Wise sayings, proverbs

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Prov 20:5
The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out.

I thought this proverb deep and profound, but I do not quite understand it.

1. The purpose in a man’s heart – his purpose in doing something or his purpose in life?
2. A man of understanding – the same man or a second party?

I feel there could be several meanings to it.

One, a man can have purposes deep in his heart and being reticent about it. It takes another person with deep understanding to know what the purposes are behind the actions and words. Lesson: a person’s ultimate motive in doing something could be so hidden that we need to be wise enough to see him behind the façade.

Two, a man’s purpose in life as willed by God, other than to live for Him, could be difficult to know even by oneself, it takes a person with wisdom and understand to know it and live it. Lesson: for a person to know his purpose in life as designed by God, he needs to seek God daily for wisdom and understanding.

To me, that is the splendour of a proverb. Its meaning depend on the situation that one needs to apply it to. In contrast to the other parts of the bible, be it, epistles, narrative history, songs or prophecy, all which are confined to history and context, proverbs are wise sayings which can be applicable to any corresponding situation in life as long as the application is in line with the rest of Scripture.

Such is the beauty of the Word of God.


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9 comment(s)

  1. Hi Maeghan,
    I agree - it is so beautiful!
    This past week I heard 2 alternate interpretations of Daniel 1.
    The ancient rabbis believed that each passage of the Torah had 70 meanings. And the proverbs especially can have different layers of meaning. What a great God we have!

  2. Maeghan,

    Yeah this really is a matter of dual perspective.

    I think I see it a little differently though:

    a) Man's purpose dwells deep within him. But Solomon is telling us to become a person of understanding so that we can find our purpose.

    b) Man's purpose dwells deep within him. Solomon is telling us to find a man of understanding to discover our purpose.

    Either way it is pretty cool.

    God Bless

  3. When you think about it, the proverbs can have so many meanings - all of which are right in the right context. There is such a wealth of wisdom available to us in the bible, especially in Proverbs!

  4. Julia,
    This past week I heard 2 alternate interpretations of Daniel 1.
    Do share it with me if possible :)

    The ancient rabbis believed that each passage of the Torah had 70 meanings.
    70? Each Torah passage? How in the world?

  5. Doug,
    Good interpretation, both: become and find ... build up one self and go get a mentor.

  6. Gerald,
    Yeah ... the bible is truly amazing. Written by men, "breathed in" by God. Using various ways to reach out to the souls of men.

  7. Maeghan,
    I think that that what the rabbis said about the Torah having 70 meanings was symbolic. I have always thought this meant that since the number 7 is a symbol of infinity, it means each verse can have a meaning for many situations on through eternity, but that's just how my finite mind got a hold of that.

  8. The first thing I heard on Daniel 1 was a preacher being interviewed on TV about colon cleansing (I was more incredulous, than interested) but he was saying how Daniel & his friends were so much healthier because they ate vegetables, and I remember thinking there could be some truth to that. I suppose not so simple though. Then on Sunday, our Pastor preached on Daniel 1 and we learned that they were better because they didn't eat the food that had been sacrificed to idols. And there was definitely truth in the way she presented it...

  9. Hi Julia,
    I see ... the 70 being symbolic is interesting. But sometimes I think we have to be careful too because some verses I think just have one meaning. Eg. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and your mind - means just that.

    Colon cleansing and Daniel 1? Whoa ... I have seen many preachers taking passages out of context but this I think is going too far! Incredulous would be exactly my reaction too LOL.
    Talking about taking passages out of context, I just heard a preacher using 1 Tim 4:18 as biblical teaching to promote physical exercise!