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This weeks WPW comes from: Proverbs 18: 4

  • “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” – NIV
  • “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” – ESV

So we have a bit of a translation conundrum here.  The NIV seems to pit the two parts of the verse against each other as contrasting thoughts while the ESV sees them as complimentary or even repetitive.

Either way you translate this passage, the truths emerge the same.  Be encouraged by Charles Bridges wise comments on this passage (my bolding):

“‘This sentence expresses the depth, the, abundance, the clearness, and the force of the counsels of the wise man.’* The last clause gives this restriction to wisdom. When “a man has intermeddled with all wisdom,” his words are in themselves deep waters, and in their com-munication fruitful as a flowing brook. His wisdom is a well-spring, ‘which sends up full brooks, that are ready to overflow their banks. So plentiful is he in good discourse and wholesome counsel!’† So deep were the waters from the wise man’s spring, that his words nearly over-whelmed the capacity of his royal hearer. (1 Kings, x. 4-8.) One “greater than Solomon” “astonished the people” by the clearness, no less than by the depth of the waters. (Matt. vii. 28, 29.) No blessing is more valuable than a “rich indwelling of the word,” ready to be brought out on all suitable occasions of instruction 4 If the wise man sometimes “spares his words,”5 it is not for want of matter, but for greater edification. The stream is ready to flow, and sometimes can scarcely be restrained. 6 The cold-hearted, speculative professor has his flow– sometimes a torrent of words, yet without a drop of profitable matter; chilling, even when doctrinally correct; without life, unction, or love.  Lord! deliver us from this barren “talk of the lips.” (Chap. xiv. 23.) May our waters be deep, flowing from thine own inner sanctuary, refreshing, and fertilizing the Church of God!  This well-spring is specially invigorating, when, as in Chrysostom, it gives an heavenly glow to outward eloquence. Consecrated mind and talent are the gifts of God. Oh! let them be improved in simplicity, not for the creature’s honour, but for the glory of the Great Giver.

1 Matt. x. 25. John, xv. 20. 2 2 Sam. vi. 20-23. Esth. vii. 9, 10.

3 1 Pet. iv. 4, 5. Jude, 14, 15. 4 Col. iii. 16; iv. 6.

5 Chap. xxvii. 27. 6 Job, xxxii. 19. Jer. xx. 9. Acts, xvii. 16.

* Calmet. † Bishop Hall. Comp. chap. x. 11; xvi. 22; xx. 5.”

May we be deep people, filled with the Word of God.  Able to speak it or restrain ourselves at the proper time, guided by God’s wisdom.  Our words will not always be received for what they are, a bubbling brook, but we must speak the truth, with grace no matter what.

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