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As A Man Thinketh

As a man thinketh in his heart, so if he is something that is taught quite often in the church and it is always quoted as Proverbs 23:7. This was a scripture I heard often, before I was saved, in the self-help industry. I was a motivational speaker and owned a store that sold and rented motivational tape sets and books.

One of those books was As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. I also had a set of tapes by Earl Nightingale titled The Strangest Secret. Both were based on Proverbs 23:7.

The funny thing is that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he is not actually in the Bible. The closest to that is the King James Version:

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

Those who use Proverbs 23:7 to teach are typically saying that whatever you think about is what you become. Your dominant thought will become your dominant action.

Well, that is totally out of context with what the scripture actually is teaching.

To start with we need to read the whole verse 7. Here is how it actually reads I the KJV:

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

In the NIV, Proverbs 23:7 reads:

“for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”

The NASB says it this way:

“For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.”

As we are to do, let’s study this in context with the scripture around 23:7.

The context first is advice about dining with a ruler or king (verses 1-3). Next, not to overwork to be rich and be careful of riches (verses 4-5).

Verse 6 says, “Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies;” verse 7 “For as he (the miser) thinks in his heart, so is he. Eat and drink he (the miser) says to you, but his heart is not with you.”

Wow, Proverbs 23:7 takes on a whole new meaning.

The scripture, is totally out of context and doesn’t match up with how it is typically taught.

That said, the concept is correct. We do move toward our dominant thought. Our actions follow our thoughts, whether good or bad.

That’s why in the last part of 2 Corinthians 10:5, the Apostle Paul teaches:

“take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

We need to think about what we are thinking about and compare it to the Word of God. If the thought lines up, keep it and if it doesn’t, reject it.


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