Proverbs is the most intensely practical book in the Old Testament, Proverbs are short sayings that expresses a general truth for practical godly living. The book of Proverbs were written to instruct God’s people (especially young people) on how to live to please God and have a happy life, and avoid tragedies resulting from sin.
The book of Proverbs is not just a collection of sayings, but a collection of collections, the fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom which is mentioned multiple times in this book. The wisdom contained is meaningful and for us today. Wisdom has the ability to judge and act according to God’s directives.
Proverb, mashal, parable, maxim, adage; a simile or allegory, the noun comes from the verb mashal, to compare to be similar. The man who wrote so carefully about the danger of promiscuous relationships with immoral women did not completely follow his own particular advice, one main theme of this book is directed to those unaware of the dangers of the involvement with other women.
The principles and warning of the book of proverbs apply just as much to young women as they do to young men- particularly in our own culture, where both genders are involved in so many of the same activities, and many demand to be equal in several areas of life.
Proverbs stresses the need for good advice which is a need for every person who wants to honor God in life, wisdom has practical benefits for everyone, even those who do not know God. The wisdom in proverbs teaches one not to brag on tomorrow because each day brings its own surprise and helps avoid wrong thinking in life.
The wisdom contained in proverbs is also intended to make us stop and think and hopefully direct our lives as God intended. Proverbs are often considered spiritual ‘vitamins” you will find that it affects your thinking and behavior in ways that will cause you to increase your passion for honoring God, this is the beginning of wisdom.
The fear of the Lord was a frequent command given to God’s people in the Old Testament. It is important that we know what this command means for us today as believers. When we truly fear the Lord we will be delivered from mental slavery and all the fears that seem to have a hold on many believers today.
The fear is based on the acknowledgement that God is a holy God, whose very nature causes Him to judge sin. The fear of the Lord produces in God’s people a confident hope and trust in Him and His forgiving, love and true compassion, it recognizes that He is a God who is angry about sin and has the power to punish those who transgress His righteous laws or Word.
The fear of the Lord is far more than a mere biblical doctrine; it directly applies to our daily lives in many ways. Since a basic goal for our children’s education is for them to live according to God’s principles of wisdom, teaching them to fear the Lord is a critical first step on parents and children.
Fear of the Lord can also be defined as the continual awareness that our loving heavenly Father is watching and evaluating our every thought and actions. Until our hearts are in the right relationship with God we are unable to have the wisdom that comes from heaven, without the fear of the Lord we make decisions based on our faulty human understanding.
God has promised to reward all those who fear Him, part of the reward of promise is riches, honor, and life to those who fear Him and know that it shall be well with them, regardless of what happens in the world around us. We walk by faith, not by sight, even better we don’t walk by our senses.
The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves, when we study the use of a Biblical word, we need to avoid the naïve principle of interpretation in which we force a single definition of that word to fit every occurrence of the word as it appears in scripture, the word run, for example can have various definitions, approximately over fifty usages of that one word, and in many cases it has nothing to do with physically running.
There are too many people who want to “tame” God into a non-threatening nobody, we must fear Him because He deserves to be feared. In the Bible, the word fear translated can mean several things, it can refer to the terror one feels in a frightening situation, it can mean “respect” in the way a servant fears his master and serves him faithfully, the fear of the Lord is a combination of all these things and more.
The wise person avoids evil and promotes good by observing what others have chosen and then pursuing a course of action based on the outcome. This reflects the nature of ancient Hebrew culture in which sons were expected to inherit leadership of the family and nation, these youths are warned about many of the traps that commonly ensnare young men.
Proverbs 1:2-3, the verb to know, to perceive, and to receive wisdom, it refers to the process of receiving knowledge then applying it to daily life. A person develops discipline in life by applying words of insight. This wisdom affects living much of the same way the skills of an artist affect the practice of his craft.
Proverbs 1:7, the fear of the Lord is the most basic ingredient in wisdom. All wisdom depends on knowledge of God and submission to His will. To know something and not know God cancels the value of having knowledge in the first place. Proverbs helps us in understanding the way the world works, it is not always what you may know intellectually, but what you do practically and what, when, and how you should apply what you know.
Proverbs 1:20, The word wisdom is plural but the verb calls (KJV says crieth) is singular, the plural is intensive—it calls attention to the word and expands the meaning, wisdom addresses the simple and naïve person, or the young person who have not yet made up their minds about life or the direction they will take. Proverbs 3:7, Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.
12 Benefits of the fear of the Lord
- Beginning of wisdom- Prov 1:7
- Departing from evil- Prov 3:7
- Hatred of evil- Prov 8:13
- Prolonging of life- Prov 10:27
- Strength of confidence- Prov 14:26
- Fountain of life- Prov 14:27
- Instruction of wisdom- Prov 15:33
- That which tends to life- Prov 19:23
- Riches, honor, and life- Prov 22:4
- Freedom from envy- Prov 23:17
- Prosperity- Ecc 8:12
- Humility- Isa 2:10-21
Proverbs 3:13, Happy is the man who finds/ findeth wisdom and the man who gains/gets understanding, For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver and her gain than fine gold. Vs 16 Length of days are in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor (Proverbs 8:35) says For he who finds me finds life, obtains favor of the Lord.
