Prayer Focus: Pray for the lost, such as family, co-workers, neighbors, and others, to be saved. Name them daily and keep a list of those you pray for.
What is a proverb? Webster’s Dictionary defines a proverb as a brief maxim (a general truth, fundamental principle, or rule of conduct). The Hebrew word translated “proverb” is also translated “oracle”, “taunt,” and “parable.” So its meaning is considerably broader than the English term.
Proverbs in the Bible is a collection of moral and religious maxims containing instruction concerning right living. It also contains brief disclosures on wisdom, justice, temperance, industry, purity, and more. Proverbs is not to be interpreted as prophecies or statements about effects and results of promises. For instance, Proverbs 10:27 says that “the years of the wicked are cut short, while the righteous live long and prosperous lives.”
The main purpose of Proverbs is to give moral instruction, especially to young people. Most are short, compact statements that express truths about human behavior. But chapters 1-9 have longer sections.
In chapters 10-15, the proverbs almost always express a contrast (see 14:5). Many proverbs describe the consequences of a particular action or character trait. “A wise son brings joy to his father” (10:1). Often, they are given in the form of commands: “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor.”(20:13)
A common feature of the proverbs is the use of figurative language: “Like cold water to a weary soul, is good news from a distant land” (25:25). The similes (“like” or “as”) written in the proverbs make them more vivid and powerful. Sometimes they are used in a humorous or sarcastic way (11:22, 26:14). In order to develop a proper set of values, a number of proverbs use direct comparisons: “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless, than a rich man whose ways are perverse” (28:6).
An outline of Proverbs:
- Fatherly counsels and warnings with exhortations (Chapters 1-7)
- Call to wisdom (Chapters 8-9)
- Contrasts between good and evil, wisdom and folly (Chapters 10-20)
- Proverbial maxims and counsels (Chapters 21-24)
- Proverbs of Solomon (Chapters 25-29)
- The words of Algur, the oracle (Chapter 30)
- The words of King Lemuel, a mother’s advice (Chapter 31)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15