First let me remind you that I am only a student and because I understand that is all I am if I see something in Scripture that seems different than what others believe I continually reexamine it to make sure I am not misleading anyone.
My post on Proverbs 27:17 is just such a case. I am sure that iron can not be used to sharpen iron. So if you understand the verse as it is written and understand that the word for sharpen is to mean “to increase one’s mental ability”, which is the common way to comprehend the word in this context, we then have a problem with understanding other verses in Scripture. It is not an insurmountable problem, but still a problem.
The duty of a Biblical teacher is commonly thought of as to sharpen another’s understanding of Scripture. The problem as I see it is God appoints some as teachers and yet in the NIV Jesus said call no man teacher (Mat 23:10 NIV) Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. Are we to be teachers and yet not think of ourselves as teachers or allow anyone to call us teachers?
Then if you consider the NIV translation of Proverbs 27:17 you can see that it isn’t even possible to sharpen anyone! That is if you understand that iron can not sharpen iron and you consider the NIV translation without also considering the KJV.
If you think that I am trying to reconcile these two verses of the NIV, you are correct. I believe the Bible to be without error, so if that is true there must be some way that those who God appoint teachers must teach and yet not be recognized as teachers. Well one way that I see is those who have not turned to God do not yet have the Holy Spirit as their teacher and they need a man to teach or show the way.
Before I was saved my pastor seemed like he knew all of the answers and every sermon seemed to fit what I had just experienced the week prior to the sermon and I was excited to hear, but after I turned and was baptized I became critical of his sermons and they no longer pertained to my recent experiences. If he understood this he could have predicted it and even explained it to me, but no one knows everything and I must admit that I have not heard a better preacher.
Let’s examine the KJV, comparing it to the NIV. The KJV translates Proverbs 27:17 quite a bit differently than the NIV. (Prov 27:17 KJV) Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. The NIV disregards the word countenance, but it is in Strong’s so it is in the original Hebrew language.
Those who use the NIV and who refuse to accept that the second part of the verse determines that the first part is not possible I would bet have no problem believing it when the KJV is considered.
As I understand the KJV it says that when someone is depressed, or down as we would say, there is nothing anyone else can do to change it. Only time will change that, though we try; and we do try. Even Job’s friends understood that (Job 2:13 NIV) “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
The KJV translates the word “didaskalos” as “master”, which puts a different meaning than the NIV on most of the verses where the word is used, because the NIV translates the word as “teacher” most of the time. But it also translates it as Rabbi in four verses and that when there is a word for Rabbi: that word is “rhabbi” (Strong’s #4461).
I have noticed many differences between the NIV and the KJV as I thought about this deviation, but there is one underlying concept that guides my thoughts. God protects His word and it is not possible to change something that God is protecting. It may be possible to write a different version of God’s word, but it will not prevail. Because both the KJV and the NIV prevail then it is my understanding that God wants both translations of Proverbs 27:17 to be viewed as genuine. For the word of God is living and active.
And here is what angers my brothers, the first phrase in Proverbs 27:17 determines the meaning of the second phrase and iron still does not sharpen iron. Ha-ha, and you thought I was going to change!