A few years ago, on a Saturday morning, two women knocked on my door to talk with me about Jesus and their church. Great. Right?
So, I asked them what they believed about Jesus. And they proceeded to turn to the Old Testament and show me chapter 8 in the Book of Proverbs.
What these Jehovah’s Witnesses ladies tried to make this chapter teach about Jesus was appalling, to say the least. So, it is very important that we as believers know exactly what this chapter teaches. And does NOT teach. To do that we must clear up any misunderstanding about who is speaking in Proverbs 8.
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Who Is Speaking in Proverbs 8?
For many this question may seem abundantly obvious, to the point that it surely must be a rhetorical question. However, after speaking with these ladies that day, I realized how important it is that this question be addressed. And that we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us.
Pronouns in Chapter 8
To begin with, Proverbs chapter 8 uses a lot of pronouns, such as I, me, and he.
Pronouns are words that replace nouns to keep us from having to repeat over and over again those names of people, places, things, or ideas.
Suzie loves Suzie’s doll that Suzie received for Suzie’s birthday.
Sounds much better this way—
Suzie loves her doll that she received for her birthday.
But for pronouns to be helpful to us, instead of causing confusion, we must be able to determine what noun, called the antecedent, the pronoun refers to. For instance, in this sentence—
When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.Proverbs 8:24
In this sentence, “I” is a pronoun. But who is “I”?
In this case the antecedent, the word that “I” represents, is not in the same sentence. So, we have to look in the verses before verse 24.
“I” Is Wisdom
It isn’t until we go back to verse 12 that we see who “I” is…wisdom.
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.Proverbs 8:12
Solomon is using personification, which is a figure of speech that portrays a non-human object as having human attributes. In this chapter, Solomon describes wisdom using human qualities. Wisdom is said to “cry,” to “speak truth,” and to have lips, a mouth, a voice, and legs to stand.
Solomon uses this personification of wisdom, I believe, in order to get our attention and make the wisdom of God more real to us. And while wisdom is an attribute of God,…”I” cannot be Jesus.
“I” Cannot Be Jesus
These ladies wanted me to believe that this passage referred to Jesus. They showed me these verses—
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.Proverbs 8:22-24
And then proceeded to say that these verses showed that Jesus was God’s first created being, the beginning of His work, the first of His acts! That Jesus was what “was brought forth,” or created. And that Jesus then created everything else.
I interrupted them and showed them that the pronoun “I” referred to wisdom. (v. 12 above)
We can’t just arbitrarily make up an antecedent for a pronoun in a passage. That would be “private interpretation” of scripture for sure! (2 Peter 1:20)
And while God and God the Son has/have wisdom and is the Source of wisdom, wisdom is not God. We do not worship wisdom. We worship God. We do not worship any attribute of God, but rather God Himself.
So, we can’t look at this passage and say that the word “wisdom” and the name “Jesus” are interchangeable. Wisdom in this passage is not Jesus. Nor is “wisdom” referring to Jesus.
I showed the ladies why else this passage did not, and could not, refer to Jesus Christ. I showed them John 1:1-3, 14.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.John 1:1-3, 14
I showed them that yes, Jesus made everything. I also showed them that “without him was not any thing made that was made.” (v. 3) In other words, if it was created, Jesus did it. Therefore, Jesus could not have been created.
That would mean that He would have had to first create Himself!
And then go on to create everything else.
I then showed them that far from being a created thing, Jesus is God.
Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son! Jesus is eternal God. He was NOT “brought forth.” He had no beginning!
I showed them the proof of this in verses 1 and 14 above.
But against all common sense they were blind to true wisdom, God’s wisdom.
Why Is All of This Important?
It is vitally important that we know how to discern divine wisdom for two reasons.
1) We human beings desperately need the wisdom that is from above in order to navigate this life successfully.
We are told in this passage of Proverbs that he that finds wisdom finds life, the way of righteousness, and God’s favour. God’s ways are the ways of blessing and peace and joy. God’s wisdom gives us good judgment and teaches us the right way, so that we are able to avoid temptation and the evil way.
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.Proverbs 8:35
Man’s wisdom leads us astray from close fellowship with our Lord Jesus. But praise the Lord that when we do stray, the call of wisdom from the Word of God directs us back to the right things, those things that please God and are ultimately for our good.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.Proverbs 9:10
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice (pure) gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.Proverbs 8:8-11
2) Because we are not the Authors of truth. God is.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.John 14:6
Truth is what Jesus says it is, since He is truth, not whatever we want to say that truth is.
If we believe in a Jesus that is not the Jesus of the Holy scriptures, then we are believing in a false Jesus, an antichrist, who has no power to save us from an eternity in hell.
No other Jesus than the Jesus who is God and the Son of God, who died for us on the cross, can save us. He is the only way to salvation. For “no man cometh unto the Father but by” Him…the Jesus of the Bible!
Who Is Your Jesus?
Are you believing on the Jesus of the scriptures, or a Jesus of man’s making? Are you believing in the Bible alone? Or in the Bible plus man’s writings?
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.Revelation 22:18-19
We must know the truth about Jesus in order to believe on Him, ask for His forgiveness, and place our eternity in His hands, His keeping. It is so sad, but these ladies said they believed the Bible, yet they could not understand what they read, because of man’s teachings and other writings they said they believed in addition to the Bible. (Revelation 22:18 above)
But it doesn’t work that way. They were trying to interpret scripture from their preconceived ideas of truth, and not what the truth actually said.
These ladies could not see the black and white print of the actual words of God in my Bible. Self deception, a terrible kind of deception, had taken hold.
I pray that God will open their eyes to His truth and give them an understanding heart before it is too late. I feel for them. It is so hard to go against what you’ve been taught and believed to be true for so long. But the grace and power of God can get through to them.
I praise the Lord for good Bible teaching and preachers in my life who had previously shown me who is speaking in Proverbs 8. And pointed out how this chapter is incorrectly used by cults and false religions. This enabled me to pass on that witness to these ladies.
May God help us to be praying for those lost souls bound by false doctrines. And may we each be daily seeking out the treasures of wisdom in God’s Word, growing in knowledge of the truth, and applying godly wisdom, that we’d not be led astray by false doctrine. And so that we’d be ready to share the truth whenever God opens those doors for us.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:1 Peter 3:15
Drawing nigh to Him,