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  1. DIRECT AND IMMEDIATE APPLICATIONS Pr 17:24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Wisdom is the discernment of the appropriate applications of knowledge. A person of discernment recognizes the direct or immediate application. But the fool overlooks such applications and even finds no application of knowledge in all the world. Such people reminds me of those Paul speaks of as "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth." 2Tim 3:7 Pr 14:6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning. Mockers study the Bible only that they may mock, but they miss the application. Therefore as you study the Bible, do so seeking for direct and immediate applications. Don't just study it, do it! The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  2. THE BALANCE OF JUSTICE Pr 17:15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the LORD detests them both. While the ordinary Christian is generally only involved to a very limited degree with the justice system of whatever particular country they abide, the Lord is concerned for issues of justice. In fact this is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. Jer 9:23,24 The Lord is not only concerned for issues of justice. He involves himself in such matters. Now there are some who would argue that the guilty should be punished, even at the cost of some innocent being condemned. And there are others who would argue that the innocent should be acquitted even at the cost of acquitting some of those guilty. Both arguments should be weighed equally. God is equally concerned that the guilty not be acquitted as he is that the innocent not be condemned. The Lord detest corrupting justice to either degree. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  3. FLIP A COIN Pr 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Want to see God intervening in natural events? Just flip a coin. God determines the outcomes of all stochastic events. Statistically it can't be proven nor disproven. For while the probability curves of stochastic events are generally predictable in simple cases, the outcome of each particular event is not predictable. Thus while on the average the flip of a coin will result in heads half the time and tails half the time, the outcome is indeterminate for each particular flip. This is one way in which God is intimately involved in everything that happens, and yet his involvement is hidden. This is not to encourage people to gamble. For though God controls the outcome of such events, he is unlikely to ultimately intervene in favor of gambling fools or greedy persons. But there were times in the Bible where casting lots was used to determine God's will. For example the Lord commanded casting lots to be used in the Levitical sacrifical system to determine the scapegoat and the sacrificial goat. "He is to cast lots for the two goats— one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat." Lev 16:8 Joshua cast lots in the distribution of the land of Israel to the various tribes. Jos 18:10 That helped to settle disputes as it is written, "Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart." Pr 18:18 Perhaps even the use of the Urim and the Thummim to determine God's will may have involved a sort of casting of lots. While casting lots may be useful where wisdom wouldn't lead one to make one decision over another, I think that the casting of lots should not be used until all avenues of wisdom have been explored. For example I would say that the apostles were mistaken in their decision to cast lots for Judas's replacement, as it is written, "Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles." Ac 1:26 Rather than wait for the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would guide them into all truth, they took this unnecessary action without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So while they gave God only two choices in this matter, it appears that Jesus chose someone entirely different to replace Judas - namely Paul. So don't be quick to cast lots until you've explored all avenues of wisdom. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  4. CONTROL YOUR TEMPER Pr 16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. It's easy enough to get angry. But "man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:20 Anger is not mentioned in the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23, but patience and self-control are listed. Anger is not mentioned in the characteristics of love in 1Cor 13:4-7, but being patient and being not easily angered are listed. Ecc 7:8,9 "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools." The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  5. BETRAYING A CONFIDENCE Pr 16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. Pr 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Pr 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. A person who gossips - even betraying personal matters or things spoken in confidence - will not have close friends. For people will avoid telling them anything of a personal matter. And concerning those who sin against you, that should be treated first as a private matter as it is written, "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over."Mt 18:15 What is implied here is that if he repents, then the matter should go no further, else you will be the one sinning against him. More generally the Bible does legitimize "privacy". So it is inappropriate to try and expose everything about a person. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  6. WHAT KIND OF A PERSON KINGS VALUE Pr 16:13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth. To those who haven't been in positions of authority this may seem counter-intuitive. Many think that leaders value those who agree with everything they say. (So called "Yes men") And man-pleasers tend to gravitate towards those is high positions of authority. Rather than tell him the truth, they'll tell him what they think he wants to hear in order to get what they want. But a person that speaks the truth, regardless of the consequences, that is a rare and valued commodity in an adviser to the king. So if you want to be valued by those in authority - tell them the truth. And tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. If they don't value that, then they are not much of a leader. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  7. ANSWERING GENTLY OR HARSHLY Pr 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. This is more descriptive than it is prescriptive. It is not that we should always answer gently. For harsh words are often called for, with predictable results. Such was the case in the ministry of Jesus and his apostles - leading them to be persecuted and even killed, like Stephen the first Christian martyr who was killed soon after declaring, "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it." Acts 7:51-53 Examples of this type of rhetoric are abundant in the Bible among God's messengers. Thus frequently we are called to use harsh words - and yes, with predictable results. On the other hand it also says, "the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." 