Iron Sharpens Iron


Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

Hello Friends,
I wanted to share with you some thoughts that have been on my heart lately.
Iron sharpens Iron…
So first, partially because I cannot help myself, I figured I would get a few details out-of-the-way. The picture above is not the best representation of what I am talking about because it is steel, not pure iron. Without going too crazy into it. You can read more about steel and iron here.
Additionally, I am not sure if the scripture above was referencing pure iron or alloy of some from; in some respects, it doesn’t change the points I am going to make as to what is was specifically referencing.
Finally, those who like a bit of historical perspective the date to when this particular proverb was originally written is unknown. This proverb is considered one of the proverbs that were collected by scribes of King Hezekiah, who reigned from 715 to 686 B.C. When the Book of Proverbs was not written exactly is unknown but believed to be not before 1000 B.C. or after 200 B.C., but somewhere in the middle. This puts this scripture possibly after wrought iron (similar to steel) is developed and during the Iron Age when the iron was used to make weapons and tools.
Now that is out-of-the-way….

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

To me, this scripture shows us many things in this simple proverb.

First, it shows we need people. We need each other. But this is not a new concept to us we see all throughout the Bible here are a few examples…

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16 

 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:12-13 

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Romans 14:19 

Second, it shows action and relationships. Even in the verses above I mentioned regarding the first point we see action and relationships:

  • Sharpening
  • Toiling together
  • Keeping warm
  • confessing
  • exhorting
  • upbuilding

But even more than that the relationship. This is not a one-sided relationship. There is a mutual benefit, mutual sharpening, ahh… just go ahead and put mutual after all the bullets above 🙂

One person said it like this, “Conversation promotes intelligence.” I think it is in the different perspectives of others that we each are able to grow. BUT we will not grow if we are having only a one-sided conversation, at least one of the two will not grow.

Third, it shows something possibly looked over at first. They are both made of the same thing, iron.

I am a digger, in that I mean I like to know things. For example, for this article, I look into things that I shared with you at the beginning about iron and such. Sometimes, this digging has gotten me into trouble because when digging I wasn’t prepared. I mentioned here the importance of being prepared when digging into things. Make no mistake the coward is waiting for you to be unprepared.

However, even more than that when digging. I have to consider the source… not all articles out there especially ones on science and history are from a Christian viewpoint. This can easily be forgotten but need to be remembered. I digress.

I gave my son this example when I was talking to him about this verse and it is fitting so I will share with you.

 When carving a stick what happens to your knife? It goes dull. Similarly, when we are friends with the world or are trying to witness to the world, or in my case researching in the world, we can go dull.

When using the knife and steel (pictured above)  what happens when we rub those together? The knife gets sharper. This is similar to when we have friends/relationships with fellow believers. Except in our case, we both get sharper.

WE  NEED fellow believers in our lives so we can sharpen each other. We must be careful who we choose to converse with because their influence upon can go in either direction; for better or for worse.

Finally, was going to share with you about twos. However, I am going to throw out a few points and let you do the research. (take it or leave it) We see pairs when in relationships throughout the bible:
  • God and Adam
  • Adam and Eve
  • Jesus sent the disciples out in twos
  • Scripture tells us where two or more are gathered together…
  • being convicted talks about having at least two witnesses
  • even in revelation there are the two witnesses

So research those things it is pretty neat.

All that to say…

We need each other. Do you have your iron? If not, get some iron!


As always friends,

Be Blessed!

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