The word Findeth/or finds carries the meaning to obtain, acquire, come upon by searching, to discern by studying or experiment, wisdom is something found as a valuable item. The word obtains, or obtaineth means to draw out, possess, to get, hold on too.
Proverbs 3:35, The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools, love her and she shall keep you, Exalt her and she shall promote you. Length of days, long life, and peace are with her. Wisdom becomes a “she’, and is not only personified, but characterized as a communicating person, not a cold abstraction.
Proverbs 4:7 p, Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And with all your getting get understanding. Understanding means to separate mentally, or distinguish, consider, discern, have intelligence and be prudent. Wisdom is available to those who seek it through a proper relationship with God and a diligent study of His Word, (2nd Tim 2:15).
Studying the Bible is not only a collecting of data such as memorizing verses, knowing who Moses was, what Christ said etc., but it means also understanding the meaning and connecting the dots, as it were, it’s about how various Bible doctrine relate, much like that of a person learning math, you have to know the relationship between data, not just the data itself.
Bible doctrine” means God’s own thought formulas, which the Bible itself tells you; which formula you discern, as you study the Bible; which define the relationship between various data; for instance, how faith relates to spirituality, to behavior, etc. then you live on what you know 24/7.
After you have given your thoughts and desires to God and learned the importance of studying the scriptures, you then keep studying all your life, this new information needs to be built into you. The Bible compares itself to Food, (Mat 4:4) c and Water, (Rom 5:5) p, Money, and Shelter, you can’t survive without learning the Bible.
God wrote the Bible to teach us how to prepare for the future, and to get more enjoyment of our permanent life post-death, as well as more enjoyment out of our temporary life down here on earth, the moment we become believers, everything down here has a different usage, normal spiritual growth takes some time and we should not try and hurry things.
All through Proverbs chapter 8 we see that wisdom wants to reach everyone and therefore broadcasts her message publicly unlike the immoral, who uses privacy and deception to achieve her goals, wisdom words can be trusted, and her offer of grace are a true benefit. Wisdom is far from hiding herself and defying discovery, she makes her appeal from the high places and visible places of notice.
Proverbs 8:11-12 here we see that wisdom speaks again, For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her, “I wisdom dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion (witty inventions KJV).
Prudence carries the meaning of wisdom & guile, it’s the ability to govern and discipline oneself with skill and good judgment in the use of resources, it offers sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs, and it caution or circumspect as to any danger or risk, prudence is wisdom in action.
This word witty, is the found in the KJV version of the Bible, it means having a good intellectual capacity amusingly or ingeniously clever in conception or execution, marked by or full of wit, and is quick or ready to see or express illumination or amusing relationships or insight. Cleverness and quickness of mind and a caustic tongue, a desire to produce laughter.
From this word wit, we get mind, memory, reasoning power, intelligence, and mental soundness, ingenuity astuteness of perception or judgment. A person of superior intellect, a thinker and an articulate individual and the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception.
In the beginning God possessed wisdom, Proverbs 8:22, says the Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. Vs 23, wisdom was established from the beginning Vs 24, when there were no mountains Vs 25, Before the hills were settled Vs 26, while He had not made the earth or the fields.
Vs 28, when He established the clouds Vs 29, From the very beginning wisdom was produced or manifested in the plan of God as well as in the creation of all things, even before He made the first particle of matter, the primitive atom.
Psalms 104: 24; 136:5-9, speaks about God’s creation of all things and His preparation and care over all His works. His involvement with all He has made, He sustains the world because the world belongs to Him. What God continues to do in the universe reflects His glory, but His creation is stained by sin and evil, this shows the mercy and love He has after creating a foundation for all mankind.
When one stop to consider the infinite details of creation and the plan of eternal life, the future of those who belong to Him, even from the smallest atom to the huge creations of the material and living things, man is forced to admit we serve an awesome God, who sits high and look low.
Proverbs 9:1, Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars, here wisdom is represented as the overseer of what she has built, she is seen building a house, making a banquet, and sending out her maids to invite guest, she is pictured as a builder, sculpture, butcher, and as a gracious hostess.
Proverbs 10:13-14, Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding, Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. A wise man will keep secret things he hears on others, but a fool will repeat them everywhere and cause strife, but the rod is an instrument of knowledge if properly applied.
Proverbs 10:22 The blessings of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. To often material wealth and greed in this world is gained through wicked and ungodly avenues which is not from God. True riches consist in the blessing of the Lord, God’s presence and His favor is our greatest wealth.
