|Proverbs 11:30 ERV: What good people produce is like a life-giving tree. Those who are wise give new life to others.
The “good people” of our verse for today are not good in some abstract sense of the word “good.” Rather, they are good (other translations say “righteous”) in the biblical sense of the term. In the Bible, the righteous are not those who never sin, but those to whom righteousness has been credited by God apart from works (Romans 4:6). “Good people,” then, are not self-righteous, but righteous because of what God has done.
When good people, as defined above, produce acts that are in accordance with the righteousness that has been credited to them by God, they bring life to those around them. The verse for today does not imply that every single act of a good person is life enhancing. Indeed, the Bible says that if God “punished people for all their sins, no one would be left alive” (Psalm 130:3). Sometimes, good people sin. Sometimes, their fundamental goodness is not reflected in what they do. Whenever it is reflected, however, then their acts help people, rather than hurt people.
Further, the “wise” of our verse for today are not wise in some abstract sense of the word “wise.”Rather, they are wise in the biblical sense of the term. In the Bible, the wise are not those who never do anything foolish, but those who fear the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). The “wise,” then, are not wise in their own eyes (Isaiah 5:21), but wise because they know and fear God.
When wise people, as defined above, make pronouncements that are in accordance with the fear of the Lord, they give new life to others. The verse for today does not imply that every single pronouncement of the wise gives new life. Indeed, the Bible says that no one truly understands (Psalm 14:2). Sometimes, the wise say foolish things. Sometimes, the fundamental wisdom of the wise is not reflected in what they say. Whenever it is reflected, however, then their pronouncements give new life to others.
It is important to properly interpret who is good and who is wise from a biblical point of view. Just because you don’t walk in sinless perfection does not mean you’re not good. And just because you have said some foolish things does not mean you’re not wise.