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As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another (crossed swords) Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs: “A friend loves at all times” medallion

A positive piece to give a friend.

Medallions with bible quotes

One of my favourite collections is my folder of pieces with biblical quotes. I posted earlier this year about a medallion depicting The Last Supper my daughter gifted me for Christmas. This time, I have another piece with a biblical reference, which I am gifting to a friend of mine.

An album page with coins from Matthew (5 pieces) and Mark (one piece)

Here is one of the pages from my folder, showing coins quoting references from Matthew and Mark. You might recognise the coin at the bottom it is from the cover image of this site and features the quote “With God all things are possible“.

Obverse

(Cross) A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity Proverbs 17:17 (anvil)

To be honest, it’s hard to know which is the obverse and reverse of this piece, but the quote is larger on this side, so let’s go with that. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity”. Underneath is the reference, “Proverbs 17:17”. The cross at the top, anvil at the bottom and decorative border add a nice touch. The piece is brass with black enamel in the fields. Enamelled pieces can be very reflective and hard to photograph. In fact, capturing this one from a bit of an angle like this also highlights the shine from the brass.

So the first part of this quote “A friend loves at all times” is fairly straightforward, but the “a brother is born for a time of adversity” needs a closer look. The New Living Translation bible writes it as “A brother is born to help in time of need”, and the Message Bible, a “paraphrased” translation, reads “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” So, good friends should always be with you, but family are BORN to help each other. Of course, many reading that may remember being let down by family (or friends). I take from it that the bible is an instruction book for what WE should do, even if others do not always live up to God’s will for us.

Proverbs 17 lists a string of, well, proverbs to take to heart, from 1 “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” through to 28 “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

Reverse

As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another (crossed swords) Proverbs 27:17

The reverse features a pair of crossed swords in the centre, with the quote, and the reference around the edge: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” which is from “Proverbs 27:17”. Most translations of Proverbs 27:17 are almost identical. The Contemporary English Version reads “Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” and the Good News Translation reads “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.”

Generally, this is seen as people helping each other, living in community, supporting one another. As Christianity.com puts it: “The concept of “iron sharpening iron” obviously implies at least two pieces of iron. It would be impossible for one tool to become sharper without the presence of the other. Left isolated, both blades would be dull and quite useless. This simple Proverb illustrates an important biblical principle. God expects us to live and serve in a community of other believers (see Hebrews 10:25), and He desires for us to build loving and growing relationships with others (see 1 Thessalonians 2:8).”

There is an opposing argument for this being a warning to avoid negative friendships. Particularly in light of the previous verses 15-16: “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”

In any case, my reading of both sides of this medallion is to foster genuinely good friendships, and to be that good friend who builds others up. I happen to have two of these and I am sending one to a good friend who is always there for me.

As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another (crossed swords) Proverbs 27:17

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