the text. Beyond this, many often preclude an historical interpretation of the text (accordingly to the original audience) in favor of personal interpretation. This is not to say we cannot personalize the text – but the litmus of any interpretation is based in what the author intended to say and how that applies. Here is where I feel Horner does an excellent job treating Paul fairly – and while many may disagree with that sentiment, I would simply ask consideration of the argument presented in the remaining half of this book.

It is in this last half of the book that Horner deals with the more problematic inferences to a Covenantal view. He argues for the irrevocability of the promises to national Israel on the basis of God’s immutability, distinguishes between the unilateral and bilateral covenant, and takes careful consideration of supercessionist arguments against these as well. Here you will see Horner interact with common passages used to refute his position, namely Galatians 6:16, Ephesians 2:11-22, Philippians 3:2-3, and 1 Peter 2:9-10. Beyond this, Horner advocates those Jews who remain in unbelief are yet enemies of God needing to be reconciled to Him through faith in Christ. Though, he argues, national Israel has affection upon them from the Lord on the basis of God’s irrevocable covenant and the fulfillment of it, no man gets a “free pass” simply because of their ethnicity.

In closing, we must remember that the abuse of a doctrinal position does not disqualify the exegetical argument. Rather, the basis of exegesis is simply what the text lays out. More plainly, simply because anti-Judaism has been a common result from supercessionism, does not adequately refute the doctrine. Here is where I would simply ask my Reformed brethren to caution. Regardless of where you land on this – know that there is the potential to shift toward an unhealthy view of the Jewish people.

This is the precise thing that can happen in areas of Christian liberty, or even other doctrines. Calvinism, for example, can lead one to a faulty security in their salvation. In that same vein – I would also caution Dispys of taking the argument to an illogical conclusion. Holding to an economy of God’s redemptive plan disregarding Covenantal hermeneutics can lead one to an unhealthy obsession with Israel, eschatological prophecy, and even antinomianism. However, I would see this to be an indication of faulty reasoning and study method, rather than the doctrine itself.

Whether you are Covenantal or Dispensational, I would recommend reading this book. It is good to read books you agree with and disagree with simply to develop your understanding – yet most importantly, assess whether your hermeneutic is adequately reflecting the exegetical basis and salvific economy of the Bible. This is incredibly important – and we ought not deflect simply because we feel overwhelmed or we already have a predisposition to reject the argument. Read this book with an open bible, prayerfully, and thoughtfully. If you do so and still disagree with his thesis – good for you. You have at least done some legwork and been challenged adequately.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B & H Academic through the media reviewer program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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Defining the Terms

As originally posted on The Chorus In The Chaos

Modern evangelicalism contains numerous terms that summarize lengthy teachings in order to expedite scholarly work. These terms are incredibly important to our understanding of the framework that others operate under. Rather than developing an argument previously understood, writers are able to use such terms to get to the point of their own thesis.

In seeing these terms upon our study, we ought to implement the common, orthodox usage of them. However, much to the detriment of many laypeople, these terms are often ambiguously understood or used. In some cases, a person may misuse the term entirely, supplanting what they believe it to mean rather than the intended meaning.

In more recent years, we have seen scholars, such as Craig Bloomberg, redefine a term to nuance their own positions. In this specific example, Bloomberg has strayed from the common usage of the term “inerrancy” in order to supplant his own. With this in mind, it is helpful for us not only to understand the common definition given to inerrancy, but also Bloomberg’s position. A helpful place to start would be the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

Once we have developed our understanding of the orthodox view on inerrancy, we can move forward to understanding those whom may use the same terms, but imply something entirely different.

Why is this important?

Why do we need to understand these documents and look to those in the past who have laid such foundations?

Simply put, Christendom has always been subjected to debate over vitally important doctrines. In this, one’s hermeneutic will inevitably “lift the skirt” and expose how they read the text. More plainly, their functional vocabulary will define how they approach and understand the scriptures.

A Dispensationalist will understand the term “covenant” much differently than one who holds to Covenant Theology; a Theonomist will differ greatly in their understanding of scripture’s usage of “Law” than your standard Reformed Covenantalist. A person who holds to Annihilationism will undoubtedly give a different definition to the terms “perish”, “consume”, and so forth.

