Proverbs 3:30

ESV Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.
NIV Do not accuse anyone for no reason-- when they have done you no harm.
NASB Do not contend with a person for no reason, If he has done you no harm.
CSB Don't accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm.
NLT Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm.
KJV Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

What does Proverbs 3:30 mean?

A "proverb" is a general-case statement of advice. In the ancient day, as today, these are not understood as absolute guarantees. Instead, they explain the best course of action, along with the most typical result. In this case, Solomon teaches that a wise person doesn't pick fights. If a person has not grievously wronged us, we have no reason to quarrel with him. Note, however, this verse allows that some conflicts with others are justified—what's condemned is strife without a compelling reason.

In some parts of America, this is summed up with the English idiom "don't start none, won't be none," referring to trouble as something one ought not stir up without a good reason. That idiom is just a rephrasing of Romans 12:18, which instructs: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Common sense says that it's better not to start fights and arguments than to be constantly embroiled in them.

Those who live according to the sinful nature stir up strife and dissensions (Galatians 5:20), whereas those who walk in the Spirit manifest peace in their lives (Galatians 5:16, 22). Paul rebuked the contentious members of the Galatian churches and warned them about the consequences of their actions. He wrote: "If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another" (Galatians 5:15).

In listing the requirements of an overseer, Paul wrote they should be "not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome" (1 Timothy 3:3). Near the end of his life, Paul called out by name Alexander the coppersmith. He charged: "Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds" (2 Timothy 4:14).

Can you imagine how much less strife and bitterness there would be in the church—let alone the world—if every believer obeyed the injunction of this verse?
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