See "Jan '19B" in Archives for Verses 16-31.
Unfortunately, I ran out of space in this month's file.

JANUARY 15

1 Corinthians 10:20
[In a letter to the Corinthian church (and to all Christians), the apostle Paul wrote]: "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles [people who are not Jewish] sacrifice [to false gods--idols, statues, etc.], they sacrifice to devils [demons, evil spirits], and not to God: and I would not [desire] that ye should have fellowship with devils."

Regarding sacrifices to devils, one Bible commentator wrote: "… though idols are nothing, idolatry is a system under the dominion of evil spirits; and they are the real objects worshipped by idolaters. (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/10-20.html, "Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Teatament")

JANUARY 14

Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man
[or woman or child], but the end thereof are the ways of death."

In other words, some of the paths in life that we choose to follow, such as a sinful lifestyle, may lead to death.

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, just because something seems to be right doesn't mean that it is right. In his excellent commentary on this verse, he gives examples of things that seem right to mankind and result in death. They include the following: "Abortion … Homosexuality … Abolishing the death penalty … Persecuting Christians … Suicide bombers." There are many more examples, including spiritual applications.

The commentary lists (and discusses) reasons why people may choose to go the wrong way or do the wrong thing. They include:

Because it's easier and convenient
Because everyone else is taking it or doing it
Because of pride
Because the dangers are not visible or obvious to the inexperienced
Because we have an "it won't happen to me" attitude
Because sin is a deceiver
Because of worldly thinking
Because we are touchy-feely in our thinking

The commentary concludes with the reasons why even unsaved folks may be fooled:

"a. They have assumed that because they are religious that all is right before God. They will discover that their religion may well be leading them to hell!

"b. They may have convinced themselves they are saved (because they go to church; because their parents are saved; because they said a prayer one day [i.e., they may have asked Jesus to come into their hearts and save them but did not really mean what they said]; etc.)… but they may discover one day in Hell… that they were kidding themselves in thinking they were saved…

"c. It SEEMED right… but it was all appearance and show… no reality. It leads to death… eternal condemnation!"

 If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_12/.

JANUARY 13

Proverbs 13:10: "Only by pride
[in a negative sense, meaning arrogance and conceit] cometh contention [arguments, disagreements] [i.e., it's the main cause]: but with the well advised [person--one who listens to good advice] is wisdom."

As I mentioned previously, on the Salem Bible Church website, most (if not all) of the Bible studies on Proverbs are outlines of sermons that Pastor Delany delivered to his congregation. In his commentary on the above verse, he says that pride causes contention almost everywhere we go (at home, school, work, church, etc.).

In the first section of the commentary, on pride and contention, he says this:

" Some folks seem gravitated towards strife and contention… always looking for a good fight.
" Solomon warns us NOT to be hasty in getting involved in strife.
" You could end up in a situation where you don't know what to do… how to get out of it… how to END the strife…"

And then he gives the following example:

"1. Imagine a dam with a little crack.

"2. Imagine taking your finger and poking that little crack… so that water begins a tiny trickle out

"3. Imagine that tiny crack expanding and expanding as the water washes away weak cement

"4. Imagine this going on for some time… until that tiny crack widens and the dam begins to break…

"5. There comes a point of no return… when the flow of water becomes uncontrollable.

"6. That is the illustration Solomon uses of contention. It begins like flowing water… easily controlled at first… but, if meddled with, can quickly develop into that which is unable to be controlled."

Later in the commentary, he compares a proud man to one who is well advised:

THE PROUD, ARROGANT MAN

" Here is a man who thinks he knows it all…
" He thinks his way is always right…
" He thinks his opinions are always right… and everyone else's opinions are worthless…
" He's the man who will not listen to anyone. He won't take advice. He is close-minded. There is no talking to him.
" This kind of pride always results in contention."

THE MAN WHO IS WELL ADVISED

" This man is one who takes advice; listens to counsel; consults with others…
" He is not a proud arrogant know it all.
" He is a humble man who knows he needs advice and counsel… and he takes it in… weighs it… and responds in a right way to it."

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-13_10/.

JANUARY 12

Proverbs 12:10: "A righteous man
[a decent, moral, kind-hearted, 'good' person] regardeth the life of his beast [takes care of his (or her) animals (referring to 'beasts of burden,' not household pets) by providing food, shelter, rest, protection, etc., for them]: but the tender mercies [expressions of pity and compassion] of the wicked [people] [to other people and animals] are cruel [heartless--or nonexistent]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible church, in the above verse, King Solomon "tells us that one can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his animals." Righteous people are compassionate and merciful; wicked people are not.

The pastor's excellent commentary on this verse contains many examples of animals' actions and how "'good" and "bad" people might react to them, the relationship between man and beast both in Bible times and modern times, how a person's treatment of animals (and even machines) might indicate how he or she would treat people, and what to watch out for when choosing a spouse or friend.

