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A detailed study of some great "linking verses" of the Old Testament Book of Wisdom!  Preachers, these texts make great expository messages!



Dr. Bagwell holds an original 1613 King James Bible!


PROVERBS 1:20-23 ...

My wife and I usually study some portion of Scripture each month.

We have been in Jonah for the past two months! We spent May in the Gospel of Matthew.

This "new" month of August finds us in the Old Testament Book of Wisdom, Proverbs!

I feel impressed to call this "study" a search for the "Paragraphs in Proverbs."  By that I mean I'd like to find 2 or 3 (even 4 or 5) verse "sections" of Proverbs that deal with the same subject or carry one train of thought to some type of spiritual conclusion.

Many of the Book's precious Proverbs stand alone, with seemingly no linkage to the other verses before or after them!

Joyfully, in Proverbs chapter 1 we have already found several!  (There will be more linked paragraphs in the first part of the Book than in the last I suspect.)

Let me show you the first one that stands out in my mind.  (Sometimes Sister Norma settles on a different series of verses.  She may write on some of hers on the Ladies Page occasionally.)

Here is Proverbs 1:20-23.

"Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:  She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,  How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you."

Now obviously I do not have the space on this "Home" Page to study every word in this text.

But we can observe a few of its tendencies.

Wisdom here has been made "alive!"  She has taken on human traits!  She walks. She talks.  She invites others to partake of her skills!  (This is a literary device called "personification!"  It is a teaching tool usually.  BUT here in the Bible it is more, much more!  Wisdom here is a Representation of God!  Let me say it this way:  God IS Wisdom!  Three times the New Testament calls our Father "the only wise God!" See Romans 16:27 and 1 Timothy 1:17 and Jude verse 25.

Furthermore ... Jesus is the Sum Total of all God's Wisdom!  Paul tells us in Colossians 2:3 (speaking of Jesus):  "In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  Wow!

Next notice the love/hate relationship attributed to "sinners" in our Passage! Simple ones (ungrounded in God's Word) LOVE simplicity!  And bitter sarcastic mocking scoffers LOVE their scoffing!  (That's dangerously close to "gossipers" loving their gossiping or "slanderers" loving their slandering or "mockers" loving their mocking!) Then even fools HATE real godly knowledge (the opposite of foolishness, which they love)!

Therefore I reach this conclusion.  When God "saves" a man or woman, He changes their "love" targets!  Instead of loving stupidity ... they love the Word of God! Instead of loving bitterness and hatred ... they love the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy and peace plus 6 more)!  And instead of hating knowledge ... they love it (the knowledge of God)!

Lastly, Wisdom give us her "3 step program" to right living!  (It sort of sounds like "getting saved" to me!)

"Turn at my reproof!"  This she commands!  "Reproof" means arguments or rebukes or even chastisements!  This sounds like a way Wisdom gets her student's attention! Or it may be just a way of describing old fashioned "conviction!"

Step 2:  She "pours out" Her Spirit upon the repenting (turning) student!  (This is the precious Holy Spirit of God!)  To "pour out" is to make to gush out or to spring forth!  This sounds like a Goodly Portion to me!

Consequently, She "makes known her words" to the now hungry student!  The solution to all the problems in the Christian life begins with the Word of God ... as illuminated by the Spirit of God!

This a just a quick overview.  (But it sure has helped me early this morning!)

Someone e-mail me.  Do YOU believe these verses constitute a "Paragraph in Proverbs?"

Would they (to you) make a beneficial text for a 45 minute sermon?

Would they "edify" you ... if explained in more detail?  (Edify means to build up spiritually.)

I'm glad you have visited us today ... obviously with a  Bible in your hand!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 2:1-5 ...

Proverbs 2:1-5 is one of my favorite Passages of Scripture!

It is also one of the most exciting "Paragraphs in Proverbs."

It is one of those precious Bible "IF" ... "THEN" texts!  If we do certain things ... then God will respond in a promised manner!

Let me show you what I mean.

"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."  Proverbs 2:1-5

I have highlighted in red the key words IF and THEN!

Fellow believers, if we will do 8 things ... God promises that He will do (for us) 2 things!

Let me explain a couple of these verbs.

If we will RECEIVE God's Words ... we are on the road to finding true understanding and knowledge of our Lord!  Receive (in Hebrew = "laqach") means to fetch, seize, lay hold of or acquire.  But 4 times in the King James Bible it is translated "married!" (As it is in its first Bible use ... Genesis 19:14!)

In other words, this is not a casual or careless receiving of God's Words here!  No! No! It is a diligent (like pursuing one's future wife) action based upon sheer love and adoration!  I have not seen a lot of this lately, how about you?  BUT that's what it will take to get a real understanding of the Fear of the Lord!

Each of the next 7 verbs is equally instructive  (hide, incline, apply, criest, liftest, seekest and searchest)!

Again to illustrate, "hide" (in Hebrew = tzsphan") is the word used in Scripture to relate how they hid baby Moses, a special goodly child!  It is used when Rahab hid the 2 spies, precious men upon whom Israel's war intelligence depended!  (The idea here is carefully hiding something special!)  If the Word of God is that special to you ... you will hide it somewhere!  Maybe even in your heart!

The verb "incline" (in Hebrew = "qashab") means "to prick up the ears!"  (Much like your little doggie does when he hears you coming home!)  It is an indication of loving something or someone so much that you eagerly anticipate their arrival!

IF we do these things ....

THEN God will respond!

He promises to do two things!

He will give us understanding!

This is an understanding of the Fear of the Lord!

The Bible literally lists dozens of benefits and precious side effects of the Fear of the Lord!  No real Christian growth ever occurs without it!  The expression "Fear of the Lord" is found 30 times in the King James Bible!  We should study every one of these references!  In fact, Job 28:28 calls the Fear of the Lord WISDOM! 

It is clean!  Psalm 19:9  (And it will make you clean too!)

It can be learned ... if one has the right Teacher!  Psalm 34:11

It is the beginning of Wisdom!  Psalm 111:10

It is also the beginning of knowledge!  Proverbs 1:7

It can be rejected!  Proverbs 1:29

It makes one hate sin!  "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."   Proverbs 8:13

It adds years to one's life!  Proverbs 10:27

It brings safety to one's children!  Proverbs 14:26

It is priceless in value!  Proverbs 15:16

It will make you depart from evil!  Proverbs 16:6

It will keep evil away from you!  Proverbs 19:23

It brings honor and riches to one's life!  Proverbs 22:4

It is to become the constant "lifestyle" for the growing Believer!  Be in it "all the day long!"  Proverbs 23:17 and Acts 9:31

It gives one "quick understanding" in the things of God!  Isaiah 11:3

In other words God's first consequential action for us (giving the Fear of the Lord) ... leads us His second gift ... the knowledge of the Holy! 

