Publication Date: October 14, 1981
Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.
He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International and served as assistant to the president.
October 14, 1981
[Clapping.] You may be seated. Thank you very much. And I’d like you to go to the Book of Proverbs. Where else would we go if we are going to study the Book of Proverbs. I think sometimes we’re…we’re all youth. Maybe we weren’t raised in the Book of Proverbs, but then when you reach that point when you stop learning, why, it’s better to better be (what is it?) “a young a child that’s learning than old and foolish king who ceases to be admonished”…uh, that’s uh, vague translation. Well anyway.
Proverbs chapter 1. And tonight I want to go into the first five and a half verses which is the introductory section of the Book of Proverbs and lays out the purpose and the objectives of the entire book very beautifully here in these first five and a half verses. But before we look at those, I want to mention a paper that I had the opportunity to look at by Joe Wise, another one of our research papers that’s available in the library. And he covers these first five and a half or really the first seven verses in the paper and does a very thorough job on these words that are used here. And tonight we’re going to go into this section and look at the Word because they’re very important. But before we do, I want to share with you some of the obvious divisions of the Book of Proverbs.
Now this is not necessarily the structure of the Book of Proverbs. The reason I hesitate to give you that at this time is because I am not absolutely certain; there are various structures that have been suggested and um…they don’t all agree. And so at this time we’re just going to let it set. But there are some obvious divisions here in the Book of Proverbs. First of all you have the first five and a half verses. In other words [verses] 1- 6a, which is like an introduction. Then in [verse] 6b, it starts out:
Proverbs 1:6b-7: 6 …the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
It starts out with “…the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.” That is the second section then, or the first one after the introduction. Then that goes all the way through chapter 9, verse 18. Then chapter 10:1…10, verses 1 through 24:34 is the next section and this is the proverbs of Solomon. I’d like you to look at chapter 10, verse 1. It says:
Proverbs 10:1: The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
It starts out with “The proverbs of Solomon.” Before this we had, this “…the words of the wise and their dark sayings.” The words of the wise. And that first section is divided up into 15 didactic narratives. Remember I mentioned to you, didactic narratives, proverbs and poems or songs that the…this wisdom literature is divided into. This section of Proverbs is divided into 15 didactic narratives which are longer sayings than the proverbs that you have in chapter 10, verses…verse 1 through chapter 24, verse 34. Because in chapter 10:1–24:34, you have actual proverbs. Not that they’re aren’t proverbs in that first section, but these are two line proverbs. It starts with a line and then either gives an antithetic parallel line, meaning opposite, or a cognate parallel line which is saying basically the same thing. It says the same thing in two ways or it says the same thing in opposite ways.
Now in those… in that first section, verses 1…chapter 1, verse 6b to 9:18, those 15 didactic narratives are all introduced by the word…words, “my son” or “my children”. It’ll start out (each of those sections) with either “my son” or “my children”, which literally means “my sons”. And then, in this next section 10:1 to 24:34, you have these parallel lines, either antithetic or cognate. But in those didactic narratives in the first part, you’ll also have some proverbs or specific sayings that are common sayings.
Now the next section is 25:1 to 29:27. 25:1 to 29:27; I’d like to take a look at 25:1. It says here:
Proverbs 25:1: These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
Now, if you remember back in the background material, I gave you last week, I mentioned that some Old Testament books were written by a variety of people, still God-breathed, but each one came along and added something to it. Like Samuel, it said, added to the book of the law and Joshua and the Book of Kings had to be written by a number of people, keeping the record of the kings. And so, here you have Hezekiah’s men adding proverbs of Solomon to this book at a later time. Still God’s Word, still God-breathed. And these again are two parallel lines either antithetic or cognate.
The next section is chapter 30, verse 1 to verse 33. Chapter 30, verses 1-33. And in chapter 30, verse 1 it says:
Proverbs 30:1: The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
So it’s the words of Agur. Now the question is, who is Agur? Since he’s not mentioned
any place else in the Word…and there’s been little speculation on it outside that some believe that this was another name for Solomon. That these again are the proverbs of Solomon and that this was simply another name for Solomon. Or that Agur was another person like Hezekiah’s men that wrote down the proverbs of Solomon. Okay? It’s still God’s Word.
