Reading The Bible Together is a way for the whole church community to read through the same book of the Bible at the same time. It also forms the content for our monthly Home Groups. Each month we will meet to discuss what we have read, what we have learned and any questions we have.
We will be reading Proverbs together during August. Take your time, go at your own speed and begin in chapter 1 and keep reading through. As you read do ask the Lord to make clear to you what He is saying through his word. Write down anything that strikes you, puzzles you, or encourages you.
Proverbs & Wisdom
In the Old Testament we speak of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon as the Wisdom Books. Proverbs is going to show us the wise life lived. The Books begins with where wisdom begins;
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ 1:7
Three descriptions of wisdom by Raymond Ortlund
- Wisdom is skill for living when there is no obvious rule to go by.
- Wisdom is skill, expertise, competence, that understands how life really works, how to achieve successful and even beautiful results.
- Wisdom is the gospel of Christ reshaping us for royalty.
“Its function in Scripture is to put godliness into working clothes; to name business and society as spheres in which we are to acquit ourselves with credit to our Lord, and in which we are to look for His training.” Derek Kidner, Proverbs, p35.
“The book of Proverbs is practical help from God for weak people like us stumbling through daily life. It is his counsel for the perplexed, his strength for the defeated, his warning to the proud, his mercy for the broken. The book of Proverbs is the gospel – good news for the inept through the wisdom of Another.” Raymond C Ortlund, Proverbs, p13.
Proverbs An Outline
- 1-9 Instruction of a father to his son
- 10-24 Proverbs of Solomon, miscellaneous single verse proverbs
- (10-15 Mainly by Contrasts.)
- (22.17 – 24.34 “words of the wise”, longer in form.)
- 25-29 Proverbs of Solomon edited in the time of Hezekiah.
- 30 Proverbs of Agur
- 31 Proverbs of Lemuel,
- (31:1-9 instruction from a mother)
- (31:10-31: an acrostic poem about the virtuous woman)
Things To Look Out For In Proverbs
Parallelism: See each verse as a couplet, with the two lines complementing each other.
- Synonymous parallelism: the second line restates the first [9:10].
- Synthetic parallelism: the second line amplifies the first [9:11].
- Antithetical parallelism: the second line expresses a contrast to the first [9:12; 10:1ff].
Acrostic: Every verse in order starts with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Look out for psalms and poems of 22 verses or sections. Proverbs 31:0-31: an acrostic poem.
Contradiction: Proverbs are not rules or laws they are not as cut and dry as that. Proverbs 26:4&5 is an example of where we are taught to do the opposite thing. We need wisdom when to do one and when to do another.
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs And The Gospel.
This is not just a book of good advice. God is central throughout, relating to him is what life is about. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ 1:7, 9:10. Also Proverbs leads us to Christ. He is our Counsellor [Isaiah 9:6], he is anointed with the spirit of wisdom and understanding [Isaiah 11:2], he is the wisdom of God [1 Corinthians 1:24, 30], in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge [Colossians 2:3] and whoever hears and obeys his word.
Derek Kidner, Proverbs, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, IVP.
Raymond C Ortlund, Proverbs, Wisdom that works, Preaching the Word series, Crossway.
Timothy & Kathy Keller, The Way of Wisdom.
Charles Bridges, Proverbs, Geneva Series, Banner of Truth.
There are three Bible Project Videos on Proverbs