If you want to read that commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_10/.

JANUARY 11

Proverbs 11:13: "A talebearer
[blabbermouth, tattletale] revealeth secrets [to others]: but he [or she] that is of a faithful spirit [i.e., a faithful, trustworthy person--friend, relative, etc.] concealeth the matter [keeps the matter hidden, refuses to spread gossip, doesn't air other people's 'dirty laundry']."

In most cases, if someone (a friend, spouse, family member, church member, etc.) trusts you with a secret, keep it to yourself.

You may be wondering if there are any exceptions to the above 'rule.' According to Matthew Henry, the answer is yes: "A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/11-13.html, "Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible")

In Albert Barnes' opinion: "The man who comes to us with tales about others will reveal our secrets also …" (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-11.html, "Verse 13")

And finally, Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on the above proverb. It concludes with: "Faithfulness is a matter of the heart. Keep your heart with all diligence-and your tongue will be kept as well."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_13/.

JANUARY 10

Proverbs 10:1: "The proverbs of
[King] Solomon [include the following]. A wise son [or daughter] maketh a glad father [and mother]: but a foolish son [or daughter--one who lacks (doesn't have) common sense and good judgment] is the heaviness of his [or her] mother [and father][,] [or brings grief (sorrow, sadness) and trouble to her (or them)]."

Commenting on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says, "For the rest of your life, your happiness (to a certain degree) will be linked to the spiritual well being of your kids."

He goes on to say:

"What a joy for parents to see their children grow up and be saved… and to walk with the Lord… and to bring their children up in the things of the Lord. No greater joy!"

" If we want joy from our kids, then we need to start training them from the cradle…
" If you let them run on auto-pilot until they are teens, they are pretty well already formed.
" If you want a tree to grow up straight and tall, you have to support it when it is young and tender. If you wait until it is grown, it's too late. You're never going to straighten out the trunk of a full grown tree. Only God can do that.
" Thus, Solomon sends a message to us as parents and even grandparents: get them [i.e., discipline them] while they are young! While there is hope."

Proverbs 10:1 can also apply to pastors and their "spiritual children," including the apostle Paul, who encountered problems with the Corinthian church. At the end of the commentary, we learn how Paul dealt with those problems.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-10-index/proverbs-10_1/.

JANUARY 9

2 Chronicles 7:14
[God appeared to King Solomon in a dream or vision and said]: "If my people, which are called by my name [referring, in this verse, to the Jewish people specifically, but also to born-again Christians], shall humble themselves, and pray [to me (God) for removal of their nation's judgment, or punishment], and [if they will] seek my face [for mercy and forgiveness], and turn from their wicked ways [i.e., stop doing bad (sinful) things]; then will I [God] hear [their prayers] from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

JANUARY 8

Proverbs 8:17
["Lady Wisdom," or God's wisdom personified (speaking like a person--in this case, a woman), says]: "I love them that love me [choose me over other things]; and those that seek me early [diligently, earnestly] shall find me [meaning that they keep looking for wisdom until they find it and have it]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, love is a choice, and when we love Lady Wisdom, she will love us. This means that all godly people can be wise if that's what they want. All they have to do is sincerely pray and ask God for wisdom. As you can see from the above verse, the Bible promises us that he won't say no.

In addition, in paragraph 7 at the end of his commentary on this verse, the pastor says, "It is GOOD for children to be taught to seek wisdom early. … Think of all the trouble and grief that could be avoided in life if our young people sought wisdom with all their hearts at a young age!"

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-8-index/proverbs-8_17/.

I also found two interesting articles on the Internet about wisdom. Here are their titles and links:

-- "What is wisdom? What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/wisdom-knowledge.html)

-- "Why is wisdom referred to as a she in Proverbs?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/wisdom-she-Proverbs.html)

JANUARY 7

1 John 4:4
[In a letter to born-again Christians, the apostle John wrote]: "Ye are [members of the family] of God, little children [he may have said this because when we get saved, we become 'children of God'], and have overcome them [the false prophets and teachers who tried to lure you away from the truth]: because greater is he that is in you [referring to the Holy Spirit, living in your heart], than he that is in the world [meaning the devil, or Satan]."

If you're a Christian, God will help you have victory over Satan and his servants.

JANUARY 6

Proverbs 6:1-5 - In Most Cases, Avoid Co-Signing Loans
This was King Solomon's wise advice to his son:

Verses 1-2: "My son, if thou be surety for thy friend [if you have agreed to guarantee the payment of someone else's debt (for example, by co-signing a loan)], if thou hast stricken thy hand [if you shook hands to confirm a verbal agreement or if you signed a written agreement] with a stranger [such as a loan shark, bank, or other creditor] [to pay your friend's debt if he or she does not], Thou art snared [trapped, caught] with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken [captive] with the words of thy mouth [the promises you have made]."