Chapter 31 verses 1-31 are the final section. And that starts out:
Proverbs 31:1: The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
Now who is king Lemuel? Since he was not mentioned any place else in the Scripture, and again the same thing holds. This could have been another name for Solomon or it could have been king Lemuel writing the proverbs of Solomon, but it distinctly says they were proverbs which, whoever he was, his mother taught him. And it’s in this section that his mother tells him what kind of a woman to look for: the virtuous woman. And that is the closing section, closing part of this section. The poem or song, it’s an acrostic of the virtuous woman. So, really you have all three types of writing here in the Book of Proverbs. You start out with didactic narratives, then you come to just plain old proverbs, their sayings, and then finally you get at the end here to this poem or song, an acrostic. An acrostic means that each successive verse starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The first verse starts with aleph, the second with beth, then gimel and so on down the line. So these are the obvious divisions of the Book of Proverbs. Okay? It may not be the actual structure but we’re not going into that at least at this time. Now we go back to chapter 1.
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
Clearly says they’re the proverbs of Solomon in this introduction, so no matter whether Agur, Lemuel, this man of Hezekiah or whoever collected them, they’re still the proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel and it’s still God’s Word. Because Solomon’s wisdom was built on a knowledge of God and His Word. We read it last week. God or…Solomon never asked God for riches and honor; he asked Him for wisdom, the ability to discern between what’s good and what’s evil, what’s right and what’s wrong...separate truth from error so that he could judge the people and watch over them, so he knew how to go out and come in. He wanted wisdom and so God gave him the wisdom. Therefore it has to be God’s wisdom. God’s Word, not the wisdom of men that you read in the newspapers and a few other places. So it’s the proverbs of Solomon. And this word “proverb” in the Hebrew is the word mashal, spelled M-A-S-H-A-L. Mashal. And it’s from the verb of the same spelling mashal. And the verb means “to rule”; the verb form means “to rule”. And mashals or proverbs were short sayings which were designed to rule a person’s life. And that’s where we get the idea of a “rule of faith and practice”or “a ruling principle” is another common expression, “a ruling principle”. That’s
where you get this idea. They were sayings designed to rule a person’s life to help guide his life as a rule for his life. The Greek word is paroimiai. Spelled P-A-R-O-I-M-I-A-I. Paroimiai. And paroimiai means “proverb” and it is a figure of speech.A proverb is a figure of speech. It is that there must be a close connection since the word mashal means “rule”. There has to be some close connection between this idea of a rule and a proverb. And I mentioned the term…or phrase “ruling principle”. So they’re rules for guiding your life. The figure is defined as any sententious saying which controls and influences life. Any sententious saying which controls and influences life. There’s many proverbs, well, there’s a number of proverbs throughout the Word that are not in the Book of Proverbs and some of them are so called or there’s a phrase that indicates that they are. Like Genesis 10:9 says:
He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said,…[like] Nimrod [a] mighty hunter before the LORD [or against the LORD].
…is the accuracy of the text. “It is said”, it’s the same. Or in 1 Samuel 10:12.
1 Samuel 10:12:
...Therefore it became a proverb [quote], Is Saul also among the prophets?
See? that became a proverb. Or “as saith the proverb of the ancients”; this is 1 Samuel 24:13.
1 Samuel 24:13:
As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
Now those are other proverbs and there are many other proverbs in the Word. Not just in the Book of Proverbs. It’s any wise saying (wise saying) designed as a rule for life and especially for the youth. A rule of faith and practice. It’s not only faith or your doctrine, what you believe, but also for practice in your life. How to act. How to put it into application. Proverbs are both practical and empirical. Practical means that they work. You can put them into practice. They’re not just an idea, a concept that someone has, but they are practical; they’re functional. And secondly they are empirical, which means that they have been tried and tried and tried and they work and work and work. They’re not just again an idea that someone has but has never tried it out. They are things that have been tried and proven. That’s empirical evidence. One man said: A proverb contains the wisdom of many and the wit of one—a proverb contains the wisdom of many and the wit of one. In other words it’s what many have experienced and put into practice as far as wisdom, but one put it in words. You know wit; words of wit, that “communi-kit”[laughter]. Now this words…this word “proverb” is used in verse 1, then it’s used again in verse 6. To understand a proverb, a mashal, a wise saying
designed as a rule for faith and practice and their dark, oh no…and the interpretation.
