The Purpose of Proverbs:
“The purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just and fair.” Proverbs 1:2-3
General Comments on the book of Proverbs:
The book of Proverbs is a compilation of short, concise statements designed to covey a moral truth. These are known as ‘proverbs’. King Solomon, the 3rd king of Israel, wrote most of the book but other authors contributed as well. Proverbs covers a wide range of topics on how to live wisely in areas such as a family circle, the use of our money, the use of self-control, with our choice of words, dealing with the poor, and by avoiding things like, laziness, drunkenness, greed, pride and immoral behavior.
The book of Proverbs was written from the perspective of an eastern cyclical logic rather than the western linear logic, which we are more familiar with. In cyclical logic a topic is brought up, touched upon, left for another topic or two (or ten topics) then the cycle returns to the original topic. Then the cycle continues until the topic/topics are touched upon again.
Proverbs is not written in a purely paragraph form where one paragraph covers one main topic and the next paragraph covers another topic in a neat and clean way. Therefore, as you read Proverbs, it is helpful to use a notebook to keep track of the verses that you read about different topics that interest you. For example, the topic of anger comes up at least a dozen times throughout Proverbs but those verses are scattered over a number of different chapters:
- 14:16 The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.
- 14:17 A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.
- 14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
- 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
- 19:19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
- 21:14 A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
- 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.
- 29:8 Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.
- 29:11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
- 29:22 An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.
- 30:33 For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”
And finally, many of the proverbs are written for young people. They are designed to help children and teens build a godly life through the learning and application of godly wisdom.
Reading Challenge: Over the course of the summer series in Proverbs, read through the entire book two times. Once you have read the book twice, CLICK HERE to register for a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Family Christian Bookstore. Deadline to register is Friday, August 8th.
Creative ideas for reading Proverbs:
- Read from a translation you don’t normally use. (Go to biblegateway.com for a wide list of translations to read)
- Listen to the book of Proverbs (use biblegateway.com or YouVersion on your phone or ipad)
- Read with the use of a study bible, such as the Life Application Study Bible. The notes are invaluable in helping to understand and apply what you read.
- Read Proverbs out loud.
- Read Proverbs with your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend.
- Read Proverbs as a family.