How to Promote Peace – 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 18:19 (printed below) warn us as to the consequence of offending a brother?

An offended brother is harder to be won over than a fortified city; such disputes are like the barred gates of a castle. (Proverbs 18:19)

This proverb is graphically portraying the difficulty of reconciling an offended brother and the strong separation and barrier that contention produces, especially between close friends. Because of the deep bonds between brothers or friends, a conflict is felt more acutely and therefore it is more difficult to reconcile: a trust has been broken; there is a sense of betrayal.

2. What does Proverbs 29:22 (printed below) warn us about the consequence of uncontrolled anger?

An angry man stirs up strife, and a wrathful man commits an abundance of transgressions. (Proverbs 29:22)

We are told, “An angry man stirs up strife.” When you approach an already volatile situation in an angry spirit you are sure to make matters worse; it is like pouring gasoline on smoldering charcoal. This proverb goes on to warn, “a wrathful man commits an abundance of transgressions.” When you surrender to your temper, remember what else you are surrendering: your reason and your long-range perspective; …and remember what you may well get in exchange: the painful consequences of foolish and sinful behavior that may last for a lifetime.

3. What does Proverbs 28:25 (printed below) tell us is one cause of strife?

He who has a greedy spirit stirs up strife, but he who puts his trust in Jehovah shall be made fat. (Proverbs 28:25)

If you possess and are possessed by a greedy spirit, you can expect to be a source of strife, or at least contribute to strife and contention. A greedy spirit will cause you to act selfishly, will motivate you to take advantage of other people, will make your life become self-centered and will cause you to sacrifice your relationship with others to reach your goals and satisfy your greed.

4. How does Proverbs 26:17 (printed below) describe a man who takes the initiative to interject himself into other peoples’ quarrels? What lesson should we learn from this proverb?

A passer-by who troubles himself with a quarrel that is not of his concern is like someone who takes a dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17)

To bring out the meaning of this proverb, consider the following scenarios: You are out for a walk and you happen to see the neighbor’s dog sleeping in the sun: you sneak up on him and give his ears a good tug. What do you think is going to happen? Once again you are out for an afternoon walk, this time you see your two neighbors arguing back and forth over their fence: uninvited, you feel the impulse to become involved. But before you do, remember the previous episode with the dog. The lesson of this proverb: it is not wise to thrust yourself into quarrels and conflicts, especially when your aid or opinion has not been solicited.

5. According to Proverbs 18:18 (printed below,) what is one way in which disputes may be settled?

Casting lots settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart. (Proverbs 18:18)

In Old Testament Israel the drawing of lots was employed as a means of settling controversies and determining the will of God (cp. Numbers 33:54). In the New Testament era it was employed when the apostles sought to determine who would take the place of Judas (Acts 1:23-26). In employing the lot, the people of God were aware of the fact that the Lord sovereignly controlled the lot (Proverbs 16:33); consequently, it was a means of submitting a matter (which men by themselves could not resolve with fairness and equity) to the Lord for His direction and decision.