Then you have the words of the wise and their dark sayings. Now that, the words of the wise, the wise ones, were those who made the proverbs and utilized the proverbs to teach their pupils, their students. And what they utilized to teach them were the proverbs or as it’s called here, their dark sayings. Now this word “dark sayings” is another word. It’s the Hebrew word chidah. Spelled C-H-I-D-A-H. A chidah, which corresponds to the Greek enigma or the figure of speech enigma, (spelled E-N-I-G-M-A) differs from a parable in that a parable is generally explained, whereas an enigma is without explanation. It’s a dark obscure saying. It’s the word translated “riddle” in Judges 14 when Samson told ’em, if you can explain my riddle, then I’m going to give you thirty changes of garment, and if you can’t, then you give me thirty changes of garment. And he says, you’ll have seven days to figure out this riddle. Well, after three days his… they encouraged his wife to cry to him and that kind of thing, and finally on the seventh day, he told his wife the answer to the riddle and she went and told them. And then he made a proverb. He says, “You wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t plowed with my heifer.” (Something like that.) A proverb you can understand pretty well, but an enigma is some dark, obscure saying. And many times, these words of the wise are things…they are statements that are laid out. Have you ever heard somebody do this? Lay out a statement. But then you have to really think it through, what it means, and maybe it takes you a couple of years to figure it out, what it really means. Never had that happened? I have. Well it’s because discovery, I think, is one of the great ways of learning. Instead of somebody just telling you everything, because sometimes somebody can tell you something, you don’t hear it. But if you start working it on your own, it’s a way of learning. And that’s what these wise men used to teach their students.
Alright. So we have proverbs there used in verse 6, as well as enigma which is another figure of speech. And there are many other figures of speech in the Book of Proverbs. Cookie Lofstedt outlined, what was it? 6…63 different figures in the first chapter, kinds of figures. And there was 281 uses of them, and I’m not sure if she got them all. But she got a bunch of them. 281 uses of those 63 figures in the first chapter of Proverbs which I think is real interesting. Keep your finger here and look at Psalms 78, verse 2. Psalm 78, verse 2.
Psalm 78:2a: I will open my mouth in a parable:…
And by the way, the word “parable” in the Old Testament is the same as the word for “proverb”. The distinction is made in the New Testament but it’s the same word in the Old Testament in the Hebrew. So…
Psalm 78:2: I will open my mouth in a [in a…either a parable or a proverb; and]: I will utter dark sayings [that’s the enigma] of old:
Chidah is Hebrew; enigma is Greek or the figure of speech is enigma. “I will utter dark sayings,” obsure sayings, so; both were used.
Which we have heard…
They are all says which we have heard.
Psalm 78:3b …and known, and our fathers have [what?] told us.
“…our fathers have told us.” Who are our fathers? Well, our fathers in the flesh as well as our teachers; the teachers were referred to as fathers. Remember? School of the prophets.
We will not hide them [these parables or proverbs or enigmas; we will not hide them] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
That was the form of teaching the children, the students, the young people...was through proverbs, parables, enigma. Some of the basic forms of teaching.
Now, we’re going to see this, because back in Proverbs chapter 1, one of the things is in verse 2, the last part of the verse.
Proverbs 1:2b: ...to perceive the words of understanding;...
You see that word “words”, that’s not the normal Hebrew word for “word”. It’s the word emer, spelled E-M-E-R. E-M-E-R. And it means a saying, not just a word, but the sayings. To perceive the sayings. And it was these proverbs which were sayings, or the enigma which were obscure sayings, that the wise men used in order to teach their children, their pupils. And they used parables, didactic narratives of various kind to teach their pupils their retemories...which they hung around their necks on things or around their forehead or on their arms until they memorized them. Then they had them in their heart. Now, let’s start out with verse 2. While verse 1 is the proverbs of Solomon, then verse 2. Here’s the purpose of the book, in the first line.
Proverbs 1:2a: To know wisdom and instruction;...
