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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
bcbsr

Interpreting Proverbs

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bcbsr

 

INTERPRETING PROVERBS

 

Pr 26:4   Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
Pr 26:5  Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

 

Here are a pair of verses, one following the other, of which the foolish would claim contradict one another, as if the author in writing verse 5 forgot what he wrote in verse 4! In fact what they do is help us to understand how proverbs is to be read.

On the surface, taken literally, these appear as contradictory commands. But what we must understand is that for many proverbs there are two principles which describe the sense in which they are written which resolves such paradoxes.

 

Principle #1: Many of the apparent commands are to be taken not as explicit commands but rather as principles - IF A THEN B.

 

Principle #2: Most of the proverbs are GENERAL principles as opposed to things which are true in every particular case. Thus most should be understood to be preceeded with the expression "Generally speaking".

So for example in the cases above we would say

 

"Generally speaking if you answer a fool according to his folly then you will be like him, but on the other hand you will prevent him from being wise in his own eyes."

Thus you are presented with a choice in answering a fool. Proverbs considers the pros and cons but leaves it up to you to decide which is best for your particular circumstances. Thus proverbs is less a set of rules and regulations and more a set of observations from which the wise in spirit can derive applications.

 

An application of Principle #2 is to beware of applying labels universally. For example proverbs speaks much of "fools" as if there are a distinct group of people in the world who are fools and everyone else is not a fool. But in fact all of us are fools to different degrees. And so also is in the case with other such labels as the sluggard, the stingy, the scoffer, the righteous, the wise, the faithful. But this is not to say that it is inappropriate to label individuals. For such is done both in society and throughout the Bible. However such labels, if they refer to a person's behavior, are not to be taken in an absolute sense but rather to be understood as a description of the person's overall lifestyle or character.

 

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

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Matthew A.Duvall
On ‎10‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 9:40 AM, bcbsr said:

 

INTERPRETING PROVERBS

 

Pr 26:4   Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
Pr 26:5  Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

 

Here are a pair of verses, one following the other, of which the foolish would claim contradict one another, as if the author in writing verse 5 forgot what he wrote in verse 4! In fact what they do is help us to understand how proverbs is to be read.

On the surface, taken literally, these appear as contradictory commands. But what we must understand is that for many proverbs there are two principles which describe the sense in which they are written which resolves such paradoxes.

 

Principle #1: Many of the apparent commands are to be taken not as explicit commands but rather as principles - IF A THEN B.

 

Principle #2: Most of the proverbs are GENERAL principles as opposed to things which are true in every particular case. Thus most should be understood to be preceeded with the expression "Generally speaking".

So for example in the cases above we would say

 

"Generally speaking if you answer a fool according to his folly then you will be like him, but on the other hand you will prevent him from being wise in his own eyes."

Thus you are presented with a choice in answering a fool. Proverbs considers the pros and cons but leaves it up to you to decide which is best for your particular circumstances. Thus proverbs is less a set of rules and regulations and more a set of observations from which the wise in spirit can derive applications.

 

An application of Principle #2 is to beware of applying labels universally. For example proverbs speaks much of "fools" as if there are a distinct group of people in the world who are fools and everyone else is not a fool. But in fact all of us are fools to different degrees. And so also is in the case with other such labels as the sluggard, the stingy, the scoffer, the righteous, the wise, the faithful. But this is not to say that it is inappropriate to label individuals. For such is done both in society and throughout the Bible. However such labels, if they refer to a person's behavior, are not to be taken in an absolute sense but rather to be understood as a description of the person's overall lifestyle or character.

 

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

I don't see any contradictions in these passages .

The proverb almost centers on common sense . Verse 4 is simply stating a fact. Answering a fool according to his folly puts you in the same mindset as the fool himself.

Verse 5 is a warning against inciting pride and arrogance by joining with what ever the fool is saying . It doesn't take a lot to stroke the "genius " of some fool (idiot)  seeking to lure an individual into his foolish line of thinking.    M

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