Verses 3-4: "Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself
[from your risky or improper financial obligation], when thou art come into the hand of thy friend [when you have agreed to become surety for that person's debt]; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend [in other words, plead for mercy--ask him or her to 'let you off the hook,' tear up the agreement, etc.]. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber [rest] to thine eyelids [i.e., do it immediately--before going to bed]."

Verse 5: "Deliver thyself
[yourself] [from financial bondage] as a roe [deer] [does when it attempts to escape] from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird [does when it tries to escape] from the hand of the fowler [someone who traps birds in a net]."

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on these verses. It tells how and why we may be tempted to co-sign a note, why it usually is a bad idea, and what to do instead. Here's an excerpt from the section entitled "THE SITUATION":

"3. Co-signing a note for a friend might appear to be quite generous and kind.

"a. There may be times when it IS the RIGHT thing to do. (Your son's first car… student loans…)

"b. But there are other times when it is a FOOLISH thing to do.
"· A casual friend at work who fell upon hard times…
"· A relative you know is irresponsible…
"· A teenager who needs a brand new Lexus…
"· A risky or questionable business deal…"

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_1-5/.

JANUARY 5

Isaiah 55:7: "Let the wicked
[person] forsake [renounce or give up] his [or her] [evil] way, and [let] the unrighteous man [or woman or child] [forsake] his [or her] [sinful] thoughts: and let him [referring to the wicked or unrighteous person] return unto the LORD, and he [God] will have mercy [compassion] upon him [or her]; and [let that wicked or unrighteous person return] to our God, for he [God] will abundantly pardon [forgive] [him or her] [for his or her sins]."

In this verse, the prophet Isaiah is encouraging everyone to sincerely repent (change their minds about sin) and turn back to God.

It appears that many people are confused about the concept of repentance. Consequently, while discussing this verse, one Bible commentator explains "… what repentance is, and what it is not."

"(1) It is not fear. A man may be frightened, scared, and yet not repent. That has very often occurred at sea during a storm. When a storm sweeps over the ocean it brings about a great many strange things. You will find when talking to sea captains that a great many men become suddenly pious, men who have been blaspheming for years suddenly begin to pray, and you would think them very religious and repentant, but when the storm has passed over these men go on swearing again. That is only fear.

"(2) Then repentance is not feeling; a man may have much feeling, and yet not repent. That may sound strange, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. You go down to yonder prison, and you cannot find a man who is not sorry that he is there; but their trouble is simply because they have got caught, they feel very bad because they were unlucky; but let them out of prison and they will do the same over again. That is not repentance. A man may have a good deal of feeling, and weep bitterly for days, and yet not repent. So that it is not feeling or remorse. Judas had that, plenty of it, so that he put an end to his existence; and a man may be filled with remorse and not repent.

"The confession 'I have sinned' is made by hardened Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27), double-minded Balaam (Numbers 22:34), remorseful Achan (Joshua 7:20), insincere King Saul (1 Samuel 15:24), despairing Judas (Matthew 27:4); but in none of these cases was there true repentance. …

"(3) Nor is it conviction. A man may be deeply convicted when he is going out of the house of God; he may know that his whole life is wrong, his conscience may lash him and smite him, and he may say, 'My whole life is dark and black.' He may be deeply convicted and yet not repent. Conviction is not repentance; making a few resolutions is not repentance; turning over a new leaf, as some men say they are going to do, that is not repentance; nor is it found in good feelings or good thoughts.

"A fit of sorrow is no great thing. Who has not had that? There are persons upon whom a penitential mood comes and comes and comes again; and nothing results from it. But this forsaking of the thoughts goes deep into the soul, and means a turning of the whole being towards God. It is quite true that the Bible does not lay stress on mere effervescence of feeling, as if it were needful to pour out floods of tears, or utter cries of agony, or go mourning and grieving for any special number of hours or days, and with any special intensity. Yet it is not conceivable that you should have a person convinced on the matter of his salvation, and changing his thoughts about God and sin, without strong feelings of abasement and shame. Take the type of a penitent, as Jesus gives it. See the publican standing afar off, not lifting so much as his eyes to heaven, smiting upon his breast. There is nothing extravagant in that. …

"(4) What is it? Repentance is turning from. That is what repentance is. 'Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?' It is an afterthought, it is a change of mind. You ask how long a person is to feel sorry for his sins. Long enough to give them up-that is all. A man may have deep sorrow or he may not have much, but he has made up his mind that he is going to turn from his sins to God. …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/55-7.html, "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers," "Repentance")

GotQuestions.org also has an article on repentance. It's called "What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/repentance.html.

JANUARY 4

Proverbs 4:14-17 - Stay Away From Bad People

Verses 14-15: "Enter not into
[don't enter] the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men [and women and children] [i.e., don't do what they do]. Avoid it [the path of the wicked], pass not by it, turn [aside] from it, and pass away [from it]."

