Proverbs 27:17 - Iron Sharpens Iron.
Proverbs 27:17 - Iron Sharpens Iron.
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens
Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens
WORD STUDY re Sharpens
The sharpening has been variously interpreted. Some have felt it
could mean only to make the friend angry so that he gives "sharp"
looks; but most have taken it in the good sense of increasing a
friend's wisdom and initiative by mutual help and rivalry as the iron of
the file or of the hammer sharpens the iron of the blade. [SDA Bible
Sharpening an iron sword or tool by a whetting iron is like a
person or friend forming, honing, and shaping the character and
deportment of another. [NIV SB 2015]
A famous proverb, this verse may also be translated as applying
to the will: "Let iron sharpen iron, and so let a person sharpen
his friend." The idea is that people grow from interaction with one
another. [Nelson SB]
COMMENTARY on Verse Content
Mental sharpness comes from being around good people. And a
meeting of minds can help people see their ideas with new clarity,
refine them, and shape them into brilliant insights. This requires
partners who can challenge one another and stimulate thought--people who
focus on the idea without involving their egos in the discussion;
people who know how to attack the thought and not the thinker. Two
friends who bring their ideas together can help each other become
sharper. [Life Application SB]
This expression has to do with personality. People sharpen each
other through exchanging information, discussing issues and critiquing
each other's ideas. Different people can bring different perspectives
and strengths to a discussion. Like a knife blade rubbed on steel,
this process in a friendship may sometimes cause the sparks to fly!
Yet the result is good! A true friend sharpens the personality of
his or her friend. [Quest SB]
What happens when you strike iron with iron? Sparks fly! How
fortunate the person who has such a friend, one who will share not only
the joys and victories, but also the insights to personal things
that might be somewhat painful. It is from the Oriental concept of
countenance that we get the idea of "face." We sometimes say a person may
"lose face" if such and such happens. In Scripture, this concept
relates to all a person stands for. To be a true friend sometimes means
being severe in what we must say to our friend. But just because
sparks fly doesn't mean something is bad. Just the opposite! In this
case, iron sharpening iron is one making the other more useful, more
efficient, giving it a truer edge. Looking for a close friend in these
"friendless" days? Find the one who loves the Lord and is willing to risk
making sparks fly once in a while. [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]
COMMENTARY on Chapter Context
Many of these proverbs affirm the value of friends who will be
honest about one's strengths and weaknesses. Wise friends facilitate
growth. Be a wise friend and help others grow. [Inspirational SB re
Friendship - what a priceless possession! Yet it is not a
possession at all; rather, it is a gift of God, and it is to be received
with thanksgiving. Some friends are naturally closer than others. Our
Lord had many friends, but three - Peter, James, and John - seem to
have had a special place in His heart. We also find we have more in
common with certain friends than with others, but that does not mean
that the others are not our friends! Sometimes after we have
befriended one of the others in a crisis, we learn that he or she had more
in common with us than we realized. Friendship demands time and
effort, just as a plant requires watering. Without it, our lives can
become like deserts. by Sherwood Eliot Wirt [Passages Of Life SB re
"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of
his friend" (Prov. 27:17). We all need to be accountable to someone.
Surrounding yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear is
asking for trouble. We need trusted individuals to confront us when
necessary and make suggestions as we make decisions.
Men need other men. They can encourage each other in ways
women cannot. Having faced similar struggles, men can more easily
identify with the issues and feelings involved. Sadly, though, many men
feel that to be dependent on anyone, especially another man, is
contrary to the macho image they're trying to project.
Men can find strength and freedom in confiding in someone who
is committed to our growth and who has experienced the same
struggles and demonstrated a spirit of perseverance. What a relief to know
that we don't have to have all of life's answers. We can learn from
each other! by Dr. Richard Meier [Passages Of Life SB re Proverbs
There is a difference between saying you are a friend of someone
and being a true friend to that person. The greatest evidence of
genuine friendship is loyalty - being available to help a friend in
times of distress or personal struggles. Too many people are
fair-weather friends. They stick around when the friendship helps them and
leave when they're not getting anything out of the relationship. Think
of your friends and assess your loyalty to them. Be the kind of
true friend the Bible encourages us to be. [Small Group SB re Pro.
