Who Is “I” in Proverbs 8? — Refuting False Doctrine
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 show me Proverbs chapter 8.
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.
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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
It is so glaringly obvious what “I” refers to in this passage that it blows my mind how willingly blind one has to be to “interpret” this passage as referring to Christ.
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 figure of speech, I believe, in order to get our attention and make wisdom more real to us.
“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! 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)
You can’t just arbitrarily make up an antecedent for a pronoun in a passage. That would be “private interpretation” for sure! (2 Peter 1:20)
I showed them why else this passage did not, and could not, refer to Jesus. 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. (v. 1-3)
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. (v. 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!
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And then go on to create everything else.
I then showed them that far from being a created being, Jesus is God.
I showed them the proof of this in verses 1 and 14 above.
Why Is All of This Important?
Because we are not the Authors of truth. God is. And because Jesus said—
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 it is.
No other Jesus than the Jesus who is God and the Son of God, who died for us on the cross, can save us. 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. I pray that God will open their eyes to His truth before it is too late. I feel for them. It is hard to go against what you’ve been taught and believed to be true for so long. But God can get through to them.
I praise the Lord for good Bible teaching and preachers in my life who had previously pointed out how this chapter is incorrectly used by cults and false religions, so that I could be able 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 growing in knowledge of the truth, 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,