Verse 16:
[Why we should stay away from bad, or evil, people:] "For they [the evil people] sleep not [cannot sleep], except [unless] they have done mischief [caused harm to others]; and their sleep is taken away [from them, meaning they can't sleep], unless they cause some [people] to fall [into sin]."

Verse 17:
[Why evil people need to 'do mischief' and 'cause some to fall':] "For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence [and, according to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, 'A steady diet of violence, immorality, perversion, and vice creates an appetite for even more…'--see note below (*) for a link to the pastor's commentary]."

King Solomon's advice: Don't associate (have anything to do) with bad people--don't be their friends, don't join gangs, etc. That's the best way to stay out of trouble.
_________________________

*Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on these verses. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-4-index/proverbs-4_14-17/.

JANUARY 3

Proverbs 3:7-8 - A Good Way to Stay Healthy

Verse 7: "Be not wise in thine own eyes
[don't be a know-it-all (someone who is full of pride and overly confident in himself or herself)]: fear the LORD [have reverence (honor and respect) for God, and a fear of offending him], and depart from evil [thoughts and deeds; in other words, try not to have bad feelings (anxiety, fear, depression, hatred, anger, envy, resentment, guilt, etc.), don't hold grudges, and stop doing bad things (like abusing alcohol and/or drugs, committing adultery and/or fornication, lying, stealing, etc.)]."

Verse 8: "It
[i.e., fearing God and departing from evil] shall be [or result in] health [healing] to thy navel, and marrow [strength] to thy bones."

If you want to be healthy--physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally--don't do bad things.

Near the end of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says:

"c. It [i.e., the phrase health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones in verse 8] seems to point to a physical health as well as health to the soul. Spiritual health and physical health are related.
" Fear, worry, envy, hatred, anger, depression, resentment, guilt-are NOT good for you physically!
" If we don't depart from these evils-they could kill us!"

"d. This is God's wellness program. You don't have to buy any expensive herbs or join a club. Fear God and depart from evil. THAT will result in wellness in your body and soul!
" To a certain extent, our outer man, our body IS affected by our inner man.
" Rather than trust in the Lord, we sometimes worry and that can burn a hole in our stomach… bring up our blood pressure…
" The believer that has rejected God's wisdom and is walking in his own wisdom has every right to be anxious… worried about the future.
" God RESISTS the proud. It is an unsettling feeling to know that someone with infinite power is resisting you!
" When the believer walks in the wisdom of the world-he has made himself an enemy of God. He has good reason to worry about chastisement! Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

"e. BUT, the believer who walks humbly with God-fears God-does NOT trust in his own understanding, nor is wise in his own eyes-that believer can have REST in his soul. He has health to his navel-deep down in his gut-there is peace and rest, knowing God is on his side."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_7-8/.

JANUARY 2

John 16:24
[Jesus said to his disciples]: "Hitherto [until now] have ye asked [for] nothing in my name: ask [God the Father for something in my (Jesus') name], and ye shall receive [an answer to your prayer], [so] that your joy may be full [complete]."

The reason Jesus said to ask in his name for things that we want and need (for example, by ending our prayers with 'In Jesus' name,' or 'We pray these things in Jesus' name,' or something similar) is because he is the mediator (intercessor) between God and us, as stated in the Bible:

-- 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

JANUARY 1

Romans 6:4
[Baptism by immersion following salvation (which means that the person being baptized is totally submerged in water for a few seconds) is a picture of this]: "Therefore we are buried with him [Jesus Christ] by baptism into death: [so] that like as Christ was raised up from the dead [was brought back to life, or resurrected] by the glory [or glorious power] of the Father [God], even so we [born-again Christians] [after salvation] also should walk in newness of life [in regard to sin--see note below*]."

Is God pleased with everything (or at least most of the things) that we do?
_________________________

*When a person gets saved, the Lord Jesus comes to live in his or her heart and changes his or her attitude toward sin. Christians may hate sin and try to resist temptation, but because we have a free will, it is still possible for us to sin. According to one Bible commentator, the following is what happens when a saved person sins:

"When the believer sins, the dethroned king, [i.e.,] the evil nature[,] mounts to the throne, with the consequent dethronement of the Lord Jesus. Such a procedure cannot go on often, nor indefinitely, for God puts a curb upon such a thing by sending suffering, chastening, and the Christian is made miserable by a guilty conscience and the indwelling [Holy] Spirit who is grieved at such conduct. ... God has so adjusted things in the Christian's life that, while he remains a free moral agent capable of choosing between obeying the divine nature or the evil nature, yet the preponderance [majority] of his choices are Godward. ... Hence the impossibility of the Christian's sustaining habitually the same relationship to the evil nature which he sustained before he was saved."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/6-4.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

See "Jan '19B" in Archives for Verses 16-31.
Unfortunately, I ran out of space in this month's file.

