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Proverbs for the Writer

Posted On April 14, 2019

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). This, stated my professor, would be the starting point for our class on doctrine. Delivered to Bible college by the bus of the public school system, this axiom was delightfully new to my academic environment. The basis of a for-credit class would be not only the knowledge of God but a pursuit of knowing God from a requested disposition of worship and humility? I gleaned from Proverbs 1:7 and this class: Humble yourself before God in order to know Him. Who He is as Lord requires it!

This principle has followed into my present-day studies and writing. I do not first learn and write so that I can write a post or make a submission. I first learn and write, privately, so that I can love my God more and better as He deserves. If He so ordains that my study and writing to remain private, I am content—no, rejoicing!—already.

When God does ordain study and writing to be for others—not only my transformation and worship—I find that the book of Proverbs also gives help for handling the truth and conveying it from the basis of humility before the Scriptures. A survey of Proverbs has been helpful to me as a framework for wise theological blogging—and if you are a studier and writer, I invite you to peer into these notes I have made on Proverbs in case they are beneficial for you as well:

  • “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). If I am writing theologically, I ask: What is the basis for truth in my words—how has His revelation driven these words?
  • “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew” (Prov. 3:19-20). If the Lord made all of creation with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, how many depths of these do I not know? My eyes can distinguish only drops. So, I am led to specificity with my words, attempting to not write of little-known (to me) depths, to be watchful for assumptions, and to not champion my own sense of reasonableness.
  • “My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge” (Prov. 5:1-2). To accurately preserve the knowledge of God when writing about Him is a sacred charge. Thus, I work against a rambling writing style and thoughtless, vague metaphors. For with these, the point is difficult to ascertain, and misinterpretations are easily made, causing truth to be delivered in obscured tidbits, at best.
  • “The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near” (Prov. 10:14). Truth about God is to be sought as gold, causing me to desire carefully-selected and to document accessibly-cataloged resources.
  • “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov. 12:1). To be corrected into better theology is a service to me—disagreement on content never being taken personally. Public debates and dialogs can be appreciated for the same reason—that they might purify the theological understandings of readers beyond those directly involved.
  • “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding” (Prov. 14:6; c.f. 15:14). A desire to exalt God’s perfections and ways allows theological knowledge to be healthily absorbed. And this parallels then passing forward knowledge through writing. When God is the focus, study and personal experiences flow into being utilized for demonstrating and conveying truth.
  • “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly” (Prov. 15:2). Before I began blogging and was familiar with the evangelical blogging landscape, I appreciated and commended truth-saturated articles from evangelical sites irrespective of the writer. Since, I have become more familiar with the blogosphere’s writers and notice the bylines when I read articles, yet I still aim to remember my former mindset. Meaning, I like to remember that readers are likely looking at the knowledge content of articles at ministry blog sites—over and above the writers. What I write, the substance, is deserving of my attention—not that I have been the one to write it. If truth has been conveyed—whether through me or someone else—I can rejoice.
  • “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Prov. 17:27). I have been a writer who thought I knew much; later, I experienced conversations with a humble professor at seminary who confessed how much he stood to learn. Far surpassing me, he chose to not answer some of my questions on this basis. I saw him demonstrate wise restraint—I was impressed and immediately desired to possess the same reaction.
  • “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov. 19:2). The organizational, connective, and creative aspects of blogging have all been part of my desire to write online. Yet, these desires needed to be weighed. And this proverb has taught me a singular test: Am I publishing this to promote the knowledge and worship of God? On this basis, my impulses are honed, steered, or rejected.
  • “The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the traitor” (Prov. 22:12). Theology is a study involving precision and accuracy. God is worthy to be pursued and known for who He has revealed Himself to be, which causes me to—prayerfully—refrain from taking liberties with Scripture.
  • “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Prov. 24:4; c.f. 24:5). Needing to be built and filled implies process and progress—or, hard work—not the Google searches I often employ. How much will I exemplify my love for God by working in a disciplined manner for more understanding of Him? This proverb reminds me to watch the lives of those already more disciplined and studied. How compelling, reaching, and fluid are the words of those who have long studied God! I can witness the reward.

Just as I learned in Bible school that knowledge of God starts with humble study, so when I write theologically for others, my words are also to humbly submit to His revelation. When God’s Word drives the substance of my words for others, unhelpful practices and mindsets can be more easily and routinely eliminated. My best defense against temptations that accompany writing online is a high view of God, a fear of Him—that He is utterly worthy of words that honor who He is and make Him wisely known.

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4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

Beauty on the Inside Around the corner from where I live, a house is for sale. In bold green letters, the lawn sign reads: “I’m Gorgeous Inside!” The message is surprising. From the street, the house is thoroughly ordinary, even run-down. It’s a seventies-era raised...

A Christian Reading Manifesto

A Christian Reading Manifesto

Modern technology has launched us into the stratosphere of learning. With the click of a mouse or a few keystrokes, we can access information from around the world and gain a treasure chest of knowledge. Smartphones are at the forefront of the new technological...

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