Proportion of Faith (Rom 12:6). Paul says here that each one was to exercise his gift of prophecy, i.e., of teaching, "according to the proportion of faith." The meaning is, that the utterances of the "prophet" were not to fluctuate according to his own impulses or independent thoughts, but were to be adjusted to the truth revealed to him as a believer, i.e., were to be accordance with it. In post-Reformation times this phrase was used as meaning that all Scripture was to be interpreted with reference to all other Scripture, i.e., that no words or expressions were to be isolated or interpreted in a way contrary to its general teaching. This was also called the "analogy of faith."
Proselyte Is used in the LXX. for "stranger" (Ch1 22:2), i.e., a comer to Palestine; a sojourner in the land (Exo 12:48; Exo 20:10; Exo 22:21), and in the New Testament for a convert to Judaism. There were such converts from early times (Isa 56:3; Neh 10:28; Est 8:17). The law of Moses made specific regulations regarding the admission into the Jewish church of such as were not born Israelites (Exo 20:10; Exo 23:12; Exo 12:19, Exo 12:48; Deu 5:14; 16; 11, 14, etc.). The Kenites, the Gibeonites, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites were thus admitted to the privileges of Israelites. Thus also we hear of individual proselytes who rose to positions of prominence in Israel, as of Doeg the Edomite, Uriah the Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite, Zelek the Ammonite, Ithmah and Ebedmelech the Ethiopians. In the time of Solomon there were one hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred strangers in the land of Israel (Ch1 22:2; Ch2 2:17, Ch2 2:18). And the prophets speak of the time as coming when the strangers shall share in all the privileges of Israel (Eze 47:22; Isa 2:2; Isa 11:10; Isa 56:3; Mic 4:1). Accordingly, in New Testament times, we read of proselytes in the synagogues, (Act 10:2, Act 10:7; Act 13:42, Act 13:43, Act 13:50; Act 17:4; Act 18:7; Luk 7:5). The "religious proselytes" here spoken of were proselytes of righteousness, as distinguished from proselytes of the gate. The distinction between "proselytes of the gate" (Exo 20:10) and "proselytes of righteousness" originated only with the rabbis. According to them, the "proselytes of the gate" (half proselytes) were not required to be circumcised nor to comply with the Mosaic ceremonial law. They were bound only to conform to the so-called seven precepts of Noah, viz., to abstain from idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, uncleanness, the eating of blood, theft, and to yield obedience to the authorities. Besides these laws, however, they were required to abstain from work on the Sabbath, and to refrain from the use of leavened bread during the time of the Passover. The "proselytes of righteousness", religious of devout proselytes (Act 13:43), were bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish economy, and were members of the synagogue in full communion. The name "proselyte" occurs in the New Testament only in Mat 23:15; Act 2:10; Act 6:5; Act 13:43. The name by which they are commonly designated is that of "devout men," or men "fearing God" or "worshipping God."
Proverb A trite maxim; a similitude; a parable. The Hebrew word thus rendered (mashal) has a wide signification. It comes from a root meaning "to be like," "parable." Rendered "proverb" in Isa 14:4; Hab 2:6; "dark saying" in Psa 49:4, Num 12:8. Ahab's defiant words in answer to the insolent demands of Benhadad, "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off," is a well known instance of a proverbial saying (Kg1 20:11).