Previous Verses
January 1-15, 2019
See "Jan '19B" in Archives for Verses 16-31.
Unfortunately, I ran out of space in this month's file.

JANUARY 15

1 Corinthians 10:20
[In a letter to the Corinthian church (and to all Christians), the apostle Paul wrote]: "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles [people who are not Jewish] sacrifice [to false gods--idols, statues, etc.], they sacrifice to devils [demons, evil spirits], and not to God: and I would not [desire] that ye should have fellowship with devils."

Regarding sacrifices to devils, one Bible commentator wrote: "… though idols are nothing, idolatry is a system under the dominion of evil spirits; and they are the real objects worshipped by idolaters. (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/10-20.html, "Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Teatament")

JANUARY 14

Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man
[or woman or child], but the end thereof are the ways of death."

In other words, some of the paths in life that we choose to follow, such as a sinful lifestyle, may lead to death.

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, just because something seems to be right doesn't mean that it is right. In his excellent commentary on this verse, he gives examples of things that seem right to mankind and result in death. They include the following: "Abortion … Homosexuality … Abolishing the death penalty … Persecuting Christians … Suicide bombers." There are many more examples, including spiritual applications.

The commentary lists (and discusses) reasons why people may choose to go the wrong way or do the wrong thing. They include:

Because it's easier and convenient
Because everyone else is taking it or doing it
Because of pride
Because the dangers are not visible or obvious to the inexperienced
Because we have an "it won't happen to me" attitude
Because sin is a deceiver
Because of worldly thinking
Because we are touchy-feely in our thinking

The commentary concludes with the reasons why even unsaved folks may be fooled:

"a. They have assumed that because they are religious that all is right before God. They will discover that their religion may well be leading them to hell!

"b. They may have convinced themselves they are saved (because they go to church; because their parents are saved; because they said a prayer one day [i.e., they may have asked Jesus to come into their hearts and save them but did not really mean what they said]; etc.)… but they may discover one day in Hell… that they were kidding themselves in thinking they were saved…

"c. It SEEMED right… but it was all appearance and show… no reality. It leads to death… eternal condemnation!"

 If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_12/.

JANUARY 13

Proverbs 13:10: "Only by pride
[in a negative sense, meaning arrogance and conceit] cometh contention [arguments, disagreements] [i.e., it's the main cause]: but with the well advised [person--one who listens to good advice] is wisdom."

As I mentioned previously, on the Salem Bible Church website, most (if not all) of the Bible studies on Proverbs are outlines of sermons that Pastor Delany delivered to his congregation. In his commentary on the above verse, he says that pride causes contention almost everywhere we go (at home, school, work, church, etc.).

In the first section of the commentary, on pride and contention, he says this:

" Some folks seem gravitated towards strife and contention… always looking for a good fight.
" Solomon warns us NOT to be hasty in getting involved in strife.
" You could end up in a situation where you don't know what to do… how to get out of it… how to END the strife…"

And then he gives the following example:

"1. Imagine a dam with a little crack.

"2. Imagine taking your finger and poking that little crack… so that water begins a tiny trickle out

"3. Imagine that tiny crack expanding and expanding as the water washes away weak cement

"4. Imagine this going on for some time… until that tiny crack widens and the dam begins to break…

"5. There comes a point of no return… when the flow of water becomes uncontrollable.

"6. That is the illustration Solomon uses of contention. It begins like flowing water… easily controlled at first… but, if meddled with, can quickly develop into that which is unable to be controlled."

Later in the commentary, he compares a proud man to one who is well advised:

THE PROUD, ARROGANT MAN

" Here is a man who thinks he knows it all…
" He thinks his way is always right…
" He thinks his opinions are always right… and everyone else's opinions are worthless…
" He's the man who will not listen to anyone. He won't take advice. He is close-minded. There is no talking to him.
" This kind of pride always results in contention."

THE MAN WHO IS WELL ADVISED

" This man is one who takes advice; listens to counsel; consults with others…
" He is not a proud arrogant know it all.
" He is a humble man who knows he needs advice and counsel… and he takes it in… weighs it… and responds in a right way to it."

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-13_10/.

JANUARY 12

Proverbs 12:10: "A righteous man
[a decent, moral, kind-hearted, 'good' person] regardeth the life of his beast [takes care of his (or her) animals (referring to 'beasts of burden,' not household pets) by providing food, shelter, rest, protection, etc., for them]: but the tender mercies [expressions of pity and compassion] of the wicked [people] [to other people and animals] are cruel [heartless--or nonexistent]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible church, in the above verse, King Solomon "tells us that one can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his animals." Righteous people are compassionate and merciful; wicked people are not.

The pastor's excellent commentary on this verse contains many examples of animals' actions and how "'good" and "bad" people might react to them, the relationship between man and beast both in Bible times and modern times, how a person's treatment of animals (and even machines) might indicate how he or she would treat people, and what to watch out for when choosing a spouse or friend.

