Wednesday 06 November 2013

Bible Book:

“Those who ignore instruction despise themselves, but those who heed admonition gain understanding.” (v. 32)

Proverbs 15:18-33 Wednesday 6 November 2013


How do you react if someone offers you a critical comment orsuggests ways in which you might live better? So accustomed are weto the objection that no-one should judge another person and thatcriticism is always a bad thing, that today's passage cuts acrosswhat our culture teaches us. The heart of this particular extractcomes at the end in verse 32. Here the sages suggest not simplythat listening to advice is a good thing, but that to fail to do sois a form of self-hatred. A more literal reading of this versewould say 'The one who casts off discipline despises his (her) ownself but the one who hears reproof gains a heart'. In both theHebrew Bible (the Old Testament) and the New Testament the heart ismuch more central to human living than in our understanding today.Where we associate the heart with feeling, in Scripture the heartis the centre of will and knowledge as well - we might say theheart is the centre of the personality. We still have a vestige ofthis in phrases such as being 'wholehearted' about something, whenwe mean being fully involved and committed. Thus what the verse issaying is much deeper than simply we gain understanding - rather wegain a centre to our living, a sense of who we are. To gain a heartis to gain a stable sense of who we are and how we should live. Weneed to listen well in order to grow into having a heart.

To Ponder

  • Is there a particular proverb from today's passage which youcan take with you to ponder during the rest of the day? What is it?And why do you think it jumps out at you?
  • How do you respond to criticism?
  • What would it mean to you to 'have a heart'? 
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