Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
Do you feel things are going faster and faster? The news that is coming at us is ever more forceful in its depravity? I do. I feel like a guy stuck in a snowball that is gathering speed as it rolls down the hill. Are you using one eye for looking out (for your fellow man) and the other eye for looking up (for our redemption draweth nigh)?
The times are getting harder now, financially, emotionally, physically (tough winters & summers everywhere). Let us remember to share our faith with unbelievers but also encourage each other. Now is the time to let grudges go, to refrain from being annoyed by small things. Put personal differences aside and “build each other up” as we face increasing iniquity that disheartens and depresses, as the news may indeed do. One way to accomplish this is to do what the Proverb says.
Gill’s Exposition says of the Proverb,
Iron sharpeneth iron,…. A sword or knife made of iron is sharpened by it; so butchers sharpen their knives; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend; by conversation with him; thus learned men sharpen one another’s minds, and excite each other to learned studies; Christians sharpen one another’s graces, or stir up each other to the exercise of them, and the gifts which are bestowed on them, and to love and to good works.
John MacArthur comments,
The benefits of intellectual and theological discussion encourage joy thorough a keener mind and improvement of good character, which the face will reveal.
Now all that sounds lofty and perhaps difficult, but it’s not. All the Proverb means is to speak of Jesus, essentially. However, in order to speak of Him intelligently, one must have read the Bible, be involved in ongoing study or a devotional…something. Discussing what you learned or read from the Bible IS a theological discussion. You don’t have to learn Greek or Hebrew. You don’t have to attend Seminary. Just have a conversation about something you read in the Word and took to heart, or applied to life. It doesn’t have to be along, drawn-out lesson either. Jut a nugget to get the conversation going.
Doing this in your small group study, if you’re part of one, is good. But even in every day life, iron sharpens iron. At the lunch table, you might say, “I learned when reading 2 Thessalonians 1 that when Jesus returns it will be with His mighty angels, which are agents of His delegated power to accomplish His purposes. I never realized just how busy His angels are, especially in accomplishing His judgments.” That might spark someone to say they have just read about the scene where Elijah has run away from Ahab and Jezebel and exhausted, an angel took care of him in the desert, and another to remember the angels’ work at Sodom, and so on.
Repeating, discussing admiring the things God has shown us in His word sharpens our mind and sparks us to both learn more and to pray in thanks to Him for revealing it to us. It also connects us to the believers around us. Iron sharpens iron.