An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Heart and the Tongue

(Proverbs 16:1 KJV)  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

First I want to give the entire NASB verse because it comes across different:
PRO 16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, #But the answer of the tongue is from the \Lord.\ (NASB)
You need to begin by comparing this to verse 9.
(Proverbs 16:9 KJV)  A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
This is an interesting passage that seems to have something to say about free will.  We can have “preparations” (plans NASB) (4633) of our own.  It also speaks about God’s sovereignty.  It gives God the last word.  This is a tension we see throughout the Bible and reflected in the debates between Calvinists and Arminians. 

Two different words are translated “plans” here and in verse 3.  This word seems to mean the mental planning.  In verse three it seems to mean actually talking action.  A third word is used in verse 9.  It is a root for the word in verse 3.

The NASB says these plans “belong” (not in Hebrew) to man.  Notice that the KJV has a different meaning, making the two phrases parallel constructions.  Barnes says that “to man” is literally “in man”.  Although I like the KJV translation better it has a problem because the verb is singular but the subject would be plural in this construction.
Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. (KJV)
According to Adam Clarke this literally says:

    “To man are the dispositions of the heart; but from the Lord is the disposition of the heart”

He believes it means that man can propose, plan and ask for as much as he wants, but the ultimate “answer” (4617)  is made by God.  I believe that this is an example of the way in which God gives us responsibility and freedom but keeps the veto pen in His hand.  This should give us a greater sense of peace as we pursue “holiness, without which, no man shall see the Lord.”

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