For the Scripture Writing Plan for May, we will be reading through the book of Proverbs. This book is packed with great, godly wisdom. You cannot help but be blessed by the reading of this book of God’s Word.
“Proverbs are simple, moral statements (or illustrations) that highlight and teach fundamental realities about life. Solomon sought God’s wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:8–12) and offered ‘pithy sayings’ designed to make men contemplate 1) the fear of God and 2) living by His wisdom (1:7; 9:10). The sum of this wisdom is personified in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).” ~ Grace to You4
A proverb is a concise statement that instructs or guides its hearer in truth. Before I was regenerated, I would irreverently refer to the book of Proverbs as the fortune cookies of the Bible. Although the concise and expressive style may mimic a fortune cookie, the power behind these truth statements make them completely different.
“…all of the proverbs are easily understandable, while simultaneously profound.” ~ Nate Pickowicz3
While these statements are simple and easily understood, the wisdom they present is profound. They do not just give us knowledge about the world around us but they show us true wisdom.
Knowledge is having facts. Wisdom is knowing how to make decisions based on the facts that are at hand.
“It has been said: wisdom is the right application of knowledge. Without wisdom, all our attempts to amass stats and facts will be in vain. There is not a person— let alone a Christian— alive today who is not in desperate need of wisdom, and the best way to receive it is to seek the One who invented it.” ~ Nate Pickowicz3
The book of Proverbs may not give us instruction in how to handle every situation in life but it does instruct us in how we should respond in every situation. For example, there is no place in Scripture that instructs us in the best way to mow our lawn. However, there are many proverbs that tell us what our attitude should be while mowing and caring for our lawn (Proverbs 12:11, 12:24, 14:23, 16:3, 22:29).
Author and Date of Proverbs
Proverbs is a collection of writings from several different sources. The main author of most of these statements are attributed to is King Solomon. Other authors that are included within Proverbs are Agur (Proverbs 30) and Lemuel (Proverbs 31).
This book was written between 960-686 BC. King Solomon ruled Israel from 971-931 BC. Proverbs was officially assembled during the reign of King Hezekiah (715-686 BC).
Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men,…He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005…Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.” (1 Kings 4:29-34)
Some scholars don’t believe Solomon came up with all these sayings, however he is given credit for compiling them. Many believe some of the proverbs came from other nations, cultures, and people groups. This may very well be true. As we see in the passage above, not only did God give Solomon great wisdom but “men came from all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” As these men from other peoples traveled to visit with King Solomon, it is highly likely (and would have been a very wise act) he listened to them as well. Just because a nugget of wisdom comes from an unregenerate/pagan person/culture, does not mean that wisdom is not true. Solomon may have taken some of these wise sayings from men from other peoples and added them to his collection. He may have even modified some of them to be more true and in alignment with God.
And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. (2 Chronicles 9:23)
As I have written about before, God is the ultimate author of every book of the Bible, including Proverbs. However, as He inspired men to write His Word, He used their own personalities and styles to do so.
Key Themes and Truths Found in Proverbs
“Knowledge is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts, but wisdom is the ability to see people, events, and situations as God sees them. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too.” ~ GotQuestions1
God is not like the pagan gods. He is not so far removed from His creation that He isn’t involved in the everyday lives of man. Proverbs reveals that God is not only involved in the big political events or with the movers and shakers of the world but He is also personally involved in the day-to-day activities of the lowly and common man.
“Although the theology of Proverbs complements the unified historical orientation of other parts of the Old Testament, Proverbs focuses more on everyday life than on history, more on the usual than on the unique, more on the individual (although not outside the context of social relationships) than on the nation, more on personal experience than on sacred tradition.” ~ Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.2
Most of the Old testament tells of the giants of the faith, the big events, the great prophecies, and how Israel was to be governed but Proverbs tells the common man how to live his day-to-day life. It isn’t just a list of rules and restrictions he must obey but the whole book is showing how righteous living can only be found in the right relationship with God.
We can also see how the godly characters of the Bible exemplify the instructions found in this book. It is almost like reading the character descriptions of a play and then watching the actors demonstrate the nature of that character.
