Proverbs are pro-verbs, which describe positive actions, showing us how to live. The over-all lesson of the Book of Proverbs is that wisdom comes from God is Holy Spirit. Wisdom comes from above.
There are five purposes of Proverbs, given in verses 2-6 of chapter 1:
(1) To know wisdom and instruction,
(2) To perceive words of understanding,
(3) To receive instruction (correction) of wisdom, justice, judgment and equity, so that we know what is right,
(4) To give subtility to the simple, and knowledge and discretion to the young person,
(5) To deeply understand the words of the wise.
A proverb is a brief, often easy-to-remember, saying that is used to communicate deep spiritual truth. The root of the Hebrew word for proverb means “to govern,” or “rule.” Proverbs are wise, concise sayings used to govern our lives and conduct.
Proverbs often present a contrast between the right way and the wrong way, or the wise and fools (e.g. 15:20, “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.”). Sometimes, proverbs parallel similar concepts (e.g. 19:13, “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”).
Wisdom Begins With the Fear of God;
In summary, Proverbs show that wisdom begins with a right relationship with God, (1:7, 9:10). Unless you “fear the LORD” (revere and respect Him in a right relationship), you cannot live an abundant life.
How do you respond to the call of wisdom? If you are wise, you will heed and receive the Truth, and become discerning (prudent). On the other hand, the naive person doesn’t listen to wisdom, and is easily deceived in life, “doing his own thing.” The scoffer is cynical and sarcastic toward God’s wisdom and can’t live rightly because of his attitude. And, worse of all, the fool has rejected God’s wisdom, lives wickedly, and will ultimately suffer the consequences of sin. So, be wise and listen to the wisdom of Proverbs.
Wisdom comes from God, but we have to seek it out (2:1-12). We should not stop with fearing the LORD, but go on through much study to learn more of God’s Truth and increase in wisdom. This will keep us from making tragic errors in judgment (e.g. 7:6-23), and bring abundant blessings (8:35).
Can we learn from Solomon, who started out seeking wisdom, and later turned from the Almighty to serve idols, and experience life apart from the Creator? Solomon was the ideal author for Proverbs, because he is an object lesson for us. His failures validate the truths he presents.
Proverbs By Topic Teaches Lessons – The Book of Proverbs teaches us about adultery, anger, children, correction, counsel, fear, fools, marriage, poverty and riches, pride, tithing, weights and measures, wine, work, and many other principles. Let’s learn by grouping the proverbs together by related topic. In the following section, I will paraphrase the verses, but you should follow along in your own Bible.
Adultery Leads to Death;
Illicit sex seems enticing, but actually is very dangerous and harmful, leading to death. Today, many young people feel they have to live together to get to know each other to decide if they want to get married. However, marriage is a commitment for life, and you do not learn commitment and faithfulness by being uncommitted and unfaithful! How are you going to know who you are marrying? You need faith from God, you need counsel. You need God’s power to work a miracle to help you find a good wife or husband from the LORD.
2:16-19 A strange woman leads to death
5:3-21 Lips of a strange woman are like honeycomb, but the end of dallying with her is like wormwood
6:24-35 Can a man take fire into his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
7:5-27 The harlot’s house is the way of death
9:13-18 Stolen waters are sweet, but the dead are there
22:14 Mouth of strange woman is a deep pit
23:27-28 A whore is a deep ditch, lying in wait for her prey
29:3 He that keeps company with harlots spends his father’s substance
30:20 Adulterous woman says: “I have done no wickedness.”
Anger: It is Prudent to Control It!
Controlling your own anger shows great strength of character. Anyone can explode in wrath, but a really strong person can control his/her own emotions.
16:32 One slow to anger is better than the mighty, rule your spirit
19:11 It is prudent to defer anger, a glory to pass over a transgression
19:19 A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment
22:24-25 Make no friendship with an angry man
25:28 If you can’t rule your own spirit, you are like a broken down city