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Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs lays out the Pathway of Wisdom in contrast to the Pathway of Fools. In the context of instruction of a father to his son, the fear of the Lord and receptivity to wise counsel are the foundation for success in the practical areas of everyday living amidst the distractions of a seductive world. The first nine chapters (analyzed in this commentary) provide the framework for choosing wisdom and actively pursuing it as more precious than anything else life has to offer. There is a heavy emphasis on resisting sexual temptation in these opening chapters. The benefits of wisdom are extolled at length and personified so that we can see the Lord Himself as our wisdom. The rest of the book consists of individual proverbs that are best studied on a topical arrangement.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" - Proverbs 9:10

Big Idea:

The Pathway To Success In Everyday Living Requires Pursuing The Practical Wisdom Of The Lord Amidst The Distractions Of A Seductive World

Basic Outline:

1) The Fear Of The Lord Is The Beginning Of Wisdom

2) The Gift Of Wisdom From The Lord Keeps One On The Right Path

3) Wisdom = The Pathway To Maturity

4) Obedience From The Heart Preserves Your Life As You Pursue The Priority Of The Path Of Wisdom

5) Avoid The Path Of Sexual Temptation Which Cannot Escape Certain Destruction

6) The Path Of Wisdom Will Recognize And Avoid The Common Pitfalls That Are Major Life Wreckers

7) Sexual Seduction Attacks The Naive At Their Point Of Vulnerability And Sucks Them Into The Path Of Destruction

8) The Legacy Of Wisdom Validates Its Offer Of Precious And Valuable Counsel That Will Yield Blessing Instead Of Cursing

9) The Recruitment Of The Na´ve Is The Battleground For The Soul Waged Between The Wise And The Foolish

Why Study This Book?

To attain wisdom and discipline

To acquire a disciplined and prudent life so that we do what is right and just and fair

To give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young

To let the wise listen and add to their learning

To let the discerning get guidance

To enjoy a longer and more successful and prosperous life

To avoid the enticing temptations of sinners and the seductive attraction of the world

To avoid the inevitable consequences of calamity and destruction that result from foolish choices

To understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God

To win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man

To bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones

Notable Quotes:

Goldberg: The teachings of Tbs 1-9 are considered: to understand the goal of wisdom in her outreach; why the fruits of wisdom are so important; how the disciple can be wise in the ways of the Lord, as well as in the practicalities of life; the burden the father carries in his spiritual leadership of the family; the call for chastity, with good instruction in how to avoid the temptation of immorality; the abundant folly we run into and how we can avoid it; and why and how we should respond to the call of wisdom to avoid "folly's cursed crumbs."

Lane: Job and Ecclesiastes are speculative wisdom, for they investigate why things are as they are and how we can make sense of them. Proverbs is practical wisdom, showing us what we can do to get on in this puzzling world without losing our way and ending in disaster. Whether or not we ever come to solve the problems aired in the other two books, we can still come to terms with this world. We don't have to opt out and spend the whole of our lives thinking. We can get on with living in the real world, conquer our limitations and get along with other people. No book gives us more help in this than Proverbs.

House and Durham: By God's grace, the book of Proverbs enables each of us to have God's insight on how to live lives that will glorify Him; how to build up others; and how to be at peace with ourselves. Following its precepts will bring success in business and in the home. Through heeding its advice, we can avoid those regrettable pitfalls that can make life so difficult. If we listen to God's wisdom, we will experience joy and laughter rather than feeling the sorrow and despair that are so much a part of those who heed the "spirit of the age." Proverbs speaks to every area of life we will ever encounter. No stone is left unturned; no path not taken. The only issue in question is whether we will consider its ways and follow its advice.

Stedman: Life is simply too big for us to handle by ourselves. No matter how good the advice seems to be, if it isn't consistent with what God has told us, it is not to be trusted. And that is the conclusion that is reached through these opening chapters. Chapters 8 and 9 personify the two ways of life. Wisdom is seen as a beautiful woman, calling those who follow her to come away into the place of victory and achievement and success in life, while folly, or foolishness, which thinks everything it does is right in its own eyes, is personified as an evil woman -- attractive, alluring, tempting us to step aside into death. It is a marvelously-beautiful poetic passage.

Mouser: Two mistakes Christians make in interpreting proverbs: 1) Some Christians read the proverbs as if they were inflexible laws of God's creation, admitting no exceptions and 2) Christians will sometimes confuse proverbs with promises... However, proverbs in Solomon's collection are not promises made by God, but are guides which are to direct people in living successful and productive lives.