Series: Best Book In the BibleEvery Christian knows the importance of reading their Bible, but many are overwhelmed with the task of devouring such a monstrous book! Often times, when Christians lose steam in their yearly reading plans, they can become frustrated and feel defeated. It is for this reason that individual book studies can be a lifesaver. In the Best Book in the Bible series, we will provide entry points into faithful study through “selling” you on why you should fall in love with the various books of the Bible.
Education has become a hot commodity these days. Students spend hundreds of thousands of dollars learning all they can in order to be equipped for life. However, in the midst of chasing knowledge, we have lost our way with regards to wisdom. It has been said: wisdom is the right application of knowledge. Without wisdom, all our attempts to amass stats and facts will be in vain. There is not a person— let alone a Christian— alive today who is not in desperate need of wisdom, and the best way to receive it is to seek the One who invented it.
@NatePickowicz "A proverb is a compressed statement of wisdom, artfully crafted to be striking, thought-provoking, memorable, and practical"— Dan Phillips (@BibChr) July 21, 2015
Main theme: wisdom
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.” (Proverbs 19:20)
Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings, mostly attributed to Solomon, even though other writers are cited. It has been said that the book acts as a training guide for a father teaching his young son about life. So, all of the proverbs are easily understandable, while simultaneously profound. At first glance, Proverbs may seem like just a smattering of maxims, but a closer examination reveals that there actually is a clear structure to the book.
(1:1-7) A brief introduction to the whole collection, including the purpose of the book. Ultimately, the goal of learning the proverbs is to gain wisdom for life, to which the foundation of gaining wisdom is “the fear of the Lord” (1:7).
(1:8—9:18) The next section includes a series of general discourses on wisdom itself. Introduced in this section are themes such as folly, sin, sexual immorality, faith and honor, the tongue, temptation, lust, money, laziness, etc. These are slightly longer discourses than the quicker proverbs of the next section.
(10:1—29:27) There have been many different divisions of this section, but generally, these are the proverbs of Solomon. According to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon had gathered and spoken 3,000 proverbs and composed 1,005 songs. Much of that content is listed here. A favorite section of many has been referred to as the “thirty sayings of the wise” (22:17—24:34).
(30:1—31:31) This final section contains the words of Agur and Lemuel, and includes the famous “excellent wife” discourse at the end of Proverbs 31.
What Makes This Book So Great:
The beautiful thing about the wisdom of Proverbs is that it’s timeless. While textbooks often need updating, Proverbs hasn’t had a 2nd edition in three millennia! Moreover, the wisdom of God is for everyone—from young children to mature adults. A person who fears the Lord and humbly seeks wisdom is far better equipped to tackle challenges. (I shudder to think of how many foolish mistakes I’ve made that I wouldn’t have otherwise made if I weren’t ignorant of Proverbs.) Further, we see the perfect wisdom of God displayed in the teaching of Jesus and His interaction with others. You simply cannot walk away unblessed!
There have been many suggestions for how to study Proverbs. I’ll highlight three:
1. Since there are 31 chapters, you can easily read one proverb each day of the month, restarting the cycle often.
2. Another idea is to break up the whole book into several divisions (6 or 7 chapters) and study out the whole sections extensively before moving on, thus becoming more comfortable with the material.
3. Study Proverbs thematically. Trace themes like money, life, friendship, laziness, pride, etc. and familiarize yourself with what the entire book has to say about each topic.
- Derek Kidner, Proverbs. IVP Academic, 2009.
This is a competent introduction to Proverbs.
- Dan Phillips, God’s Wisdom in Proverbs. Kress Biblical Resources, 2011.
An excellent introduction and selective exposition by a seasoned pastor.
- Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, 1-15. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, 15-31. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
A detailed exposition of this book by a respected scholar.
Note: Find the rest of the Best Book in the Bible series here: EntreatingFavor.com/BestBookSeries