A not so between the lines wise tip from the Proverbs

Some advice in the book of Proverbs is rather plain and in your face with a stand-alone section of scripture, while some advice is a little more “between the lines” because the words of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book within individual verses. But there are times in the book when the “tip” (however stand-alone it may seem) goes from being hidden between the lines to standing right out in the open because of the numerous amount of times that a particular phrase gets used.

For example:

  • there are 31 “chapters” that make up the book of Proverbs
  • a particular attention getting word (I’m not talking conjunctions here) is used 28 times in the 31 chapters (which includes the first and the last chapter)
  • along with that particular word, another specific and vital word shares space in the same sentence 19 times
  • to me, the tip that’s being shared goes from being “between the lines” to an out in the open theme

So what is this not so between the lines wise tip from the Proverbs? Well, the theme shares multiple admonitions either at the beginning or the end of the verse, but the main thrust is, “…The fear of the Lord….”

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

(As a side note, the admonition to fear God/the Lord isn’t limited in any way to Proverbs. The admonition is replete throughout the scriptures, both in the Old and the New Covenant – including the Gospels when Jesus taught a specific lesson on the topic in Matthew 10:28.)

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #fear-god, #fear-of-the-lord, #spiritual-benefits

(#24) Studies in the Book of Proverbs Eight Reasons Why Listen To Reason: #6-8

#6-8 Proverbs 9:1-18

#6 Verses 1-6: She Speaks Protectively

Wisdom is pictured as having completed a perfect house, offering hospitality to all the “simple” (those who are following whatever leader speaks, in Proverbs not someone using good judgment) who will come. (1 “Seven pillars” show Divinely complete strength, (2 a sumptuous feast, (3 an invitation through trusted messengers, and (4 an appeal to the public: for the “simple” to “turn in,” and those “who lack understanding” to partake of the feast; that is, stop foolishness and follow understanding. The New Testament teaches (1 “that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church…according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). (2 The church of Christ is built by God’s Wisdom; offers a sumptuous feast: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51); (3 an invitation through trusted messengers: “”Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute’” (Luke 11:49); (4 an appeal to the public: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Wisdom still invites from her house!

#7 Verses 7-12: She Speaks Principally

According to verses 7-8, “scorners” and a “wicked” person will only reject Wisdom and hate and hurt those who “correct.” But, given Wisdom, the “wise” will “love you,” for he will be “wiser,” and a “just man” will “increase in learning.” Jesus Christ said: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20). The “beginning of wisdom” is to develop “fear (awe, respect) of the LORD” and “understanding” is produced by “knowledge of the Holy One” (plural in the Hebrew, like Elohim, Genesis 1:1, 26-27). Following Wisdom potentially lengthens life, for it is a purely individual response to God.

#8 Verses 13-18: She Speaks Purely

Wisdom is calling out, but at the same time, so, also is “a foolish woman.” Contrasted with Wisdom’s house which offers clean, long life, the “foolish woman” calls to all who “pass by” for “the simple” (those without discernment or wisdom) to “turn in here. Her appeal is the excitement of breaking law and comfort of secrecy. She appeals to those who don’t think ahead of their individual judgment from God.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #church-of-christ, #depths-of-hell, #foolish-woman, #lacks-understanding, #simple, #wisdom

Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#3) The Goal of Wisdom and the Means to the Goal 1:5-7:

5 “A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel”

Any class of humanity that refuses to “hear” and “attain” to “increase learning” and “wise counsel” is a class of fools. Sad, indeed, that exploiting the “simplicity” and ignorance of children and teenagers has become an art form (government education, Rock and Rap music, VH1, MTV, Sesame Street, drug abuse, rebellion against marriage and family, abortion, ad nauseum). There will be proverbs to discuss these matters further, but for now, the warning should be heeded.

6 “To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.”

A “proverb” is a dominant meaning revealed, an “enigma” is a puzzle to be solved, a “riddle” was a dark saying, sometimes obscure. The queen of Sheba “came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions” (2 Chronicles 9:1). Samson proposed a “riddle,” or dark saying (Judges 14:12-18), to which only he knew the solution. “Proverbs” give explanations to matters which might otherwise remain unknown or unnoticed.

7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

This is the central theme throughout this Book, and all the rest of the Word of God! Since “fear” refers to respect and honor, ALL KNOWLEDGE comes from God, and without “the fear of the LORD” there will be no knowledge! All professors, teachers, schools, or subjects that exclude God are total failures at teaching “knowledge.” All people who dishonor God will show their ignorance in many ways. There are some 17 passages in the Book of Proverbs that specifically attach advantages  to “fear of the LORD,” and the wise will notice, but fools will not!