The inherent issue resides within a presupposition that we define the same terms in the same manner. We might speak with one and both affirm the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, yet if his definition is different than our own – do we both believe the same thing? More importantly, do we arrive within the realm of orthodoxy when studying the scriptures?

If I speak to one more theologically liberal on inerrancy, his functional definition will differ greatly than my own; he might say that the fundamental truths of scripture are without error, but not the text itself. Thus, because of this, we are left to read scripture in a manner that treats the Creation account figuratively, denying the historicity of Adam and Eve as legitimate persons through whom we were sold into bondage to sin. While they may even affirm the sinfulness of man, they stray from orthodoxy and their theology will show this.

In any dialogue we have regarding the faith, we must define the terms. Why is this important? I firmly believe that we should not only know the error of poor teaching, but the route with which they took to arrive. This will further serve to make us aware to an author’s bias, the presuppositions brought with their stance, and help us to navigate well the hermeneutical road so that me may safeguard our own study of the scriptures.

We have the Spirit to guide us in understanding these words, however, we function in an un-glorified state that is subject to deceit, misunderstanding, and willful rejection of the truth. If our task is to be transformed by the constant renewal of our minds, we ought to take utmost care and diligence in the methods we use to study divine writ. We must be vigilant in not only refusing heretical teaching; we must be vigilant in refusing a study methodology that logically leads one to accept such teaching.

We ought to know how to read our bibles in their proper genre, historical background, universal applicability, and even future applicability. We must know when to read scripture literally, and when to treat an allegorical text within that literary function. We need to know how to read wisdom literature, historical narrative, liturgical prose, and imperatival/polemical/instructional literature. If we neglect to do these things, we only serve to misunderstand our obligation as followers of Christ, and will continue to have a poor understanding of a marvelous God who revealed Himself artfully through human languages, histories, and cultures. Yet primarily, we will fail to see how the church is to function in response to the revealed truth of the Lord.

In summation, if we do not understand how to rightly divide the scriptures, we will only continue to navigate a path that goes contrary to the will of the Lord, and may find ourselves in a position of grievous error that we thought we would never land on. Perfect examples of this can be found all throughout the history of the church in the various councils held in order to affirm true orthodoxy, yet condemn heretical twists on non-negotiable theologies. We mustn’t neglect the foundation laid – yet we must also always be aware of scripture’s final, authoritative word over tradition, as the fully inspired word of God.

Why I Review Books

img_7378-stack-of-books-q67-303x500Before I publish my next book review, I want to give some insight into why I even bother with doing book reviews. In Evangelical Christianity, we see a plethora of new books added to the stockpile of literature every year. Some excellent titles are brought forth from publishers (even from within publishers we would not expect). However, some really bad books are also put to print.

Many have a tendency to read books without much of a filter. They take in everything they can from a piece of literature without thinking of the source, the theological statements, the added principles between those statements, or the philosophy of this age that is present within it. In other words, some will ingest and mimic an author’s poor hermeneutic and presuppositions in their own personal studies of God’s Word.

As a seminarian, my explicit goal is to weed through as many books as I am able and share not only my recommendations, but also the books I would stay far away from. This is why I am so keen to review books of all different genres within the sphere of Christian lit. By leaving the selection process as open as I have, I am given more opportunity to review books from various authors (some I have heard of, some I have not).

A vitally important part of this process, that I embark on in every book I read, is to do some research on the author. I try to find out their history. I ask questions like: what other publications, be it articles or books or blogs, do they have? What is their bible study method (liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between; allegorical or literal)? What is the quality of their character (do they exhibit godliness and a desire to please God)? Whom do they associate with?

Now this last question is asking in whom they would align themselves within the field of teachers. In clearer candor – do they call heretics “brothers”; are they part of the Emergent Church; etc.? In finding out whom they rub elbows with, I can get a fragmented, but useful bit of information on what they believe about the bible. The rest I glean from their writings to either confirm or disprove my speculations.

To be clear: this part of the process does not start until about halfway through the book. I want the book to be able to speak for itself. I desire to give it a chance to be removed from the author and examined on it’s own merit. Truthfully, that doesn’t really happen, as the author’s presuppositions will always carry into the text (just as mine do in these reviews).