If you want to read that commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_10/.

JANUARY 11

Proverbs 11:13: "A talebearer
[blabbermouth, tattletale] revealeth secrets [to others]: but he [or she] that is of a faithful spirit [i.e., a faithful, trustworthy person--friend, relative, etc.] concealeth the matter [keeps the matter hidden, refuses to spread gossip, doesn't air other people's 'dirty laundry']."

In most cases, if someone (a friend, spouse, family member, church member, etc.) trusts you with a secret, keep it to yourself.

You may be wondering if there are any exceptions to the above 'rule.' According to Matthew Henry, the answer is yes: "A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/11-13.html, "Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible")

In Albert Barnes' opinion: "The man who comes to us with tales about others will reveal our secrets also …" (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-11.html, "Verse 13")

And finally, Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on the above proverb. It concludes with: "Faithfulness is a matter of the heart. Keep your heart with all diligence-and your tongue will be kept as well."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_13/.

JANUARY 10

Proverbs 10:1: "The proverbs of
[King] Solomon [include the following]. A wise son [or daughter] maketh a glad father [and mother]: but a foolish son [or daughter--one who lacks (doesn't have) common sense and good judgment] is the heaviness of his [or her] mother [and father][,] [or brings grief (sorrow, sadness) and trouble to her (or them)]."

Commenting on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says, "For the rest of your life, your happiness (to a certain degree) will be linked to the spiritual well being of your kids."

He goes on to say:

"What a joy for parents to see their children grow up and be saved… and to walk with the Lord… and to bring their children up in the things of the Lord. No greater joy!"

" If we want joy from our kids, then we need to start training them from the cradle…
" If you let them run on auto-pilot until they are teens, they are pretty well already formed.
" If you want a tree to grow up straight and tall, you have to support it when it is young and tender. If you wait until it is grown, it's too late. You're never going to straighten out the trunk of a full grown tree. Only God can do that.
" Thus, Solomon sends a message to us as parents and even grandparents: get them [i.e., discipline them] while they are young! While there is hope."

Proverbs 10:1 can also apply to pastors and their "spiritual children," including the apostle Paul, who encountered problems with the Corinthian church. At the end of the commentary, we learn how Paul dealt with those problems.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-10-index/proverbs-10_1/.

JANUARY 9

2 Chronicles 7:14
[God appeared to King Solomon in a dream or vision and said]: "If my people, which are called by my name [referring, in this verse, to the Jewish people specifically, but also to born-again Christians], shall humble themselves, and pray [to me (God) for removal of their nation's judgment, or punishment], and [if they will] seek my face [for mercy and forgiveness], and turn from their wicked ways [i.e., stop doing bad (sinful) things]; then will I [God] hear [their prayers] from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

JANUARY 8

Proverbs 8:17
["Lady Wisdom," or God's wisdom personified (speaking like a person--in this case, a woman), says]: "I love them that love me [choose me over other things]; and those that seek me early [diligently, earnestly] shall find me [meaning that they keep looking for wisdom until they find it and have it]."

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, love is a choice, and when we love Lady Wisdom, she will love us. This means that all godly people can be wise if that's what they want. All they have to do is sincerely pray and ask God for wisdom. As you can see from the above verse, the Bible promises us that he won't say no.

In addition, in paragraph 7 at the end of his commentary on this verse, the pastor says, "It is GOOD for children to be taught to seek wisdom early. … Think of all the trouble and grief that could be avoided in life if our young people sought wisdom with all their hearts at a young age!"

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-8-index/proverbs-8_17/.

I also found two interesting articles on the Internet about wisdom. Here are their titles and links:

-- "What is wisdom? What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/wisdom-knowledge.html)

-- "Why is wisdom referred to as a she in Proverbs?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/wisdom-she-Proverbs.html)

JANUARY 7

1 John 4:4
[In a letter to born-again Christians, the apostle John wrote]: "Ye are [members of the family] of God, little children [he may have said this because when we get saved, we become 'children of God'], and have overcome them [the false prophets and teachers who tried to lure you away from the truth]: because greater is he that is in you [referring to the Holy Spirit, living in your heart], than he that is in the world [meaning the devil, or Satan]."

If you're a Christian, God will help you have victory over Satan and his servants.

JANUARY 6

Proverbs 6:1-5 - In Most Cases, Avoid Co-Signing Loans
This was King Solomon's wise advice to his son:

Verses 1-2: "My son, if thou be surety for thy friend [if you have agreed to guarantee the payment of someone else's debt (for example, by co-signing a loan)], if thou hast stricken thy hand [if you shook hands to confirm a verbal agreement or if you signed a written agreement] with a stranger [such as a loan shark, bank, or other creditor] [to pay your friend's debt if he or she does not], Thou art snared [trapped, caught] with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken [captive] with the words of thy mouth [the promises you have made]."

