Two Reminders for Reading Proverbs
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:1–7
Check out last Sunday’s sermon here. Below are some key takeaways from Pastor Mike’s sermon.
Keep these two essential points in mind as we study Proverbs this summer.
- Biblical proverbs are uncommon sense (divine sense).
- Biblical Proverbs are to be read reverently, not pragmatically.
Biblical Proverbs are Uncommon Sense (Divine Sense)
Where the world’s proverbs are sourced in common, logical sense, “…biblical proverbs go against our grain.”* Proverbs draw us away from trusting in ourselves, our path, our dreams, to trusting in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Therefore, when a biblical proverb causes friction with my life, I must remember that it is supposed to. Also, I should remember that when I see the wisdom in a biblical proverb, I must attribute that to God’s grace. On my own, I would never see God’s wisdom as wisdom. On my own, I would be a fool.
Read Biblical Proverbs Reverently, not Pragmatically
- dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
“We cannot understand or apply proverbs fully outside a genuine fear of the Lord.”* This point cannot be stated enough. If I read Proverbs with the belief that my best life will be found in simply, pragmatically doing better in work ethic, family, friendship, marriage, and the lot, I HAVE MISREAD PROVERBS ENTIRELY.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7
Therefore, we must read Proverbs’ call to godly work, family rearing, friendship, marriage, and more with the conviction that, “…Christ is my life.”* If I am no longer my own, so my response to God’s call in Proverbs must be of reverence (biblical fear) before the Lord. My response of obedience is to be an act of worship to Christ. My number one goal is not to simply do better for a nicer life.
So, let’s read, pray, consider, and apply Proverbs in this light this summer. It is the only Christian response.
*Quotes from the sermon preached by Pastor Mike on May 22, 2022.
**Definition from Oxford Languages.