The Purpose of Proverbs

Scripture: Proverbs 1:2-3, ‘For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.’


Observations: The Book of Proverbs is exactly that a book of proverbs, mostly ascribed to ‘Solomon son of David, king of Israel. (v1)’ In verses 2-6 the purpose of the book of Proverbs is given. In verse 2 and 3 there are three purposes. Firstly, ‘to give knowledge regarding wisdom and discipline.’ Secondly, ‘to give understanding to words of insight’ (in the Hebrew it’s literally ‘to give insight into words of insight’). Thirdly, ‘to acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair’ (the ESV has, ‘to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity’). The point of Proverbs is to grow our knowledge of how to live life in a wise way. The danger is that we can think of wisdom in a purely worldly way i.e. whatever makes us happy, or successful. However, Proverbs looks at terms like ‘righteousness,’ ‘justice’ and ‘fairness,’ not subjectively, in what works for us, but objectively, in what God has said is right, just and fair. Wisdom is whatever God says is wise, not what we think is wise. Understanding is about seeing things from God’s perspective, not our own. Prudence is about doing life God’s way, not the world’s way. The purpose of Proverbs, then, is not gaining worldly wisdom, but godly wisdom i.e. whatever God’s says is wise.


Application: As you go through life don’t ask yourself ‘does this make sense to me?’ rather ask yourself, ‘is this right in God’s eyes?’ Of course much worldly wisdom reflects God’s wisdom, but we should apply such wisdom to our lives not based on ‘it makes sense,’ but because it reflects how God would have us live. For example: investing our money – not so we can make more money for our own use, but because God has given us our money and he wants us to use it wisely for his glory. Are you wise in the world’s eyes, or in God’s eyes? In the end only the latter matters.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, all wisdom ultimately comes from You, and if it doesn’t, it’s not really wisdom at all, but foolishness. Lord, I pray that You will fill me with Your Spirit, that I might become wise in Your eyes. Lord, help me make decisions not according to worldly philosophies, but according to Your word. Lord, may I attain wisdom, may I understand Your words of insight, may I acquire a disciplined and prudent life filled with whatever is right, just and fair in Your eyes. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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