Verses 3-4: "Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself
[from your risky or improper financial obligation], when thou art come into the hand of thy friend [when you have agreed to become surety for that person's debt]; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend [in other words, plead for mercy--ask him or her to 'let you off the hook,' tear up the agreement, etc.]. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber [rest] to thine eyelids [i.e., do it immediately--before going to bed]."

Verse 5: "Deliver thyself
[yourself] [from financial bondage] as a roe [deer] [does when it attempts to escape] from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird [does when it tries to escape] from the hand of the fowler [someone who traps birds in a net]."

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on these verses. It tells how and why we may be tempted to co-sign a note, why it usually is a bad idea, and what to do instead. Here's an excerpt from the section entitled "THE SITUATION":

"3. Co-signing a note for a friend might appear to be quite generous and kind.

"a. There may be times when it IS the RIGHT thing to do. (Your son's first car… student loans…)

"b. But there are other times when it is a FOOLISH thing to do.
"· A casual friend at work who fell upon hard times…
"· A relative you know is irresponsible…
"· A teenager who needs a brand new Lexus…
"· A risky or questionable business deal…"

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_1-5/.

JANUARY 5

Isaiah 55:7: "Let the wicked
[person] forsake [renounce or give up] his [or her] [evil] way, and [let] the unrighteous man [or woman or child] [forsake] his [or her] [sinful] thoughts: and let him [referring to the wicked or unrighteous person] return unto the LORD, and he [God] will have mercy [compassion] upon him [or her]; and [let that wicked or unrighteous person return] to our God, for he [God] will abundantly pardon [forgive] [him or her] [for his or her sins]."

In this verse, the prophet Isaiah is encouraging everyone to sincerely repent (change their minds about sin) and turn back to God.

It appears that many people are confused about the concept of repentance. Consequently, while discussing this verse, one Bible commentator explains "… what repentance is, and what it is not."

"(1) It is not fear. A man may be frightened, scared, and yet not repent. That has very often occurred at sea during a storm. When a storm sweeps over the ocean it brings about a great many strange things. You will find when talking to sea captains that a great many men become suddenly pious, men who have been blaspheming for years suddenly begin to pray, and you would think them very religious and repentant, but when the storm has passed over these men go on swearing again. That is only fear.

"(2) Then repentance is not feeling; a man may have much feeling, and yet not repent. That may sound strange, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. You go down to yonder prison, and you cannot find a man who is not sorry that he is there; but their trouble is simply because they have got caught, they feel very bad because they were unlucky; but let them out of prison and they will do the same over again. That is not repentance. A man may have a good deal of feeling, and weep bitterly for days, and yet not repent. So that it is not feeling or remorse. Judas had that, plenty of it, so that he put an end to his existence; and a man may be filled with remorse and not repent.

"The confession 'I have sinned' is made by hardened Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27), double-minded Balaam (Numbers 22:34), remorseful Achan (Joshua 7:20), insincere King Saul (1 Samuel 15:24), despairing Judas (Matthew 27:4); but in none of these cases was there true repentance. …

"(3) Nor is it conviction. A man may be deeply convicted when he is going out of the house of God; he may know that his whole life is wrong, his conscience may lash him and smite him, and he may say, 'My whole life is dark and black.' He may be deeply convicted and yet not repent. Conviction is not repentance; making a few resolutions is not repentance; turning over a new leaf, as some men say they are going to do, that is not repentance; nor is it found in good feelings or good thoughts.

"A fit of sorrow is no great thing. Who has not had that? There are persons upon whom a penitential mood comes and comes and comes again; and nothing results from it. But this forsaking of the thoughts goes deep into the soul, and means a turning of the whole being towards God. It is quite true that the Bible does not lay stress on mere effervescence of feeling, as if it were needful to pour out floods of tears, or utter cries of agony, or go mourning and grieving for any special number of hours or days, and with any special intensity. Yet it is not conceivable that you should have a person convinced on the matter of his salvation, and changing his thoughts about God and sin, without strong feelings of abasement and shame. Take the type of a penitent, as Jesus gives it. See the publican standing afar off, not lifting so much as his eyes to heaven, smiting upon his breast. There is nothing extravagant in that. …

"(4) What is it? Repentance is turning from. That is what repentance is. 'Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?' It is an afterthought, it is a change of mind. You ask how long a person is to feel sorry for his sins. Long enough to give them up-that is all. A man may have deep sorrow or he may not have much, but he has made up his mind that he is going to turn from his sins to God. …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/55-7.html, "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers," "Repentance")

GotQuestions.org also has an article on repentance. It's called "What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/repentance.html.

JANUARY 4

Proverbs 4:14-17 - Stay Away From Bad People

Verses 14-15: "Enter not into
[don't enter] the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men [and women and children] [i.e., don't do what they do]. Avoid it [the path of the wicked], pass not by it, turn [aside] from it, and pass away [from it]."

