I. A Parent's Instructions to Children, Both Young and Old: Choose the Wise Path of Life, 1:1-9:18

A. The Wise Path of Life (Part 1): Study the Book of Proverbs, 1:1-7


A Parent’s Instructions to Children, Both Young and Old: Choose the Wise Path of Life, 1:1-9:18

A. The Wise Path of Life (Part 1): Study the Book of Proverbs, 1:1-7

(1:1-7) Introduction: manuals are available today for nearly every subject imaginable. So-called “experts” have all the answers for how to be a successful husband, wife, lover, parent, businessperson, student, friend, cook…the list is endless. How to be happy, how to be rich, how to be skinny, how to build your self-esteem—there seems to be a “how to” book for everything. While many of these manuals are valuable, not one is completely trustworthy and reliable. All of them have to be evaluated. Some advice is accurate and helpful. Much is absolutely worthless.

The great book of Proverbs is a manual for successful living. It is a “how to” book that addresses life’s most important decisions, questions, and problems. Unlike other manuals, Proverbs is the inspired Word of God, a fact that elevates it above all other works. It is entirely true and reliable.

Proverbs is the wisdom of God revealed to the human race. In this great book, God’s wisdom is concentrated and compiled into thirty-one chapters. As mentioned in the Introduction to Proverbs, this is ideal for studying one chapter of Proverbs each day of the month. The subjects addressed are the important ones of life. In this most practical of all Bible books, the wisdom of God is imparted to mankind through one of the wisest men of all times, King Solomon of Israel. The wisdom conveyed through him is timeless and therefore relevant to every age and generation. By God’s divine plan, the person who uses this manual as a guide will be qualified to deal with every important area of life. The book paves a path that, if followed, leads to fulfillment, happiness, and success. This is, The Wise Path of Life (Part 1): Study the Book of Proverbs, 1:1-7.

1. Know the subject and author (v. 1).

2. Learn the purpose of Proverbs (vv. 2-4).

3. Let the wise listen carefully to the proverbs (vv. 5-6).

4. Grasp Proverbs’ key verse: fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (v. 7).

1. Know the subject and author of Proverbs. (1:1).

1. (1:1) Know the subject and author of Proverbs.

The subject and author of this famous book are mentioned in the very first verse: the book contains the proverbs of Solomon. The subject is then discussed in more detail in the next three verses. This great book of practical wisdom begins by introducing what it is: a collection of proverbs.

a. The subject: Wise sayings.

What is a proverb? The word proverb is derived from the Hebrew word mashal, which has two primary meanings. It means to be like or to compare. This definition highlights three significant characteristics of a proverb:

⇒Most proverbs are composed of two parallel statements that teach one truth (see Introduction to Proverbs for an explanation of parallelism). The second statement presents a comparison or likeness to the first statement.

“The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth” (Pr.10:20).

Proverbs often contain truths expressed by comparisons:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Pr.25:11).

⇒Some proverbs use words, images, or stories that convey an extended meaning, more fully describing a contrast or relationship. The kingdom parables of Jesus illustrate this well (Mt.13). In fact, the word parable (mashal) in the Old Testament is the same Hebrew word as proverb. In the New Testament, the Greek word for parable comes from this word as well.

The Hebrew word for proverbs also means to rule or govern. Proverbs are rules for living or stated truths that are to govern life. The proverbs of this book, however, are not just any rules: they are God’s rules for our lives. They have several characteristics that help the reader learn from them, elements such as…