That’s the purpose of the Book of Proverbs, to know wisdom and instruction. The word “wisdom” is the Hebrew word chokmah, spelled C-H-O-K-M-A-H. Chokmah. And it means “wisdom”. There are five other words translated wisdom in the Book of Proverbs and I’ll give you some of those later on as they come up but none of them mean wisdom. They all have another meaning, like one of them is the Hebrew word leb. L-E-B; leb. And that means heart; heart. Like “trust in the LORD will all your heart.” “Out of the heart come the issues of life.” That’s the word leb but that word leb is translated wisdom four different times in the Book of Proverbs. So it means “heart” though, it doesn’t mean wisdom. The word chokmah means “wisdom” which is knowledge applied and we’ve gone over wisdom before. So you know what wisdom is. This word chokmah is used 39 times in the singular and three times in the plural in the Book of Proverbs. Making a total of 42 times that it’s used. We’re not going to look up all of these. By the way the reason it’s used in plural three times, I’m going to give those to you it’s used in 1:20, 9:1 and 24:7. The reason it’s used in the plural in those three places is just…is the same reason that Elohim is in the plural all the time because of the immensity of it. You just can’t describe it in little terms. It’s a figure, heterosis, to describe the immensity of it, where you put the plural for the singular, exchanging accidence.
It’s used (this word chokmah) in chapter 4, I want you to look at that. Show you why the…why this is the purpose of Proverbs. Chapter 4, verse 5 it says:
Proverbs 4:5-7a: 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the [what? the] principal thing; therefore [get chokmah] get wisdom:…
Get with it. Get wisdom, that’s the principal thing.
Proverbs 4:7b: …and with all thy getting get understanding.
In chapter 9, in verse 10. It says:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:...
So if the principal thing is wisdom and in order to get wisdom, you have to start where? Not with a knowledge of science, not with a knowledge of mathematics, a knowledge of...you name it. It’s a knowledge of God, the fear of God. The respect of God is the beginning of
wisdom. And that’s the principal thing. That’s why the overall purpose for this course in Proverbs is to know wisdom. To know wisdom, number one. In chapter 15, verse 33. It says again.
The fear of the LORD [or respect of the LORD, Jehovah] is the instruction of [what?] wisdom;
Wisdom. So we start with wisdom. That’s the principal thing. That’s the overall purpose for the Book of Proverbs; the course that the wise men taught to their pupils. To know wisdom AND instruction. Now this word “instruction” is the Hebrew word musar M-U-S-A-R, musar. And it sort of corresponds to the word paideia in the Greek in the New Testament. It’s a…the word is translated chastisement a lot of times. But chastisement does not mean beating somebody. It means “discipline”. It means: training in right conduct, moral discipline, instruction. So it’s …there two…a twofold purpose then; it’s to know wisdom and secondly the moral discipline that goes along with that wisdom. It’d be one thing to have a lot of head knowledge but it’s another thing to be able to live it ethically, morally. And that’s why the moral discipline goes along with wisdom as the overall purpose. You see that? You have two things: to know wisdom and moral discipline (or right conduct, instruction). Then we start enumerating the objectives of this course starting in the end of verse 2, “…to perceive…”.This is objective one.
Proverbs 1:2: ...to perceive the words of understanding;
The word “perceive” is the Hebrew word bin, B-I-N. It’s the word translated “understand” many times. The word “understanding” in this verse is the word binah, B-I-N-A-H; binah. They look familiar…or similar? They’re from the same family. (We’re having a great Greek class here on this campus. I hope you are on others too. We almost sang, [unknown] tonight [laughter] but….) Alright. Understanding is binah, B-I-N-A-H. Now it’s normally translated understanding, for understand, understanding. However, this is one of those words that is translated “wisdom” in Proverbs in 23:4. It’s translated wisdom. But normally it’s translated “understanding”. In 1 Kings 3:9 when Solomon asked for under…wisdom or whatever it was…to be able to discern between truth and error, I forget, good and evil...something like that, that was the word bin, to discern. In Nehemiah 8:8 (we read that last week) where he read in the scroll distinctly and caused them to understand. That’s a form of this word. He caused them to be able to discern, to understand to the end of discerning, separating it, rightly dividing it, separating truth from error. That’s the essence of this word. Discernment, I think communicates the best because it has that idea of separating truth from error, like rightly dividing the Word of truth.
And since these two words come from the same root, it’s the figure of speech, polyptoton. Spelled (which you’ve had many times before) P-O-L-Y-P-T-O-T-O-N, polyptoton. In other words, to discern the sayings of discernment. Now I already gave you the word for “sayings”. It’s emer in the Hebrew. That word for “sayings” is used in Psalms 19 (I want to read that to you.) where it’s talking about the stars. Remember the Word was first written in the stars. And in Psalms 19, verse 2 and 3.It says:
Day unto day uttereth speech…
That word “speech” is this word omer, sayings.
