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Proverbs 16:5-6 1
5 The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. 6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.

img196Background 2

The author of Proverbs is Solomon, the son of David. He is believed to have written over three thousand proverbs (1 Ki 4:32), many of them found in the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs was written and then compiled sometime between the tenth and sixth centuries B.C. We identify Solomon with all wisdom literature (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) as with the apocryphal book the Wisdom of Solomon.

The purpose of Proverbs was:

  1. To enable the readers to learn and apply the fear of the Lord to their lives
  2. To provide skill for living (successful living) from the two perimeters of natural order and God’s word
  3. To know wisdom and instruction (1:2)
  4. To receive teaching in wise dealing, righteousness, justice and equity (1:3)
  5. To help the simple gain prudence and the youth gain knowledge and discretion (1:4)
  6. To increase learning and to acquire skill in understanding (1:5)
  7. To understand proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles (1:6)
  8. To learn the fear of the Lord (1:7)

The subject of the book now begins to change. In earlier chapters, the main subject is the difference between wise actions and evil actions. The earlier proverbs (wise words) compare a good man with an evil man (Proverbs chapters 10 to 15). Later chapters do not emphasize this (Proverbs chapters 16 to 22). Instead, they explain wise thoughts, actions and advice.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 5 – A proud person refuses to listen to God or to other people. He has his own ideas. He thinks that he is better than everyone else. God will punish proud people. God wants us to be humble.

Verse 6 – God does not want to punish us. God loves us. We must trust in him. God wants to forgive our evil actions. We respect God, so we should not do evil things. However, sometimes we still make mistakes. If we ask God, then he will forgive us, because of Jesus. See 1 John 2:1.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the attributes of “good” pride – of “bad” pride?
  • How do you balance pride and humility in life?
  • Why does humility improve communication with God and pride inhibit communication with God?
  • What are some of the assurances that we are given in this Proverb from Solomon?
  • What happens to society when there is no fear of God?
  • How are “fear” and “respect” of and for God interrelated?
  • What would be the “evidence” within someone’s life that they FEAR God?

 

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Background 4

While there is little doubt among scholars that Paul is the author, there is much discussion over whether the letter was originally one letter or composed from two or more of Paul’s letters. Although the New Testament only contains two letters to the Corinthians, the evidence from the letters themselves is that he wrote at least four:

  • 1 Corinthians 5:9 (“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people”, NIV) refers to an early letter, sometimes called the “warning letter”.
  • 1 Corinthians – The Severe Letter. Paul refers to an earlier “letter of tears” in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4 and 7:8. 1 Corinthians does not match that description; so this “letter of tears” may have been written between 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians.
  • 2 Corinthians – The abrupt change of tone from being previously harmonious to bitterly reproachful in 2 Corinthians 10-13 has led many to speculate that chapters 10-13 form part of the “letter of tears” which were in some way tagged on to Paul’s main letter. There are those, however who disagree with this assessment.
  • Some scholars also find fragments of the “warning letter”, or of other letters, in chapters 1-9, for instance that part of the “warning letter” is preserved in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, but these are less popular views.

Regardless of the actual number of letters, Paul’s advice to the City Church of Corinth remains an important message for modern Christians.

Bible Truth 5

Reconciliation is both an accomplished fact (v. 18) and a continuing process (v. 19). Although it is a done deed as a result of Christ’s work on the cross, it nonetheless must be personally appropriated. This is where Paul and the gospel ministry fit into the picture. He, and those like him, function as God’s agents in proclaiming what has been accomplished. To use Paul’s language, God has appointed them to preach the word of reconciliation (v. 19) and so they proclaim: Be reconciled to God (v. 20). Two things need to be noted. First, the verb is passive. It is not that we must reconcile ourselves to God–as would be the case with the Greeks or Romans vis-à-vis their gods. Rather, we are to be reconciled, that is, to accept what God has already achieved. Second, the gospel minister’s job is not to bring about reconciliation but to announce what has already occurred. In a real sense, he or she is the town crier or herald proclaiming a news item of earth-shaking significance.

Items for Discussion

  • If reconciliation is an accomplished fact through Christ’s work, how is it also a “work in progress?”
  • How would you define the “ministry of reconciliation?”
  • Who are the ministers?
  • Why is the main job of the “Town Crier” just a job of letting people know what God has done for them?
  • Why does God depend on “us” to decry the Good News? Why doesn’t God just give everyone a “Damascus” experience like He gave Paul?

Discussion Challenge

  • What are the ways a congregation heralds the good news?
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