OYB August 25

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: 16-19
NT: I Corinthians 16
Ps: Psalm 40:1-10
Pr: Proverbs 22:1

Today´s notable verse:

Do everything in love.

I Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog comments:

Beautiful Proverb verse 1 to start off the 22nd Chapter of Proverbs! "Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold." Do you believe this Proverb to be true? Which do you seek after more - a good reputation or money? You know though, the more I think about this Proverb I have some concerns about it. Only in that if we seek after having a good reputation, then we may really be focusing on ourselves and how other people look at us, rather than focusing on Kingdom things. We may decide to do something because it's "popular", rather than it being "right." We may give to the poor with blazing trumpets because this will help our reputation - but Jesus clearly said we should not do this. Does this make sense? I mean given the choice of a good reputation or being rich, this Proverb is clearly true. But it's not enough. That's why we need to read the entire Bible to get the full context of everything else that surrounds any 1 particular verse in the Bible, like this one. One verse is not enough. It's truth. But not enough. We need the entire Bible.

First, let me say that I agree that context is an important consideration for Scriptural study. How easy would it be to read a line from yesterday's readings - "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," (I Corinthians 15:32, quoting Isaiah 22:13) and take it completely out of context, to mean exactly the opposite of what both Paul and Isaiah were trying to say. However, I don't think the verse in question here risks such error.

Maybe it is because I'm using the NIV, and Mike here appears to be quoting from the Message, or a similar paraphrase, but I think the exact wording here is important. The NIV reads: "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." The key isn't so much the difference between "reputation" and "name" as it is the importance of the adjective "good". The proverb does not say "popular", but rather, "good" - and "good" is defined not according to our standard, but according to God's standard: that is, holiness and perfection. Thus, to pursue a "good" name, per the proverb, would be to pursue a reputation of one who is godly.

One who would pursue popularity and vainglory is normally easily distinguished from one who pursues godliness, since the ambition of the former is rooted in selfish pride, while the ambition of the latter is grounded in selfless humility. I think this truth is fully encapsulated in this one verse.