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom

Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#2) Five Ways A Proverb Helps 1:1-4:

Just as Jesus explained why He spoke in parables (Matthew 13:10-17), Solomon begins in Proverbs 1:1-4 by explaining why “proverbs” should be understood:

1. “To know wisdom and instruction”

God wants us “to know,” that is, to have confidence in helpful information we gain. Certainty is a confidence ignored, minimized, or ridiculed by many in the “Education Profession,” because if pupils are uncertain of what they learn, they’ll keep hiring the “professionals.” But, what makes the “professionals” certain of anything? Teachers of false things emphasize that pupils must be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7). By contrast, however, there is certainty in God’s Word, for He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “Wisdom” may be defined as “learned lessons” which are gained by experience and/or study, either or both of which are easier when God interprets it. “Instruction” refers to the “discipline of teaching” or the “how to” manual. All three of these mean someone whose life follows God’s insight by obeying His instructions, will have certainty in the outcome!

2. “To perceive the words of understanding”

Perception is a clear vision of the words of understanding. “Understanding” is horse sense or common sense. Though often missing, it is obvious when it is! Duh!

3. “To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity”

These first three are how wisdom is obtained: “know,” “perceive,” “receive.” When a teacher gives out proper information, good pupils accept it. Since no one can live long enough to experience everything, “wisdom” is learned either by one’s own experiences, or someone else’s. God’s insight into human behavior cannot be excelled, for it is absolutely accurate. “Justice” is what is right; “judgment” is awareness of responsibility for action(s); “equity” is evenness or consistency.

4. “To give prudence to the simple”

“Prudence” is the use of good judgment. “Simple,” once a virtue meaning “honest, without complexity,” in this Book, carries the idea of one who refuses to complicate life with any advice or instruction from God or man! “Simple,” “scorner,” “fool” are interchangeable in the Book of Proverbs (1:22). The “simple” refuse to look ahead with foresight, or judgment based upon consequences.

5. “To the young man knowledge and discretion”

“The young man” signifies inexperience, one subject to learning the hard way. “Knowledge” is beneficial information acquired by observation and study. “Discretion” is respect for what is appropriate, or the modesty of good judgment.

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #god, #proverbs, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

Studies in the Book of Proverbs

(#1) What are “Proverbs?”

“Proverbs” (Hebrew “mashal”) which means “dominant meaning,” but which may not be obvious unless it is pointed out. The New Testament word “parable” means “cast alongside” so that a fact of life helps illustrate a spiritual truth. The English word “proverb” (John 10:6; 16:25) carries the sense of “original, deeper meaning.”  The first time the word occurs (Numbers 21:27), the first proverb made (I Samuel 10:12), the first proverb of experience quoted (1 Samuel 24:13), all speak of observation(s) of life.

Jesus Christ is known for teaching in “parables” (Matthew 13:3-53), which are true statements of life that illustrate a spiritual truth from God. Parables needed an explanation “because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). In Matthew 7:21-27, Jesus divided the human race between those who hear and obey (“wise”), and those who do not (“fools”). “Proverbs” are true statements of human behavior that are explained by the God Who made us. Solomon divided the human race between those who hear and understand (“wise”), and those who do not (“fools”).

Though Solomon “spoke three thousand proverbs” (1 Kings 4:32), those that have been written down are in Proverbs 1:1-29:27; Ecclesiastes; and Song of Solomon. Of about 915 proverbs, Solomon wrote about 800, many in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:1; 10:1; 25:1). In 1 Kings 3:5-15, Solomon had asked God for “an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (verse 9), which God granted (verse 12), and that made Solomon the wisest man in the history of mankind, until Jesus Christ, “a greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42).

#bible-study, #book-of-proverbs, #god, #proverbs, #teaching, #wisdom

Proverbs are the “Piths” (16)

Proverbs 11, like a lot of the proverbial chapters, covers a wide range of topics – it can seem scattered until you step set back and see the big picture it makes. Here are a few thoughts from this great chapter. You can click the link and then switch back and forth for the “commentary.”

Verse 1: Does God take our integrity seriously when it comes to business? No amount of skimming off of the top will ever change how low it will bring you spiritually!

Verse 4: There are always certain things that money can’t buy: love, true friends, peace…and a way of escape when the judgment comes!

Verse 7: Hopes in this world only float so high; as a matter of fact in the end they sink! Hope in God on the other hand will carry one all the way to Heaven.

Verse 11: A society is blessed when it has upright people who fill the census. Take away uprightness/righteous living from a society and you take away the underpinnings of its prosperity. Has anyone felt a national tremor lately???

Verse 13: How can you trust a person with your secret when they’re blabbing others’ to you? Maybe we should keep that in mind today at work!

