Peace & Blessings Beloved,
TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.
Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Proverbs. But before we get to Proverbs 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Proverbs. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.
And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Proverbs, as we prepare to behold and discern Proverbs, beginning with Proverbs 1 in our next installment of this series.
Book Type: The fourth book of Wisdom; the twentieth book of the Old Testament
Authors: Proverbs is generally associated with its primary author, Solomon. However, he is only specifically listed as the author of Proverbs 1-22:16. Proverbs 22:17-24:34 were likely only compiled by Solomon, rather than being originally written by him. Proverbs 25-29 are attributed to Solomon but were recorded by King Hezekiah (Proverbs 25:1). Agur is noted as the author of chapter 30, while Lemuel is noted as author of chapter 31. Some argue Lemuel is another name associated with Solomon.
Date of Writing: Solomon's proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. During his reign as king, the nation of Israel reached its pinnacle spiritually, politically, culturally, and economically. As Israel's reputation soared, so did King Solomon's. Foreign dignitaries from the far reaches of the known world traveled great distances to hear the wise monarch speak (1 Kings 4:34).
Audience: The people of Israel.
Theme: Proverbs describes the importance of living wisely and in the fear of the Lord as opposed to following the seductive path of folly.
Original Language: Hebrew
Genre: Aphorism; Didactic
Timeline: Primarily during Solomon’s reign (970-930 BC).
Purpose of Writing:
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. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.
Summarizing the Book of Proverbs is a bit difficult, for unlike many other books of Scripture, there is no particular plot or storyline found in its pages; likewise, there are no principal characters in the book. It is wisdom that takes center stage a grand, divine wisdom that transcends the whole of history, peoples, and cultures. Even a perfunctory reading of this magnificent treasury reveals the pithy sayings of the wise King Solomon are as relevant today as they were some three thousand years ago.
The complexity of life requires practical counsel that is also meaningfully spiritual. Proverbs offers this spiritual depth to issues like managing money, the dangers of adultery, learning how to identify true friends, and so much more. Here you’ll find wisdom that works and insights that won’t wear out.
The theme of wisdom and its necessity in our lives finds its fulfillment in Christ. We are continually exhorted in Proverbs to seek wisdom, get wisdom, and understand wisdom. Proverbs also tells us and repeats it that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (1:7; 9:10). Our fear of the Lord's wrath and justice is what drives us to Christ, who is the embodiment of God's wisdom as expressed in His glorious plan of redemption for mankind. In Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), we find the answer to our search for wisdom, the remedy for our fear of God, and the righteousness, holiness and redemption that we so desperately need (1 Corinthians 1:30). The wisdom that is found only in Christ is in contrast to the foolishness of the world which encourages us to be wise in our own eyes. But Proverbs also tells us that the world's way is not God's way (Proverbs 3:7) and leads only to death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
There is an undeniable practicality found in this book, for sound and sensible answers to all manner of complex difficulties are found within its thirty-one chapters. Certainly, Proverbs is the greatest how-to book ever written, and those who have the good sense to take Solomon's lessons to heart will quickly discover godliness, prosperity, and contentment are theirs for the asking.
The recurring promise of the Book of Proverbs is that those who choose wisdom and follow God will be blessed in numerous ways: with long life (9:11); prosperity (2:20-22); joy (3:13-18); and the goodness of God (12:21). Those who reject Him, on the other hand, suffer shame and death (3:35; 10:21). To reject God is to choose folly over wisdom and is to separate ourselves from God, His Word, His wisdom, and His blessings.
Key Verses (ESV):
Proverbs 1:5: "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:7: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 4:5: "Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth." Proverbs 8:13–14: "The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength." Proverbs 18:13: "If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." Proverbs 26:4-5: "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." Proverbs 27:5: "Better is open rebuke than hidden love." Proverbs 29:1: "He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing." Proverbs 31:30–31: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."
Proverbs accomplishes something no other biblical book does: it simply compiles numerous short instructions for living an effective life on earth. While other books articulate profound theological truths, lengthy narratives of triumph and failure, or prophetic preaching to a disobedient people, Proverbs concerns itself completely with instructing people in the path of wisdom. The writers of the book recognized the varied circumstances of a person’s life and provided principles to apply in a variety of situations rather than instructions to follow in only a few specific instances.
In writing the Proverbs, Solomon hoped that his readers would attain practical righteousness in all things and that we would do this by living our lives under the authority and direction of God. He specifically explained the book’s purpose in 1:2-6, focusing on imparting understanding that would impact every facet of our lives. Much of the book emphasizes listening to others so that we might learn from them and apply the combined knowledge of those who have gone before us—such as parents and elders—to the unique circumstances of our own lives (1:5, 8). Wisdom then involves appropriating a measure of humility, first before God and then before others. If instead, we decide to speak rashly rather than listen attentively . . . well, Proverbs deals with that too (12:15; 13:3).
I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.
May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.
Love you much.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!
P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.