Proverbs 3:5 – Fundamentalist Version

Proverbs 3:5 – Fundamentalist Version December 29, 2012

The thought struck me today that, since fundamentalism tends to be about having the right doctrines and the right understanding of them, it represents a reversal of the classic memory verse, Proverbs 3:5. The original reads (here in the New Living Translation), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” For many fundamentalists, what it means to trust in the LORD is precisely to believe that you have understood and accepted the true doctrines. But that is, in fact, a form of reliance on one’s own human understanding.

So I created this image, to highlight the reversal. There are so many places where people today have grasped onto a verse, removed from its context, and have taken it to mean something other than it would have, understood in its own original literary, linguistic, historical, and cultural context. When that is combined with a doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, the result is that the meaning one reads into those verses is treated as divinely-revealed truth, rather than one’s own fallible human understanding. And so in the very act of doing so, the emphasis of this verse, on trusting in God rather than relying on one’s own human understanding, is inverted.

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