"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" The Prologue To Proverbs (1:1-6) INTRODUCTION 1. There is a great need for wisdom in our society today... a. Lack of wisdom is destroying the lives of many young people, and making fools out of some who are older b. Marriages are destroyed, friendships lost, souls doomed for lack of wisdom 2. The walk of the Christian is to be with wisdom as we go through life... - Ep 5:15-17 a. Because time is fleeting, and the days are evil, we must make the best use of our time b. Too many today are wasting both their time and their lives by failing to exercise wisdom in their daily lives 3. The Word of God equips man unto every good work... - 2Ti 3:16-17 a. It is only natural to assume that it provides us with sound advice concerning daily living b. Indeed it does, especially in The Book of Proverbs found in the Old Testament 4. The book begins by identifying Solomon, son of David, king of Israel, as the author... a. Who was granted wisdom by God - 2Ch 1:7-12 b. Who became famous for his wisdom, and wrote over 3000 proverbs - 1Ki 4:29-34 5. The book also contains proverbs and wisdom from other sources... a. The words of Agur the son of Jakeh to Ithiel and Ucal - Pr 30:1-33 b. The words of King Lemuel, taught him by his mother - Pr 31:1-31 [In this lesson, let's introduce ourselves to the book by first considering the prologue, in which we find...] I. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK A. STATED IN THE FIRST SIX VERSES... 1. "To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding" 2. "To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity" 3. To give to the... a. Simple (naive) - "prudence" b. Young man - "knowledge and discretion" c. Wise man - "increased learning" d. Man of understanding - "wise counsel" B. THE BOOK IS DESIGNED... 1. To make a person wise! 2. To learn how to: a. Act wisely and righteously b. Treat others with fairness 3. To give... a. The ignorant, common sense b. The young, sound advice c. The wise, even more wisdom [At this point, it might be appropriate to ask: "What exactly is wisdom, and why is it so valuable...?"] II. THE DEFINITION AND VALUE OF WISDOM A. DEFINING WISDOM... 1. "Wisdom...may be defined as a realistic approach to the problems of life..." - 20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 2. Homer Hailey offered this definition of wisdom: "Wisdom is insight into the underlying causes and significance or consequence of things, which insight enables one to apply to the best end the knowledge which he has." 3. To illustrate: a. You are yelled at by your boss, wife, or brother in Christ... 1) You could react in different ways a) Strike back physically, or verbally b) Do nothing c) React with a soft, kind reply - cf. Pr 15:1 2) Wisdom is that insight which helps you to decide what is the best thing to do b. Someone makes sexual advances towards you... 1) Again, you could react in several different ways 2) But wisdom will enable you to react in the proper way B. VALUATING WISDOM... 1. The first nine chapters of Proverbs are discourses extolling the value of wisdom 2. The virtue of wisdom is seen in the prosperous life it can produce - Pr 3:13-18 3. Its value is also found in guarding us against many pitfalls - Pr 3:21-26 4. Some "pitfalls" frequently warned against in The Book Of Proverbs: a. Evil companionship - Pr 1:10-19 b. The immoral woman - Pr 5:1-14 c. Laziness - Pr 6:6-11 [Certainly we should be able to see that wisdom is of great value. But let's go one step further and notice in particular the value of the book of Proverbs in regards to having wisdom...] III. THE VALUE OF THE BOOK A. WISDOM COMES FROM TWO SOURCES... 1. Trial and error (personal experience) a. One's own experiences can certainly be a source of wisdom b. But there are disadvantages to gaining wisdom this way: 1) Much of one's lifetime can be wasted learning through trial and error 2) One must live with the consequences of their errors c. Sadly, this is the only way some gain wisdom, and that only if they survive their errors! 2. Counsel from others (proven experience) a. This is possible if one is willing to heed the advice of others b. There are clear advantages to gaining wisdom this way: 1) You avoid wasting years through trial and error, thus living life to its fullest measure! 2) You experience life unburdened with the consequences of earlier mistakes c. Certainly this method of gaining wisdom is far superior! B. THIS MAKES THE BOOK OF PROVERBS VALUABLE... 1. Instead of wasting our short time here on earth trying to discover wisdom through the process of trial and error, we can go straight to The Book Of Proverbs 2. There we can find wisdom that is: a. Divinely inspired by God! b. Proven true by generations of righteous people who lived out their lives by it c. Expressed concisely in ways easy to remember (Proverb: "a short sentence based on long experience"
- Cervantes in Don Quixote) 3. Yes, the value of The Book Of Proverbs is that it provides the wisdom of God Himself! a. This is not to say that it takes little effort to glean from this wisdom - cf. Pr 2:1-6 b. But for those who will look to God through His Word and prayer, the promise of God is that wisdom will be granted them - cf. Jm 1:5-8 c. And this is a far better way to find wisdom than the way most people do it! CONCLUSION 1. I hope this introductory lesson has made you want to study The Book Of Proverbs in order to glean its treasury of wisdom 2. In succeeding lessons, we will examine The Book Of Proverbs more closely by... a. Making our way through the discourses on wisdom in the first nine chapters b. Considering the wisdom it offers pertaining to various themes (family, work, God, etc.) Our next study will focus on the theme of the book of Proverbs... "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction." - Pr 1:7 Of course, no discussion concerning wisdom can be complete without mentioning Jesus Christ... "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." - Col 2:3 Without Jesus Christ in our lives, there is no way to be truly wise. Have you come to Christ through obedience to His gospel...?