Oh!  To know God better and better!  Is that not the hunger (the very heart cry) of every healthy Christian?

Folks, we have found a "jewel" of a paragraph of Scripture today!

IF ... THEN.

These are also called the "cause and effect" sequences of Scripture!  The Bible is full of them.  You will want to go on a "treasure hunt" for some of them soon!

Until then ... think about the one we've so briefly studied today!

It has the power to change our lives forever!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 3:9-10 ...

It's a short paragraph.  But it is God's inspired Word also!

I'm talking about Proverbs 3:9-10.

"Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."

A "paragraph," according to its etymology, is a writing (grapho) that follows alongside (para) the same subject.  (When a new subject surfaces, a new paragraph should begin!)

Both of our Proverbs verses today are about "giving" in some way.

The opening verb "honor" (in Hebrew = "kabad") means to be heavy or weighty!  In a picturesque way it has the idea of giving great "weight" to an opinion or to a person!  (To hold it or them in high regard!) 

Furthermore the verb is an imperative!  It gives us a command!  And it's in the "Piel" stem ... suggesting that our action here should be intense!

The noun "substance" (in Hebrew = "hon") means riches (11 times) or wealth (5 times) in the King James Version.  Of its 27 Bible occurrences 18 of them are in Proverbs!

And "firstfruits" (in Hebrew = "reshiyth") not only means the beginning or first (of a crop for example) ... but also means the best or chief part of that crop!  (God is encouraging us to give Him the first and the best of all our earnings!)

In fact the word for "increase" ("tebuah") literally means the first of all produce or crops ... then revenue or gain.  (In our Bibles it is translated "increase" 23 times and "fruit" 13 times!)

Our paragraph today is another of those "cause then effect" sequences also!  IF we give properly to God ... THEN He will reward us accordingly!


After I've honored God with my substance and shared with him the best of my increase ... He will fill my barns with plenty and my vats will burst forth with new wine!

A barn is a "storehouse!"  (That's exactly how it is rendered in Deuteronomy 28:8. "The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses.")

The verb "be filled" is an imperfect form of "male," indicating that God will continuously fill those barns too!  Keep honoring Him and He will keep filling your warehouses!

The word for "plenty" means "abundance!"

The noun for "presses" would  have been familiar to those who grew grapes and extracted the juice from them!  Scientists are still discovering the nutritional and therapeutic value of grape juice!  (Make mine the fresh and pure kind please ... not intoxicating!  That's another truth taught in Proverbs!  "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."  Proverbs 20:1)

"Burst" means to break through!  Or even to break over (overflow)!  Using our word here, the LORD is called "The Breaker" in Micah 2:13!  "The Breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them."

I take the term "new wine" to indicate fresh juice.  The reason it is "new" is that it can't be "old" and still be given to the Lord!  He wants it as soon as it is pressed, the "firstfruits!"  Paul uses the same principle in the New Testament when he says:  "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."  1 Corinthians 16:2)

Here's how Jesus taught this same truth in His Ministry.  Luke 6:38 --- "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Well, we've quickly surveyed another "Paragraph in Proverbs!"  I'll have to admit there are more of them than I ever thought!

When we go to church Sunday ... let's remember our checkbooks!

(I am NOT saying that we are to give only because of the rewards!  We should give whether there are any visible blessings or not!  The Lord might bless you by NOT allowing some reversal into your life!  That would not be a seen blessing ... but it is a blessing nonetheless!)

You do the giving!  Let God take care of the rest!  His promises never fail!

I fear that the only folks who would take great "issue" with this thought today ... might be those who are "stingy" with God!  Ponder this carefully, my friend!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 4:14-17 ...

"Four verses that definitely have linkage!" That's one way to describe Proverbs 4:14-17. Yet one of those four particularly spoke to my heart earlier this week.  (Sister Norma and I are spending the month in the Old Testament Book of Proverbs.  We are particularly looking for what I've been calling "Paragraphs in Proverbs."

"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.  For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.  For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence." Proverbs 4:14-17

This is what one might call a "separation" text. It tells us what to avoid in our lives! 

While the opening verb ("enter") is NOT expressed as an imperative (a command) ... it is clearly teaching that we are to stay away from certain kinds of people!  It is a simple active verb (Qal stem) with a sense of "timing" that implies ongoing action.  Don't go there today or tomorrow or ever!  (Or if you haven't gone there yet ... do not start!)

Then two nouns occur in the text, "path" and "way."  The word path ("orach" in Hebrew) is derived from a root verb that means to travel. Do not even travel in the direction of the wicked!  (Remember Lot?  "And Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom."  Genesis 13:12)

The noun way ("derek" in Hebrew) means road in the sense of a trodden down place!  A way is a path that has been used over and over again. It seems that these two words are progressive in nature!  (If you walk in the path of wickedness it will soon become a way of wickedness!)

A "wicked" man ("rasha" in Hebrew) is one who is actively wicked.  He is a promoter of his ungodliness!  He's an aggressive sinner.  (Militant!)

And while "evil" has a similar background, it is defined (Strong's definition) as being from a verbal root meaning to spoil!  To break in pieces!

Again there may be progression here!

The verb "avoid" (in Hebrew = "para") is an imperative, a stark command!  It means to let go, to let loose or to let alone!  It's first Bible use is in Exodus 5:4 where it means "to lead" someone!  The implication is that whether we avoid wickedness or associate with it ... we are "leading" others at the same time!  Leading them into or away from the vileness of sin!

"Pass not by it" (in Hebrew "abar") means don't even go near them!  Don't get close! (Here it's not "How close can I get and stay safe?"  It is "How far away can I possibly stay?")  The first Bible occurrence (in this precise form) is Genesis 18:3 where Abraham begs the Lord not to "pass away" from his presence!  The first occurrence in any form is Genesis 8:1 where the wind passes over the earth to dry it (after the flood). 

"Turn" from the wicked and evil men of this world!  "Turn" translates "satah" and means to decline or to go aside!  Here is another imperative verb!  Here's the unusual thing:  the verb is only used 6 times in the whole Bible! In every other Bible usage ... the word is employed in a context of adultery!  (Wow!)  To intermingle with wickedness and evil is an affront to the Lord Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom!

"Pass away" is "abar" again!  This time it is an imperative also!  (As "pass not by it" a few seconds ago ... it was just a simple active imperfect verb!  The imperative is stronger!  Again, we have progression!  As evil becomes more wicked ... our response to it must also become more forceful!)

These wicked people are then described!  They can't even sleep unless they have done mischief ("ra" again)!   This is violent harmful sin!

They will cause somebody to fall ("kashal" = to stumble, totter or stagger)!

These two ideas (mischief and causing someone to fall) are again progressive!  The second one is more hurtful than the first!  And usually the first one leads to the second!