18:24; 19:4; 27:10]
As E. C. McKenzie said, "Some people make enemies instead of
friends, because it is less trouble." It takes even less effort to
alienate the friends we already have. On the other hand, finding and
keeping a friend requires all the skill we can muster. But the reward
for that effort is correspondingly great. The proverbs in this study
give advice on friendship - its maintenance, how it is strengthened
or weakened, and the special value of a friend. This wisdom is
particularly valuable when applied to husband and wife, parent and child. But
the wonder of friendship is its capacity to transcend age and
gender, and to forge bonds stronger than blood.
Thank God for the friends you have who speak honestly with
you - whether encouraging or rebuking - and build your relationship
with Christ. [Quiet Time SB re Proverbs 27]
The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is
difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and
consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place
a friend alongside us. One of God's most precious gifts to us is
friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to "keep going."
According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to
become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father
to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David,
and he encouraged him to follow God's will, even though it meant
Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1Sa 19:1-7).
The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws
you closer to Christ. They "sharpen" you and motivate you to do what
is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting
your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at
heart (Pr 27:6).
Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose His closest
friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose
hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the
kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put
the needs of others first (Pr 17:17). Strive to find godly friends
who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you
have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you
become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that
helps others become more like Christ. [Experiencing God Day by Day by
Henry and Richard Blackaby re Pro. 27:17]
I needed to go somewhere, but my car wouldn't start. I just
sat there for a few minutes, and then I began to consider my
options. I could continue to sit behind the wheel, hoping the engine
would miraculously turn over, or I could call someone to help me
figure out what was wrong. The mechanic I called said the problem
appeared to be the starter, and he advised me to have my car towed to his
shop. I did what he said and had my car back the next day in working
In regard to recovery, we all know how tough it is to get
started doing the things we know we need to do - spending quiet time
with God, making it to meetings, attending church, supporting and
serving others, etc. We can feel overwhelmed and just sit there
wondering what to do, as I did when my car wouldn't start. When this
happens, we can continue to sit there hoping things will get better on
their own, or we can call a sponsor or accountability partner and tell
them what's going on. Even more important, we need to follow their
instructions carefully. My mechanic told me to have my car towed to his shop.
If I hadn't done that, it would still be sitting in my driveway,
refusing to start.
No matter what we face in life, we always have options. We
can sit there and hope for a miracle or reach out for help.
Father, thank you for placing good people in my life, people
committed to helping me when I can't help myself. In Jesus' name, Amen.
[Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional by John & Johnny Baker]
I was working when I heard someone crying. I went out to
check and discovered that it was one of our volunteers. Her husband is
an addict, and she's going through some tough times with her
daughter as well. She had just gotten off the phone with someone who has
been dealing with a lot of the same issues. All at once, she felt joy
for the victories she's seen and deep sadness for the battles that
still lay ahead.
This volunteer has gone through her own personal hell. Her
husband's addiction and her daughter's rebellion have caused her deep
grief. But working through the Celebrate Recovery principles has helped
her to find victory for herself and learn that she can change only
herself - no one else. So that day, when she called the parents of a
troubled teen to talk about recovery options, she was able to encourage
them. She knew they needed recovery as much as anyone. She sharpened
and encouraged them. God used her personal pain to help others.
We all have a story. We've known pain. We've worked through
difficult issues. God can use our experiences to sharpen others if we will
Dear Father, thank you for turning my pain into blessing by
using it to challenge and encourage others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
[Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional by John & Johnny Baker]
We're Better Together
When I have an encounter with someone, I often pray: "God,
let me get everything You intend for me to get out of this
encounter." I assume every encounter is God ordained, and believe He will be
glorified and His purposes will be achieved. I have been amazed and
blessed over the years as God has answered my prayer.
When God led me to Asheville, I would come to the city and
spend hours walking and driving the streets. One day while stopped at
a traffic light, I heard a man singing, so I turned down an alley
to find the singer - a man named Charles. We struck up a
conversation, and Charles began to tell me about his life. This was my very
first personal encounter with a person living on the streets.
