“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  I’ve heard this quoted many times to make the point that you are what you think.  Or shall I say misquoted?  That’s not what the text actually says, nor what it means.  Here’s the passage in context, in three different translations:

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is.  He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments. (Prov 23:6-8, NASB)

Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost.  “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments. (Prov 23:6-8, NIV)

Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. (Prov 23:6-8, ESV

The first thing to notice in all three translations is that it doesn’t read “a man” as in any person (as one might infer from the KJV), but rather “he.”  It has a specific kind of person in mind.  What kind of person is that?  A stingy person.  Solomon is warning against duplicitous, selfish people who have their own interests in mind, but act as if they care about you.  They are not showing you their true hand.  Their heart doesn’t match their words.  Outwardly they pretend to be generous, but inwardly are stingy.

While one may be what they think (or conversely, think according to what they are), that’s not the point of Proverbs 23:7.

Keep it in context….

die-dailyA concept commonly advocated in conservative, holiness-minded churches is “dying to the flesh.”  And invariably, while preachers are advocating denying worldly lusts and choosing righteousness, they will appeal to Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that he “dies daily” (KJV).  I’ve heard this interpreted to mean we need to make a choice every day to submit our will to God’s or to deny worldly lusts.  Some even cite it in the context of prayer and fasting (i.e. those practices will cause you to die out to your flesh desires on a daily basis).  When Paul penned those words, was he talking about sacrificing our will to God?  Did he have prayer and fasting in mind?  Let’s look at those words in context: (more…)

jer-29-11How many items is this verse on at your local Bible bookstore?:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)

This verse is often proclaimed to be a promise to Christians.  God has a wonderful plan for our future that involves lots of blessings.  Is this truly a promise to us that we won’t experience evil and our future will be peachy?

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Due to my busy schedule, I’ve hardly had time to blog this year, yet alone interact with the comments (which I would like to be able to do).  As I’ve read through some of the comments sections this year, I’ve been very frustrated with what I see.  Comments veer off the topic almost instantly.  Some comments are a mile long, filled with off-topic rants, a million links, or quotes galore.  If you want to rant, do it somewhere else.  If you want to talk about different topics, start your own blog.  If you want to interact on my blog, however, please stick to the topic, be respectful, don’t rant, and make your argument with words not links.  If you cannot follow these rules, I will provide a warning.  If you do not heed the warning, I will start deleting your comments.  If the behavior continues, I will simply block you.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

voting-hitlerVoting for a pro-abortion candidate?  How is that different from a German voting for Hitler?  Let me explain.

When it comes to voting, our primary concern as Christians should be that we elect a candidate to government office who will fulfill God’s purpose for government.  And what is that purpose?  Justice: rewarding good and punishing evil (Rom 13:1-4).  While it’s true that no government, political party, or political candidate fulfills this purpose perfectly, it’s also true that they don’t fail at it equally.  Some political parties and candidates do more to promote justice and punish evil than others.  Our moral obligation is to cast our vote for the party/candidate we have reason to believe will bring about the greatest amount of good possible.

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letter-killsIn Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he writes:

“[God] has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

This verse is commonly used to argue that “spiritual” things like prayer, fasting, and spiritual gifts are more important than reading the Bible.  I’ve often heard it quoted to me by people who are opposed to formal theological education.  After all, Paul said too much focus on the “letter” will kill you spiritually.  Is this right?

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Government’s primary purpose is to protect our natural rights. The right to life is the most important right because all other rights depend on it. Any candidate/party who uses their political power to allow some mothers to legally murder their own children in utero is not fit for public office and should never receive our vote. As a form of murder, abortion is the greatest injustice possible, and to vote for a candidate/party who has told you in advance that they will use their political power to ensure that this injustice continues and expands, is morally unconscionable.

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