Two Friendships to Avoid (Proverbs 2:1-11)

   A little wisdom will save you from a world of trouble.   Proverbs 2:12-22 talks about two kinds of relationships that are particularly disastrous for your wellbeing: with “wicked men” and with “the adulteress.”   Verses 12-15 talk about the wisdom of avoiding friendship with “wicked men”:   Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.   In … Continue reading Two Friendships to Avoid (Proverbs 2:1-11)

If, Then (Proverbs 2:1-11)

   Life is a nexus of cause and effect. Proverbs 2:1-11 is a guide to this nexus. It teaches us the relationship between living wisely and living well.   Proverbs 2:1-11 begins with a personal address:   My son…   Parents—both fathers and mothers—are responsible to God for teaching their children how to live. They show their children, through words and deeds, the nature of wisdom.   But this wisdom must be caught as well as taught. Children, especially as they grow older, have a responsibility to learn from their parents. Verses 1-4 clarify the nature of that responsibility:   … Continue reading If, Then (Proverbs 2:1-11)

A Woman Scorned (Proverbs 1:20-33)

  The advice the father gives his son in Proverbs 1:8-9:18 is basically this: Get a good wife, and the best wife is wisdom!   Because the relationship between men and women is so basic to human existence, the Bible often draws on marital imagery to make a spiritual point. In the New Testament, for example, the marriage of a man and a woman is symbolic of the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22-33). Here in Proverbs 1:20-33, the wisdom of God is portrayed as a woman in search of an intimate relationship.   And according to verses … Continue reading A Woman Scorned (Proverbs 1:20-33)

The Case for Jesus’ Divinity

  The following outline makes a case for Jesus’ divinity based on both the implicit and explicit claims of the New Testament. It is taken from Ajith Fernando, The Supremacy of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway: 1995), 70-72.   A.        Implicit Christology 1.         Divine functions performed by Jesus a.         In relation to the universe (1)       Creator (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2) (2)       Sustainer (1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3) (3)       Author of Life (John 1:4; Acts 3:15) (4)       Ruler (Matt. 28:18; Rom. 14:9; Rev. 1:5) b.         In relation to human beings (1)       Healing the sick (Mark 1:32-34; Acts 3:6, … Continue reading The Case for Jesus’ Divinity

A Warning Against Joining a Gang (Proverbs 1:8-19)

  On March 14, 2007, Angel Linares was stabbed to death (allegedly) by Ricardo Juarez during a gang brawl in downtown Santa Barbara. Linares was 15 years old; Juarez is 14. The prosecutor has filed to try Juarez as an adult. As of today, Juarez’s fate is still undecided.   Events such as this murder have an uncanny ability to demonstrate the soundness of biblical teaching. In Proverbs 1:8-19, a concerned father offers his son a warning against joining a gang.   Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a … Continue reading A Warning Against Joining a Gang (Proverbs 1:8-19)

The Foundation of Wisdom (Proverbs 1:7)

  The house next to mine is being remodeled. With the exception of a few walls, it’s been stripped down to the foundation. In fact, the owners want to enlarge the house, so they’re pouring an additional foundation. When completed, it will be a beautiful ranch-style home.   Living well is a lot like building a house. You need skill to do it. The Book of Proverbs teaches you wisdom, which is the skill of living. But no amount of skill can build a beautiful house if the foundation is bad. And no amount of wisdom can build a good … Continue reading The Foundation of Wisdom (Proverbs 1:7)

Skill for Living (Proverbs 1:2-6)

  For the past few months, my church’s building has been under renovation. Every morning, workmen arrive; take out their tools; and demolish, fix, paint, or install whatever they’ve been contracted to do. And with the possible exception of demolition, each of these activities takes skill.   The thing about skill is that you can’t learn it in a classroom. A lecture on how to fix a broken audio channel, or paint a stucco surface, or install a brand new furnace would have little effect. The only way to acquire the skill to fix, paint, and install is just to … Continue reading Skill for Living (Proverbs 1:2-6)

The Man Who Didn’t Follow His Own Advice (Proverbs 1:1)

The Book of Proverbs begins by naming its author: “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel” (1:1; cf. 10:1, 25:1). Other men edited Solomon’s proverbs (25:1) or added theirs to his (22:17, 24:23, 30:1, 31:1), but Solomon’s voice is the dominant one. And that fact entails this irony: Solomon is the man who didn’t follow his own advice.   Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. David was the king who united the fractious tribes of Israel into a united kingdom (2 Sam. 5:1-5). Bathsheba was David’s paramour (11:1-5) who later became his wife and the … Continue reading The Man Who Didn’t Follow His Own Advice (Proverbs 1:1)

How Should You Interpret a Proverb?

How should you interpret a proverb?   Consider Proverbs 26:4-5:   Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.   Taken at face value, this proverb tells us not to answer a fool according to his folly; then it turns right around and tells us to do exactly that. It utters a contradiction.   Then again, you can find all sorts of contradictions in proverbs—whether biblical or not. Consider these non-biblical proverbs:   Absence makes the … Continue reading How Should You Interpret a Proverb?