Proverbs, Book of A collection of moral and philosophical maxims of a wide range of subjects presented in a poetic form. This book sets forth the "philosophy of practical life. It is the sign to us that the Bible does not despise common sense and discretion. It impresses upon us in the most forcible manner the value of intelligence and prudence and of a good education. The whole strength of the Hebrew language and of the sacred authority of the book is thrown upon these homely truths. It deals, too, in that refined, discriminating, careful view of the finer shades of human character so often overlooked by theologians, but so necessary to any true estimate of human life" (Stanley's Jewish Church). As to the origin of this book, "it is probable that Solomon gathered and recast many proverbs which sprang from human experience in preceding ages and were floating past him on the tide of time, and that he also elaborated many new ones from the material of his own experience. Towards the close of the book, indeed, are preserved some of Solomon's own sayings that seem to have fallen from his lips in later life and been gathered by other hands." (Arnot's Laws from Heaven, etc.) This book is usually divided into three parts: (1.) Consisting of Prov. 1 - 9, which contain an exhibition of wisdom as the highest good. (2.) Consisting of Prov. 10 - 24. (3.) Containing proverbs of Solomon "which the men of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, collected" (Prov. 25 - 29). These are followed by two supplements, (1.) "The words of Agur" (Prov. 30); and (2.) "The words of king Lemuel" (Prov. 31). Solomon is said to have written three thousand proverbs, and those contained in this book may be a selection from these (Kg1 4:32). In the New Testament there are thirty-five direct quotations from this book or allusions to it.
Providence Literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote God's preserving and governing all things by means of second causes (Psa 18:35; Psa 63:8; Act 17:28; Col 1:17; Heb 1:3). God's providence extends to the natural world (Psa 104:14; Psa 135:5; Act 14:17), the brute creation (Psa 104:21; Mat 6:26; Mat 10:29), and the affairs of men (Ch1 16:31; Psa 47:7; Pro 21:1; Job 12:23; Dan 2:21; Dan 4:25), and of individuals (Sa1 2:6; Psa 18:30; Luk 1:53; Jam 4:13). It extends also to the free actions of men (Exo 12:36; Sa1 24:9; Psa 33:14, Psa 33:15; Pro 16:1; Pro 19:21; Pro 20:24; Pro 21:1), and things sinful (Sa2 16:10; Sa2 24:1; Rom 11:32; Act 4:27, Act 4:28), as well as to their good actions (Phi 2:13; Phi 4:13; Co2 12:9, Co2 12:10; Eph 2:10; Gal 5:22). As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by God's permission (Gen 45:5; Gen 50:20. Compare Sa1 6:6; Exo 7:13; Exo 14:17; Act 2:3; Act 3:18; Act 4:27, Act 4:28), and as controlled (Psa 76:10) and overruled for good (Gen 50:20; Act 3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin, but only limits, restrains, overrules it for good. The mode of God's providential government is altogether unexplained. We only know that it is a fact that God does govern all his creatures and all their actions; that this government is universal (Psa 103:17), particular (Mat 10:29), efficacious (Psa 33:11; Job 23:13), embraces events apparently contingent (Pro 16:9, Pro 16:33; Pro 19:21; Pro 21:1), is consistent with his own perfection (Ti2 2:13), and to his own glory (Rom 9:17; Rom 11:36).
Psalms The psalms are the production of various authors. "Only a portion of the Book of Psalms claims David as its author. Other inspired poets in successive generations added now one now another contribution to the sacred collection, and thus in the wisdom of Providence it more completely reflects every phase of human emotion and circumstances than it otherwise could." But it is specially to David and his contemporaries that we owe this precious book. In the "titles" of the psalms, the genuineness of which there is no sufficient reason to doubt, 73 are ascribed to David. Peter and John (Act 4:25) ascribe to him also the second psalm, which is one of the 48 that are anonymous. About two-thirds of the whole collection have been ascribed to David. Psa 39:1, Psa 62:1, and 77 are addressed to Jeduthun, to be sung after his manner or in his choir. Ps. 50 and 73 - 83 are addressed to Asaph, as the master of his choir, to be sung in the worship of God. The "sons of Korah," who formed a