"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Man's Gift Will Make Room For Him

"A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great." Proverbs 18:16 ESV

I have heard this verse used for years in the context of God opening up doors for a person's ministry. The application was, if God has really called you to preach then you will not have to ask for a place to preach; your gift will make room for you. However, on a minister's forum that I belong to this subject arose and this scripture was quoted in the traditional way, and one of the posters pointed out that this was speaking of bribery. So, I decided to check this out and see for myself what I could find. Here is what the commentaries say:

"The “gift” (or, bribe), by a bold personification, appears as the powerful “friend at court,” who introduces another, and makes him welcome in high places." -Albert Barnes

"It is, and ever has been, a base and degrading practice in Asiatic countries, to bring a gift or present to the great man into whose presence you come. Without this there is no audience, no favor, no justice. This arose from the circumstance that men must not approach the altar of God without an offering." -Adam Clarke

"Or "enlarges him" (y); brings him out of prison, or, or out of straits and difficulties with which he, has, been pressed; or it makes way for him to a judge, and for a favourable hearing of his cause; or it enlarges his acquaintance, and gains him respect among men;" -John Gill

"Of what great force gifts (that is, bribes) are he had intimated before, Pro_17:8, Pro_17:23. Here he shows the power of gifts, that is, presents made even by inferiors to those that are above them and have much more than they have. A good present will go far, 1. Towards a man's liberty: A man's gift, if he be in prison, may procure his enlargement; there are courtiers, who, if they use their interest even for oppressed innocency, expect to receive a gratuity for it. Or, if a mean man know not how to get access to a great man, he may do it by a fee to his servants or a present to himself; those will make room for him. 2. Towards his preferment. It will bring him to sit among great men, in honour and power. See how corrupt the world is when men's gifts will not do, though ever so great; nay, will gain that for them which they are unworthy of and unfit for; and no wonder that those take bribes in their offices who gave bribes for them. Vendere jura potest, emerat ille prius - He that bought law can sell it." -Matthew Henry

I had never thought to challenge the traditional view of this text. I have changed my mind, but I would change it back for a $1,000.00.


  1. Why didn't you ask me? I knew this. Glad you wrote on this topic.

  2. Never even crossed my mind to question it. If you were a real friend you would have informed me and educated my ignorance.

    Here I was all this time thinking that I couldn't get a place to preach because I was not gifted. you could have saved me some pain and suffering.

  3. I think you are all being overly selective in your views- the gifts are given by God and for God. Paul said he didn't preach in his own expertise but through the power of the Holy Spirit in Him- this is God's gift- the power to be effective in preaching HIS living word. The gift in Him made room for the man to be effective wherever He was sent.
    God's giftings in us, make room for the man or woman to fulfill God's will and purpose and that is TO preach Christ and Him crucified but alive through and by the power of the Holy Spirit in them. We as 'believers' just have to be available for God to use.

  4. Gifts of the Spirit is neither the context of Proverbs 18:16 nor this blog. I am not sure what you are trying to say.

  5. Thanks for your kind help. I just corroborated your view with that of William Mc Donald(Believers Bible Commentary) and Jameson Fausset and Brown and they are in agreement. Was just preparing my message and needed to insert the verse which I now cannot include.
    Although the traditional meaning can be true it is not what the verse is saying
    Again...Thanks alot

  6. You are welcome. Glad it was of help to you.