Saturday, January 24, 2009

TCITB: Cht 4 - Proverbs

from Chapter 4
To Discipline without Destruction:
The Multifaceted Profile of the Child in Proverbs

William P. Brown

This chapter is full of inspiring imagery - especially the picture of wisdom. I think we have a tendency to take pieces out of scripture and focus on heeding the pieces when, in reality, each piece (though important) is only a piece of a much larger picture. Especially taken out of context, that piece is rarely the be-all, end-all. Discipline for example. This chapter is a very compelling discussion of individual pieces in the context of the larger picture.

"The search for wisdom, according to Proverbs, is an open-ended, dynamic enterprise, one based on observation and inquiry in which there is no final word. The quest for understanding is ongoing." (TCITB p. 63) Learning to fear God (last post) is only the beginning of wisdom (there are multiple references in scripture). Many Christians think that using words like quest and journey are evidence of eastern thinking as opposed to Biblical thinking. But growing in the knowledge of the Almighty. . . if eternal life is to know God and He is the beginning and the end how could there possibly be an end to that quest? I suggest we enjoy the journey.

Brown says, "Indeed, the label 'child' (literally 'son' in most instances in Proverbs) extends far beyond what is normally associated with childhood today. Those dimensions of this profile that highlight the complex and abiding relationship between child, parent, and wisdom constitute the focus of this essay." (TCITB p. 64)

In pages 65- 67 he touches on the child as a reflection of those who came before him and the worth of the child's work economically to his family. A wise servant was worth more to a family than a lazy child. He tells us that how a child is raised affects the emotional welfare of his parents. A child has potential to bring blessing or cause shame. (TCITB p. 67-79)

Mr. Brown's discussion of discipline, instruction, and the rod are insightful to say the least. He also tackles anger and fear. (TCITB, 69-73) A very nice discussion. You would do best to read his discussion yourself.

He says, "Discipline applies to everyone, both child and adult alike. As a 'wise child loves discipline' (Prov 13:1a), so 'whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge' (12:1a). The implication is that what is cultivated in the child, namely a love for discipline, is carried into adulthood as a disposition for learning. . . in the Hebrew. . . the word for 'discipline' is the same word for 'instruction.'" (TCITB p. 73) The wise will seek instruction, accept correction graciously, and keep growing, even as adults.

In pages 75-81 he talks about wisdom as portrayed in Proverbs. An inspiring portrait, indeed, and one you probably haven't seen before! Here, too, I can't do it justice in a blog post. You have to read it.

This makes me smile: ". . . maturity in wisdom does not discount or outgrow wide-eyed wonder. Far from rejecting wonder, wisdom cultivates it." (TCITB p. 79) That's why "worship" is one of the tags below.

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