Verse 17: This is one of my favorite verses in Proverbs because, although it’s a theme throughout the Bible, it’s one of those jewels that’s unique to the book. So why show mercy? Because it feels good? Or because it does good? Think of Matthew 5:7 and 6:14-15 before you answer!

Verse 18: The BBE says it like this: “The sinner gets the payment of deceit; but his reward is certain who puts in the seed of righteousness.” Earthly riches, especially those that are ill-gotten gain, are just an illusion. It’s the biggest economic bubble a person can have in their personal life…and we know what happens to all bubbles don’t we?

Verse 22: Solomon had a way with words didn’t he? One sure way to reveal the true beauty of a woman is to look at true behaviors! Pretty is as pretty does is an old reliable saying after all.

Verses 24-25: We get from the Lord as we give to the Lord. This principle is repeated/quoted/expounded upon by Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11.

Verse 27: Ever heard the saying, “You’ll find what you’re looking for”? So had Solomon!

Verse 29: A husband (or father) who strives to be a man will strive to bless his own house. Notice the Bible doesn’t say “please his own house” but that it says bless with righteous behavior and leadership.

Verse 30: Reminds me of the song “A Soul Winner for Jesus.”

#book-of-proverbs, #family-life, #hope, #integrity, #prosperity, #proverbs-11, #proverbs-are-the-piths, #righteousness, #trust, #wisdom

“Proverbs Are The Piths” (15)

Proverbs 10 is where the “pithiness” begins due to the mouthful of wisdom served on spoon sized verses. For this chapter I’ll only comment on certain verses that stand out (at least to me) instead of commenting on whole passages like I have done previously for Proverbs 1-9.  Bon appetit!

Verse 1: Interesting due to the bluntness of the statement. Building up the self-esteem of a child is an essential task of a parent, but psychologists today get it all wrong if they say any sort of guilt is bad. Solomon flat-out tells his child if he listens to his father he will make him a better child and he will make his parents proud – ignore the advice and he’ll remain a child of constant sorrow to his mother!

Verse 2: The Bible in Basic English translates this verse, “Wealth which comes from sin is of no profit, but righteousness gives salvation from death.” Reminds me so very much of what Paul said in Romans 6:23.

Verse 5: There is a time to rest and a time to work – don’t confuse the two! If only this nation’s parents taught more children this principle many of the problems that our young people face would simply fix themselves. Busy hands have a harder time getting into trouble!!!

Verse 10: When I read verses like this it reminds of how much the characteristics of sneakiness in people has not changed since the days the Bible speaks of. The devious, destructive and deterring “wink of the eye” still remains one of the quickest markers of something when it’s not what it appears to be.

Verse 12: A wonderful verse! Not only do I think so, but so did Peter and James! Peter quotes the verse directly while you can’t help but think of it when you read what James said. They were obviously both fans of the Proverbs.

Verse 13: It’s a ‘hard knock life’ for those who have a hard head – at least that’s how I’d sum it up.

Verses 15-16: Wealth is a tool! Some have more tools than others but we’re all responsible for how we take care of our own tools. Wealth does not always make things better. Use some tools with ignorance and you’ll end up getting hurt. Wealth is one of them! To the untrained heart physical wealth will replace the spiritual treasure of the heart (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 16:1-14).

Verse 19: I quoted this verse just the other day…but I accidentally left out a word in my comment. I wasn’t following the verse per say; just made a mistake. Shutting a door and window – yeah, we’ve got that! Shutting our mouth – I wish I had it down as much as the doors and windows.

Verse 21: I think this is one of the most overlooked gems in Proverbs. How do the lips of the righteous feed others? Advice, encouragement, warnings, admonitions…it all feeds the soul.

Verse 22: Solomon has much to say throughout Proverbs about work, wealth and blessings from God. I wonder why? True financial blessings from God come without the sorrow…and the fact that all financial “blessings” are not without that issue reveals the source of some “financial aid.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 preaches right along side with the Proverbs today as strongly as the day they were written. Solomon was a man who felt the sting of wealth and sorrow!!!

Verse 27: Accidents do happen to those who strive to live after the Lord, but foolishness happens to more people than you can shake a stick at. Watch the news! Foolishness affects our lives much more than accidents. Bottom line is a life lived in accordance with God’s will is most-often a life of wiser and more fulfilling days.

Verse 29: The Lord can be for you. But never forget that the Lord can be against if you chose to work evil! You can hear Solomon saying that we don’t want to be on the wrong side of the Lord.

Next up, Proverbs 11.

#book-of-proverbs, #foolishness, #god, #instruction, #parenting, #poverty, #proverbs-are-the-piths, #solomon, #wealth, #wisdom, #work