WiW: Proverbs

The Week in Words

My Bible reading plan has me going through Proverbs–and it just so happens that I found a free translation of the Proverbs by Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro at my local library. I figured I’d read the two together–my regular New King James (a word-for-word translation) and Shapiro’s free translation (a very loose version of a thought-for-thought translation).

It’s interesting to see how Shapiro interprets–and how having different wording changes my perception of the emphasis of a verse.

On Dreams and Real Life:

“Your mind is filled with many dreams,
yet life unfolds despite them.”
~Proverbs 19:21, Shapiro translation

This sounds like a fortune cookie saying, but I don’t deny that it’s true. My mind is filled with many dreams–and my life has unfolded despite them.

So what does the Bible actually say?

“There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel–that will stand.”
~Proverbs 19:21, NKJV

Ah–it just so happens that this is one of my favorite (and least favorite) verses. It’s undoubtedly true. I am one who has many plans in my heart, but ultimately it’s not my will but God’s that prevails.

Do you note how Shapiro has canceled God out of his translation of this verse?

It’s a huge loss.

Life unfolding, simply cause and effect, things happening, random. There’s no comfort there for my dashed dreams. There’s nothing to keep me from despair. It sounds like “You’ve got your dreams, good for you–but they make no difference anyway.”

On the other hand, consider my amalgam of Shapiro’s translation with the actual Proverb.

“My mind is filled with many dreams,
yet God determines how life unfolds.”
~Proverbs 19:21, bekahcubed amalgam

Life is unfolding, carefully orchestrated. My dreams don’t always come true. But I have hope amidst it all. After all, a better dreamer than I is busy creating a masterful story from my life.

I make plans. God does as He pleases.

And that’s the best way for it to be–even when (or maybe especially when) God “messes up” my plans.

Collect more quotes from throughout the week with Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”.

5 thoughts on “WiW: Proverbs”

  1. Wow — Shapiro’s is a very loose translation! I like your amalgam better.

    I am late posting today, but I have the WiW post up now. I’ll go ahead and link this in. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love how you rewrote Shapiro’s translation. I’m thankful God is not random! We are blessed to have him override our plans, even though I don’t always *feel* that way at the time it happens.

  3. Think of how many people had God’s adventure instead of their own plans. Silly Anna, we all do! I think of Mary, Sarah and Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, Mary and Martha, Peter. They had plans but God’s interruption was best. Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.” What a stretching, exhilarating, amazing, humbling, painful, victorious experience when God takes control.


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