Proverbs 10:31, The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out, but the mouth of the just speaks wisdom. It was an ancient custom in some nations to cut out the tongue for blasphemy, lying, treasonable speeches and other vocal crimes.
We must read God’s Word, study God’s Word, and memorize it, God’s inspired Word is the only conclusive source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding concerning the ultimate realities of life. Christians through the centuries applied it as a directive.
The Word of God must be continually read, studied, meditated upon, and prayed over until it richly dwells within us, then our thoughts, words, and deeds will be influenced and controlled by Christ.
Proverbs 13:14; 14:27; The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But correction of fools is folly. (Proverbs 23:9), Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
Proverbs 14:33, wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known. A wise man does not display his wisdom, but a fool will parade all he knows for the world to see and hear.
Proverbs 17:8, A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers (KJV says “gift”) i.e. Bribery, will sometimes bring temporary success and wealth. Bribery, however is sin and hinders justice from being used. Gifts offered to God or someone should be accompanied by holy living; otherwise, they are unaccepted and detestable to God and others.
Proverbs 17:24, wisdom produces a fulfilled life and the fool continues searching without finding any satisfaction. There is nothing in life more dangerous than a fool in the midst of his foolishness.
Proverbs 17:27, He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. The wise will restrain their speech and be cautious in what they say. They will not exaggerate the truth or harm others when speaking, but speak accurately and edify others.
There is a sharp contrast between the wise life and the foolish life. A wise person fears, reverences and obeys the Lord; a fool despises God’s instruction and cannot be told what to do. The link between the fear of God and wisdom means we cannot possess wisdom if we recreate God in our own image.
Proverbs 18:4, The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook. Wellspring of wisdom is an image similar to the phrase “fountain of life, A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
Proverbs 19:4 Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friends. We know that superficial friends are attracted to the wealthy as flies are drawn to honey, a poor person has few friends because he or she cannot provide anyone with financial or personal gain.
The Bible identifies the pursuit of wealth or covetousness with idolatry, which is demonic, because of the demonic power associated with possessions, the desire for wealth and the pursuit of it often bring enslavement and many enemies.
Riches in the sight of Jesus are considered obstacles both to salvation and discipleship, they often give a false sense of security, and they can deceive the loyalty of one’s heart. Riches often show they have no time for God. As they search for riches their spiritual life is choked and they are led into temptation and harmful desires, resulting in sin and taking advantage of the poor.
A selfish, greedy person no longer has his goal and fulfillment in God, but rather in himself and his possessions, in other words striving after wealth has in it the seed of total alienation from God. True riches for Christians consist in faith and love that express themselves in self-denial and following Jesus Christ.
Christians that have wealth and possessions must see themselves as no longer rich in a worldly sense, but merely as stewards of that which is God’s, and they must be generous, ready to share, and to be rich in the works of God.
Proverbs 20:22, Do not say, “I will recompense, evil” Wait for the Lord, and He will save you. When we are mistreated, we must not take vengeance into our own hands, but we must take our mistreatment to the Lord and trust ourselves to our faithful God and He will in His own time avenge the injustice.
Proverbs 21:3, To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Our heavenly Father desires His people to be righteous and just rather than to be merely involved in religious activities, such as; sacrifice, worship, and offerings are not as acceptable to Him if we are not living according to His will.
Proverbs 21:13, Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard. If we want God to hear our prayers when we are in need, then we must also hear and respond in love to the needs of others.
Proverbs 21:20, there is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it. Those who are wise and prudent will have the necessities of life, while the foolish spend all day acquiring nonessential things for pleasure. Today many foolishly use easy credit that often proves to be their downfall in life, but God is pleased with those who wisely accept a lower standard of living rather than to go into debt and live beyond their means.
Proverbs 22:4, By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life. Those who remain faithful to God will receive the blessings at God’s own appointed time. All those who are God’s people will be among those who will inherit the earth. Even in the mind of God, the poor are considered rich in spiritual wealth and honor.
Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Pride and self-importance cause people to seem wise in their own estimation and therefore arrogantly confident in their own ideas. Wisdom and truth are formed not by human reasoning, but by accepting what God’s Word says, understanding the possibility of deceit within ones heart.
Proverbs 29:18, Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law (KJV says “Vision” vision is the Hebrew word hazon, which means revelation, where there is no clear revelation and bold declaration of God’s will and purpose, or standards it could led people to a falling away from the wisdom of God.
God’s people can lose their Biblical convictions, cast off their moral restraints, and eventually perish. God’s revealed Word and His righteous demands as expressed in His Word must be repeatedly and kept before the people, or many will begin to conform to the world and transgress His Word.
Proverbs 30:6, Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. God’s Word must be mixed with faith, those found in worldly philosophy, psychology, sorcery, or Spiritism are guilty of incorrect teachings of God’s Word and those who teach something else are adding to the Biblical and can stimulate confusion, those people are considered to be liars.
By Robert E. Bolden