Proverbs (Prov)

Book 20 of the OT, having 31 chapters. Solomon wrote most of this wisdom book early on in his reign, about 960 BC. It tells people how to live Godly lives by applying divine wisdom coupled with moral and practical advice, and continues to be a very relevant guide for us today. Time to read: 1 hr 35 mins.

Outline.  A proverb is a concise sentence or statement, often with a comparison, that conveys moral truth or a wise saying, which if acted on will guide in all of life’s situations. The main theme of the book relates to wisdom – this begins with trust and reverence for the Lord (Prov 1:7).  Knowledge is having the facts by amassing information but wisdom is applying those facts to life, the outworking of the information in a beneficial way.  Warnings are given about the dangers of, and the susceptibility of, falling into sexual sin, then practical wisdom is given for Godly living in every aspect of life.

Main lesson. To be of value knowledge must be lived out by applying it to our everyday life. Don’t just read these Proverbs, act on them for they provide practical guidelines and insights about how to live well (Prov 1:2,3). Although Solomon was the wisest man in the world failing to follow his own advice became his downfall (1 Kgs 4:29-34).

Key verses and thoughts: * “Let the wise add to their learning...get wisdom” (Prov 1:5, 4:5, 23:23). We can all benefit by gaining more wisdom – its effects can be seen in all areas of life, if acted on appropriately. This is where the breakdown occurs – not putting into practice the good intentions when provided with the opportunity to carry them out.

* “Guard your heart more than any treasure for it is the source of all life” (Prov 4:23). As the control centre of our lives it is of utmost importance that we don’t compromise or minimize integrity but give top priority to walking uprightly before God, with a pure heart and obedient lifestyle. Jesus said all kinds of evil comes from the heart so we must guard what we feed into it (Mt 15:19).

* "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy one is understanding" (Prov 9:10).  " Fear of the Lord" does not imply terror or panic, rather of humility, deep reverence and submission. Having this correct view of our great God and Saviour is the response of those who fully comprehend how our hopeless situation because of sin was divinely remedied. No one is truly wise unless they have this understanding and allow it to be outworked in reality in their lives, starting with the most important decision of all of to turn to Jesus for salvation. Following on from salvation there must a be continual walking on in the purposes of God, allowing Him the rightful position of Lord and Master.

* Many of the proverbs are written to compare or contrast two different possibilities, choices, aspects or results. Their corresponding conclusions state the variation in consequences, depending on the choices made. By considering the two options we can make the wise choice and live a God honouring life.

See also: application, knowledge, proverbs, Solomon, wisdom/wise.


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