Lastly we see what they eat and drink!  (Wickedness and violence!)  Here are two more terms that intensify in meaning!  Wickedness is malignant evil ... hurting others as well as destroying the sinner himself!  And violence is cruelty or damage to an innocent by-stander!

What an instructive paragraph we have had this Friday!  What a lesson in "separation" from sin!  What a "paragraph" in Proverbs!

Think about it today!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 5:21-23 ...

Here's a lesson in anthropology (the doctrine of man).

It is also a lesson in hamartiology (the doctrine of sin).

It too is a lesson in theology (the doctrine of God)!

"For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.  His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.  He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray."  Proverbs 5:21-23

Man is under God's superintendence.

Man's ways are sinful.

Man is mortal.

Man without God strays.

Sin is universal.

Sin captures and enslaves.

Sin thrives in situations of folly.

Sin aggravates one's death.

God sees all!

God considers all!

God is Judge!

The opening nouns, "ways" and "goings," are comparable.  But there is a slight difference in Hebrew.  "Ways" is a pretty common word for roads or paths.  It comes from a root verb that means "to tread."  While "goings" is a word that means to revolve or to circle (as on a running track)!  "Ways" lead to "goings!"  There is progression here.

The specific word "pondereth" translates "palas" (Hebrew) and means to weigh or make level.  Here's one way the verb is used in Scripture.  Isaiah 26:7 says:  "The way of the just is uprightness: thou, Most Upright, dost weigh the path of the just."

The word for iniquities is "avon" (pronounced aw-vone') and means things that have been twisted or turned and make crooked!  (Perverted out of their original shape!)

"Take," which is a verb, means to catch as in a net or a trap!  It is a Qal imperfect (active voice with an incomplete sense of timing ... action not finished yet)!  Sin "catches" people!

"Shall be holden" translates (in the passive voice) "tamak," meaning to be seized or held down!  Still ... it's on-going action!  Notice according to Job 36:17 what "takes hold" on God:  "But Thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on Thee."

"Cords" (in Hebrew = "chebel") means a rope (from a verb = to bind tightly, to twist)! Here is a word picture of sin ...  actually tying a man so that he cannot escape!  In the Bible (and with our same word here) some cords deliver and some imprison! For example, Joshua 2:15 --- "Then she (Rahab) let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall."

The particular word for "sins" means to miss or to forfeit a longed for prize! (With different languages and different vocabulary words ... still the Old Testament's and New Testament's main words for sin are identical in meaning!)

The word for "instruction" means chastisement!  (Literally ... to hit with blows!)  If one has no chastening from the Lord, he or she is not saved!  Hebrews 12:6 proves this.  "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth."  No chastening means no sonship!

And the last noun "folly" is linked in meaning to the word for "iniquities" we had earlier!  (That which is twisted or perverted.)  In Scripture the word is always associated with foolishness in one way or another.  It is used 25 times in the Old Testament.

"To go astray" translates the verb "shagah."  It means to err, to be deceived or even to be ravished (as in a state of intoxication)!  Sin here literally enraptures a person! (To fill with delight!)

What a paragraph from Proverbs!

What a study of sin and its effects upon mankind, all of which are under the supervision of God!

Today we should have learned more dangerous side-effects of sin!

Stay away from it!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 6:32-33 ...

I thought I was going to have trouble finding a suitable preaching paragraph in Proverbs 6.  It is a rather "personal" portion of Scripture.

Yet here's what the Lord showed me:

"But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.   A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away."

Now this today may be a little controversial.  And, of course, you do not have to agree with me.  BUT you had better let the Word of God speak to you heart!

What does the Bible mean by committing "adultery?"  It's explained earlier in Proverbs 6:29 --- "So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent."  Need I say any more?

Now we Bible believers hear a lot about the special "categories" into which certain sins fall!  For example, homosexuality seems to have brought about the fierce judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah based upon Jude 7.  ("Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.")

Also the sin of "PRIDE" does seem to bring about God's swift Hand of retribution! (Herod was eaten of worms when he accepted worship as God in Acts 12!  Lucifer was literally "kicked out" of Heaven for the same sin!)


Yet our text today certainly seems to imply that it's a sin with "special consequences!"

To "lack understanding" in common everyday terms means to be "stupid!"  The adulterer or adulteress is plainly "dumb!"  (The Hebrew word for "understanding" here is a bit unusual.  It's just their word for "heart."  I wonder if adultery does something to one's heart?  Or does the heart have to "slip" even before the adultery is committed?  I do know this.  David never soared as "high" spiritually AFTER his act of adultery as he did before his wicked deed!)

"Destroyeth" means "to decay or to cause ruin!"  There simply is a detrimental effect that adultery has on one's soul that is not as clearly mentioned in regard to other sins!  Want to destroy your soul (mind will and emotions)?  Go have a "fling" and you'll pay for it forevermore! (The first use of the verb in Scripture occurs in Genesis 6:11 and is translated "corrupt!"  In the King James Bible it is also rendered "to mar" and "to waste" and "to batter!")  The "battered" reference is 2 Samuel 20:15!  In Genesis 19:14 our verb (in the same precise form as here) is used to describe what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah!  He "destroyed" them!

(Preachers, beware!  You ministry will be "destroyed!")

Adultery promises at least three terrible consequences here!

1.  A "wound!"  (Plague, sore, stroke, stripes ... all are King James translations of the word here!)  The word literally means "to touch" then to touch HARD as with a blow or stroke!  How ironic of the Lord here!  I sometimes believe our God has a holy sense of humor!  He just said ... "You touched a woman being not your wife!  Then you will BE TOUCHED by the blast of My Mighty Hand!

2.  "Dishonour"  (It's translated "shame" 13 times and "confusion" 1 time in the King James!)  Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? 

3. "Reproach"  (The word comes from a root verb meaning "to pull off" or "to expose!"  Again, see the irony!  God says, "You pulled off another's man's wife's clothes, did you?  Well, I will pull off your disguises and pretenses and let everyone see what you really are!)


Men, stay faithful to your wives!

Ladies, do not listen to the devil!  Keep your marriage vows!

Avoid all these "pitfalls" of the sin of adultery!

(I don't know if this was a Bible "study" or a "sermon!"  But after God so laid it upon my heart, I had to share it with you!)

If anyone reads this far ... I'd sure like some "feedback."  (You can easily e-mail me by clicking the appropriate icon at the top of this very page!)


What a "Paragraph from Proverbs!"

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 7:1-4 ...

It is certainly a paragraph.

All the verses center around the precious Word of God!  In this context it is called by such terms as ...  "Word, Commandment, Law, Wisdom and Understanding!"

"My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.  Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.  Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.  Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman."

What we really have here is a godly Daddy instructing his son in the things of God! And his advice is strictly based upon God's Wisdom, the Word of God!

The verb "keep" is "shamar" in Hebrew and means to guard or to observe or to give careful heed!  Here the word is framed as a command!  It's an order!

