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What does the Book of Proverbs say about . . .
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The writers of Proverbs
King Solomon likely wrote chapters 1 to 29. Agur likely wrote Chapter 30. Chapter 31 is believed to have been written by King Lemuel. We are told in the very first chapter that these proverbs were written down so that others could gain from them wisdom, discipline, words of insight, prudence, discretion and knowledge. Those who are already wise will be able to add to their wisdom and those in need of guidance will receive it if they read the book.
Some of the main subjects of Proverbs are comparisons between man's and God's way of living, sin, gaining wisdom, fear of God, self-control, proper use of riches, training children, honesty, helpfulness, diligence, laziness, health and alcohol use, plus several others.
The main divisions
The book can be divided up into at least seven main sections.
Section 1 - Fearing God is the beginning of understanding (Proverbs 1:7 to 9:18)
Section 2 - The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 10:1 to 22:16)
Section 3 - Sayings of the wise (Proverbs 22:17 to 24:22)
Section 4 - More sayings of the wise (Proverbs 24:23 to verse 34)
Section 5 - Proverbs of Solomon copied by the men of Judah's King Hezekiah (Proverbs 25:1 to 29:27)
Section 6 - Sayings of Agur son of Jakeh (Proverbs 30)
Section 7 - Sayings of King Lemuel (Proverbs 31)
Is there anything a person needs to do, other than reading Proverbs, in order to gain true wisdom? The second chapter gives us our answer.
1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (Prov. 2:1-5, NIV throughout)
The Benefits of pursuing wisdom from Proverbs 2
You will come to comprehend what it means to reverence God and find knowledge (Proverbs 2:5). Jesus said, " 'Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.'" (Matthew 7:7-8, HCSB)
God promises victory to the righteous. He also promises to be a shield to anyone whose walk is blameless before him (v. 7).
God will protect those who are faithful (v. 8)
We will come to understand what is right and good (v. 9)
Other important Biblical verses concerning pursuing wisdom include Isaiah 51:7, 25:8, Daniel 2:20-22 and Psalms 1:1-6. In the New Testament James tells us:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-17)
Many times someone without wisdom follows the ways of those who are evil. What they say can be perverse (Romans 3:11-14). They are lovers of darkness rather than light (1John 1:5-6, John 1:19). They enjoy evil and behaving sinfully (2Timothy 3:1-7, Hebrews 11:25). They follow paths that are crooked (Matthew 7:13-14). They are deceptive and just plain lie (Mark 7:22, Romans 3:13). They ignore agreements made with others - especially marriage covenants (Romans 1:22-32). Some may even delve into demonism (Romans 1:22-32).