Introduction to Proverbs:
Our English word “proverb” is made up of two Latin words: pro (instead of) and verba (words). So, a proverb is a sentence that is given “instead of many words”; it is a short statement that summarizes a wise principle. The Hebrew word translated “proverb” means “a comparison.”
The Author: of the great majority of Proverbs is King Solomon. Remember that it was Solomon who asked & prayed for Wisdom from God. And that is what we associate Proverbs with: Wisdom.
Theme: We commonly think of wisdom as the ability to use knowledge in the right way, and this is a practical definition. But, in the Bible, wisdom means so much more.True wisdom is a matter of the heart and not the mind alone. It is a spiritual matter. There is a “wisdom of this world” and there is a divine wisdom from above.
Purpose: Proverbs are generalizations about life and not promises for us to claim, although there are some great promises found in the Book of Proverbs. The basic requirement for understanding and applying these proverbs is the fear of the Lord (1:7) and a willingness to obey (3:5–6; see John 7:17). The aim of the book is to give the godly person skill in human relationships and endeavors. This begins with submission to the Lord. It is dangerous to lay hold of one or two statements in Proverbs but ignore the total message of the book. Also, though we can find examples of exceptions to some of the proverbs, this does not minimize the lesson they contain. Not all godly people live long lives (3:1–2) or become wealthy (3:10). In some parts of the world, believers are dying from famine and poverty. But generally speaking, those who obey God do not ruin their bodies or waste their substance. The Book of Proverbs summons us to understand and apply all of God’s revealed wisdom for all of life.
Vs. 5, “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs has a special message to each of us. You should be youth who are inquisitive about the questions of life (vs. 4). Someone once said, “Knowledge is power.”…wisdom is the ability to use our knowledge in a Godly manner. There is so much truth…I challenge you to “wisely” go slow and think about how God is teaching us in each chapter! Make notes & be ready to apply them to your life! Do not be easily swayed by this world we live in (vs. 8-19). Be ready to listen to discipline & rebuke if it is needed (vs. 20-33)
Regarding application…Wisdom in Fear. vs. 7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” The “fear of the Lord” is the most basic ingredient in wisdom. Ultimately…all who have turned to Christ have feared the Lord. It is fools that think there is no God that do not fear the Lord. Little Story: When I was in Junior High, I constantly began questioning in my head about life and what would happen if I died. Though I didn’t know it at the time, that fear brought me to God! If I had lived arrogantly and thought I only needed myself…I very much doubt I would have been receptive to His word when the Hook Family moved next door to me. Think of yourself as you begin in Proverbs as a sponge! Be ready to soak in all that God has to teach us! I exhort you to again read slow & read each chapter more than once a day! Meditate on God’s word throughout the Day (Psalm 1) May we together grow in our knowledge of God so we may truly be children who desire “Godly Wisdom”!!!