The noun "words" ("emer" from the verb "amar")   comes from the verb stem that means "to speak."  This Daddy was so conversant with the Word of God that even his daily conversation (his "table talk" for example) was saturated in the Wisdom of God!  (Which comes from the Word of God!)

To "lay up" ("tzsphan" in Hebrew) means to hide or to put in a secret place!  It is expressing another command too!  It's the same verb they used when Moses' Mother "HID" him for three months after his birth!  (Exodus 2:2)  And the same word used when Rahab "HID" the two spies!  (Joshua 2:4)  It's also the same verb used in Psalm 119:11 --- "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

The noun "commandments" translates "mitzsvah" and means a code of conduct. (To give a charge!  To enjoin!)

The result of this:  and ye shall "live!"

The verb there ("chayah"), meaning to breathe and live, is translated "revive" 12 times in the King James Bible!  God Word will bring life ... or real revival to the Christian!

The noun "law" is in Hebrew "torah!"  (We all know that word!)  It comes from a verb that means "to flow like water."  Here's an Old Testament example of the Word of God being likened to water!  See Ephesians 5:26 where Paul promises:  "That he (the Lord) might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the Word!"

When God's Word is really being preached in power, something should be flowing all over you!  (I think you know what I mean!)

The "apple of one's eye" is usually explained as the "pupil" of the eyeball itself.  The exact word is "iyshon" and means "black!"  It's that little black circle in the middle of your eye!  It opens or closes in response to the amount of light it sees!

Our English word for "pupil" comes from a French term that means "little doll!"  It's a reference to "the little person in your eye!"  What's that?  If you stand real close to someone ... they can see in your eyes the reflection of themselves!  Due to that closeness they have become the "pupil" of your eyes!  (In Deuteronomy 32:10 God calls Israel the "apple of His eye!"  Pretty close, isn't it?)

That just how close the Word of God is to be to us too!

To "bind" them upon one's fingers means to tie or to gird to to confine or to join together.  (Here's another imperative!)  You married men look on your finger!  There is something bound to you there!  It reminds you that you belong to another, your wife!  In one Hebrew "stem" the verb can even mean "conspire!"  We are to conspire with the Word of God to live successfully and pleasingly before our God!

If my fingers are properly attired with the Word of God, they can do something else too!  "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight!"  Psalm 144:1  (Pretty impressive fingers!)

Proverbs 6:13 says the wicked man "teacheth with his fingers."  So can the godly man ... just in a different way!  (The Word is on his fingers!)

And the verb "write" is a command ("kathab") meaning to record, subscribe or engrave!  Our hearts have just been compared to books!

"Table" (used only 43 times in the whole Bible) means a board or a plate (as well as a table).  It is almost exclusively used in a holy, religious sense.  The Believer's heart is a holy thing!

"Say" is another imperative (from"amar") ... to talk.

"Wisdom" (in Hebrew = "chokmar") is skill or prudence.  One preacher defines it as "seeing life from God's point of view!"  That's pretty good!

Here for sure Wisdom is just another word for the Word of God ... which this Daddy is teaching his son.  God's wisdom is found in God's Word!

But what am I to say to Wisdom?  "Thou art my sister."  What does that mean?  The Hebrew word "sister" (achoth) comes from the Hebrew word for "brother" (ach)!  And they both come from the Hebrew word for "Father" (ab)!   Therefore all these words (called part of a "semantic field") indicate affinity to Father!  Likeness to one's Daddy! 

A believer will feel close to Wisdom because Wisdom is just another aspect of the Father's likeness!  Wisdom talks like the Father, acts like the Father, walks like the Father!  Wisdom is OF THE FATHER!  Wisdom (when feminine as here) is consequently my "sister!"

And, of course, we learn about the Father in His Word!  So far Wisdom (the Word of God) is the source of all my instruction!

"Call" is our last command in the paragraph.  It means "to cry out loud!"  It even means "to accost" someone!  That means to approach them aggressively!  Diligently!

"Understanding" is the Hebrew noun that carries the idea of "shades or levels of meaning!"  To understand something is to analyze it from different levels of intensity!  Many Bible words have varying shades of meaning.

But what about "understanding?"  She is my "kinswoman."  This is a Hebrew noun that means "acquaintance" and comes from the key root verb "yada" (to KNOW)! But not just any knowledge is meant here!  This is detailed knowledge.  This is intimate knowledge.  (As in "Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD." Genesis 4:1) This kinswoman business insinuates a "very close relative," or even a "wife!"


What intensity is here required!  What dedication to the Word of God!

And what a challenge to our hearts!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 8:33-36 ...

Sister Norma and I have been searching for "Paragraphs in Proverbs!"  By that we mean "groups" of verses that deal with the same theme.

They have been easy to find during the first 8 chapters.  But we are wondering what will happen after chapter 10 or 11.  As you know, the chapters then begin to deal with individual issues it seems.

Look at the little "jewel" the Lord has shown me for today!

"Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death."  Proverbs 8:33-36

These are the words of Wisdom herself! Wisdom has been "personified" (made alive) by Solomon ... especially in this 8th chapter of Proverbs (and again in the 9th chapter too).  This "personification" is MORE than a literary tool or a figure of speech!

Wisdom IS alive!

Here I strongly believe Wisdom is another Term for the Lord Jesus Christ, our lovely Saviour!  The very descriptions given to Wisdom in this chapter can only be true of Jesus! 


"All the words of my mouth are in righteousness!"  (Proverbs 8:8a)

"For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it."    Proverbs 8:11

"I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment."  Proverbs 8:20

"I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."  Proverbs 8:23

"When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth."   Proverbs 8:27

"And I (Jesus) was daily His (the Father's) delight, rejoicing always before Him." Proverbs 8:30

These truths can ONLY apply to Jesus in the most literal sense!

Paul said of Jesus in Colossians 2:3 --- "In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  Amen!

Having said all this ... it's clear that our Speaker in today's Paragraph is none other than Wisdom Himself, our dear Lord!

Listen again to what He says:  ""Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death."  Proverbs 8:33-36

I believe "instruction" is a reference to the Word of God!  It's "musar" in Hebrew and means instruction in a specific sense:  as correction or chastening or discipline or even rebuke!  (The literal meaning of the "root" stem here is "to chastise with blows!")

BUT can the Word of God so all that?  (If you've been saved long, you KNOW the answer to that one!)

Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16 --- "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness!"

We shall use this definition for being "wise:"  to see life from God's point of view! To be skilled at living according to God's plan!  Wise, an adjective, translates the Hebrew word "chakam." 

To "refuse" is to let go!  To let loose!  To let alone!  To ignore!  ("Para" in Hebrew)  And keep in mind that all this so far follows an imperative verb ("Hear" = "shama"), expressing a command!

