Be a Man of Integrity – Exploring the Passages

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 Proverbs 28:21 (printed below) tell us about the temptation to show favoritism?

It is not good to show favoritism, yet a man will do so for only a piece of bread. (Proverbs 28:21)

Proverbs 28:21 tells us, “It is not good to show favoritism.” The reason, by so doing you are not treating people fairly, contrary to the command of the Lord our God that we practice justice in our dealing with one another (note Micah 6:8). Furthermore, by showing favoritism we are failing to imitate God who Himself is no respecter of persons (note Deuteronomy 10:17). Nevertheless, as the latter half of the proverb testifies, all too frequently we find men showing partiality (forsaking integrity in their dealings with their fellow men), even for so small a gain as “a piece of bread.”

2. According to Proverbs 20:6 (printed below,) what distinction is there between what most men claim about themselves and what they actually do?

Most men will proclaim their loyalty, but who can find a faithful man? (Proverbs 20:6)

Most men will identify themselves as men of integrity, as people on whom you can depend. But, as the latter half of the proverb indicates, despite what men may say about themselves, it is extremely difficult to actually find a faithful man—a man of integrity, a man who keeps his word, fulfills his commitments, and consistently identifies himself with the truth.

3. What does Proverbs 13:15 (printed below) tell us about the value of a good reputation?

A good reputation wins favor, but the way of the transgressor is hard. (Proverbs 13:15)

The teaching of Proverbs 13:15 seems to be that a man’s good reputation will serve as a key that opens doors of opportunity and grants him a warm welcome. It gains him favor. Conversely, a man’s bad reputation will go before him, closing doors in distrust and contempt.

4. What does Proverbs 20:7 (printed below) teach about a righteous man and his children?

A righteous man walks in his integrity—blessed are his children who follow him. (Proverbs 20:7)

A righteous man, having been a model of integrity before his children, now leaves a legacy of integrity to them. Such sons and daughters are blessed to have such a father, and they will personally experience God’s blessing if they follow their father’s example of integrity. Together with Job (note Job 27:5b-6), let us value our integrity, not only for our own sake, but also for the sake of our children, and above all, for the sake of the Lord our God (note Romans 2:23b-24a).

5. What does Proverbs 25:26 (printed below) say about a righteous man who yields to the wicked? What do you think this means?

Like a muddied spring or a polluted well, so is a righteous man who yields to the wicked. (Proverbs 25:26)

Especially in an arid land, to come across “a muddied spring” (i.e.; one that had been trampled by a herd of cattle and left foul and unusable) or to discover “a polluted well” was more than a great disappointment, it could be a tragedy. Such a situation is used to illustrate the affects and consequences of a righteous man yielding his integrity before the wicked. Being either intimidated by their threats or seduced by their winsomeness and their favors, a good man sacrifices his integrity before the wicked. The consequence is one of great disappointment and maybe even tragedy: an evil act is abetted, instead of challenged; a role model is tarnished, if not demolished.