What Is Truth Anyway? (ATP)
I found Proverbs 18:9 in the Amplified version while reading a book and was startled to discover that not taking good care of yourself is referred to as the “brother of suicide” in this verse, but when I read it in the NKJV this line of Scripture is not there. Is this verse really referring to how we take care of our physical bodies?
Proverbs 18:9 “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to a great destroyer.” (New King James Version)
Proverbs 18:9 “He who is loose and slack in his work is brother to him who is a destroyer and he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide.” (Amplified)
There are a lot of things to unpack in this question so please bear with me as I attempt to do so. First of all, I purposely did not use the author or title of the book. We have to be very careful when it comes to pointing out “error” in other people, ESPECIALLY publicly. As with anything, we cannot always know the heart of a person just from one reading. I believe that the questioned statement, from the context I can see (and I have not read this book), is in error. I will come back to that.
Before I go forward, I want to say some things and I’ll start by giving a scripture. Hebrews 13:17 instructs us, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” I want to draw your attention to the middle part of this verse: “for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.” God places us in a local body of believers under a pastor for a purpose. That purpose is to have someone to look out for us, especially when we are being trained in Godly pursuits.
No pastor is perfect, we will all make mistakes. That said, this is still a relationship God has ordained and has done so for our protection. I say that to say this; it would do us well to submit our studies under the guidance of those that WE KNOW God has connected us with. The very nature of a true pastor is that which looks out for the best interest of the sheep. The book in question, is probably one I would not have suggested.
Now back to the specific question at hand. Again, I have not read the book and I don’t know through what line of reasoning the author (other than perhaps the Amplified versions addition of the words) came to this conclusion. I will say this, I too at times use the Amplified Bible in addition to my Bible as a reference. There are things in this Bible that are meant to enhance or draw out what is being said, and are therefore helpful in understanding scripture. The part of this particular scripture that reads “and he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide” is not in the original language. You can know this because in part, the Amplified Bible has it in italics. I do not know where the place that the author draws this from is but I don’t see it in the text.
In context, this scripture is talking about being lazy and that one who is, is equal to one who destroys. In other words, laziness will destroy. It will ruin your life. There are plenty of scriptures that do tell us to take care of our bodies. The truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself it is like slow suicide but we don’t even need scripture to tell us that, common sense will. So from that stand point I guess you could draw a line from laziness to suicide by over eating, I probably just wouldn’t use that scripture to do it.
When we look at scripture there are two basic ways we can look at them, through exegesis and through eisegesis. The first means to draw out of scripture what is there, the second is to draw out what is not. We have to be very careful on drawing from scripture what is not written. Most revelational error comes from this place. Too many people take too much liberty with this. People so often get “revelation” on something but never test it to see whether it matches truth. This is similar to those who go around always claiming “God said”.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NASB), “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” I try and live by this to the best of my ability. Will I miss it sometimes? You bet I will, however I attempt to combat that by doing my best to stay correctible. This is my heart as a Christian and in my humble opinion is the only way to be an effective one.
In conclusion, God’s word is truth, not what we think or hear about it. If we are reading things that are not His word, we need to do so with a certain level of scrutiny, even this Faith Fix. Our hearts are not to declare that what we say is truth, but to help point people to God and His truth. If we will do that, He will work it all out.