I have been ranting on the “sound of stupid” for a while and there is so much more. In fact it could be a full time job. So much of what is going on around us is stupid and it seems to come from an incorrigible desire to corrupt everything. It stuns me when I see it in action and then I am stunned at my reaction because the foundational teaching of the faith that we are all conceived and born sinful and basically want to corrupt all things. Why I should be surprised is a question for another time but I am still stunned that people act as if they want to be stupid.
We love to use “proof texts” in my world. There are many discussions that can come to end very quickly when the word of God is applied to it and we have texts that we like to use to prove what we say is true. But what happens when what we thought was the meaning of a text in the Scriptures suddenly seems to mean something different than what we thought. I came across a discussion about some of the Proverbs that we find in the book of, well, Proverbs in the Old Testament. I like to read the Proverbs but I have never thought that they had a context. To me they seem to be random thoughts written down as they came into the writers head. The introduction to Proverbs in the Concordia Commentary series says, “Proverbs inculcates God’s wisdom through didactic sayings that teach prudence and discretion for the life of faith, which is contrasted to the foolish ways of the world. Some sections of Proverbs are connected thematically while others feature short, pithy aphorisms that challenge the interpreter.”
The discussion I happened upon was the famous “proof text” for parental control that comes about in chapter 22:6 -Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Then the seeming corollary in verse 15 – Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
The argument among Hebrew scholars was in a complicated tracking and translating of a word that becomes a phrase and the phrase is “train a child after the manner of his way”. In other words this Proverb is not speaking of a proper training of a child from the beginning that will be inculcated into his/her life until they die, but warning that if you train a child according to what they want and feel they need, they will be spoiled brats until the day they die. A sinful child that is allowed to have what it wants and coddled in “the manner of their way” because they are sinful, will never change and will carry their spoiled and selfish ways through their life. The effect of the Proverb is the same. The training of a child is important and will last a life time. The context changes however and the corollary to this translation would be Proverbs 19;18 –Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.