I've thought about him many times since that day. Charles was
once a professor at UNCA, but alcoholism had destroyed his career,
his family, and his relationships. His "home" was a camp near Coxe
Avenue. My time with Charles really changed me. God used him to open my
heart to the needs of the homeless, and I began to see how I or anyone
could be one or two choices away from being in a similar situation.
God's answer to my prayer that day was powerful to my heart.
I was blessed by my time with Charles, and I pray he was blessed
We all need each other. Too often we go through hard times,
and the first thing we do is isolate ourselves. People mistreat us,
so we tell ourselves the only way to survive is to build walls and
keep people out. We say we have "trust issues." But when we do this
we cheat ourselves out of God's best.
God uniquely created us in His image and likeness with a
certain purpose and plan; however, we must relate to each other to see
His plan fully realized. There is no way we can accomplish what God
has for us as loners.
The enemy loves it when we separate ourselves. It's one of
his most powerful and wicked strategies. Causing division and "trust
issues" has been his plan from the start. He uses his tricks to fracture
every relationship he can.
On the other hand, allowing God to sharpen us through our
relationships can be challenging. This ministry depends on relationships. The
clients who succeed here make the most of the Proverbs 27 wisdom that
iron sharpens iron. They submit to the truth that we are better
together and allow for God's sharpening process.
Ecclesiastes chapter four tells us, "Two are better than one,
because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one
will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he
falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down
together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one
may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a
threefold cord is not quickly broken."
God created us to live in Covenant - a deep committed
relationship with Him where He reveals Truth to us. He also calls us to live
in covenant with each other where we choose to love each other as
He has loved us. Just as Jesus and the Father are one, we can be
one with Him and with each other. One with Him, we can live fully in
His blessing. One with each other, we can bring Him limitless glory.
God continues to bless me through the many folks who come
through our doors. He also blesses me through you. I sincerely thank you
for being in relationship with Western Carolina Rescue Ministries. I
pray that you may be richly blessed by this ministry, and I pray that
in the year ahead we may bring much glory to God as we minister
together to the needs of the homeless, poor and addicted. By Micheal
Woods, Executive Director of the WC Rescue Mission (Western Carolina
Rescue Mission Newsletter)
Inwardly my soul was crying out for someone who would listen
- someone who could listen without responding - without judging.
Someone who could help me translate the meaningless jumble of scrambled
thoughts without taking offense of being critical.
I was too closed, too masked, too threatened. I had never
really bared my soul to anyone, not even myself. I was so afraid to
take it out that again I slammed the lid shut and guarded it with all
the emotional strength I had at my disposal.
Emery then told me a story.
"A man was walking in a wilderness. He became lost and was
unable to find his way out. Another man met him. 'Sir, I am lost, can
you show me the way out of this wilderness?' 'No,' said the
stranger, 'I cannot show you the way out of this wilderness, but maybe if
I walk with you, we can find our way out together.'" (From
Depression by Donald Baker and Emery Nester) [Inspirational SB]
We have all known "cling-ons," people who cling to anyone who
seems to care for them. Generally, they have been deprived of
understanding, love, and respect. The "clingee" ends up feeling suffocated and
pulls away, which confirms the cling-on's original insecurity. New and
loving relationships in themselves don't make up for our past negative
relationships. Recovery from childhood deprivations is a process that must also
include working through past issues. Otherwise, our new relationships
will follow the same destructive patterns as those in the past. [Life
GREAT MUSIC VIDEO ON THIS PASSAGE
Steel on Steel by the Gaither Vocal Band:
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT:
Most Important Decision in Life:
Importance of Choice:
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]
Seeking God Made Real: http://vimeo.com/31489782
Music Devotional On Christian Living:
LINKS FOR BIBLE STUDY:
Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies: http://www.liftingupjesus.net/
Amazing Facts Bible Studies:
Discover Bible Studies: http://studies.itiswritten.com/discover/
LINKS FOR PROPHECY SEMINARS:
Revelation Today by Pastor John Bradshaw:
Prophecies Decoded by Pastor Ron Clouzet: