Reflections on Proverbs 23:23:
Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.
I have the choice to buy the truth.
Buying and selling is as natural as breathing in the consumer-driven culture of America 2021. Advertisements and appeals bombard the average American from all over with one message: “buy this to be happy!” Solomon says in Proverbs and throughout Ecclesiastes, “Buy the truth,” and accessorize it with “wisdom, instruction, and understanding” in order to enrich your life. It is the buyer’s choice to make the purchase. Does he see value in what the truth offers? Does he understand the benefit of truth for his life? Solomon would classify this as the difference between being wise and being foolish (c.f. Prov. 17:16).
I have the choice not to buy the truth.
Many people go through life with evidence and truth all around them and never really buy into it. Atheists and secular scientists come to mind looking at the universe around them in all its complexity, order and design and still being willfully blind to the grand Designer (Rom. 1:18-21). These are not the only ones who do not buy the truth, though. Many members of the church, and those lost drift along through their lives, and never really buy into the truth of the gospel, seeing it as essential for their lives. Thus, shallow and superficial Christians abound because they hear truth and do not do it (Matt. 7:24-27; James 1:22)
I can buy something that is not true.
If someone chooses not to buy the truth, then it is assured that they will buy something that is not true. Consider again, the atheists and secular scientists along with people who refuse to keep God in their knowledge (Rom. 1:25). Truth is a hard thing to hear and accept sometimes. Truth caused men to hate Jesus to the point that they crucified Him. Still today, in many places, people are buying religious traditions and teachings that are not true, because they see the teachings of Jesus as being “too hard” or too constrictive (c.f. Jn. 6:60-69). One must be careful what he buys into, because there are many counterfeit truths being peddled in the religious market (II Cor. 2:17).
I can sell the truth.
A person sells what he does not value or treasure. Thus, there is something else that is more needful or necessary at that particular time than having that item. Solomon urges men to buy the truth and hold onto it, treasure it, and value it. When a person stops valuing the truth they are holding onto, they will count it as loss and treasure something else. This was what was happening to the Hebrew Christians. The writer throughout the course of the letter admonishes them, “do not cast away your confidence which has great reward (Heb. 10:35).” When time is spent in God’s Word in seeking wisdom and understanding and instruction, the value of truth comes out far above silver and gold (Psalm 119:72).