However, I still do this in the hopes that I don’t let my opinion of the author carry over into their writing. The author’s writing will form more of an opinion to me than any other thing that I spend research time on. This is really where we find out what they believe. If their theology is lacking, it will present itself in the text. If they are lazy writers, have an unbiblical agenda, misquote or twist scripture, have liberal or conservative theology, have a legitimate love for God’s Word and His people; it will be present in the text.

It is through this whole process that I hope to build a library of resources I can confidently give to other people and know that it will be a profitable read for them. I would rather take time out of my own life to sift through some books in order to help others who may not have that same time. I am a fast reader; I love to read; I can consume a 300-page book in a few days and I know how to mine it for gold. That being said, I also know how to identify if it is just good kindling.

Some people don’t have those skills or simply have not developed them yet. It is my hope that they can choose a recommendation from me that is thoroughly biblical and enjoyable to read. What is more of a hope for me though is that they will see a bad review and understand that some things are simply not worth wasting your time to read. Choose a book that you know will be profitable for you and bring edification to the church. Choose a book that you know will be biblical.

There are so many bad books out there – especially within the field of Christian authors. I am amazed how many actually get published. But – there are some excellent authors who dive into the text, adequately handle the Word, and give us the fruit of their labors.

I can promise you – I have an agenda. It is to find books worthy of your time. It is to find books that proselytize a pure, unadulterated message.

Iron Sharpens Iron

I am going to be examining a particularly common passage of scripture over the next few days and I wanted to show that progression. The reason why I want to do this exercise is to ensure that we are reading the text faithfully and properly. I am ever leery about bringing meaning and application to a text that doesn’t substantiate my reasoning, even if my reasoning is biblical. This leads to a poor hermeneutic (bible study methodology) and often leads to misrepresenting other texts, and finally, misunderstanding theologies and doctrines.

This text is not inherently problematic to find the meaning of, so this may seem futile to some. However, the method behind looking at this text is simply what I wish to convey over the course of these posts. The overarching principle behind all of this is context. Context, context, context! There are numerous people who operate under poor theology simply through ignoring context, separating the previous chapters of scripture from the next (say they look at the beginning of Romans 9 without addressing Romans 8 – or for that matter, we miss that Romans 8 is a pinnacle point driving chapters 1-7 and connecting the remaining chapters of the book).

This series will involve 3-4 posts, two of which dealing specifically with two different interpretations, the latter, with application of the correct interpretation. What I hope you do is create a hypothetical application to the second interpretation, which I believe to be a false one from the context, so that you may see what a poor hermeneutic can do.


“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NASB).

The gloss of the Hebrew רעהו renders the word “friend, companion, fellow, another person, neighbor”. Spanning several different translations, the two most common are “friend” or “another”. Once we look to commentaries on this verse though, there are two different camps one finds on interpretation.

In either case of interpretation, the nature of “iron sharpening iron” is not a process without pain.

If we were to take it on the position of the more common axiom in modern Evangelicalism, the argument goes something along the lines of the following:

The procedure places precedence upon the final state of the blade, rather than it’s immediate or intermediate. This is similar to Spurgeon’s note in the refining fire, burning away the dross from the precious metal so that purity is beheld.

The final product is worth beholding, while the current is but a mere piece of metal – no different from any other. Through refinement, striking with heat and hammer, the blade is forged – then ground down on the whetstone, so as to procure a blade fit for use.

It is in this that we rest – for the innate desire is to be capable of wielding the razor sharp scalpel of God’s Word in order to make clean incisions. Let us wish to cut deep and wide within our fellow man, yet with the skill and audacity of the workman who is unashamed in handling such precious tools, lest we knick the vital arteries and veins supplying life.

It seems it is far easier to maim than to perform skilled surgery upon the soul of man – yet with precision, the Christian man must work so as to ensure the division takes place at the cancer so as to remove it. The aim is to remove all that marks the believer unhealthy.

So it is with treasured sin in the hearts of those whom would claim they are called. Wield the blade; cut your brother with skill. Remove the cancer. It is only at this point that one can tell upon which soil the seed has fallen. If it is anything less than good soil, the scourge of discipline shall uproot it and show whether the gospel was effectual to redemption.

