Godly Wisdom – 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. In light of Proverbs 10:3-4 (printed below,) what does Proverbs 10:5 (also printed below) tell us about the conduct and understanding of a wise man?

Jehovah will not allow the righteous to be famished, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (4) He who does his work negligently will become poor, but diligent labor produces wealth. (Proverbs 10:3-4)

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest season is a disgraceful son. (Proverbs 10:5)

Proverbs 10:3a gives the assurance that the Lord will provide for His people; though they may be subjected to difficult times, the Lord will prove Himself faithful to provide for their needs. Proverbs 10:4 balances the previous proverb: although the Lord is faithful to provide for His people, they must not abuse that truth by becoming negligent; the Lord will not honor such abuse of His commitment. Proverbs 10:5 teaches that a wise man understands God’s design for life: the wise man will neither misinterpret nor abuse the Lord’s faithfulness. He will rely upon God’s faithfulness and be faithful to fulfill his God-given responsibilities.

2. What does Proverbs 14:16 (printed below) tell us about a wise man in contrast to a fool?

A wise man fears and turns away from evil, but the fool behaves arrogantly and is confident. (Proverbs 14:16)

True godly fear is not merely an emotion; it is a stimulus that moves a man to godly action (cp. Hebrews 11:7). Motivated by godly fear, a wise man turns away from evil. He does not act presumptuously, exposing himself to situations in which he will be tempted to sin against the Lord his God. In contrast, the fool allows himself to go beyond the proper moral limits, being “confident” that no harm will come to his soul.

3. What does Proverbs 29:8 (printed below) tell us about a wise man in contrast to a scoffer?

Scoffers set a city on fire, but wise men turn away wrath. (Proverbs 29:8)

Scoffers are those who have no reverence for God and His law, they arrogantly set themselves in opposition to God. The scoffer assumes the position of God (making himself the judge and standard for judgment) and from that position he cynically and mockingly rejects all that comes from God (note 2 Peter 3:3-4), falsely assuming that he himself is immune to the judgment of God (note Isaiah 28:14-15a). When scoffers exert their influence they cause others to forsake their reverence for God and His law; consequently, the people pursue a course of life that will have an inevitable encounter with judgment. But wise men who fear God and honor His commandments serve as a guide and influence that leads in the opposite direction: away from wrath to blessing.

4. What does Proverbs 13:14 (printed below) say about “the teaching of the wise?” What do you think this means?

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, intended to turn a man away from the snares of death. (Proverbs 13:14)

Every temptation is an alluring, demonically-contrived trap designed to destroy the life and soul of the all-too-willing victim. But a wise man, because of his acquaintance with the ways of God, is able to remove “the underbrush” and expose the hidden trap. The teaching of the wise may serve to broaden our perspective beyond the immediate to the long range, taking into account eternity itself. The teaching of the wise may serve to deepen our perspective beyond mere actions to take into account attitudes and motives and desires as well (cp. Matthew 5:27-28).

5. What kind of man receives wisdom? See Proverbs 14:33 (printed below)

Wisdom rests in the heart of the man who has understanding; but that which resides in the heart of fools will be made known. (Proverbs 14:33)

Like a bird seeking a friendly environment in which to build her nest, so wisdom makes its dwelling place in the heart of the man who possesses understanding. The Hebrew word translated “understanding” means to discern, to mark, to pay attention. In other words, here is a man who appreciates wisdom’s value, a man who seeks wisdom and welcomes it. We may take note of Proverbs 10:23, “To the fool, practicing wickedness is like a sport; likewise, so is wisdom to a man of understanding.”