Verse 16:
[Why we should stay away from bad, or evil, people:] "For they [the evil people] sleep not [cannot sleep], except [unless] they have done mischief [caused harm to others]; and their sleep is taken away [from them, meaning they can't sleep], unless they cause some [people] to fall [into sin]."

Verse 17:
[Why evil people need to 'do mischief' and 'cause some to fall':] "For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence [and, according to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, 'A steady diet of violence, immorality, perversion, and vice creates an appetite for even more…'--see note below (*) for a link to the pastor's commentary]."

King Solomon's advice: Don't associate (have anything to do) with bad people--don't be their friends, don't join gangs, etc. That's the best way to stay out of trouble.
_________________________

*Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on these verses. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-4-index/proverbs-4_14-17/.

JANUARY 3

Proverbs 3:7-8 - A Good Way to Stay Healthy

Verse 7: "Be not wise in thine own eyes
[don't be a know-it-all (someone who is full of pride and overly confident in himself or herself)]: fear the LORD [have reverence (honor and respect) for God, and a fear of offending him], and depart from evil [thoughts and deeds; in other words, try not to have bad feelings (anxiety, fear, depression, hatred, anger, envy, resentment, guilt, etc.), don't hold grudges, and stop doing bad things (like abusing alcohol and/or drugs, committing adultery and/or fornication, lying, stealing, etc.)]."

Verse 8: "It
[i.e., fearing God and departing from evil] shall be [or result in] health [healing] to thy navel, and marrow [strength] to thy bones."

If you want to be healthy--physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally--don't do bad things.

Near the end of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says:

"c. It [i.e., the phrase health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones in verse 8] seems to point to a physical health as well as health to the soul. Spiritual health and physical health are related.
" Fear, worry, envy, hatred, anger, depression, resentment, guilt-are NOT good for you physically!
" If we don't depart from these evils-they could kill us!"

"d. This is God's wellness program. You don't have to buy any expensive herbs or join a club. Fear God and depart from evil. THAT will result in wellness in your body and soul!
" To a certain extent, our outer man, our body IS affected by our inner man.
" Rather than trust in the Lord, we sometimes worry and that can burn a hole in our stomach… bring up our blood pressure…
" The believer that has rejected God's wisdom and is walking in his own wisdom has every right to be anxious… worried about the future.
" God RESISTS the proud. It is an unsettling feeling to know that someone with infinite power is resisting you!
" When the believer walks in the wisdom of the world-he has made himself an enemy of God. He has good reason to worry about chastisement! Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

"e. BUT, the believer who walks humbly with God-fears God-does NOT trust in his own understanding, nor is wise in his own eyes-that believer can have REST in his soul. He has health to his navel-deep down in his gut-there is peace and rest, knowing God is on his side."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_7-8/.

JANUARY 2

John 16:24
[Jesus said to his disciples]: "Hitherto [until now] have ye asked [for] nothing in my name: ask [God the Father for something in my (Jesus') name], and ye shall receive [an answer to your prayer], [so] that your joy may be full [complete]."

The reason Jesus said to ask in his name for things that we want and need (for example, by ending our prayers with 'In Jesus' name,' or 'We pray these things in Jesus' name,' or something similar) is because he is the mediator (intercessor) between God and us, as stated in the Bible:

-- 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

JANUARY 1

Romans 6:4
[Baptism by immersion following salvation (which means that the person being baptized is totally submerged in water for a few seconds) is a picture of this]: "Therefore we are buried with him [Jesus Christ] by baptism into death: [so] that like as Christ was raised up from the dead [was brought back to life, or resurrected] by the glory [or glorious power] of the Father [God], even so we [born-again Christians] [after salvation] also should walk in newness of life [in regard to sin--see note below*]."

Is God pleased with everything (or at least most of the things) that we do?
_________________________

*When a person gets saved, the Lord Jesus comes to live in his or her heart and changes his or her attitude toward sin. Christians may hate sin and try to resist temptation, but because we have a free will, it is still possible for us to sin. According to one Bible commentator, the following is what happens when a saved person sins:

"When the believer sins, the dethroned king, [i.e.,] the evil nature[,] mounts to the throne, with the consequent dethronement of the Lord Jesus. Such a procedure cannot go on often, nor indefinitely, for God puts a curb upon such a thing by sending suffering, chastening, and the Christian is made miserable by a guilty conscience and the indwelling [Holy] Spirit who is grieved at such conduct. ... God has so adjusted things in the Christian's life that, while he remains a free moral agent capable of choosing between obeying the divine nature or the evil nature, yet the preponderance [majority] of his choices are Godward. ... Hence the impossibility of the Christian's sustaining habitually the same relationship to the evil nature which he sustained before he was saved."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/6-4.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

See "Jan '19B" in Archives for Verses 16-31.
Unfortunately, I ran out of space in this month's file.

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