Psalms 19:2, 3:
2 Day unto day uttereth [sayings] and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech [that’s “sayings”] nor language [or “words”], where their voice is not heard.
And this is talking about the stars. The word that’s written in the stars. The sayings were written in the stars. Now here, they’re written in the Word. It’s the sayings of the wise. And one of the objectives of this course (I speak as the Book of Proverbs as a course, okay?), one of the objectives of this course is to be able to discern (rightly divide) the sayings of discernment. These sayings of the wise. To be able to discern them, to be able to rightly divide them, to separate truth from error. In the Septuagint, this word “words” is two words. It’s…I’ll give you the word, S-T-R-O-P-H-A-S, strophas and then logōn, L-O-G- long O -N. Strophas means “revolving”. Revolving. It’s the “revolving of words” is what the phrase means. And this word strophas, is used in Greek literature of the constellations revolving around the heavens. And that’s how the Word was first written and how they read it. At night they’d go out, they’d see the stars and they could follow the Word as it revolved around. Now here it’s written in here. I thought that it was interesting how the Septuagint translated it from the Hebrew. The revolving of words, isn’t that neat? That’s the sayings. So they knew these things even before they were written. They knew them from the ancients. To perceive or to discern these sayings, the revolving of words of discernment.
That’s one objective, that the student be able…(By the way, you could insert the word “student” in front of each of these objectives.)…for the student to perceive or to discern the sayings of discernment. That’s number one objective. To be able to rightly divide. I would call that objective, a truth judgment objective. In The Life-style of a Believer, Dr. Wierwille lays out in this opening when you get to “Ethics and the Individual” on page five:
There are five basic types of judgments which a man can make: truth judgments, ethical judgments, expediency judgments, esthetic judgments, and judgments of fact....
This first one, “truth judgments”, is what the student has to be able to make. Judgments of truth. To be able to discern the sayings of discernment. In other words, the proverbs, the enigma, the parables, the didactic narratives, they have to be able to not only memorize, but to know what they mean. They have to be able to separate truth from error. When they read something else, they have to be able to separate the truth in it from the error in it. That’s objective number one. It’s a “truth judgments”. Then in verse 3:
Proverbs 1:3: To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
…is objective number two. To receive the discipline, the instruction. The word “instruction” is musar again (M-U-S-A-R) which means, you know, discipline or moral discipline. Instruction, right conduct. So you not only want the knowledge to be able to discern the sayings, but also the moral discipline that goes along with it, the right conduct. To receive the discipline of wisdom. Now this word “wisdom” is not chokmah. It’s another word sakal. S-A-K-A-L, sakal. Sakal is translated wisdom here. Sakal is translated...I think this is the only place it’s used. There are other related words that are translated, wise, wisely and so on. But this…I believe if I checked this right, that’s the only place it is used, but it’s translated wisdom. But it’s the word that really means prudence or good sense. I often wondered why Dr. Wierwille chose that when he defined prudence as good sense because I always thought of it as common sense, common sense. But you know good sense is not always too common [laughter]. I think that’s the reason. So, if it was very common, it might be common among us, but then it would be common sense. But it’s not common among everybody so it’s just good sense. Horse sense might be better, I don’t know. Well, good sense, it’s prudence. So it’s the moral discipline of good sense...and there’s three categories: justice, judgment and equity. Justice is really righteousness or what is right. What is right, righteousness. Judgment has to do with justice or payment for what is wrong, in other words you know what’s right; you also have to know what is proper payment for what’s wrong. And equity (is a pretty good translation)…it’s what is just and equal. In other words the penalty fits the crime...type of thing. Fairness, equal, equality. Equity is good. So this good sense in moral discipline has three aspects to it: righteousness, justice and equity. What’s right, payment for what’s wrong, and fairness (equity). This would be the second type of judgment that Dr. Wierwille suggested here, ethical judgments in The Life-style of a Believer. First we have truth judgments, being able to read the sayings and to discern them. Know what they mean, separate truth from error, rightly divide the Word. That’s truth judgment.
