I thought I would share with you the thoughts of our very own Jonathan Burditt. As you can see he has decided to study the Word of God and to dive deep into the scriptures. May we all catch this fire.
Brother Big Daddy
New International Version (NIV)
17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
In order to fully explain this verse one must have an understanding of the history of metal. While The Book of Proverbs does not have an established date of when it was written, some say as long as 900 B.C. others around 300 B.C., we can safely assume that it was around the Iron Age. To fully understand this verse we must understand the use of the word iron. Iron would have been most likely used to describe any metal tougher than bronze, as the words: steel, pig steel, Damascus steel, Wootz steel and any other such words would not have been coined yet. Now you might be thinking well what about 2 Samuel 22:35, Job 20:24, Psalm 18:34, and Jeremiah 15:12 which all contain the word steel. Well the word used in those verses is “Necuwshah” Strong’s number 5154 which doesn’t refer to steel as in a metal as we know it, it just so happens that steel is an English word that fits the definition well. During the time Proverbs was written the process of making steel or better yet iron containing carbon was just being discovered by man. So now we can understand that each ‘iron’ tool could be much different than another ‘iron’ tool in terms of carbon content. (If I’m losing anyone here just do a quick search on ancient steel). Because in the beginning ‘steel’ making was really a guessing game as it was in its beginning stages. Now that I have established that it is very logical that the word ‘iron’ could very well be describing “pig steel” that would allow tools to have varying degrees of hardness I believe it is time to address the act of sharpening metal. For my explanation I will describe how to sharpen a sword. (My source… http://www.ehow.com/how_2108055_sharpensword.html#ixzz2SdWhwAth). Step one lay your sword on a table with one side propped up on the block of wood. Be sure there is enough lighting to see the sword edge clearly. Step two place the (metal) file at a 30 degree angle. Carefully use measured downward strokes on the sword blade to roughly sharpen it. Third apply oil to the whetstone. Place the sword blade across the stone at a 30-degree angle in a slow and measured stroke. You are polishing the blade here so this is a back and forth motion, not a circular one. Step four; dampen a small piece of 400-grit sandpaper with water. Glide the paper down the blade at a 30-degree angle. This must be done very gently because your fingers can easily slip and you can cut yourself. Now that I have explained the physicals facts I would like to expand on how this can be applied to the spiritual side. However, before I begin I would like to make a few comments that are fundamental. First I would like to say that this only works for two individuals involved in a relationship with Jesus Christ, not just one. Now I would like to go over the steps of metal sharpening again. Step one involves metal on metal contact which can be regarded as our fellowship with other Christians. The “strength” of each “tool” will dictate how much filing is done. Now step one says that you should put the sword on a wooden block, that wooden block would be the Holy Bible. Step two says to hold the sword at a certain angle that can be thought of as being totally surrendered to God. Step three involves the oil and whetstone, in this step we are removing the metal shavings and giving the blade a polish. This part can be thought of as the blood of Christ which removes our sins and gives us a clean new edge. Finally, we come to the sandpaper; this step is to blend the new edge with the entire blade. This can be related to our daily actions, keeping Gods commandments. This process will decide if the new edge is fully blended into the sword. We must be very careful with this step. However, if done correctly the blade will become much sharper. Now I would like to make a few comments on the Hebrew words of Proverbs 27:17. (I will be using the Transliteration as well as the Strong’s number). First, I would like to make a note on the word Chadad (Strong’s #H2300), which is translated into sharpen, however another word “quibble” which means to make trivial objections: to argue over unimportant things and make petty objections. Next the word paniym (#H6440) which in the KJV is translated into countersense is defined as characteristics, sight, or edge among many other possible meanings. Finally the word rea (#H7453) which in the KJV is translated into of his friend, which is defined as a brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbor. Before I close I would like to make this point very clear without a relationship with the savior Jesus Christ, the interactions with Christians will not give you a new sharpened edge it will most likely only, create a lot of friction. Check out what the rest of proverbs has to say about rebuke. However, in closing I would like to encourage everyone to earnestly pray about what this scripture means. Pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal it’s true meaning to each of us.