leading part of the Kohathite singers (Ch2 20:19), were entrusted with the arranging and singing of Psa 42:1, 44 - 49, Psa 84:1, Psa 85:1, Psa 87:1, and 88. In Luk 24:44 the word "psalms" means the Hagiographa, i.e., the holy writings, one of the sections into which the Jews divided the Old Testament. (See BIBLE.) None of the psalms can be proved to have been of a later date than the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, hence the whole collection extends over a period of about 1,000 years. There are in the New Testament 116 direct quotations from the Psalter. The Psalter is divided, after the analogy of the Pentateuch, into five books, each closing with a doxology or benediction:, (1.) The first book comprises the first 41 psalms, all of which are ascribed to David except Psa 1:1, Psa 2:1, 10, and 33, which, though anonymous, may also be ascribed to him. (2.) Book second consists of the next 31 psalms (Ps. 42 - 72), 18 of which are ascribed to David and 1 to Solomon (Ps. 72). The rest are anonymous. (3.) The third book contains 17 psalms (Ps. 73 - 89), of which Ps. 86 is ascribed to David, Ps. 88 to Heman the Ezrahite, and Ps. 89 to Ethan the Ezrahite. (4.) The fourth book also contains 17 psalms (Ps. 90 - 106), of which Ps. 90 is ascribed to Moses, and Psa 101:1 and 103 to David. (5.) The fifth book contains the remaining psalms, 44 in number. Of these, 15 are ascribed to David, and Psa 127:1 to Solomon. Ps. 136 is generally called "the great hallel." But the Talmud includes also Ps. 120 - 135. Ps. 113 - 118, inclusive, constitute the "hallel" recited at the three great feasts, at the new moon, and on the eight days of the feast of dedication. "It is presumed that these several collections were made at times of high religious life: the first, probably, near the close of David's life; the second in the days of Solomon; the third by the singers of Jehoshaphat (Ch2 20:19); the fourth by the men of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29, 30, 31); and the fifth in the days of Ezra." The Mosaic ritual makes no provision for the service of song in the worship of God. David first taught the Church to sing the praises of the Lord. He first introduced into the ritual of the tabernacle music and song. Diverse names are given to the psalms. (1.) Some bear the Hebrew designation shir (Gr. ode , a song). Thirteen have this title. It means the flow of speech, as it were, in a straight line or in a regular strain. This title includes secular as well as sacred song. (2.) Fifty-eight psalms bear the designation (Heb.) mitsmor (Gr. psalmos , a psalm), a lyric ode, or a song set to music; a sacred song accompanied with a musical instrument. (3.) Ps. 145, and many others, have the designation (Heb.) tehillah (Gr. hymnos , a hymn), meaning a song of praise; a song the prominent thought of which is the praise of God. (4.) Six psalms (Psa 16:1, 56 - 60) have the title (Heb.) michtam (q.v.). (5.) Ps. 7 and Hab. 3 bear the title (Heb.) shiggaion (q.v.).
Psaltery A musical instrument, supposed to have been a kind of lyre, or a harp with twelve strings. The Hebrew word nebhel, so rendered, is translated "viol" in Isa 5:12 (R.V., "lute"); Isa 14:11. In Dan 3:5, Dan 3:7, Dan 3:10, Dan 3:15, the word thus rendered is Chaldaic, pesanterin , which is supposed to be a word of Greek origin denoting an instrument of the harp kind.
Ptolemais A maritime city of Galilee (Act 21:7). It was originally called "Accho" (q.v.), and received the name Ptolemais from Ptolemy Soter when he was in possession of Coele-Syria.
Puah Splendid. (1.) One of the two midwives who feared God, and refused to kill the Hebrew male children at their birth (Exo 1:15). (2.) A descendant of Issachar (Jdg 10:1).
Publican One who farmed the taxes (e.g., Zacchaeus, Luk 19:2) to be levied from a town or district, and thus undertook to pay to the supreme government a certain amount. In order to collect the taxes, the publicans employed subordinates (Luk 5:27; Luk 15:1; Luk 18:10), who, for their own ends, were often guilty of extortion and peculation. In New Testament times these taxes were paid to the Romans, and hence were regarded by the Jews as a very heavy burden, and hence also the collectors of taxes, who were frequently Jews, were hated, and were usually spoken of in very opprobrious terms. Jesus was accused of being a "friend of publicans and sinners" (Luk 7:34).