Then ethical judgments are judgments like this...where it’s moral discipline of good sense. The moral discipline of good sense, prudence in the categories of righteousness, justice and equity. So that when somebody does something that you think might be wrong, you have to know from the Word. Is it wrong? Or is it right? What’s right, what’s righteousness? And if it’s
wrong, what ought to be done about it? What’s fair? See that? And this is one place where many times as youth in our minds, whether we are adults or youth, we miss it in making judgments that are not good sense. We might judge people or judge certain things. You might be a Twig leader, a Branch leader, a Limb leader, whatever…(coordinator, excuse me. Now don’t judge me on that [laughter]); but you’ve got to be able to do what’s right, what’s just and what’s fair. And it may not be the same thing for every individual. See that? But this is one objective of our curriculum here in Proverbs. One of our course objectives is to be able…or to receive that moral discipline of good sense in righteousness, justice and equity. And that is “ethical judgment”.
The fourth…or third objective.
Proverbs 1:4: To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
The word “subtilty”…well, first let’s take the word “simple”; “simple” does not mean stupid. It just means inexperienced or unskilled because he’s a youth, he hasn’t had time to mature, so he’s inexperienced, he’s immature, he’s unskilled. And the word for “subtilty” is ormah (spelled O-R-M-A-H), which is another one of those words translated wisdom in chapter 8, verse 5. But it doesn’t mean wisdom. It means shrewdness or skillfulness, dexterity, craftiness, subtilty. It’s related to the word in Genesis…no it isn’t…yes it is…it’s related to that word in Genesis 3:1, more “subtle” than any beast of the field (the serpent was), more wise. He was shrewd. Now shrewdness can have either a negative or a positive connotation. Subtilty definitely has that negative feeling. That’s why I thought shrewdness might communicate it better, where you can be shrewd in a good way or shrewd in a bad way. Because both ideas are communicated by this word. It’s also related to the word “naked” in chapter two of Genesis. They were naked before, but then the shrewd one from the field came and they thought they would become more shrewd. They ended up getting less naked, less shrewd. I mean, there’s a tie in there, if you think about it, it’s neat.
Alright. So now we want to get shrewdness. This is our third objective to the inexperienced ones. In other words, to the youth, to the young; to the youth. Two things that fall in the category of shrewdness: knowledge and discretion. This word “knowledge”, is the Hebrew word daath (D-A-A-T-H), it’s the normal word for “knowledge”. The verb form means “to know” and it has the idea of...you see it, so you know it. You perceive, you see it, hear it, smell it, taste it or touch it. Perception is involved in knowing. Okay. Perception. It’s knowledge by perception. Now what you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch, (what you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch); that you can acquire until you get born again of God’s spirit. Then you have another means for perception. Right? You can see, hear, smell, taste or touch by your spiritual senses. I think perception would be a good translation here, although knowledge is its basic meaning, but that knowledge is through perception. Whether it’s spiritual or five senses. And of course the youth has to start where? With his five senses gathering information until he’s born again. And discretion, this word “discretion” is…oh, I was going to tell you something else
about perception if you don’t mind. It’s where Lot… the same word, it’s used where Lot, his daughters got him drunk and then they had an affair with him so they could keep his bloodline going, you know. And it says that he didn’t perceive what was going on because his senses were dulled by the wine. See? It’s knowle…it’s that same word knowledge, see. He didn’t have perception of what was going on, knowledge.Well, it ties in [laughter].
Now, this word “discretion” is the Greek word mezimmah. It’s a big mezimmah; M-E-Z-I-M-M-A-H, mezimmah. It’s the word used in chapter 8, verse 12 where it talks about witty invention, the witty invention. It’s the word that talks about evil devices or techniques in various places. You know, where they devise evil things. This is that word mezimmah, where they really “mezz” it up. But it can be used in that good sense of witty inventions (or sagacious inventions) or it can be used in the evil sense of bad devices, evil devices. And so I translated it “inventive technique”. To the youth perception and inventive techniques. I steered away from the word creative, because no one can create. But that idea is sort of inherent in it. But inventive techniques, where he can plan, he can make plans that are solid plans and he’s capable of carrying out those plans; that’s being inventive. Not only making something physically (that’s inventions), but being inventive with his ideas. Like how to be a better Twig leader, how to plan for your twig, how to carry out those plans for your twig, how to build a new auditorium, how to do those things which will…which are best in your planning and carrying out those plans. That’s the inventive technique. See that verse? To…to give subtilty or shrewdness to the inexperienced, that is to the youth perception and inventive technique.