2Tim 2:24-26 In general it appears in practice through the Bible that one starts with gentle words, but if people continue to be unteachable, harsher words are called for, which stirs up anger - but that's all a part of Christian ministry to stir up the anger of the stiff-necked. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  8. DON'T BE GULLIBLE Pr 14:15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11 2Co 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 1John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Don't be gullible to believe anything you hear. But then again don't be gullible to disbelieve anything you hear either. That is, don't gullibly accept anything that critics say. You should be just as skeptical about criticisms of propositions of alleged facts or ideas as you are about such propositions themselves. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  9. SEEMS RIGHT TO ME Pr 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. For example, "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1Cor 1:18 Thus for example the Muslims reason that since Jesus is God's prophet, God would not allow him to suffer the cross, and therefore the message of the cross is false - a fabrication by Christians. Or how about the idea that if God is good then there wouldn't be any unjust suffering in the world. But since there is, therefore God is not good. Or how about the idea that my good works make up for my bad works. All these are fallacious. These and like ideas which seem reasonable to the world will end in them getting thrown into hell. So also, the way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. Pr 12:15 The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  10. MAKING AMENDS FOR SIN Pr 14:9 Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. For example Zacchaeus made amends for sin saying, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." And Jesus commended him saying, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham."Luke 19:8,9 So if you're repenting from sin, be encouraged to make amends for sin. (And don't let fellow "Christians" discourage you with the false claim that making amends for sin is a salvation by works idea. For fools mock at making amends for sin.) The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  11. FEARING OR DESPISING GOD Pr 14:2 He whose walk is upright fears the LORD, but he whose ways are devious despises him. For example Paul warns the unrepentent, "do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." Rom 2:4,5 And just as the wicked take God's graciousness for granted, so also they despise his discipline as it is written, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." Pr 1:7 So when things go well they congratulate themselves, and when things do not go well they get angry at God even when it's clearly their own fault, as it says, "A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD." Pr 19:3 Those who despise God will eventually learn the fear of the Lord on the day of judgement. Better if we all learn to fear God now while there is still opportunity for redemption The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  12. TEARING DOWN YOUR HOUSE? Pr 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Some wives are unintentionally involved in tearing down their own house. How? Pr 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Pr 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. Pr 19:13 A foolish son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. Pr 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. Such attitudes are in contrast to what Peter commands concerning wives, that they be submissive to your husbands (1Peter 3:1) and be of a of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1Peter 3:4) If you tear down your husband, you'll tear down your house. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  13. CORPORAL PUNISHMENT In many regions spanking children is not only discouraged but may even land in jail. Even in my own town a pastor was arrested for spanking his child. Yet such is one of the forms of disciplines the Bible recommends. Pr 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Pr 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him. Pr 23:13,14 Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell. Pr 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Pr 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. Pr 20:30 Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. More generally concerning discipline: Heb 12:10,11 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. So if you're concerned about any negative affects of disciplining your children, consider the negative affects of not disciplining them The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  14. EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION Pr 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (NIV) What's your opinion of that verse? Or the NKJV translates it this way: Pr 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. (NKJV) How do you feel about that? Expressing one's opinions or feelings are secondary to listening to the Bible and grasping it's application - a fact which eludes many today in this post-modernistic culture where facts are reckoned secondary to personal opinions and feelings. One evidence of this is the common phenomenon of people responding before they listen, as it says: Pr 18:13 He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. Ever have that happen to you? You try to tell someone something and they respond before they listen to all the relevant facts? Pr 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
  15. LAZINESS Pr 12:11 He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. Seems, among other things, that's a warning against playing the lottery, or more generally against all kinds of get-rich-quick or easy-money schemes. Pr 20:21 An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end. Pr 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Pr 12:27 The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions. Pr 26:15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. There are those who gather the resources for some business venture, but then are too lazy to actually utilize them. Pr 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. This also is a warning to those who hope to earn easy money just by talking - without hard work. Pr 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Seems the Bible advocates more of a get-rich-slowly scheme. The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
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