Author: Ron Graham
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 there's a brief list with sample verses. You could find several other proverbs addressing these same themes, and several other themes in addition to the ones listed...
- Knowing God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10).
- Getting Wisdom. "Get Wisdom! Get understanding!" (Proverbs 4:5).
- Guarding your speech. "A word aptly spoken..." (Proverbs 25:11, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 29:20).
- Sexual morality and marital faithfulness. "Rejoice with the wife of your youth" (Proverbs 5:15-20).
- Productiveness in daily work."Go to the ant you sluggard!" (Proverbs 10:4-5, Proverbs 6:6-11).
- Abstaining from strong drink. "Wine is a mocker..." (Proverbs20:1, Proverbs 23:31-33).
- Justice and honesty. "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord but a just weight is his delight" (Proverbs 11:1).
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).
- By looking for distinct topics in the proverbs, you would gain insight into what are important issues of life.
- By combing out the proverbs dealing with a particular topic, you would gain insight into that particular important issue.
- You would delve into the "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3), knowing that the Book of Proverbs is inspired, like all books of the Bible, by the mind and "Spirit of Christ" (1Peter 1:10-11) whose gospel teaches, "Conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your sojourning" in this world (1Peter 1:13-19), and that's exactly what the Book of Proverbs is about.
- You would finish up with a set of excellent lessons from the Proverbs on important subjects. You could not only treasure these lessons for yourself but perhaps share them with others, turning the project into a ministry.
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:— Grow This Seed. 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.