guard your heart

Guard Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV

Heart or mind?

In the DAB reading from Proverbs this morning from the Common English Bible (CEB), the same passage above reads:

“More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. Have nothing to do with a corrupt mouth; keep devious lips far from you. Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you. Watch your feet on the way, and all your paths will be secure. Don’t deviate a bit to the right or the left; turn your feet away from evil.”

This made me curious about the Hebrew word. What word can be translated alternatively into heart or mind? It always amazes me how much you can glean from a little digging. The Hebrew word for both is lēḇ. In the Bible, it is much more commonly translated into heart (508 times vs 12 for mind). However, the word is complex enough to cover the following meanings:

inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

You can get the full picture from Strong’s Concordance.

Soul or spirit?

I really like the term ‘inner man’ and will meditate on this some more. Is this the soul? Or is it the spirit?

My old understanding of the soul from when I used to believe in reincarnation was that it was a sort of composite of past life lessons. This now feels so foreign to me. I can’t even comprehend how I used to believe this because it makes no sense whatsoever. Thank God that I have put that level of cognitive dissonance behind me!

I still have questions about the nature of the inner man but I know that God will give me the answers in due course.

The inner man in the sense of lēḇ seems, from my current understanding, to be both the seat of courage (spirit) and the seat of emotions (soul). So perhaps it is both soul and spirit in balance. And when we do not keep that integrity by, for instance, engaging in corrupt talk, we start fragmenting. What do you think?

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PS. As usual, the Bible passage above was selected from the Daily Audio Bible. I highly recommend downloading this free app that allows you to journey through the Bible in a year.

Comments 2

  1. Hi Lisa
    Re: Inner Man
    I have a lead!
    Just finished reading a book called
    “The Daemon”
    by Anthony Peake
    (kindle $4.50 aus)
    Chapter 3 The voices gives an incredible account of the relationship between Joan of Arc and her inner man.
    The book might be a good starting point-or not!
    Warm regards
    Debbie

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