"Blessed" is "esher" (in Hebrew) and 18 times in the Bible is translated "happy!" Wisdom brings happiness!  Jesus is The Source of joy!  And He uses the Word of God to deliver this happiness so often!  Psalm 19:8 says of God's Word:  "The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart."  Jeremiah 15:16 says:  "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart."  Glory to God!

"Man" is the Hebrew word "adam!"  You remember old Adam, don't you?

And "hear" ("shama") has the idea of hearing with understanding!

"Watching" (in Hebrew = "shaqad") means to be awake or alert!  (To be on the lookout!) 

"Daily" literally means every time it gets hot! (Every time the sun rises!)

"Gates" translates the Hebrew noun "deleth."  (The fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is this word!)  Red the daleth paragraph of Psalm 119.  That would be verses 25-32.  Count how many times "the way" is mentioned in 8 short verses! You see, the "door" opens to "the way!"  God's Word is so lovely!

"Waiting" ("shamar") means to observe or to keep or even to guard!  (Literally, "to hedge about!")

And the noun "doors" is from a Hebrew term that means "to open wide or to plough or to carve!"  For us to enter His Door ... Someone was opened, carved, pierced (on Calvary)!  Jesus IS The Door!  John 10:9

"Findeth" (in Hebrew = "matzsa") means to find by searching!  To find something that you have sought!  (It has the idea of attaining!)  Listen again to Paul:  "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:14

"Life" ("chay" in Hebrew) means life as welfare, happiness, felicity or blessedness! And I've just noticed that the word is plural!  Lives!  Meet Jesus!  Know Wisdom! Learn the Word of God!  AND you get real life down here plus blissful life in heaven eternally!

"Obtain" means to promote or draw out or further something.  (It's "root" literally means to totter or stumble into something!)  Perhaps it is teaching us that we are to pursue God's Word ... that alone!  But in the pursuit we "stumble" (as a side effect) onto His precious favour!

The precise noun for "favour" is "ratzson" and means pleasure or delight or acceptance! 

"Sinneth" is "to miss the mark!"   (To miss Wisdom as your goal!)

And "wrongeth" is "hamas!" (Or "chamas")  You have heard of the terrorist outfit called HAMAS!  This is their name!  They gave it to themselves!  It means violence! (To violate, to wrong or even to make naked or bare)  If you neglect the Book of Wisdom ... your strip your own soul of protection it badly needs!

"Soul" is "nephesh" and means inner life.

"Hate" has at its center the thought of "enmity."  (One who is your enemy!)  There are those who hate God!  Who hate Jesus!  Who hate the Bible!

But ... to hate God is to love death!

Did I get a little too long today!

Did anyone stick with me to the end?

What a "Paragraph in Proverbs!"

It sure makes me want hear the Word of God again and again!

How about you?

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 9:1-6 ...

Proverbs 9 is an interesting chapter!  (Of course all 1,189 of the Bible's chapters are interesting ... because God wrote them!)

See if you think these opening verses of Proverbs 9 have "linkage."  Do they constitute a paragraph of instruction?  I certainly believe they do.

"Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:  She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.  She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,  Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding."  Proverbs 9:1-6

It is plain to see that a meal is being prepared. In fact, it is a banquet!

And Wisdom (a symbol here of the Lord Jesus Christ according to many fundamental teachers) starts at the very beginning!

She builds the house in which the banquet will be held!  (Jesus created the heaven and the earth in which all God's banquets will be held too!)

She also has done some digging. "Hewn out" means to dig or to cut or to divide something. (Jesus did some digging around my soul and life too!  It's called Holy Spirit "conviction!"  In the process He was preparing me for a good foundation and some stability ... "pillars" ... in my Christian life!)

And look!  She is going to serve meat!  This is not frozen or canned or preserved meat either! Fresh meat! (Jesus is in the habit of serving His children meat too!  Good nourishing food from the precious Word of God!  He once said to His disciples:  "I have meat to eat that ye know not of."  John 4:32  Young Christians need milk. Strong Christians need meat!  See Hebrews 5:12.)

Her wine is a Bible symbol of joy!  This is obviously straight from the vine! "Mingled" suggests the juice is mixed on the spot.   (And oh, how Jesus gives His Own joy ... real joy ... full joy!  Listen to Him praying to the Father about His followers:  "And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves."  John 17:13  That we might have HIS joy in ourselves!)

And Wisdom has invited her guests!  Notice that the maidens are the ones doing the inviting ... but it is described as Wisdom alone who extends the gracious invitation! "She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city." (Jesus is the Inviters also!  He speaks through the Holy Spirit of course.  Listen to our Lord:  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28)

He invites those who are simple.  Here's the first Bible use of the word used for simple.  "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."  Psalm 19:7  This is the man who is willing to be led.  He knows that he is untaught.  He is NOT a smart-aleck! 

Now Her invitation gets a little stronger!  COME and DRINK are both imperatives! Wisdom is commanding us to be at her meal! (And Jesus' invitation of grace is NOT an option either!  Our very eternal destiny is resting upon what we do with Christ!  Here are the choices:  "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16)

But Wisdom makes something clear here.  A choice has to be made!  And this is a requirement too!  We must FORSAKE (to leave) the former companions! The "foolish" (same Hebrew word here as was used for "simple" two verses ago) must be left behind as we begin this new journey with Wisdom!  (Jesus said:  "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."  Paul added:  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  2 Corinthians 5:17)

Here we have had a parable of salvation for sure!

And it's right in the middle of Proverbs!

Are you saved?

Have you heard Jesus' voice?

If not ... listen!

He may be calling right now!

By the way, the Lord is GOOD at feeding folks.  He is a Banquet Specialist!  He fed a hungry preacher (Elijah) during a time of famine!  He fed 2,000,000 Jews in the desert for 40 years!  Psalm 78:19 asks:  "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" Yes!  He can and He did!  He furthermore fed 5,000 men with a little boy's lunch! And He fed some hungry disciples a broiled fish breakfast one morning after His Resurrection!  Plus He yet has two more great fests planned!  One is at the Battle of Armageddon ... where the Lord will feed the buzzards quite well!  The other is at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  I have an idea that here God saves the best for last!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 10:18-21 ...

It has 32 verses!  I am speaking of Proverbs chapter 10.  It begins a new "section" of the Book.  It opens with these words:  "The Proverbs of Solomon ...." 

For most of the rest of the Book we get chapters with numerous and various "one-verse" bits of wisdom.

Sister Norma and I were wondering:  Even in those chapters, can one find "clusters" of verses (however long or short) that focus on one basic theme?

Well, I have my doubts about some of the chapters ... but chapter 10 is NOT one of them!


"He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.  In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.  The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.  The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom." Proverbs 10:18-21

While there is little "continuity" between the verses ... there remains a central theme --- the tongue!

Once noticing this I "discovered" an additional fact.  The Holy Spirit in chapter 10 has "sandwiched" this paragraph on the tongue between several other disconnected tongue verses also!

