Proverbs 1:1-33 Wise Living Starts With The Fear Of God

Memory Verse: Proverbs 1:7

1:1-7 Proverbs, Persons, Purposes

  • 1:1a “Proverbs,” is the genre of this book which are “sayings of wisdom.” This means that they are general principles to help guide us in living our lives and obeying God. They are not magical spells or things to do with a guaranteed outcome, but it is advice that helps us live our lives in a wise way, a way that honors God. This shows that God cares not only for our spiritual lives but for our daily personal and practical lives.
  • 1:1b These proverbs mainly come from “Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.” God gave Solomon special wisdom, knowledge, riches, wealth and honour. This was such a special endowment from God that no one before him or after him would be like him.
    2 Chronicles 1:7-12; 1 Kings 4:29-34
  • 1:2-4 The purpose of these proverbs is described through the following synonyms: (1) To know wisdom and instruction—wisdom is the knowledge and skills to live a godly life and instruction is the direction to do right morally. (2) To perceive the words of understanding — to discern and have insight. (3) To receive the instruction of wisdom (wise behavior, we can govern ourselves), justice (righteousness, doing right according to God’s standard), judgment (justice, right behavior), equity (fair and impartial). (4) To give subtilty to the simple, meaning to give prudence to those who are naive or don’t understand the ways of God, the ways of wisdom. (5) To give the young man knowledge and discretion, meaning allowing each new generation to have the knowledge and discernment necessary to make responsible decisions.
  • 1:5-6 Proverbs is like a school for a wise person. If you are wanting to gain wisdom you first need to be willing to listen and increase learning. Understanding will lead you to obtain guidance (wise counsels), as well as, how to understand a proverb, interpretations, the words of the wise (meaning being able to discern what is and isn’t wise) and understand the riddles of the wise (dark sayings), meaning your mental capacity will be sharpened to understand harder sayings and truths.
  • 1:7 There are going to be two kinds of people, the wise and the foolish. The wise person hears the starting point for knowledge—which is “the fear of the Lord”. Thus it increases his understanding and as He starts to follow the path of God. Fear means to respect. It means we have the highest reverential respect for God because He is the creator of everything. On the contrary, the fool isn’t willing to fear the Lord and his rejection of God means he despises true wisdom and instruction.
    Psalm 147:10-11

1:8-19 Parental Wisdom: Stay Away From Enticement, Greed, Murder

  • 1:8-9 The first admonition was given in the sense of parents to a child. The instruction and teaching (law) that a child is given from his parents is to be received and not forsaken. The idea here is that this wisdom is for their benefit, as loving parents teach their children for the child’s good and success in life. The one who embraces this wisdom is like wearing an ornament of grace on his head and chains about his neck, meaning your obedience will make you beautiful in wisdom and character.
  • 1:10 The first advise is simple: “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Who we hang around with is of utmost importance, because there is the possibility of temptation to do wrong if we hang out with the wrong crowd—the crowd who doesn’t fear God.
  • 1:11-14 The first enticement from sinners (those who don’t fear God) is that of murder and stealing. The son is warned against a group of people who are trying to get him to join them in their greed for unjust gain. They desire to kill others only for the reason of stealing what they have and sharing it between them. Their greed causes them to kill the innocent.
  • 1:15-18 The son is warned not to join these sinners but refrain from their path of false promises of gain and riches. Everything these sinners do is to their own hurt, not benefit. If a net is spread in the sight of a bird, the bird is smart enough not to be caught in it, but these sinners are not. They are controlled by greed and in a hurry for gain, thus they will be their own ruin. Evil deeds will be met with bad consequences.
  • 1:19 This enticement from sinners is summed up: The above verse 11-18 describe everyone that is greedy of gain and decides to follow this greed to the point of taking away the lives of the owners of the stuff they desire to gain. Beware of the invitation from those who are greedy of unjust gains and the means by which they try to obtain it. Their reckless lives for quick riches will lead to a path of self-destruction. 

1:20-33 A Choice To Follow Wisdom

  • 1:20-22 Wisdom openly cries out for all to hear. It is not secretly trying to entice us to do wrong but publicly and boldly cries for us to do right. Wisdom challenges us to follow its ways, and calls us to make a decision. It calls the simple (naive) to choose a path. It calls for the mockers to stop mocking. It calls for the fool to stop hating knowledge. Everyone has a decision to make: to choose or reject wisdom.
  • 1:23 If you choose wisdom, and turn at its reproof, then it will pour out its spirit on us and cause us to understand its words. You will be given the power to know and carry out the actions of wisdom. Choosing wisdom means you are choosing to fear the Lord, for this is the beginning of instruction for wise living.
  • 1:24-31 If you don’t choose wisdom, don’t turn at its reproof, and refused its calling, then when you are in trouble and call upon it, there will be no answer. Choosing not to fear the Lord will end with you eating of the fruit of your own way, meaning you will deal with the consequences of your foolish decisions. 
  • 1:32-33 There are only two decisions to be made: to fear God or not to fear God. Choosing not to fear God will be your end. If you are too complacent to turn to God it will lead to your destruction. Open rejection or satisfaction with ones own life to care about God will all have the same consequences in the end. On the contrary, if you do turn to God and choose to fear Him, you will be safe and at ease from the fear of evil. 

Review Questions

  • What is a proverb?
  • Who wrote most of the proverbs?
  • What is the purpose of the book of Proverbs?
  • What is the first advice of wisdom from the parents?
  • What is the result of following wisdom? Not following wisdom?

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