Because so many people don’t perceive what’s going on around them. They’re not aware. And one of the goals…one the objectives in the Corps is to develop an in-depth spiritual perception and awareness. Perception and awareness. We’ve got to not only be physically (five-senses) perceptive and know what’s going on, but spiritually perceptive. And the youth has to learn that. That’s a part of his curriculum. As well as being inventive, having inventive techniques in his planning, being able to dream, come up with ideas. Now some people have a lot of ideas, that’s not a problem. It’s coming up with good ideas, see? The problem I have is that I have a lot of ideas, but I have a lot of good ideas too. The thing is they’re a hundred years ahead of their time, so I just have to wait a hundred years. [Laughter.] No. It’s being inventive, creative is the word they use, inventive; having inventive technique for planning and carrying out the plans. And I called this, for lack of a better word, “functional judgment”, where you make judgments in your functioning, in what you’re doing, carrying out things. And I think that sort of wraps up these other three judgments that Dr. Wierwille mentions: expediency judgments, would be involved in functional things, esthetic judgments is involved in functional things and judgments of fact are certainly involved with functional judgments. Okay.
Expediency, esthetic and facts are all functions in different categories of life and that I think is wrapped up in here. Because as the youth is perceptive and he’s inventive as he learns and grows in this category, he becomes shrewd which means he’s going to be able to make
good expediency judgments, good esthetic judgments and good judgments of fact in carrying out his responsibilities. So, those are the three objectives plus the overall goal for this course in Proverbs. Isn’t that neat?
Then, verse 5 and the first part of verse 6 are like a summary. Maybe you’d call it a course description (Nick, I’m not sure what you’d call it), but it sorts of summarizes the thing. Again, it’s:
Proverbs 1:5a: …[the] wise man…
…[man] is in italics. It’s talking about the students, the wise student.
Proverbs 1:5b: …will hear, [will listen] and will increase learning…
He’s going to keep on learning.When you stop, you might as well call the undertaker.
Proverbs 1:5: A wise man will hear, and will [keep learning, keep increasing in that learning]; and a man [or student] of understanding [discernment]…
That’s the word binah again, one who can discern, those who can discern, discern what? the sayings, being able to rightly divide.
Proverbs 1:5c: …shall attain unto wise counsels.
Now the words “wise counsel”, is a…in the Hebrew is a nautical term, (not naughty, nautical, boats) used of steering. It’s related to the word for rope; it’s a nautical term (and I forgot to write the word down. So look it up in Young’s or Wilson. Okay.) But it’s a nautical term used for steering, when you steer a boat. You know? [Makes noises.] Steering. That’s this word “wise counsels”. You might want to look at some of the other places that it’s used: Proverbs 1:5; 11:14; 12:5 and 24:6. But it’s steering or guidance. A…those who discern the sayings shall find guidance, proper guidance, proper steering. Like the rules, a proverb is a what? A rule of faith and practice to guide to steer the student. So this student who is wise...he’s going to keep learning. He’s one who is able to discern these sayings, he’s going to find the proper guidance, the proper steering. His boat’s going to go in the right direction. Isn’t that neat? He shall find proper guidance, then verse 6 carries right on, find proper guidance…
To understand [to discern, to rightly divide] a proverb, and the interpretation…
Or the point of what is meant by the proverb. He’s going to find the proper guidance to understand or rightly divide, discern a proverb and the interpretation. I have some wonderful quotes here from Clement of Alexandria who lived in the second and third century. When he quoted or paraphrased this section, that’s exactly what he did. He put these two verses together. His rendering from one…one of the times he quotes it, he says: “He who hears these prophets being wise, (this is a paraphrase) will be wiser and the intelligent man will acquire rule and will understand a parable and a dark saying, the words and enigmas of the wise.” Now he put the whole thing together. Or in the other place he quotes it…this…well, talking…really paraphrases this whole section: “That I may give subtilty to the simple to the young man sense and understanding. For the wise man having heard these things will become wiser, the intelligent man will acquire rule and will understand a parable and a dark word, the sayings and enigmas of the wise.” See, how he put these two verses together.
