Proverbs 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. (KJV)
Proverbs 9:6 Abandon your foolish ways so that you may live,
and proceed in the way of understanding. (NET Bible)
Proverbs 9:6 Give up the simple ones and have life, and go in the way of knowledge. (Basic English)
Proverbs 9:6 If you want to live, give up your foolishness and let understanding guide your steps. (CEV)
Consulting other translations of the Bible is helpful to increase understanding of statements in the book of Proverbs. Studying the cross references available for the verse under study is another way to dig much deeper into the connected truths of the Bible.
I took a closer look at my penciled note on the back of an envelope where I originally sketched out a series of three Bible passages I believe are must reads to help young people especially, but everyone else too, to correct a common failing or pitfall that can bring long lasting and extremely negative outcomes in life. My original note reads “Expand [the cross references for] Proverbs 9:6 and use for a ‘Daily Bible Nugget’ to help young people gain discernment to adopt the right friends.”
Only a day or so after I wrote Bible Nugget 325 on Proverbs 9:6 did I look at my original note. I did not follow my original plan for discussing and applying this verse, so here are my additional thoughts in line with my first intention.
Especially early in our life, while we are still young, it is important that we choose our friends wisely. One application of the command “Forsake the foolish” is to follow the directions in the Bible for choosing our friends. This may be a very sensitive area for some to consider.
I read a quotation very recently by a Canadian writer who said “It is better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction” (Diane Grant, Canadian playwright and screenwriter, cited in ASCD SmartBrief for 11-10-14). This relates directly to what the Bible teaches about standing alone in such verses as Exodus 23:2; 2 Chronicles 19:2; Esther 1:12; Psalm 101:4; 119:63; Proverbs 1:10; Daniel 1:8. Each of these verses makes for a most instructive cross reference Bible study.
When I was the sponsor of the Bible Discussion Club at Cass Technical High School in Detroit one of the young ladies who attended the club quite regularly asked my advice about how she should handle a rather uncomfortable situation she was facing. A young man became very interested in her, but she had good reason not to be interested in him. She wanted to be kind and maintain a testimony that was in every way honoring to the Lord Jesus Christ. She basically asked me, “Mr. Smith, how can I get rid of him?” I told her that is very easy. If he really does not have the commitment to Christ that you seek in a good friend, here is what to do. Invite him to come with you to solidly Christian events, like attending the Bible Discussion Club, coming to the morning prayer meetings, joining with you in active participation in spiritual activities at your church. I told her, if he does not have a real, solid commitment to Christ, but is simply wanting to come after you, you will know that is the case when he shows no solid, even increasing interest in such things. If I recall correctly, she thanked me for my advice, and not long after told me it worked. The last memory I have of her is that she went off to Moody Bible Institute to further study music.
I have told a number of Christian teenage girls, “You can do better than that,” rather than settle for less than God’s best by getting involved in a relationship with a young man who shows no solid evidence reflecting the proper commitment one should have to spiritual things. You must not suppose that you will pursue a relationship with the intention of “converting” the person. In terms of what the Bible teaches us, young ladies should seek out relationships with young men who clearly will exercise spiritual leadership in the home.
The same advice can be given to young men. Genuinely Christian young men are in rather short supply and harder to find, many Christian young ladies have told me. Young men should seek to invest their lives in a long term future permanent relationship only with a solidly Christian young lady who is committed to the Lord, who loves the Bible and Bible study, and who is on the same wavelength when it comes to compatibility of spiritual commitment to Christ and His written Word in the Bible.
Young men and young ladies have asked me over the years just where to find such committed Christians. You certainly won’t find them at a bar, at a “club,” or similar places where non-Christians like to gather. Rather, find committed Christians in a genuinely Bible believing, Bible teaching, soul winning local church in a fellowship group or Sunday school class.
If you do not know where to find such a church, try asking the staff or owner of a local Christian bookstore, or the staff or management of a local Christian radio station. They should be able to put you in contact with a suitable church environment where you can grow as a Christian, and make friends with the right kind of people who will be an encouragement in your life.
Finding “friends” at work or a secular school environment is not the best way to proceed unless such potential friends are clearly Biblically literate, vibrant Christians wholly committed to Christ.
We ought to be friendly to everyone. We ought to seek their good, and as the Lord provides the opportunity, seek to influence them to find faith in Christ and the Bible. It is good to have unsaved friends. Many otherwise fine Christians have isolated themselves from the world to such a degree that they have no impact on the lost. But the “world” is not the place to build permanent relationships. Secular friendships can sometimes prove disastrous, both in the short term and the long term (1 Corinthians 6:18, 19, 20; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17). Satan can use them to greatly disrupt the direction our lives ultimately take. Yet God can bring ultimate victory out of such past mistakes if we learn from now on to make right choices by forsaking the foolish that we may live, and by going in the way of understanding as that way is informed by our study and application of the Bible to our lives.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 658 for Proverbs 9:6.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 701 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Proverbs 9:6.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
Proverbs 9:6. Forsake. Pr 1:15. 2:12. 4:14, 15. 12:11. *Pr 13:20. +*Pr 22:3. 28:13. %Ge 38:1. +*Le 11:3. +*Le 19:17. Nu 13:30-33. 14:6-9, 38. Jsh 2:9-13. 6:25. Ru 1:16. 2:11, 12. 1 Sam 15:6. +**2 Ch 19:2. 20:37. Ps 26:4-6. 37:8. 45:10. 75:4. *Ps 101:4. +*Ps 119:115. Ho 7:11. +**Mt 15:14. Lk 22:55. Ac 2:40. 17:34. 19:19. 1 Cor 5:9. **+1 Cor 15:33. *2 Cor 6:17. Ep 2:13. 5:7, **Ep 5:11. Phil 1:13. 4:22. He 11:24-27, 31. **James 4:4. Re 18:4. the foolish. ver. Pr 9:4. Pr 1:22. 14:7. Jb 2:10. +*Ps 19:7. +*Titus 3:3. 1 P 2:15. and live. ver. Pr 9:11. Pr 4:4. 6:23. 7:2. +*Le 18:5. +**Is 55:3. +**Jn 10:10. go in the way. Pr 2:8, 20. 4:11, 18. 5:6. 8:20. **Pr 10:17. 11:19. 12:28. 15:10. 19:23. **Ps 1:1-3. 139:24. Is 26:7. Je 42:3. **Mt 7:13, +**Mt 7:14. Lk 1:79. 13:24. Ac 17:4. of understanding. ver. Pr 9:10. Pr 1:2. 2:3. 3:5, 6. *Pr 4:7. +*Pr 8:9. 19:25. Jb 28:28. +*Ps 119:99. Is 29:24.