“The book reflects a 3-fold setting as: 1) general wisdom literature; 2) insights from the royal court; and 3) instruction offered in the tender relationship of a father and mother with their children, all designed to produce meditation on God.” ~ Grace to You4
It is important to remember that the proverbs are not meant to be guarantees as to how a thing will turn out. They are more a general rule of how things are or should be.
For example, in Proverbs 22:6, we read, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” We know that this doesn’t always happen. We all know of children who were raised in godly homes and taught the right way to live yet, when they got older, they completely turned their back on everything they had been taught, rejected God, and went off to live how they pleased. We know that in some of these cases, the child never returned to God or the way his parent’s raised him. So, does this mean God erred in inspiring this verse? No. The Proverbs are general rules, not hard lined, “this is always the case” rules. We know that a child raised in a loving home where the Bible is taught is more likely to come to Christ and live a righteous life. It isn’t a guarantee but it generally more likely to be the outcome than a child raised in a home where the Bible is absent.
This is how much of the book of Proverbs should be understood. Not as guarantees but as general rules.
“God does not guarantee uniform outcome or application for each proverb, but in studying them and applying them, one comes to contemplate the mind of God, His character, His attributes, His works, and His blessings. All of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge expressed in Proverbs are hidden in Christ (Col. 2:3).” ~ Grace to You4
Ultimately, the book of Proverbs points us to Christ, in whom all wisdom is found (Colossians 2:3). Christ is the incarnation of wisdom. He is God the Son with all the knowledge and wisdom that is in the Trinity. In Jesus the fullness of wisdom can be found. The wisdom of this world is passing away but the wisdom found in Christ is eternal. The fullness of wisdom is found only in Christ.
“The treasures of wisdom are hidden not from us, but for us, in Christ.” ~ Matthew Henry
True wisdom is found in Christ and this wisdom is completely foreign to the world. This wisdom appears foolish to those who are dying (1 Corinthians 1:18).
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)
Proverbs is more than just a collection of good ideas or practices. It is wisdom in godly living. Proverbs is universal wisdom. It spans all time, all cultures, all nations, all people groups, all ages, both genders, all humans.
“The beautiful thing about the wisdom of Proverbs is that it’s timeless. While textbooks often need updating, Proverbs hasn’t had a second edition in three millennia! Moreover, the wisdom of God is for everyone—from young children to mature adults.” ~ Nate Pickowicz3
James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Let us daily ask our Savior for the wisdom He so gladly gives to those whom He loves. Let us also ask Him for a greater desire to seek and obtain wisdom than our natural desire to seek sin.
Scripture Writing Process for Proverbs
In May, we will be going through the book of Proverbs. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs; one for each day of this month.
Read a chapter of Proverbs each day and choose 1-2 verses from that chapter to write out for the day to study.
Use these questions to help guide you in your daily study:
- What does this passage say?
- What does this passage mean?
- What does this passage tell me about God’s character?
- How does viewing God in this way change the way I view myself?
- How should I respond to this truth?
You do not have to answer every one of these questions every day. Rather, use them as a guide to really dig into what the passage says so that you can properly interpret and apply God’s Word to your life
Finish your time in the Word by writing out a prayer thanking God for this teaching and asking Him to help you apply it to your life today.
If you would like to join us as we study Proverbs, you can download a free copy of the May Scripture Writing Plan by subscribing to the A Narrow-Minded Woman Newsletter using the form below. After you confirm your subscription, I will send you the link to the download library. There you may download this Scripture writing plan along with several other free downloads I offer. We would also love to have you join us in the Scripture Writing Facebook group where we fellowship, challenge, and encourage one another as we grow in God’s Word.
- “Book Of Proverbs – Bible Survey”. 2017. Gotquestions.Org. Accessed April 22. https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Proverbs.html.
- Joseph, Nally. 2017. “Overview Of The Book Of Proverbs”. Reformed Answers. Accessed April 22. http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/41793.
- Nate, Pickowicz. 2015. “Why Proverbs Is The Best Book In The Bible”. Entreating Favor. https://entreatingfavor.com/bestbookseries-proverbs/.
- “Proverbs”. 2010. Grace To You. https://www.gty.org/library/bible-introductions/MSB20.