Note: these are all perfectly biblical assumptions, but can we assess all of this from Proverbs 27:17 as an added basis to our reasoning – or – should we presume to take this from other texts that are seemingly more applicable (2 Tim. 4:2; Titus 2:15; Pro. 27:5; Matt. 18:15-20; Heb. 4:12; etc.)?


Tomorrow I will post the second interpretation. Again, formulate a hypothetical application from it to see how different that application is from the former.

Taking God at His Word

Taking-God-Word-3D-880x1024 copyIn light of the book reviews I have been doing lately, Kevin DeYoung provides a much-needed breath of fresh air in his basic primer to the defense of the biblical canon. He introduces the book, divulging that by no means will it be an exhaustive treatment of this topic, but rather, in saying that he will simply use the bible to explain why the bible is sufficient, inerrant,  perspicuous (clear), infallible, and inspired.

Opening with Psalm 119, DeYoung moves forward to demonstrate the believer’s response to all that scripture declares itself to be. Namely, that the believer delights in the revealed Word of God, he desires it, and he depends on it. In having the first chapter of this book sow the intended result, he now moves forward to demonstrate each of the aforementioned attributes associated to the Word of God.

Here are some notable quotes from the book:

  • “No one who truly delights in God’s word will be indifferent to the disregarding of it.” (Pg. 18)
  • “Nowhere do Jesus or the apostles ever treat the Old Testament as human reflections on the divine. It is instead the voice of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:25Heb. 3:7) and God’s own breath (2 Tim. 3:16).” (Pg. 64)
  • “Counselors can counsel meaningfully because Scripture is sufficient. Bible study leaders can lead confidently because Scripture is clear. Preachers can preach with boldness because their biblical text is authoritative. And evangelists can evangelize with urgency because Scripture is necessary.” (Pg. 90)
  • “Our Messiah sees himself as an expositor of Scripture, but never a corrector of Scripture. He fulfills it, but never falsifies it. He turns away wrong interpretations of Scripture, but insists there is nothing wrong with Scripture, down to the crossing of t’s and dotting of i’s.” (Pg. 100)
  • “The unity of Scripture also means we should be rid, once and for all, of this ‘red letter’ nonsense, as if the words of Jesus are the really important words in Scripture and carry more authority and are somehow more directly divine than other verses. . . . If we read about homosexuality from the pen of Paul in Romans, it has no less weight or relevance than if we read it from the lips of Jesus in Matthew. All Scripture is breathed out by God, not just the parts spoken by Jesus.” (Pgs. 116-17)
  • “Ultimately we believe the Bible because we believe in the power and wisdom and goodness and truthfulness of the God whose authority and veracity cannot be separated from the Bible. We trust the Bible because it is God’s Bible. And God being God, we have every reason to take him at his word.” (Pg. 122)

One can quickly see that if liberal treatment of scripture is your thing, you will not likely enjoy this book. It is a conservative approach to the defense of the scriptures. Frankly, in a generally biblically illiterate Christian culture, this book would serve well for many people as an introduction on how we ought to understand the quality and substance of our bibles.

Rather than emphatically placing weight on the experiential wares found in more charismatic circles, we find purpose in the revealed Word of God. There is no other perfect means by which we can understand the mind of God, nor is there any replacement to the invaluable, life-giving, breathed-out scriptures.

The content and clarity with which Kevin DeYoung writes, lends this book to be an engaging, profitable, and short read. Beyond a few clunky sentence structures and grammatical mistakes, I found nothing wrong with this book or the ideas he proposes. No dangerous theological statements – no misquoted scriptures; just a thoroughly enjoyable and biblical book to read.

When I think of books like this, it reminds me of the rich heritage the Christian faith has: men and women suffered and died simply to share a message from a book they believed with all their substance to be the very word of God.

I think of a man like William Tyndale, strangled and then burned, because he saw the power of the Word and desired to bring it to the masses in their native tongues for this simple, yet profound reason:

“I defy the pope and his laws! If God spares my life, in a few years a plow boy shall know more of the Scriptures than you do.”

When we deny the doctrines on the defense of the canon, we are forfeiting not only that rich heritage, but also the sentiment of Peter when he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”

This book we call scripture is not filled with truths – it is the truth.