It is arranged like this:

Verse 11!  Verse 13!  Verse 14!  Verses 18-21! Then Verse 31!  And Verse 32!

(I am so glad that we have gone searching for "Paragraphs in Proverbs!")

Let's glance at today's "paragraph:"

Verse 18 reminds us that there are certain kinds of people who talk like they love us ... but really down inside their hearts they hate us!  "He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool."  The verb "uttereth" (in Hebrew = "yatzsa") means to "bring out" or to "lead out."  (To cause to go out!) It is in the Hiphil or "causative" stem.  And the noun "slander" (again in Hebrew = "dibbah") means an evil report! (Defamation ... says one textbook!)  The word for fool here can mean a stupid man!  It also can mean a proud man!  (Maybe they are the same!)

Verse 19 just declares a great truth!  "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."  Here it is in short form:  THE MORE YOU TALK ... THE MORE YOU SIN!  YOU ARE WISE IF YOU SHUT UP!  The verb "wanteth" means to cease or to desist or to leave undone.  The word here for sin means "to break away" or to "revolt!"  (Sin is rebellion against God!)  "Refraineth" means to keep back or to withhold.  Once it is even translated "punisheth!"  (Ezra 9:13)  Wise means prudent ... or circumspect!  (Seeing life from God's point of view!) Let's talk less!

Verse 20 gives us a good verbal "values system!"  It says:  "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth."  Here heart and tongue are used as parallels. (Because, you see, the tongue just reveals what's in the heart already!)  A godly (just) man speaks valuable words!  The wicked (guilty of sin against God) will not say much of value at all!  "Little worth" translates "maat," which means a small thing or a light thing!  It's from a verb that means to cut down into something smaller!  (Which the wicked tongue does quite often!)

And Verse 21 pictures the tongue as a source of strength and nourishment!  "The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom." (An unusual thought!)  Jeremiah found God's Words and did eat them!  (Jeremiah 15:16) Jesus told the devil (quoting from Moses in Deuteronomy) "Man shall not live by bread alone ... but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God!"  (Matthew 4:4)  Our words constitute "food" for thought!  The verb "feed" (in Hebrew = "raah") speaks of the shepherd providing for his flock ... to tend or to pasture!  The noun for fool here means one who is "perverse."  (Twisted our of God's original plan for himself!)  The word "want" (in Hebrew = "chaser") means lack or void or need.  And wisdom is our old friend "leb," which is the main Hebrew word for heart! (Remember Proverbs 4:23 --- "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  Jesus said this too in Matthew 15:18 --- "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart.")


We have had a series of short "tongue tamers" today!

May the Lord apply them to our lives!

(Pick one ... quickly memorize it ... and "chew" on it throughout the whole day! That's how to turn a Friday into a real day of blessing!)  You are sitting at a computer screen!  Copy your verse (or the whole passage) quickly ... print it in larger letters ... put it in your pocket or by your desk and work on it! 

If so ... we shall enjoy a day of wisdom ... of "godly" wisdom!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 11:24-26 ...

The word that comes to my mind is "stingy!"  It means "not generous, sparing or scant in giving or even miserly."

It's opposite is "generous!" 

And these words seem to be the theme of a paragraph in Proverbs!

"There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.  The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.  He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it."  Proverbs 11:24-26

The first verb "scattereth" (in Hebrew = "pazar") means to disperse something.  It is a Piel stem which suggests that the "broadcasting" here is done intensively and with great enthusiasm!

Here is a man or woman who loves to share things!  They generously donate their time or their skills or their resources as much as possible!

But, Preacher, they will never have a thing!  They must learn to save (hoard) and keep things for old number one (self)!

BUT look at what our text says!

The one who scatters ... also increases!

This verb means to add or to exceed or to continue!  (It is a Niphal stem participle ... telling us that the action here is set in the passive voice.  His "increase" comes from Someone other than himself!  It's from the Lord!)

This is the same lesson Jesus taught us in Luke 6:38 --- "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Now let's glance at the opposite character.  "There is that withholdeth more than is meet."

"Withholdeth" simply means "to keep back."   It's a simple active verb.  This reveals that this action is done repeatedly (to the very present moment)!  "Meet" means right!  Here's the "stingy" man!

But where does his selfishness lead?  "But it tendeth to poverty."  The noun "poverty" means "to lack, to fail or to lessen!" 

Wow!  What a message! (Give and God adds to you!  Hoard and you loose every time!)

Then ... our truth under consideration is amplified.  "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself."  Liberal is just another way of saying generous.

But the word "generous" is so interesting.  It is really the Hebrew word "barakah," which means blessed!  If we are sharing in our lifestyles ... God will BLESS us!

Watereth ("ravah" in Hebrew) means "to slake someone's thirst!"  (To give them something to drink!) Once in the King James Version it is translated "bathed" and once "soaked!"  See Isaiah 34:5 and 7!

One translation of "fat" is anointed!  The generous man is anointed of God!  The word (in Hebrew = "dashen") is one that is also associated with "ashes" in the Old Testament.  The ashes of a totally dedicated sacrifice!

"And he that watereth shall be watered also himself" is just another Bible way of saying "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."  Galatians 6:7 Furthermore ... the second Hebrew word for water here is different from the first! "Watereth" (as we have seen) is "ravah."  But "shall be watered" is a translation of "yarah."  This means "to flow (as water) or to shoot (as an arrow) or even to teach (as a lesson)!  It's actually the word that ultimately gives the Jews their noun "Torah," the Word of God!  (Is it the generous man who best understands the message of God's Word?  The very Grace of God!)

And then in our last verse today an illustration is introduced.  It has to do with withholding corn!  How did "corn" get into this discussion?  "Withhold" means to keep from benefit!  (This goes further than just being stingy!  Here is a choice to harm someone by ignoring them!)

Corn would have been a basic food staple of their day.  It's "bar" in Hebrew ... from a word that means to "examine."  It pictures the winnowing process through which all their grain had to pass!  (Maybe our giving should be carefully examined!)

Curse, the verb, means "to puncture or to perforate violently!"  Wow!  The ultimately stingy man will be harmed! 

Blessing (again = "barakah") means benediction or prosperity.

Selleth means at a reasonable price also!  (Not price "gouging!") But the precise verb here ("sheber") means "to deal in grain!"

It pictures one who is fair and honest in his business practices!

Here's the lesson:  Be generous ... and God will bless you!  Be stingy ... and you will sooner or later face the curses of the people!

And this is a major topic in Proverbs!

Will you generously give to your church and its ministries tomorrow?  Will you be selfish toward your Pastor or some member of his family?  Will you ignore that benevolence offering that is to be received?  Are you a generous Christian?

How could we not be giving ... when Jesus has given His ALL for us?

By the way ... I think this whole paragraph points to Jesus anyway!


