Solomon was king of Israel for 40 years around 1000 B.C., during which he wrote most of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs are short, concise statements that teach an important aspect of truth.
Points to Build On
Proverbs should be studied for their practical application in helping us become skillful in life.
Some proverbs are simple and direct statements, like Proverbs 20:21 Proverbs 20:21An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
American King James Version×: "An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end." Here Solomon conveys that a person will tend to squander something he hasn't earned.
Many of the proverbs are written in one of three different forms of couplets.
Contrasting statements (look for the word but). Proverbs 10:4 Proverbs 10:4He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
American King James Version×: "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich." Meaning: A person must work hard and plan ahead to make a living. The contrast is a person who doesn't commit to hard work or isn't diligent in planning for the future and so becomes poor.
Comparing statement (look for words as/so, better/than). Proverbs 10:26 Proverbs 10:26As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
American King James Version×: "As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him." Meaning: A lazy person is an annoyance to his employer.
Complementing statement (look for word and). Proverbs 17:17 Proverbs 17:17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
American King James Version×: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
The book of Proverbs can be divided into five basic segments:
1. Proverbs 1-9: Solomon's instructions for young people.
2. Proverbs 10-24: Solomon's instructions for everyone.
3. Proverbs 25-29: Proverbs of Solomon copied by the men of Hezekiah.
4. Proverbs 30: Proverbs of Agur.
5. Proverbs 31: Proverbs of King Lemuel's mother.
There is an old saying that experience is the best teacher. The purpose of the book of Proverbs is the attempt of wise men to pass on their wisdom to others. Wisdom reveals that the difficult and fickle path of experience isn't always the best method of learning.
Begin the adventure of studying the book of Proverbs as the foundation of learning wisdom.