When I sat down with my cup of coffee and got prepared to write this article, my subject matter was going to be about being friendly. I had several passages in mind related to being friendly, being kind, being neighborly, and other related terms (Luke 6:35, Luke 10:25-37, John 15:13-14, Romans 13:9-10, Ephesians 4:31-32, III John 1:14, etc.). However, there was one particular verse that I was going to base this article upon.
The passage that this article was initially going to begin with was this: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). So, I began to dig in and think about being friendly. I was thinking of illustrations and applications that fit the congregation here in El Paso. I was considering where I wanted to go with the article. I wanted to convey the thought that if you want to have social time with brethren, you have to be the kind of person brethren want to be around socially. During those thoughts, I was doing a word study and came across a definition that changed the direction this study was heading.
Here is the definition: “To spoil (literally, by breaking to pieces); figuratively, to make (or be) good for nothing, i.e. bad (physically, socially or morally): — afflict, associate selves (by mistake for 7462), break (down, in pieces), + displease, (be, bring, do) evil (doer, entreat, man), show self friendly (by mistake for 7462), do harm, (do) hurt, (behave self, deal) ill, x indeed, do mischief, punish, still, vex, (do) wicked (doer, -ly), be (deal, do) worse” (Strong’s # 7489). Now I have a question for you. What word do you think this definition fits? Would you think it fits the word “friendly”? This definition belongs to the word translated “friendly” in Proverbs 18:24 (KJV). Are you puzzled? I was. The translation of the Hebrew term there does not fit the English word “friendly”(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/friendly).
From there, I checked some other translations. Notice this translation: “He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24; ASV 1901). That translation is fitting of the original Hebrew term. It makes more sense in light of the meaning of the term. Other Scriptures show that having worldly friends is certain to lead to troubles (Proverbs 13:20, I Corinthians 15:33, and James 4:4). After studying through that, and realizing the verse means something different once the terms are properly understood; I decided to change the study in this article. So, I want to get you to think a moment about the enjoyment that comes from digging into the Scriptures.
The Search Is Awesome
Solomon wrote: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-9). Jesus said: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). Luke wrote: “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10-11).
When you think of the word search, what comes to mind? Ponder that word before proceeding and read again the Scriptures quoted above. The word translated “searched” in Acts 17:11 means: “to scrutinize, i.e. (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine: — ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search” (Strong’s # 350). The idea is similar to that of a forensic sense in the form of an investigation. It is the will of our Lord for us to prove [test; examine] all things (I Thessalonians 5:21).
My question is, do you search the Scriptures the way the Lord intended you to? Do you dig in and enjoy finding the hidden treasures that are often within what appears to be the simplest of passages? In our studies on Tuesday evenings, we spend an hour digging into one or two verses. However, prior to teaching that class, I often spend 6-12 hours looking at those one or two verses in the deepest of searches I am presently capable of. I know that after our one hour of study, I have left a lot unsaid that could be said. That doesn’t mean you have to stop where we leave off. Do you ever allow where we leave off to be your diving board into the depths of what is still left to discover in those passages and the applications that could be made in your life? How about our studies on Sunday? How about these articles? How about the Scriptures you study on your own, unrelated to what we are discussing as a congregation? Are you investigating the Scriptures as deeply as you can?
My studies are often like this article. I start looking at one thing and that search leads to another and another and another. There is great depth to the wisdom of God (Romans 11:33). His word reveals much wisdom (I Corinthians 2:1-16). Dig deep and enjoy it!