This proverb says that he who wins souls is wise, but what did this look like prior to the New Testament understanding of winning souls, which means to point lost people to Jesus?
NKJV - 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
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Proverbs 11:30NKJV "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise". Firstly, I will like to rephrase the text above this way: "The reward, produce or resultant effect of the righteousness of God in us (what the nature of God in us produces) is a tree of life (A grace for preservation and eternal life). Like a tree planted by the rivers of water, preserved, refreshed and draws life from it source of righteousness (Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8, Isaiah 58:8 & 11). And the righteous is not proven wise until he wins souls via his fruit (that is what the dealing of God in him had produced). Proverbs 11:30 #Rephrase There is a great connection of conversion of souls into the kingdom between the Old Testament and the New. As the Old testament in itself is a shadow or prototype or reflection of things to be accomplished in the New Testament. There is nothing different other than the Law and Prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus Christ which gives birth to the New (and better covenant). Let me explain further. The concept of the Bible is built around God, His people, their fall into sin, restoration back to God by the death of His son, introduction into eternal life in Christ Jesus, destruction of the corrupted world, destruction death and the devil, and a new heaven and earth to dwell, a holy people without sin nature. This has been followed through the ages by every character from bible days down to the end of age starting with Adam to prove that His longsuffering is that all should come to repentance and not perish (2Peter 3:9). Mankind was created in the image of God and after His likeness (Genesis 1:26-28) and He fell in Genesis chapter 3. When Adam fell humanity fell also. This is because when God created mankind, He placed them in one man called Adam who was in the image and born of the nature of God. When Adam sinned, the nature of corruption replaced the Holy nature of God in him and that automatically changed mankind's nature into a sin nature. Having seen that the nature of God has been substituted with sin nature and the glory of God which was a covering had been stopped due to sin, God killed an animal (Which of course translates to shedding of blood) in same chapter, took their skin to make a covering for Adam, Eve and by extension mankind (Genesis 3:21). This experience was buttressed in Revelation 13:8b signifying that that blood shed in Gen 3:21 was a physical manifestation in the Old testament of the shed blood of the Lamb shed before the foundation of the world to complete attend to and deliver from sin. Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden and since then, the plan of God for restoration into the nature and atmosphere of God had begun. Every step of the scripture was to raise a people (Israel) as a nation that will show others God by the relationship, fellowship with, worship to and blessings from God. Noah was raised as a first soul winner(Genesis 7). Raised a phenomenal architect, built an ark, preached a restoration to God and His worship or be slept away by the flood. Many were deaf to him but by faith he saves souls and became heirs of righteousness(Hebrews 11:7). Abraham was raised next, being in the land of the Chaldeans, had a walk with God. His obedience to God was credited as righteousness(Galatians 3:6). God made convent with him to raise a great nation through him and today we are called the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:7) The law and the prophets pointed to Jesus, being fulfilled in and by Him to prove that only a sinless man can enter into the right standing with God. God accomplished this for us in that when Christ died, we died with him and when God raised him we were raised together (Romans 6) and in turn expect that we should continue in the soul win exercise as part of the whole plan for the earth and mankind (Mark 16:15).
If we consider the idea of "winning souls" to be the intentional engagement of another person(s) for the purpose of exposing them to God and His desire to be in their life then the Old Testament is filled with examples of "winning souls". In Genesis 12:4 Abraham responded to the call of God and left his home "with the souls the had gotten in Haran." Later (Gen 14) he rescues Lot with these men. One of my favorite examples is in 2 Kings 5. A commander of the Asyrian army comes to Elisha to be healed of leprosy. Though bitter enemies, Elisha instructs him to wash in the Jordan river. After he is healed, Naaman exclaims "from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord." A careful reading will reveal the OT is filled with examples of souls being freed from darkness and won over into the Kingdom of God.
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