I think a little background is called for as we begin the book of Proverbs. I hope you don’t mind if I go back to the basics for just a minute or two.
The Bible can be divided into sections or categories. In the OT these categories are Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets and Minor Prophets. The NT categories are the Gospels, History, the epistles (or letters), and Prophecy.
So far in the NewLSFAB, we’ve read all the OT books of the Law, and are into the second book of the historical books, which is Judges. There are ten more to come. We’ve completed one of the books of poetry, Psalms, and have just begun another in that category with the reading today. There are a total of five books in the category of Poetry. We have yet to touch either the Major or Minor Prophets. In the NT, we’ve completed the Gospels and the single book of History (which is the book of Acts), and we completed one of the twenty-one epistles. Of course Revelation is the one book of Prophecy.
Now, Proverbs was written by King David’s son, Solomon. Solomon is commonly thought of as the wisest man, and the richest man who ever lived. His wisdom was a gift given to him by God as a result of the prayer he made upon his ascension to the throne at the death of his father, David. Instead of asking for wealth or victory over his enemies or power, he prayed a simple prayer asking for wisdom to lead God’s people. God was so pleased by Solomon’s prayer that He not only granted him great wisdom, but He gave Solomon the things he could have asked for but didn’t.
The book of Proverbs is primarily a collection of short, often just single sentence teachings, or nuggets of truth. They are thoughts and ideas that God revealed to Solomon. Remember, it has long been the belief by orthodox Christianity that the Bible was written by men as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. So these are not merely the thoughts of a wise man, but they are from the mind of God Himself.
The first chapter’s introduction tells us that these proverbs will benefit anyone who heeds their teachings, and anyone who does not is a fool who will come to destruction. It tells us that we will learn wisdom if we put them into practice in our own lives.
It also introduces a character who will be recurring throughout the book. And that is the personification of wisdom as a woman. In verse 20 we see Wisdom shouting in the streets and marketplace, chiding those who refuse to listen to her teaching and encouraging those who will, to listen.
Chapter 2 encourages us to pursue wisdom, because in so doing we will come to know God. If that is not a worthy endeavor, I don’t know what is.
Much of the teaching is directed at one of Solomon’s sons, so the teaching is especially applicable to a young person just starting out in life, but the lessons (as noted earlier) are good for everyone. I’m looking forward to sharing this wonderful book as we go further over the next few weeks in the NewLSFAB.