Author: Ron Graham

Study Starters

Points in Proverbs
—How to study the book of Proverbs

When I was editing the lesson called "The Book of Proverbs" it occurred to me that within this lesson there was the seed of an excellent study. So I have adapted the appropriate section of that lesson to a "study starter" on this page below...

1 Main Ideas in the Proverbs

In the Book of Proverbs there are several recurring themes. Most of the proverbs in the book address one of these main ideas. For each proverb addressing a certain issue, there will be several other proverbs doing the same. For instance in our lesson on The Book of Proverbs we provided a brief list with sample verses, as repeated below. You could find several other proverbs addressing these same themes, and several other themes in addition to the ones listed...

2 A Profitable Study Project

You can develop this approach into a comprehensive study of the Proverbs. You would read the book right through, sorting key verses into topics. This would be a truly fruitful study. By this study, you would develop yourself "to know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of the wise" (Proverbs 1:1).

So although the project would be a lot of work, and may take you a long time, it would be well worth that work and time. However there is a way to make the project far less daunting and our next point discusses this...

3 Use the Salami Technique

It would be difficult to eat a salami sausage whole. You cut it up into slices. That's what to do with this project, thinking of each topic as a slice.

If you work intelligently, you would do the work in several sweeps. That means you read through the book of Proverbs collecting key verses on two or three topics only, then repeat the exercise later with another two or three topics, and so forth. As you make one sweep, new topics will suggest themselves for following sweeps.

By doing the work in sweeps, you will produce finished results on one or two topics before you attempt another topic. This means you don't have to do a year's work before you have any finished results. And if you have to quit before you are done, you won't have a whole lot of unfinished work. Rather you will have an unfinished project, but the topics you have done will be finished and the work done on them will be useful. This is a case of not biting off more than you can chew, and of "redeeming the time" (Ephesians 5:16).

And on that note let me close with one final suggestion. Get the The Book of Proverbs online right now, and print it out. That way you can carry it and a pen with you wherever you go, so that you can work on the project at odd moments when you find yourself with time on your hands.

note This page is but an idea —a seed to start you on your own personal study. Take the seed, grow it well and prayerfully. Your study will be fruitful. You need no scholarship, no special skill, and no books but the Bible.

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