“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7
What interpretation do you have about this verse? I was taught that this verse spoke on how I can shape my reality by what I think, that our thoughts have the power to alter our lives, and that we can make ourselves what we want to be.
But does this verse really teach about the power of our thoughts?
While detoxing from religion, one of the main things I learned is that It’s important at all times to consider the context of a bible verse. Some factors to look into when reading the bible is to consider who is the target audience and whether or not the writer was speaking (referring) to someone specific . To assume that every verse written is personally directed to you is a dangerous way of reading the bible.
It’s also good to have an idea of the historical & cultural context of a particular verse. The question to ask is whether or not the passage of scripture is relevant to present day living.
Let’s look at the verse in relation to the rest of the chapter.
1. When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
The writer was advising someone that even though this person says “Eat & drink”, be careful not to assume that he is a generous man. For the words coming out of his mouth may not match what’s in his heart. why? because “his heart is not with thee”.
Do not be fooled by the words and generous acts of someone, If the generosity doesn’t come from the heart, then he is not a generous person. He acts a certain way because he has evil motives.
So within the context of scripture, it becomes clear that the verse has nothing to do with positive thinking or the power of the mind. Rather, it is addressing hypocrisy. Simply put, people can outwardly act a certain way but their true character is what is in their heart.
So where did this verse get linked to power of thought?
In 1903 a book titled “As a man thinketh” was published by the author James Allen.
James Allen was a British philosophical writer and considered a pioneer of the self-help movement in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. His best known work is the book “As a Man Thinketh” which is likely based on the Biblical verse Proverbs 23:7 which states: “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Some quotes from his book
“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”
“As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.”
“If he will link cause and effect by patient practice and investigation….. As a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself. “He that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”; for only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.”
The book primarily teaches that man is self-sufficient to transform his situations, its starts in the mind and everything else follows.
One of the deceptions that is rampant is believing everything that comes from the devil must have a negative connotation to it. If a teaching is meant to help you become better, the assumption is that there’s no way it came from the devil, based upon a belief that the devil doesn’t want you to be the best you can be! This is not true! The devil is the author of many positive teachings that might even produce some beneficial effects in your life. Nevertheless, that’s a part of the trap,—to make you believe you are embracing something great when you are actually been set up to be demonized.
The church has joined in teaching the power of positive thinking, notably Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes to name a few; many ministers cherry pick verses to back this false doctrine by teaching that if people remain positive and grateful, their situations will change for the better.
It’s alarming that the church has endorsed a teaching that originates from ripping Proverbs 23:7 completely out of context.
By their fruits, you shall know them
What fruits come from this teaching?
It denies people the opportunity to listen to the gospel – instead of people listening to the true gospel of Jesus Christ; they go to church to receive a pep talk telling them that even though they are facing challenges, they can turn it around. How will people know the gospel when they are not even hearing it to begin with? And when they do hear the gospel, it’s a different version that asks them to accept Jesus into their heart.
People are being taught techniques on how to change their thinking from negative to positive with the help of certain activities such as meditation – a practice that facilitates entrance into an altered state of consciousness (ASC). An altered state causes peoples’ chakras to be open & for demons to enter. Pastor Pam has several blogs & videos teaching on how Christians have been deceived into opening their chakras and getting demonized, you can read more on this at:-
Also the topic is covered extensively in the book “The Church of the Endtime Zombies”. The link for the paperback & e-book are listed below.
This teaching is also very focused on self & that the power to change is inside of you. Romans 3:23 states that all have fallen short, so we don’t have the power to make ourselves clean from sin, we cannot cause out spirits to be born again by positive thinking. There are some changes people can make in their lives for the better but being born again is something that only the Holy Spirit can do.
This belief in the unregenerated self has given rise to people referring to themselves as “I AM” with views that since humans are made in the image of God, that we are little gods, another false teaching.
Reading a bible verse in its proper context is crucial in the times we live in, it’s easy to be carried away by false doctrine if you don’t question or challenge what you are taught. “As a man thinketh so is he” addresses hypocrisy not the power of our thoughts.
If you would like to read more about the deception in our times and how to be armed with the truth, get a copy of “The Church of the Endtime Zombies” at