Reasons That Yahushua Is Not in Proverbs 8

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Reasons That Yahushua Is Not in View in Proverbs 8

For most of my life I lived with the understanding that Yahushua pre-existed and that Proverbs chapter 8:22-31 could be used to prove that understanding. Some eight years ago I was presented with information that showed that Proverbs 8:22-31 could be understood differently, i.e. that the “wisdom” spoken of there was not a personalizing of a pre-human spirit being (later born as Yahushua) who acted as creator or agent of the creation described in Genesis 1; but rather “Wisdom” was simply being personified as a lady. So I was no longer able to use this passage as one of the proof-texts for a pre-existent Yahushua. Since that time I have discovered that there are many small groups of Christians with diverse beliefs on various biblical subjects, but who all understand the “Wisdom” of Proverbs 8:22-31 as being personified and that it was never meant to be applied to Yahushua as a pre-existent person, or to put it another way — he did not have a pre- human existence.

But isn’t it true that 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 and Colossians 2:3 indicate that we should interpret Proverbs 8:22-31 as a reference to a pre-existing Yahushua who acted in the Genesis creation?

These texts read: “Christ the power of Yahuwah and the wisdom of Yahuwah...And because of him you are in Christ Yahushua, who became to us wisdom from Yahuwah, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:24, 30); and Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). This sounds like Paul is linking Yahushua with the “wisdom” of Proverbs 8, doesn’t it?

But a little thought may make us draw back from that conclusion. For example 1 Corinthians 1:30 also says that Yahushua becomes “righteousness and sanctification.” So are we expected to come to the conclusion that whenever we see these words in the rest of the Scriptures it is speaking of Yahushua? Hardly! So this too must be true of the word wisdom. We will not automatically think that, whenever we see the word “wisdom” in a Scripture, it must mean Yahushua. Furthermore, the synoptic parallel accounts of Luke 11:49/Matthew 23:34 show Yahuwah’s wisdom is not a second person but Yahuwah Himself. Luke tells us that “the wisdom of Yahuwah said, ‘I will send them prophets’” (Luke 11:49). However, the parallel in Matthew says, “Therefore I [Yahuwah] send you prophets” (Matt. 23:34).

Additionally, I recently purchased The New American Commentary, Volume 14 on Proverbs and discovered even further reasons why 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 should not be used to interpret the Wisdom of Proverbs 8:22-31 as being a pre-human Yahushua. It states:

“Perhaps the strongest argument for taking Prov. 8 to be an Old Testament portrait of Christ is 1 Cor. 1:24, where Paul calls Christ ‘The wisdom of Yahuwah.’ Close examination of the text, however, reveals that Paul’s description of Christ is not an allusion to Prov. 8 and that it provides no basis for interpreting Proverbs in this way.

“First, Paul’s purpose in 1 Cor. 1:24 is not to point to Old Testament texts that relate to Christ but to address the scandal of the cross. In particular he faces the issue of the offense created when he proclaims that the crucified Yahushua is the Son of Yahuwah and Savior of the World. To the Greeks this is sheer folly. When he says that Christ is the wisdom of Yahuwah, he means it functionally in the sense that the crucified Christ is Yahuwah’s profound way of salvation despite whatever human reason might think of the idea. He also calls Christ the Power of Yahuwah in the same verse in response to Jews who expect the Messiah to come in overwhelming power.

“Second, it is not appropriate to take Paul’ s comment and make it the interpretive grid for an Old Testament text to which Paul made no allusion whatsoever. Similarly, one should not take a text that describes the power of Yahuwah (e.g., Ps. 78:4 ff) and claim that it is really a description of Christ on the basis of 1 Cor. 1:24. It would be as if one were to take 1 John 4:8 (“Yahuwah is love”) and on that basis claim that 1 Cor. 13 is really intended to be read as a description of Yahuwah” (p. 112).

Prior to my reading of this commentary I also realized that Yahushua could not be linked to Proverbs 8 because Luke tells us that Yahushua “went on progressing in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). This hardly gives a picture of someone who had all of Yahuwah’s wisdom so as to create the universe and so shows that he was not in view in Proverbs 8.

wisdom as a woman


But what of the fact that verses 22-24 of Proverbs 8 speak of “Wisdom” as coming into existence? Surely Yahuwah has always had his wisdom with him so that it has always existed! Absolutely! Clearly Yahuwah has always had wisdom. So how are we to understand it when “Wisdom” says: “Yahuwah possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth”? Again The New American Commentary is helpful:

“Finally, Woman Wisdom of Proverbs 8 does not personify an attribute of Yahuwah but personifies an attribute of creation. She is a personification of the structure, plan, or rationality that Yahuwah built into the world. She is created by Yahuwah and fundamentally an attribute of Yahuwah’s universe” (p. 113).

So it appears that the specific wisdom described in Proverbs 8 is Yahuwah’s creative purpose and plan, i.e. His “word” working in creation and which was produced at a particular point in ancient time, i.e. was “brought forth.” Nevertheless, Yahushua was not “brought forth” until his birth from Mary. Therefore, Yahushua clearly is not in this Proverbs 8 picture of wisdom.

So who produced the Genesis creation according to Proverbs? We don’t need to look far because that answer is right within the Proverbs 8 passage where we find statements showing that Yahuwah Himself was the actual maker of the Genesis creation. According to verses 26 to 29 it was: “When He [Yahuwah] had not yet made the earth...When He established the heavens...When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep. When He made firm the skies above...He marked out the foundations of the earth”.

It is the context and the proper understanding of the type of language used in Proverbs, i.e. personification, that help one to properly understand this passage which is evidently not speaking of a literal person.

Wisdom and you

This is a non-WLC article written by Ray Faircloth.

We have taken out from the original article all pagan names and titles of the Father and Son, and have replaced them with the original given names. Furthermore, we have restored in the Scriptures quoted the names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible. -WLC Team