Proverbs 1:1-6 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. According to Proverbs 1:1-2 (printed below), what is one reason the Lord has given us the Book of Proverbs? What do you think this means?

The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel: so that the reader (2) may know wisdom and understanding; may appreciate sound teaching (Proverbs 1:1-2)

Whereas knowledge is the accumulation and mastery of facts, wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge to life so as to lead a godly life; it is the ability to know how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. One of the purposes of the Book of Proverbs is to enable us to know “wisdom and understanding” (or, “discipline”). We acquire wisdom as we submit to the instruction of God’s Word and allow it to direct and discipline our life (note Matthew 11:28-30).

2. According to Proverbs 1:3 (printed below), what is another reason the Lord has provided the Book of Proverbs? How would you explain this?

…so that the reader …may receive instruction in wise behavior, namely, in righteousness and justice and equity (Proverbs 1:3)

The Lord also has given us the book of Proverbs in order that we might “receive instruction in wise behavior.” “Wise behavior” comes from the Hebrew word that, according to Keil and Delitzsch (Commentaries on the Old Testament, Proverbs, Vol.1, p.55), has a root meaning of “to entwine, to involve.” Thus, one of the reasons our heavenly Father has given us the book of Proverbs is to help train us and instruct us as to how to work our way through complicated spiritual issues and moral problems. The object of this instruction/discipline is that we may gain an acquaintance with “righteousness, justice and equity (fairness.”) In other words, so that we may become like the Lord Himself: Jehovah is righteous; he loves righteousness (Psalm 11:7).

3. How can we become increasingly proficient in “wise behavior?” Note Psalm 119:99-100 (printed below)

I have more understanding than all my teachers, because your testimonies are my meditation. (100) I understand more than the aged, because I have kept your precepts. (Psalm 119:99-100)

We become increasingly proficient in righteous thinking/living as we meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 119:99) and put into practice what we are taught (Psalm 119:100).

4. According to Proverbs 1:4a, the Book of Proverbs has been given with the intention that “the naïve may receive prudence.” How does Proverbs define “the naïve?” See Proverbs 14:15a (printed below) How does it define “prudence?” See Proverbs 14:15b (printed below)

The naïve believes every word, but a prudent man carefully considers his steps. (Proverbs 14:15)

The naïve (or, simple) are those who are gullible, those who have no discernment. The naive person lacks the ability to critically evaluate ideas and suggestions; he just accepts anything and everything anybody presents to him. He will just act without considering the consequences, without considering the moral significance of his decisions: for example, if someone suggests to the naive, “Let’s do drugs!” he will thoughtlessly consent. Prudence is the ability to exhibit an examining, evaluating, and discriminating mind. The prudent man asks such questions as, “What are we about to do?” “What is he teaching me?” “Is this behavior good or bad?” “Is this teaching true or false?” A prudent man is going to think before he acts: he is going to critically evaluate ideas and suggestions in the light of God’s Word. As we study the book of Proverbs we will be taught by God how to act sensibly as opposed to acting thoughtlessly or naively.

5. According to Proverbs 1:4b (printed below), what does the Book of Proverbs offer the young man? How would you explain this?

…so that the young man may gain knowledge and discretion (Proverbs 1:4b)

Two characteristics of youth are inexperience and impulsiveness. What is needed is “knowledge” (the accumulation of facts, the building blocks of education) and “discretion” (the ability to use knowledge as the basis for making wise decisions and planning a godly course of action). Still another reason why the Lord has given us the book of Proverbs so that the young (as well as all those who may be inexperienced in moral and spiritual living) may learn “knowledge and discretion.”