ABC:Proverbs 24

From BibleStrength

Verse 12 (Faith or Works)

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together.[2] We are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast.

However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.

True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.

Most of the verses quoted by Patheos in support of works, including Proverbs 24:12, Matthew 16:27, and Revelation 20:12 all relate to how people will be judged at the Final Judgment. Even Christians receive rewards based upon their works. However, the ultimate standard for whether one is saved is faith in Jesus Christ, no other foundation for works will be accepted. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) Works only make a difference for rewards if one first has faith in Jesus.

John the Baptist came preaching repentance before Jesus came for a reason. (Matthew 3:2) To trust in Jesus to save us from our sins (i.e. faith) we must first accept that we are sinners, and desire to change and stop doing evil; i.e. repentance. Repentance must precede faith; one cannot trust in Jesus to save us from our sins if one does not first acknowledge one has done anything wrong. One cannot call on Jesus to save them unless they desire to change with all their heart.

As for baptism, it is not the physical action which is involved in the salvation process, but baptism of the Holy Spirit, the cleansing of one's conscience. (Acts 1:25; 11:16) As Peter says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 3:21) Baptism serves as a public declaration of faith in Christ, and in countries like ancient Rome which outlawed Christianity, was to take a dangerous step in openly proclaiming a belief in Jesus.

Verse 17

ThinkingAtheist claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[3]

The critic's error lies in a failure to tell time, quite simply, and to discern the context of what's being referred to in both passages. The Bible is speaking of how we should not gloat over the stumbling of our enemies so that in the future Judgment God will not turn away his wrath from them. The New Testament reiterates this as well, it is stated throughout the Bible:

In context, the entire reason for not rejoicing over one's enemy in this life is so that God won't turn away wrath from them before the Judgment. However, once this life is over, God promises that those who have been wronged will rejoice at seeing that judgment.

In other words, Psalms 58 is referring to the rejoicing that will occur at the end, the Final Judgment of the wicked. This is the same thing referred to by Revelation 6:9, Luke 18:7, Deuteronomy 32:43, and the heaping of coals in Romans 12:20. Proverbs 24 warns us not to gloat over the downfall of enemies in this life but to do good to them so that at the Final Judgment they will be punished for their evil deeds by God, whose wrath will be far more severe than ours. In Romans 12 one can see the whole thing in context, we are to do good to enemies in this life that they may be punished in the next.

The critic simply ignored all of this context and jumped at the opportunity to declare a contradiction where none in fact exists. Simple as that.


  1. Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  2. Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.
  3. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from