It is a physical fact that iron does not sharpen iron. No material is sharpened with the same substance. In order to sharpen anything the parent medal must be cut away, leaving the edge. The tool used to cut another must be harder than that which is to be cut. If it is not it will not penetrate the material. It will only rub against it, generating heat in the process.
I hope you do not take my word for this. I have sharpened many tools, from knifes to lathe tools and I know a lot more about how to sharpen than someone who has only listened to others that have not really sharpened anything. Everything that is sharpened, is sharpened with a stone, from the softest steel to carbide tools.
If you are reading this you have access to the internet, so research how to sharpen something. Not how to sharpen spiritually, but how to sharpen a physical tool.
You see that understanding the second part of Proverbs 27:17 depends on understanding the first part. If iron can sharpen iron then what is said in the second part of the verse is possible and if not then it is not possible.
Now that we know the verse says something can not be done (you did test me, didn’t you?) let’s think about what it is that can not be done.
There is a big difference of meaning between the King James translation and most of the others. I’m not going to research all translations so let’s just compare the NIV to the KJV.
(Prov 27:17 NIV) As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.(Prov 27:17 KJV) Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
The NIV leaves out the word countenance, which changes the meaning. As I understand the verse from the KJV it means that one man can not make another happy. The NIV on the other hand seems to say that one can not make another wiser.
I know that if I am faced with a disaster that anyone trying to cheer me up is never successful. No amount of logic, or anything he might say will work. Only time and God will restore me. So I understand and, of course, agree with the KJV.
It might surprise you that I also agree with the NIV. I have yet to tell this to anyone that thought iron sharpened iron and have them accept it. I hope this strikes you as funny as it does me. I am trying to sharpen you by using the very verse that says I can’t! You see that it only proves the verse when I tell someone and they refuse to believe or test me. If you don’t agree with me you have not tested me.
The truth of the matter is this, God doesn’t want me, nor will He allow me to teach anything. He wants to teach you Himself. If you have the Holy Spirit, you have the perfect teacher. All you need are the questions. God is referred to as a rock, or stone many times in the Bible. Let Him sharpen you.
I am just sharing what the Spirit has made known to me. If you want to possess knowledge you must meditate on the Word yourself. Consider everything that I say as only a question and doubt it all. Be a true Berean and test what I said.