 

Disclosure: I received this book free from Crossway Books through the Beyond the Page book reviewer program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

Corporate, True Religion

In the last post of this series, we took a brief look at the implications of a “slippery tongue” as James would define it. The implication being that having controlled speech indicates and further illustrates what James is speaking of in chapter 1 by referring to “true religion”. Though I took time to speak about the one who desires to teach, in this post, we will focus on whether or not the following verses (vv. 5-12) apply directly to the teacher or the general, corporate body to whom James was writing.

Though the applicatory aspects of the passage would remain rather similar, it is an important distinction to make simply because this chapter sets precedence to the imperative commands given in chapter 4. If the focus is upon teachers, then the remaining verses only have application to the congregation – however, if it is a general admonition to all, then we must see that the command is given to all believers to control the tongue for the sake of unity among God’s people.

Though many views are held on the context of the remaining verses of James 3:3-12, two are the most common; the first being that the vv. 3-12 speak specifically to the teacher. While these commentators do not ignore that there are applicatory aspects to the general problem of controlling one’s speech, they argue that the focus is directed specifically to leaders who are using the office improperly.

They couple this with interpreting “whole body” in verse 2 as a reference to the church, as we would find in Paul’s notion of “the body” being representative of the church. Thus, the argument would be made that the “perfect” teacher who does not stumble is the one able to guide the church well.

McCartney suggests several problems with this interpretation. In addition to suggesting that the readers would have had a hard time being clued in on “the body” as being representative of the church from the immediate context, he writes, “in 3:7-8 the tongue is said to be untamable and an unstable evil. If the tongue simply signifies an individual’s speech, then this is comprehensible (if hyperbolic), but it is unlikely that James, who classifies himself as a teacher (3:1), would say that teachers as a class are untamable and an unstable evil, even if he were speaking hyperbolically” (BEC James, 182).

Though in Pauline literature, “the body” is often seen as a metonymy representative of the church, this does not necessarily indicate that James uses this same device (especially since James is likely the first N.T. writing circulated in the early church). The only questionable proof that this could be what James is referring to in 3:1 is found in 4:1, using the expression “in your members”. However, given the context of chapter 3, we see a singular focus upon the individual desiring to become a teacher.

The second, and more favorable approach, then, would be the view that this warning to those who would desire to teach is a jumping off point to a more broad application. Note specifically that the focus of v. 1 is on those who would become teachers, not those already in this office. At this point, the application becomes one of general admonition to all, yet especially to those who would desire the office of teaching.

Furthermore, the remaining verses (vv.13-18) and chapter 4 seem geared specifically toward the singular individual as a member of the corporate church. Specifically, we see a general address to the collective gathering, for individual application in each member’s interaction with the collective gathering of God’s people. The church is taught in mind of corporate welfare, yet strikes at each individual who is in sin.

While all of these apply to the teacher, as they ought, the context does not seem to fit the bill that James is writing solely to teachers already in this office. Beyond this, those who would be in the office of teaching would already have been tested, proved, and instituted by the apostles who planted the church. This does not mean that such men could not creep in unawares in leadership, but to assume that this passage deals solely with teachers seems to supplant focus off of the corporate, yet general admonition to flee hypocrisy.

Beyond this, if we simply let the remaining context dictate application rather than set the tone for the imperatives given later, it can free one of certain obligations, and as we saw in the last post, the implications of being a man marked with uncontrolled speech. Namely, we are speaking of the genuine mark of one’s faith being exhibited through controlling that which speaks forth both blessing and curse. As James retorts, “My brothers and sisters! This should not be!” An interesting aside: if women were forbidden to teach in the early church, it would also seem odd for James to address them in this particular way if verses 5-12 applied only to the teacher.

During the next post, we will examine the importance upon the sin in speech drawn within James 3:5b-12.

Proverbs 1: A Review

In Proverbs 1: 26-27, wisdom mocks the mocker in their day of judgment for several reasons. They refused her call (v. 24); disdained her counsel and rejected her correction (v. 25); they have hated knowledge (v. 29a); they chose not the fear of the Lord (v. 29b).

