by Graham Mol
As I was reading through Psalm 116 there was a particular verse that stood out to me:
The Lord guards the inexperienced;
I was helpless, and he saved me,
(Psalm 116:6 CSB)
I was intrigued by the word “inexperienced” and took a look at a couple of different translations. This is a helpful practice since the Bible was not written in English but in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testamet) and so the meaning of the words use do not always have a direct translation into English. This is why you find differences between the different translations that we have of the Bible. This is not to say that our English versions are not accurate, the core meaning is retain as each translation highlights a certain aspect of the original Hebrew or Greek word.
Here is verse 6 in a few different translations:
- The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me. (ESV)
- The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
I was facing death, and he saved me. (NLT)
- The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me. (NIV)
- The Lord protects the simple (childlike);
I was brought low [humbled and discouraged], and He saved me. (AMP)
Ok so Bible lecture aside! What does this verse mean? Let’s first consider the opposite of the person described here as inexperienced, childlike and simple. This would be someone who is experienced, who has seen the world and knows how complicated it can be, for them life is not simple. We could call this person world-wise or even street smart. They could be complex and crafty. Often this is the kind of person you must become to survive in this dog-eat-dog kind of world.
Although such a person can survive or even thrive in a tough cut-throat world, it often leaves them worn, cynical and disillusioned. Their hands might be stained from some of the dirty things you just “have to do” to get by. In contrast, the simple, inexperience and child-like person would be considered like a lamb to the slaughter. Their innocence making them vulnerable.
Sometimes we Christians are regarded as such lambs. Walking in love, placing the needs of others before our own, seeking to bring peace, we can sometimes come across as ideological or naïve. “That’s great,” others may say, “but in the real world it doesn’t quite work like that…”
What hope do we have? Is the only way to make it in a cold, cruel world is to become like it? The call of Scripture is clear, we are to be set apart as God’s holy people. In the world but not behaving like it. So yes, our “inexperience”, our simplicity, our childlike-faith may put us at risk, but we are not helpless and defenceless.
The Lord guards the inexperienced, He preserves the simple, He protects those of childlike faith. When we are helpless, when we are brought low and even when face danger and death, He will save us.