Scripture: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Prov 12:1
Observation: I don’t have any particular insight about this scripture other than what it baldly says.
Application: “I wonder what God means by that?”
This question is persistently the beginning of trying to interpret a particular scripture or passage.
“I wonder what that means?” Or: “I wonder who He is talking to?” However the question is phrased it is getting to the same core value: “Now that I read this, how should I respond?”
I have shifted my reading and study emphasis from “interpretation” to “analysis.” “Analysis” sounds way cooler and more objective than “interpretation.” In interpreting a passage of scripture there is that personal, experiential, subjective aspect we cannot help but injecting. “It has to mean [so and so] because it is unreasonable to expect anything else…” Maybe not in all applications but has been to me.
But in “analysis”: Whoo boy-are we stuck or what? “What does it say?” “It says [so and so].” “What does it mean?” “It means what it says…” From there we can go and unpack a verse/passage and dig deeper BUT we start at a foundational premise “It means what it says…”
In Proverbs 12:1: Loving discipline is DIRECTLY equated to loving knowledge. Pretty direct I would say. But, diving deeper, we can see that Knowledge directly doesn’t follow Discipline nor vice versa: Discipline is not the precursor to Knowledge. I can love knowledge for all the wrong reasons. I can do discipline for all the wrong reasons. Somehow I have to do both-step out and intentionally and determinedly LOVE discipline; LOVE knowledge—make intentional time to do these things.
What about reproof? Reproof; correction; and any other synonym that means “Somebody is going to talk to me about changing my ways.” If I get this and hate it (dislike, resist, etc.”) the Scripture tells me in oh so spiritual language: “You are stupid.” I hate comments directed to me? “Stooopid!” Again: the analysis rather than the interpretation-it means what it says.
Doesn’t mean the speaker is right. Doesn’t mean the speaker has the “word of the Lord” in this. What it primarily reveals is the attitude of our heart in receiving correction/reproof. If we cannot receive it from a brother, are we training ourselves out of receiving it from our Lord? Yeah, kind of…
Here is where the tools of our growth come into effective play: “In the multitude of counselors there is safety”; “Confess your faults to one another…”; Exhort (encourage) one another day by day…less they fall in the deceitfulness of sin…”; “Be thankful for ALL things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus…”; etc. (paraphrases all mine) Also: Plan my growth (discipline) in particular ways toward objectives (knowledge). Confess sin and invite correction. Avoid being stupid. I do not want to be an old Christian but a MATURE Christian-pursuing You with all my life and time on this earth.
O’ God: Mature Christian? Stupid Christian? What do I want to be? Please do not let dumbness reside in my heart. I want to pursue you with all I am and all that I have and even more past that as You provide. Hear my prayer, O’ Lord, hear my prayer. AME