Yet, “Fools, seeing no need for the ‘fear of The Lord,’ do not carefully select it as their way of life. In fact, they decide against it and sanction other lifestyles” (Waltke, NICOT Vol. 1: 210).

Note here how verse 22 shows the affections they hold with their sinful folly as wisdom calls out to the unrepentant ones, “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Publicly, wisdom cries out to the fool, “stretching out her hand” and offering to “pour out her spirit” on those who would turn to her reproof.  In the public square, wisdom cries forth of the surety of judgment, yet the fools ignore her.

Waltke further observes that verses 26-27 derive personal ownership to the “naïve ones, simple minded, scoffers, and fools” of v. 22. The calamity that returns upon their own heads is not simply the common calamity that befalls all men; the righteous with the unrighteous; but one which is specifically suited for them as a means of judgment for their folly. It is fully theirs.

Thus, in the day of their calamity, wisdom returns mocking for mocking, scorn for scorn, whilst ignoring their call for rescue. She will not answer, for just as they did not respond in the day of salvation, she shall not respond to them in their day of judgment (v. 28).

“The literal reality behind the metaphor ‘they will eat from the fruit of their own way in’ in verse 31 shows the boomerang nexus between foolish deeds and fatal consequences. They will experience the catastrophe with their whole beings” (Waltke, NICOT Vol. 1: 211).

[i]Vern Poythress says: We find words like sarx (“flesh”), soma (“body”), psyche (“soul”), pneuma (“spirit”), nous (“mind”), kardia (“heart”), zoe (“life”), bios (“life”), suneidesis (“conscience”), sunesis (“understanding”), dianoia (“understanding”), splancha (“bowels”), chros (“skin”), not to mention verbs describing various bodily and mental actions and states.

[ii]He further goes on to articulate that the gloss of each of these Greek words is only approximate, showing that no one English word matches exactly the full range of meaning and connotative associations of a single Greek word. Add to this the classical Hebrew of the O.T. and we find even more unique properties matching neither the Greek nor English exactly.

As my pastor pointed out in his last sermon, these are all aspects of humanity. In other words, these components are not so much singular entities within humans to be separated, but comprising of the whole of man. Here we find Poythress utilizing 13 terms within the Greek;  adding the Hebew vocabulary as well, we can understand this within Waltke’s argument of the fool “experiencing the catastrophe with their whole beings.”

Continuing on in v. 31, they will experience “fullness with their own fancies,” paralleling with the sustenance of “eating the fruit of their own devices.” It is not healthily sustaining, but deadly (v. 32). They consumed the unsuspecting innocent, dividing the spoils of their bloodshed and robbery amongst themselves (vv. 11-14), all the while setting baited nets for their own entrapment (v. 17-19). All of this was publicly proclaimed through wisdom’s address, thus, we see a direct parallelism to their initial reactions as she now laughs, mocks, and ignores them as they cry out to her.

Pay careful attention even to the personal pronouns used in vv. 20-33

From vv. 20-27, wisdom uses the personal pronouns “you” and “your” in addressing the fool; yet, when the distress comes upon them, she uses the pronouns “they” and “their” instead.

Even in this, wisdom is seen distancing herself from the fool in his day of judgment. This may appear semantically “hair splitting,” but it seems rather odd that wisdom would address the fool personally and then switch midway in using differing pronouns if it wasn’t intended to show something more. At one point she was near to them, even in the gates of the very streets the fool walked upon, now she describes their calamity from a distance. At one point she offered her hand and spirit, now she is nowhere to be found for the fool in his calamity who is seeking her diligently (v. 28b).

Then note the contrast between this and Solomon’s address to his son to flee all of this (vv. 8-19) so that he will exhibit obedience to the purpose of Solomon’s writings (vv. 1-7a) and found to be within the qualities of wisdom in verses 5-7a (specifically, the fear of the Lord); that by listening to his father, he may “dwell safely, and be secure, without fear of evil” (v. 33). Beyond this, that the son would avoid the folly, pitfalls, judgment, and destruction of the wicked that is sure to ensue them.

This all sets the tone for Solomon addressing the “value of wisdom” in chapter 2 of Proverbs.


[i] and [ii] John Frame, “Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief” (see chapter 34, page 797).