Quickly I'll tell you. 

Here's out "text" again:

"There is that scattereth, and yet INCREASETH; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that SELLETH IT."

See that verb "increaseth?"  I've "highlighted" it for you.

It is the Hebrew word that gives us the name JOSEPH!

Joseph means "adding and adding!"

And see that mention of "corn?" 

Do you happen to remember that in Joseph's life he, knowing by divine revelation of the coming famine, stored corn and sold it to the hungry ... at fair prices?

These verses are talking about wise old Joseph!

And of Whom does Joseph remind us?

Of Whom is he a "type?"

Of Jesus, of course!

Who is the most generous One you know?


Who is the most blessed One you know?


Who is our Pattern for giving (and living)?


Who gave the greatest gift of all?

JESUS ... on the Cross of Calvary!

I think this morning we have discovered (again) Jesus in Proverbs!

Have a good (and a godly) day!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 14:26-27 ...

The best I can count ... the Fear of the Lord occurs (in one form or another) 17 times in the Book of Proverbs alone!

The references are somewhat evenly placed throughout the whole Book.  (From chapter 1 to chapter 29 anyway)

However, I can only find one place in the whole 915 verse "corpus" (the whole "body" of the Book of Proverbs) where the Fear of the Lord occurs in two successive verses!

Here is that occasion.

"In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."  Proverbs 14:26-27

According to my dictionary this qualifies as a paragraph!  (Which must consist of at least two sentences.  Here we have three ... a "compound" verse 26 and a "complex" verse 27.)  So ... here's our newest "Paragraph in Proverbs!"

The word "fear" is "yirah" in Hebrew.  It is their general word for being afraid ... but in a moral sense can mean reverence or respect.  I believe both meanings apply in Scripture.

The term "fear of the Lord" implies a certain holy fright at the very Person of God Almighty! Not a debilitating fright necessarily ... but an awe that strikes one deeply within his or her soul or spirit.  This I believe could be called today Holy Spirit "conviction." 

The salvation to which such conviction is designed to lead then produces a godly reverence, respect and worship of the same God Who now has introduced Himself in a personal manner (through His Son Jesus Christ)!

The Old Testament "fear of the Lord" is comparable to New Testament "trust with all one's heart."  (Old Testament fear = New Testament reverence!)  And it is perfectly legitimate to Biblically refer to the Fear of the Lord in this New Testament age of Grace too!

The noun "confidence" is "mibtach" and means a place of refuge, a place of hiding! (It comes from the verb that means "to run and hide for safety!")  Here already it is a synonym for "trust!" 

The qualifying adjective "strong" (in Hebrew = "oz") means stout!  In the King James Version it is used as strength, power, might, boldness and even loudness once!

The noun "children" (in Hebrew = "ben") is plural of course.  It strictly means sons but when plural often includes daughters as well.

Here are blessings upon one's very children because the parent has the Fear of the Lord!  (Children do not get "saved" by their parents' faith!  They must personally believe on Jesus ... but certain "side-effect" blessings do come their way!)

The little verb "shall have" means it will come to pass, to come to be, to happen!  It's in the "imperfect" form ... telling us that the action is ongoing!  This blessing will continue in their lives!

And a "place of refuge" is a word that means (like "confidence" earlier, "mibtach") a place to run for safety!  But here's a slight difference in the "shades of meaning" between the two terms.  The one used for the children is more intensive!  Their running and hiding in the Lord is more dramatic and demonstrative (according to the grammar people)!

Wow!  Faith can even get STRONGER as it is passed from Father to son or daughter!  (If a father's sins can impact the children ... I'm so glad his faith can too!) See Exodus 20:5.

According to my lexicon this "place" is translated "shelter" twice in our Bible!  A shelter from the storm, or from danger (or even from falsehood)!

The Lord is my Shelter!  My Refuge!  My Fortress!  My Rock of Safety!

The the noun "fountain" must be considered.  It is "maqor" and means a source or a spring or an "issue" or (twice) a wellspring!  (A fountain suggests moving fresh clean water!  Nothing stagnant here!)  This sounds like Jesus' John 7:38 statement!  "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."  He was speaking of the Holy Spirit!

I'm now going to say this.  The Holy Spirit is the Member of the Godhead Who produces the fear of the Lord within us anyway!  Want proof?  Isaiah 11:2 --- "And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him (Jesus), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." 

"To depart" means to turn away!  (It's an infinitive!  Keep on turning away!)  The fear of the Lord in the Bible always seems to have both a positive and a negative side!

The noun "snares" means traps or lures or pitfalls!  Proverbs 13:14 also mentions the "snares" of death.  Plus it presents us with another very interesting parallel!  "The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."  Here the "fear of the Lord" is likened to the "law of the wise!"  Wise followers of our God adopt the fear of the Lord as a way of life!

So look!  Death ("maveth") has snares!  Therefore I am assuming that when one dies ... great care is to be taken!  The "traps" of death can get you!  So ... it's only logical that you need to prepare in advance for such death!  (Wouldn't it be great if you had One Who could walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death?  One Who had already been there before and conquered death and all its snares/traps!)  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  Psalm 23:4  Glory to God!

I think here in our Old Testament paragraph we have some pretty strong "hints" about the coming New Testament plan of salvation!

And it's all contained in one little "paragraph!"

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 15:16-17 ...

Anyone who has studied much in the Book of Hebrews knows that its "key" word is "better." You will find it 12 times in that Epistle!

Yet ... to my surprise ... there is a Bible Book that uses "better" even more times than Hebrews!

I have found it 20 times in Proverbs! 

Proverbs is the "better" Book of the Bible!  (Note that it is also more than twice as long as Hebrews!)

Of course the "truth" behind the word "better" is the same in both Books!  In each case the term is talking about the Lord!

In Hebrews Jesus is "better" than Moses or the Law or even Aaron's Priesthood!

And in Proverbs the Lord is "better" in every way of life!

But of the 20 times "better" is used in Proverbs ... only in one chapter is it used in consecutive verses!

Hence there verses form a "paragraph!"

"Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Proverbs 15:16-17

The Hebrew word for "better" in each case is "tob" and means good, precious, prosperous, beautiful, glad or even merry!  (All these are King James translations.)

In this short text the "fear of the Lord" is again praised!  The word "little" (in Hebrew = "maat") means few or small or light. 

"Treasure" translates Hebrew "otzsar" and has the idea of storehouses or garners (barns for grain) or even once an armoury! 

"Trouble" is a rendering of a Hebrew noun ("mahumah") meaning destruction or tumult or vexation! 

Our verse is teaching us that one is better to be poor and know God (with great reverence and trust) than to have great wealth and suffer all kinds of tension and turmoil!  ("I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold" the hymn writer stated!)

Then comes immediately another comparison with the word "better!" 

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."

