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Proverbs 15:2-6 1
26 The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.

clip_image021Background 2

The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is “Míshlê Shlomoh” (“Proverbs of Solomon”). When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) the title became “paroimai paroimiae” (“Proverbs”). In the Latin vulgate the title was “proverbial”, from which the English title of Proverbs is derived.

The authorship of Proverbs has long been a matter of dispute. Solomon’s name appears in Proverbs 1:1, “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel”, although this does not necessarily mean that he was the author. There are references to Agur and Lamuel as authors distinct from Solomon that are missing in the Greek Septuagint, which regarded King Solomon as the author of the whole Book of Proverbs. Although medieval scholars had in the Vulgate a more faithful rendering of 30:1 and 31:1, in their eyes the words “Agur” and “Lamuel” were but symbolical names of Solomon. Solomon is often mentioned as someone who has extensive wisdom in the Bible as well as in extra-biblical literature.

However, at at the time of composition, it was often the custom to place the name of the King or someone of prominence in writings in order to honor them, or to give those writings more prestige. In 1 Kings 4:29-34, 3000 proverbs and over 1000 songs are said to have come from Solomon an it is also said that people came from all over to hear the wisdom of Solomon. The general assumption is that Solomon was a part of the authorship to some extent, but that the book was not solely his work. Not only are the names “Agur” and “Lamuel” linked to other sections of the book, there are elements of disunity within the book that suggest more than one author. Some of the authorship is attributed to “Men of Hezekiah”, though it is stated that they simply transcribed the proverbs rather than writing them of their own accord.

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Model of Human Behavior

Biblical Truths

Verses 26-28 contrast what takes place in the heart of the righteous and the wicked. The wicked conceive “evil” plans to carry out against the helpless based on the “greed” of covetousness or self-centeredness which dominates their thinking. On the other hand, the righteous have a passionate “hatred” against offering or accepting bribes, which seem to support and secure a rich person’s lifestyle and future; and they think through the best way to speak in any given circumstance.

Verses 26 and 28 contrast the speech of the righteous and the wicked. “Evil” words of all kinds gush out of the mouth of the wicked and harm those who hear, while the righteous are very careful to speak “gracious” words which will edify and affirm the hearer.

God is ever present to hear and respond appropriately and positively to the prayers of the righteous, but when the wicked pray God stands at a great distance and thus is slow to respond.

Items for Discussion

  • Look at the diagram Figure of a  Model of Human Behavior – How does this support the Scriptural message?
  • How does our modern society influence our thoughts?
  • Is society’s influence greater or lesser today on our children that it was on us?
  • Who is held accountable for one’s beliefs? Is this the same for thoughts, emotions and behavior?

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Background 3

The letter was written to the church at Philippi, one of the earliest churches to be founded in Europe. They were very attached to Paul, just as he was very fond of them. Of all the churches, their contributions (which Paul gratefully acknowledges) are among the only he accepts. (Acts 20:33-35; 2 Cor. 11:7-12; 2 Thess. 3:8). The generosity of the Philippians comes out very conspicuously (Phil. 4:15). “This was a characteristic of the Macedonian missions, as 2 Cor. 8 and 9 amply and beautifully prove. It is remarkable that the Macedonian converts were, as a class, very poor (2 Cor. 8:2), though the very first converts were of all classes (Acts 16); and the parallel facts, their poverty and their open-handed support of the great missionary and his work, are deeply harmonious. At the present day the missionary liberality of poor Christians is, in proportion, really greater than that of the rich” (Moule).

Biblical Truths

Let’s look at what the dictionary says about Paul’s choice of words:

True – not false, in accordance to the actual state of affairs, reality

Honorable – deserving of respect, something of superior standing, worthy of recognition

Right – not wrong, being in accordance to what is just, good, and proper

Pure – unmixed with any other matter, free from dirt, dust, or taint

Lovely – delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace, attractive

Good Repute – good reputation, being favorable known, spoken of, thought of or esteemed

Excellence – valuable qualities, superior, eminently good

Worthy of Praise – something worth speaking well of

Items for Discussion

  • What on television fits this description?
  • What kind of music fits this description?
  • What kind of literature fits this description?
  • What movies fit this description?
  • What other types of entertainment fit this description?
  • How then does one “put into practice” those things that bring peace?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of the church in facilitating the “practice?”

Notes:

  1. New International Version Translations
  2. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Proverbs
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Philippians
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