Now, I think there is good reason to put them together. Because, I think it’s like a summary of this course, description. It’s that the wise student will listen and will increase his learning. The man who is a…or the one who is able to discern, rightly divide these things, will find the proper guidance to rightly divide a proverb and the point of what is meant by that proverb. See that? That’s the whole purpose, the method (if you will) of the course, is via proverbs, to learn how to rightly divide. Specifically how to rightly divide the sayings, being on top of truth and error. And then in ethical judgments to receive moral judgment or moral discipline of good sense in righteousness, justice and equity. And then to give shrewdness to the inexperienced, that is to the youth. Perception and inventive technique. That he’s able to function as an adult, as an individual that knows what he’s doing, to make the right functional decisions, judgments.
(Here it is [flipping papers]). I wrote it this way. The purpose: for the students to know wisdom and the corresponding moral discipline. That’s the purpose. I’ve already told you. The objectives: number one is truth judgments. To discern or rightly divide the wise sayings of discernment, able to separate truth from error. That’s the first objective, it’s truth judgment. If you’re not able to separate truth from error in God’s Word then you’ll never be able to separate truth from error in…I mean there’s all truth in the Word but I mean is able to rightly divide it then you’ll never be able to separate truth from error in what you read in other places. This is philosophy, philosophy is the love of wisdom, it’s the wisdom of the Word and if you can’t understand the wisdom of the Word, you cannot understand the wisdom, or lack of it in the wisdom of man. The philosophy of man. So that’s primary, to be able to discern the sayings of the wise, to be able to separate truth from error. That’s truth judgment. You’ve got to be able to judge things based on the truth of God’s Word.
Then secondly is ethical judgment, to receive the discipline of good sense or prudence in
righteousness, justice and equity. And that’s where we fall flat sometimes in the practical end, in advising others, in watching over people. Maybe we say the wrong word at the wrong time. It’s an error in ethical error; an error in ethical judgment. It’s …you know, we’ve got to be sharp on God’s Word and how to you get sharp unless you’re perceptive spiritually, aware of what’s going on and know according to the Word what’s right and wrong then being able to make those proper judgments, and being fair in what you do. Good sense, good sense. Again I always think of Uncle Harry and Ermal as good sense men. They applied it, prudence. See? Ephesians, God has made known unto us in all wisdom and prudence, good sense, see? Good sense; not only the wisdom but the good sense to go along with it to make the right decisions, ethical judgments.
And then functional judgments to give shrewdness to the inexperienced, that is to the youth perception and inventive technique in formulating plans and carrying out the plans, that he learns to be sharp as a business person as a person in the ministry and on staff and in the Corps and on the different campus locations. I think this speaks real loud to us now, where we have got to be shrewd. And if we’re not shrewd in certain points then we’ve got to learn from the Word, from the sayings of the wise, how to be shrewd. When do I spend money? When do I not spend money? When do I carry out a plan? When do I not carry out a plan that I had? What’s the best way to carry it out? What’s expedient. But you don’t just do something because it’s immediately expedient, it has to be expedient in the long run. See? A lot of things to evaluate in functional judgment. We’ve got to be perceptive, knowing everything that’s going on around us, five senses wise and spiritually. And then have inventive technique for knowing the best way to carry it out. You have responsibilities, whether you’re on staff, whether you’re in the Corps, whatever you’re doing. And you’re responsible to be inventive to figure out the best way to carry those things out in accordance with God’s Word in accordance with the ethical standards, in accordance with the truth, the saying of the wise and separating truth from error. Okay?
I thought this was real timely for us, all of us here, to learn these things. We’re still youth. Isn’t that something? And then the summary, the wise student will listen and increase his learning. Those students who discern these wise sayings will find good and proper guidance in order to rightly divide the proverbs and what they signify, the point of what they’re saying. That’s the purpose of this course in Proverbs. That’s the course goal and the objectives, why Proverbs exists. That’s the introduction. Okay.
[Prayer] Well, Father, we thank you for your Word and the greatness of the love that we see in your Word and how we can understand and grow and never cease to learn but continue to grow in the greatness of what your Word signifies to us and the sayings of those wise individuals who have followed your teaching, who have listened to you and set the example and set the words for us, Father, to follow, that we can follow in their footsteps as great believers of yours, walking upon your Word. Thank you for this night and our Corps around the world in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen! God bless you!