Recently I wrote the entire book of Proverbs by hand.
I did this because I’m holier than you and want to have a waterslide at my house in heaven.
You might be satisfied with just a regular mansion, but I have pretty high hopes for a ridiculous tree fort when I get up there. Booby traps, rope ladder, fire place, the works. Granted, it’s probably not nice to have a booby trapped treehouse in heaven because so many people won’t be expecting to encounter a booby trap behind the pearly gates. But that’s kind of what makes it even awesomer.
Writing the book out was fun and took me about 6 months. Part of what took so long was that I kept finding errors in Proverbs. The biggest of all was perhaps Proverbs 24:16.
Don’t act like you don’t know it by heart. Fine, I’ll write it out for you:
It says, “for though the righteous do not fall, the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”
Great verse! Lays out clearly how we’re called to live. Don’t stumble like the wicked. Be righteous. Done and done. That’s how I’ve always learned that verse. Only there was a problem when I read it in my Bible.
In my Bible, it didn’t say that. In my Bible it said:
“for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”
That can’t be right. Though for years I’ve spouted clichés like “I’m not perfect, I’m forgiven,” I haven’t really believed them. Deep in the shadows of my heart, I’ve believed that to be righteous means you don’t fall. You don’t make mistakes. You don’t mess up. That was all something that happened pre-salvation. Post-salvation is for error-free living.
And if you do make a mistake, you don’t “get up,” you “give up.” At least for a certain period of time. If time heals all wounds, then time covers all sins too. You can’t get up until you’ve paid some secret, silent sort of penance. But that’s not what the Bible says.
The Bible doesn’t say, “The righteous do not fall.” It actually says, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.”
That’s not a maybe. The verse doesn’t say, “If the righteous happen to possibly fall.” It says, “for though the righteous fall seven times.” It’s a definite, not a maybe, statement.
OK, fine, but where’s the shame they’re supposed to pay before they rise again? Where’s the condemnation? Where do they earn the title of righteous again? How many good decisions does it take to clean yourself up after each bad decision?
It doesn’t say.
And so it must be a typo. It must be a mistake in my version of the Bible. It can’t be true. Unless, and this is a big unless, Jesus died for all our sins. That’s crazy if you think about it, someone dying the worst death imaginable so that when we fall, we can still get up. When we fail, we can still be righteous.
That’s the only possible explanation I have for a verse like this.
Or it’s a typo and Zondervan owes me a refund with this error-riddled Bible. (Whole thing is full of unbelievable grace that makes no sense, absolutely lousy with typos.)