Proverbs: God's Guidebook for Success

Proverbs: God’s Guidebook for Success

This evening we will begin a series of messages from the book of Proverbs. We could call Proverbs “God’s Guidebook for Success” because it puts together many short sayings that instruct the reader how to live in ways that have been proven true by experience. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve our lives, provided we desire to do it as a means of serving God better and bringing him more glory. That’s where Proverbs can really help. Here are several valuable pieces of information to keep in mind about the proverbs.

  • Because the book contains 31 chapters many people find it helpful to read a chapter each day of the month. They read the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month it is.

  • Proverbs are, for the most part, general principles or observations about how life works rather than promises or commands that are absolutely true in every situation.

  • When you read the proverbs, it is best to read them slowly, giving them careful thought, looking for the underlying principle. If you try to read them quickly, the way you can read stories in the Bible, you won’t comprehend them and will not benefit from them, so slow down and take your time.

  • Proverbs contrasts wisdom and folly. The wise person lives in accordance with how things actually are. The foolish person ignores how things actually are.

  • Although God is not mentioned everywhere in the book he is always at the back of everything and the whole book should be read in light of 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline” (CSB).

  • Proverbs is a collection of wisdom sayings from several authors, Solomon being the primary author (1:1; 10:1; 25:1), but also including the wise (22:17; 24:23), Agur (30:1), and Lemuel (31:1).

  • Because writing materials were very expensive in those days, teachers tried to word their teachings in ways that could be remembered easily. This accounts for the poetic nature of many of the sayings in Proverbs.

  • After chapter 9 the book becomes very difficult to organize and very likely the reason is that the sayings are randomly collected in order to reflect the “seeming” randomness at which situations come to us throughout the course of life.

  • You will meet many interesting and colorful characters in the book: the sluggard, the adulterer, Wisdom, Folly, the drunkard, the wayward wife, the whisperer, the gossip, the rich, the proud, the godly, etc.

  • You will find insight on a very wide range of topics: anger, anxiety, bitterness, jealousy, grief, hope, joy, love, shame, family, friends, neighbors, enemies, the tongue, the heart, fear, humility, deceit, pride, vengeance, economic justice and injustice, poverty and wealth, work, business practices, war, political justice and injustice, discipline, grace, law, truth and lies, etc.

  • The various proverbs typically denounce a vice and recommend a virtue; therefore, you should always look for these when you read in Proverbs.

We live in a world of unprecedented access to information, most of which is instantly available to us with a simple search on our smartphones. But where is wisdom? It is almost totally lost in the vast sea of information. But it is not lost to believers. Thanks to Proverbs, we don’t have to be fools.

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