The noun for "dinner" is "aruchah" and means an allotment or a diet or victuals. (One's food ration)  The word is only used 6 times in the whole Bible! 

"Herbs" is the word they would have used for garden greens.  (Vegetables!)  A meal with no meat?  Yes!  That's what is implied here.

"Love" translates the usual Hebrew noun "ahabah."  All 40 times it's used in the Old Testament it's uniformly expressed as "love."  (It is in the feminine gender!)

I am wondering in this two verse "parallelism" if the noun "love" is not a synonymous term here for "fear of the Lord" too.  (To "fear" Him is to "love" Him in Old Testament terminology!)  Deuteronomy 10:12 proves the point.  "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul."  Here fearing God and loving God and serving God are all equated!

But what is a "stalled" ox?

It is literally a "fatted calf!"

"Stalled," an adjective, is only used twice in the Bible (Hebrew = "abas")  Once it is rendered as "stalled" and once as "fatted!"  (1 Kings 4:23)

(Another fatted calf in Scripture!)

And "hatred" (in Hebrew = "sinah") has in its meaning the idea of enmity.  One can see the word "enemy" lurking within that definition!

Basic truth here:  It's better to eat poorer foods with love ... than dine luxuriously with stress and strife!  (Salad or buffet?  It depends on the circumstances!)

Among other things our Proverbs Paragraph today is teaching us that God has a values system that we need to adopt. 

His "ways" need to become our "ways!"

What pleases Him should please us!

What grieves Him should grieve us too!

God's "ways" are higher and BETTER than our ways for sure!

Friend, living by today's two verses alone just might extend your life for a while! Even your doctor will tell you that trouble and hatred exact a great price on your health and strength!

Poor folks ... and hungry folks ... you may be in BETTER condition that you ever imagined!

The fear of the Lord and the love of God more than compensate for a hoard of gold or a T-bone steak!  (In fact, one meaning for "better" is wealth!  It is so used 3 times in our Bibles!  And another meaning for "better" is favour!  That's a synonym for love! God's "better" replaces the wealth of the world and the hatred of man with super-substitutes!)

Paul put it this way in 1 Timothy 6:6 --- "But godliness with contentment is great gain."  Did you get that?  GREAT GAIN!  (Wow!)

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 16:1-7 ...

I don't know why I have not seen this before now!  We have been studying in Proverbs again. We are looking for "linking" verses or thoughts this time.  We've called our search the "Paragraphs in Proverbs" project.

Yesterday Sister Norma noticed it.  I've thought about it for nearly 24 hours now.  So ... here goes the thought.

We begin in Proverbs 16.

"The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.  Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.  When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."

The unique thing about these 7 verses is that they ALL contain the word LORD! In fact, that's the only thing that holds them together.

I began to ponder that truth.  You know what?  That's what holds the whole Book of Proverbs together! 

The LORD does!

Proverbs tells us how God thinks!  And how God expects us to behave!  It literally shows us how God views life and death and every other thing too!

The Name LORD (meaning Jehovah) occurs 86 times in Proverbs!  I counted!

The Name God (meaning Elohim) occurs 8 more times!

HE is the Uniting Influence over the whole Book!  (Proverbs has 915 verses.)

Now quickly back to our "text" paragraph.

"The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.  Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.  When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."  (Proverbs 16:1-7)

Verse 1 tells us that God is in ultimate control of everything!  (Even the plans of one's heart and the responses of one's tongue!  God controlled old Balaam's tongue, didn't he?)  This does not relieve man of any personal responsibility either!  Jesus teaches us that in Matthew 12:37 --- "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."  Again, here it is:  "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD."  Proverbs 16:1  (Man can't properly plan or think and certainly can't even speak correctly without the help of Almighty God!)  We must depend on Him for everything!

Verse 2 declares that a man believes his way to be right (clean = pure) ... but only the Lord can judge the issue clearly!  Notice that a man's spirit controls his ways!  "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits."  Proverbs 16:2  Man looks at things one way ... and God another!  (And God is right!) "Weigheth" means to measure or to regulate.

Verse 3 is a challenge (and a promise)!  "Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established."  Proverbs 16:3  To "commit" is to roll something over onto a bigger object!  Works is the common noun for deeds or labors.  The word thoughts means imaginations or plans!  And established is a Hebrew verb that means to be firm or erect.  God stabilizes our very thoughts! Wow!  (Give God your works ... and He will confirm your very thoughts!  We must begin each work day and each job with prayer ... committing the task to Him!  If one does so ... he will "think" better!)

Verse 4 is a more difficult one!  "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."  Proverbs 16:4  Again, God is seen as being in control of everything!  He will make all things conform to His ultimate will!  Even the wicked!  Old anti-christ will play right into God's big hands!  So will the rebels running around America today!  God used wicked Nebuchadnezzar to His glory!  See Jeremiah 25:9.

Verse 5 tells us something God despises!  Abomination means disgusting! (Nauseating!) "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished."  Proverbs 16:5  Proud means high or lofty!  And unpunished means guiltless or innocent.  The term "hand joining hand" means even though the proud come together in a confederacy against God (or God's people) ... they still will be punished!  (They did this at Calvary!  They will do it again at Armageddon!)  And God will condemn them at the Great White Throne judgment!

Verse 6 gives us hints of the plan of salvation!  "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."  Proverbs 16:6  How are sins purged (atoned, forgiven)?  By mercy and truth!  Who is Mercy?  Jesus!  Who is Truth?  Jesus!  Jesus saves old sinners!  And what is the fear of the Lord but ... trust and adoration and commitment to Jesus as Saviour and Lord?  (Notice also here the implication that once a man has trust Mercy and Truth ... Jesus ... he will depart from evil!)  Depart means to put away or to turn from or to remove!

And then verse 7, which is one of my favorites!  "When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."  Proverbs 16:7  I believe the verse is saying that our God is BIG enough to even control the responses of our enemies!  If I please God ... He can make my enemies act right!  To "please" God is to bring Him pleasure or delight.  "To make to be at peace" translates a Hebrew verb "shalam" (akin to "shalom") meaning to be safe or even to be friendly! God can turn an enemy into a true friend!  The noun enemy comes from a verb root that means "to hate."  What a great God!  (Here's another of the many side effects of loving God ... the greatest of which is just knowing Him and fellowshipping with Him!)

Here are seven quick verses ... with seemingly nothing in common ... until you notice the word LORD in each of them!  HE ties them all together!  HE makes this paragraph!

In reality HE ties the whole Book of Proverbs together!

HE ties the whole Old Testament together!

HE joins the whole Bible into one glorious unit!

HE ties all of life together!

And all of eternity too!

HE is All in All!  (See 1 Corinthians 15:28 where Paul promises:  "That God may be all in all.")

We are surely glad you've visited here today ... with a Bible in your hand!  You are welcome to come anytime!  Don't we have a great Book to study?

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




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