Friday, January 01, 2016

The Doctrine of God in Proverbs


All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). That means the Book of Proverbs is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine.

I’ve been particularly interested in the doctrine of God in Proverbs over the last several years. With this post I’m beginning what I hope to be a series on the doctrine of God in Proverbs.

The word “God” shows up six times (Prov. 2:5, 17; 3:4; 25:2; 30:5, 9) and God’s personal name, Yahweh (usually LORD in English translations), shows up 86 times.

Looking first at the six places where “God” occurs, what can we learn about God from these verses?

The first occurrence of “God” is in Proverbs 2:5, “Then you will discern the fear of Yahweh And discover the knowledge of God.”

1. Right off the bat, it is easy to see that knowledge of God is discoverable, and thus that God is knowable. This may seem hum-drum. However, both in the Ancient Near East and in much of modern society a personal relationship with God was and is regarded as impossible. As I'll point out in upcoming post, the NT confirms that Proverbs  invites us not only to know about God, but also to know Him. But more on that later ....

2. The paralleling of God and Yahweh in Prov. 2:5 indicates that they refer to the same person and strengthens the conclusion that God is knowable. God tells us in Exod. 6:3-8 that His name Yahweh signals that He is the God who enters into personal relationships with people to whom He makes and keeps promises and covenants.

3. Prov. 2:5 is the “then” part of an extended “if-then” clause (Proverbs 2:1-5) The “if-then” clause can be summed as “If you search diligently for wisdom ... then what you find is the fear of Yahweh and the knowledge of God.” The following verse gives the reason this is what you find: wisdom comes from Yahweh (2:6).

The search for wisdom leads you to God, whose name is Yahweh, for all wisdom comes from God. Further, it is only in relationship with Yahweh (knowing Him) that wisdom is properly oriented and applied.

Would you like to be wiser in the new year? Pursue a whole-life relationship with the all-wise, only-wise God who gives generously and without upbraiding to those who ask for wisdom (1 Tim. 1:17; Jam. 1:5). This is precisely what we are commanded to do in Proverbs 3:6, “in all your ways know Him, and he will direct your paths.”

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