Mo 4/1Tu 4/2We 4/3Th 4/4Fr 4/5Sa 4/6Su 4/7
Prov. 19
Col. 2
Prov. 20
Col. 3
Prov. 21
Col. 4
Prov. 22
1 Thess. 1
Prov. 23
1 Thess. 2
Prov. 24
1 Thess. 3
Prov. 25
1 Thess. 4

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Proverbs are short, pithy observation of the way things are. They identify patterns and generalities in how the world works. Furthermore, they help us make wise decisions by teaching and reminding us what to expect in life.

To grasp how we should interpret the Bible’s proverbs, it helps to think about how proverbs function in our own language. We actually use them quite frequently:

  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • You break it, you buy it.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned.
  • You only live once.
  • All that glitters is not gold.
  • Beggars can’t be choosers.
  • The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

One thing we should note is that proverbs are not legal guarantees that demand fulfillment in every single instance in order to be considered true. This is obvious with our own proverbs. Take “Cheaters never prosper” as an example. Can we think of instances where someone cheated, won, and got away with it? Probably. But is it still generally true, and thus a helpful warning? Yes.

Many of Solomon’s proverbs should be approached in the same way:

Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;

Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

Proverbs 20:13

You can probably think of lazy rich people and hard-working poor people, but it’s still generally true in God’s world that he who rises early and works hard profits from doing so. That’s why we say, “The early bird gets the worm.”

Proverbs are often meant to capture commonly experienced feelings rather than scientific statements of fact. “Time flies when you’re having fun” and “A watched pot never boils” don’t give clear moral direction, but they help describe our feelings and teach our hearts what to expect. Biblical proverbs often function the same way:

It is better to live in a desert land

Than with a contentious and vexing woman.

Proverbs 21:19

Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot

Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.

Proverbs 25:19

Those proverbs don’t say what is to be done when one is beset with a nagging wife or an untrustworthy man. But they do show us that Scripture understands the world we live in, and they can help us steer clear of unpleasant circumstances and relationships. (Hint: If you’re looking for a wife, don’t pursue a woman that is contentious and vexing.)

None of this, however, should make us overlook the many biblical proverbs that do give clear moral guidance from God:

Do not say, “I will repay evil”;

Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

Proverbs 20:22

Do not hold back discipline from the child,

Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.

Proverbs 23:13

Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,

And do not deceive with your lips.

Proverbs 24:28

VERSE TO MEDITATE ON

Like apples of gold in settings of silver

Is a word spoken in right circumstances.

—Proverbs 25:11

HOW TO PRAY

  • Adoration – Praise God for His unfathomable wisdom.
  • Confession – Confess ways you have been lazy in the work God has given you.
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God for wise people in your life who have shown you how to live well.
  • Supplication – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Alex McNeilly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

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