Who sells the truth? Is the truth here the same truth which Jesus proclaimed as the Way, Truth and Life? Does this relate to the parable of the10 virgins? (5 wise, 5 not so wise)
AMP - 23 Buy the truth and sell it not; not only that, but also get discernment and judgment, instruction and understanding.
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This question encompasses many different questions, although there is a thread that connects all of the ideas and questions together. First of all, the main question is, "Who is selling truth?" in relation to this statement in Proverbs 23: "Buy truth and sell it not." We aren't told who the seller of truth is, but we can make some educated guesses and applications based on the scriptures: Seller 1: Jesus. Jesus states, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." If Jesus "is" truth, then He can certainly "sell" it to us. It's interesting to note that in John 1, Jesus is also called "The Word." Jesus is the Word, and Jesus is the Truth, so when we invest in truth, we are investing in Jesus Himself and in the treasures found in God's Word. Seller 2: Wisdom. All throughout the book of Proverbs, "Wisdom" is personified. We are encouraged to listen to wisdom (Pr. 2:2), to get wisdom at any cost (Pr. 4:7), to not forsake wisdom (Pr. 4:6), to love wisdom (Pr. 4:6), to cherish and embrace wisdom (Pr. 4:8), and heed her advice (Pr. 1:20). Invest in wisdom from the scriptures, and you will find truth. Seller 3: Life circumstances: Solomon goes to great lengths all throughout the book of Ecclesiastes to share what he--who is described as the wisest of all men--has learned over the course of his lifetime. Notice his words in Ecc. 12: "13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." I think we could list other "sellers," such as teachers (Luke 6:40), pastors and elders (Acts 14:23), parents (Eph. 6:1), etc... but the main point is this: God has given us His word, His example in Jesus, and many people whose occupation it is to teach us about truth. Those who want genuine truth and wisdom should listen carefully to these sources. The questioner also wants to know if the word for "truth" used in Proverbs 23 is the same word for truth used in John 14:6, when Jesus states He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Here are the definitions of truth used in these verses in their original languages: Pr. 23 (Hebrew): emeth | eh'-meth |: contracted from ''aman' (STRONG_H539); stability; (figuratively) certainty, truth, trustworthiness:--assured(-ly), establishment, faithful, right, sure, true (-ly, -th), verity. John 14 (Greek): aletheia | al-ay'-thi-a |: from 'alethes' (STRONG_G227); truth:--true, X truly, truth, verity. While these words are different because they're of different language origins, their essence is the same. Throughout the Bible, Jesus is Truth in its purest form, in both the New and Old Testaments. The last part of this question asks if the idea of selling truth in Proverbs 23 relates to the parable of the ten virgins. Specifically, I don't believe the stories are meant to be connected; however, the entire Bible is one, fluid account of the truth, and in that sense, they are related to each other. Oil typically represents the Holy Spirit, Who opens our eyes to the truth, so a connection can certainly be made in that way. The most important thing to note about the idea of buying and selling truth is this: To own genuine truth, it will always cost us something, and we must get it from trustworthy sources. Jesus paid for our sins with His blood, and our salvation is free. But to grow in Him, to become like Him, and to understand His will for us, we need to make an investment in His word and in our own relationship with Him. This takes time, effort and obedience on our part; this is the price for acquiring truth.
Great question, Willy! I'm not sure who sells the truth today, but I agree with Wiersbe about who sold the truth. Proverbs 23:23 certainly says in the Amplified Bible, "Buy the truth and sell it not." Lot sold the truth for a home in Sodom (Gen. 13:1-13). Esau sold the truth for a mess of pottage (Gen 25:29-34). Saul sold the truth for the support of the people (1 Sa 15:24-35). Judas sold The Truth for 30 pieces of silver (Mt 26:14-16), and Pilate sold the truth for the crowd's approval (Mk 15:15). It's not worth it!
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