Proverbs 1:8-19 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. What does the father plead with his son to do? See Proverbs 1:8 (printed below)

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching (Proverbs 1:8)

The father pleads with his son to “listen to” (to heed, pay attention to, take to heart) his father’s “instruction” (the Hebrew word contains the meaning of teaching and discipline). Furthermore, he urges his son not to “forsake” (forget, discard, reject, depart from) his mother’s teaching. The point of the father’s counsel: do not outgrow your godly upbringing, discarding it when you leave the home; rather, grow by it into greater spiritual maturity.

2. What promise is attached to the father’s plea in verse 9 (printed below?) How would you explain the meaning of this promise?

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching, (9) for they will be a wreath to grace your head and a decorative chain around your neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9)

Attached to the plea there is the promise that godly training, when accepted, shall prove to be of great value and blessing. That godly teaching is described as “a wreath to grace your head;” or, “a crown of grace upon your head.” When accepted, godly teaching shall crown your life with blessing, honor and glory. That godly teaching is further described as “a decorative chain (or “necklace of jewels”) around your neck.” Again, when accepted, godly teaching shall cause your life to be adorned with the precious, invaluable and eternal beauty of godliness.

3. What forewarning does the father provide his son in verse 10 (printed below?)

My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. (Proverbs 1:10)

The Father forewarns his son that he may encounter sinners who will seek to entice him to join them in doing evil. The father no illusion that “our community is immune to sin;” no sense that ‘such things can’t happen here, we live in a nice community.” The father of Proverbs lived in Israel, not among the pagan nations of the world; nevertheless, Israel was not exempt from crime and evil men. The Lord promises to take care of His children, and one means He uses to accomplish that end is godly, caring counsel.

4. According to Proverbs 1:19 (printed below), what motivates the sinners of whom the father forewarns his son? Is this evil attribute only found in them?

But these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives! (19) The same is true of everyone who is greedy to gain riches—it deprives the owners of their lives. (Proverbs 1:18-19)

The people described in this passage are motivated by greed. When greed motivates and dominates a man’s heart it can make him ruthless (as this present passage of Scriptures testifies). As verse 19 indicates, the evil attribute of greed is not only found in blatant lawbreakers, it is an attribute to which all men are susceptible.

5. What warning does verse 19 (printed above under question #4) give with regard to the consequence of greed?

Verse 19 warns that greed takes away life. Not only will the greedy man be willing to destroy the life of another in his pursuit of wealth; his greed will also consume and destroy his own life (note 1 Timothy 6:9-10).