Kevin Halloran – How to Be Teachable According to Proverbs

Teachable people don’t have to be the smartest to succeed—they seek to learn and grow in any and every situation. Being teachable is a foundational quality for everybody: workers, students, husbands, wives, and especially those in leadership roles. If you’re wondering how to grow in teachability, perhaps there’s no better place to turn than the Bible’s wisdom book.

How to Be Teachable According to Proverbs

1. Be humble.

“Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

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Paul Carter – 10 Parenting Imperatives from the Book of Proverbs

Parenting is sacred, smelly, exciting, crushing, frustrating and expensive. It’s the most important thing that people ever do and to be completely honest with you, it scares the life out of me.

Who is sufficient for these things?

What should I be teaching my kids? What guidance should I be giving? Where do I go to learn how to raise and disciple sons and daughters of the King?

There is really only one place I can think of. The Book of Proverbs is presented as the counsel and wisdom of a royal couple to their son. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8 ESV).

It is an entire God-breathed and Divinely authorized manual on how to raise little kings and queens.

It is well worth reading from start to finish. Until you get a chance to do that, here are 10 things that the King and Queen in Proverbs say to their child that you should say to yours.

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Jim Elliff – Don’t Just Tweet Your Proverbs

I don’t quite understand it. Everyone knows that King Solomon was the wisest man in the Old Testament. Yet, he had the most precipitous moral freefall of all the kings.

The early Solomon loved God. “Now Solomon loved the Lord” (1 Kings 3:3).

But the later Solomon was out of control morally: “Now Solomon loved many foreign women.” “Solomon held fast to these in love” (1 Kings 11:1-2). What went wrong?

In fact, the marital alliances he made with the daughters of foreign kings, plus all the other wives and concubines he acquired, were of Olympic proportions. “He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” (11:3). For those who have trouble keeping up with one wife, this seems daunting, to say the least!

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Charles Bridges – Proverbs: Selected Comments on Twenty-Two Proverbs

Chapter 1:7 – Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is the beginning [margin: principal part] of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The preface has stated the object of this Book of Wisdom. The book itself now opens with a noble sentence. “There is not,” as Bishop Patrick observes, “such a wise instruction to be found in all their books [speaking of Heathen ethics], as the very first of all in Solomon’s, which he lays as the ground of all wisdom.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. So Job had pronounced before (Job 28:28). So had the wise man’s father (Psa 111:10). Such is the weight of this saying, that Solomon again repeats it (Pro 9:10). Nay, after having gone round the whole circuit, after having weighed exactly all the sources of knowledge, his conclusion of the whole matter is this: that the fear of God in its practical exercise “is the whole of man” (Ecc 12:13; cp.2 Job 28:12-14, with 28) — all his duty, all his happiness, his first lesson and his last. Thus, when about to instruct us from the mouth of God, he begins at the beginning, the principal part. All heathen wisdom is but folly. Of all knowledge, the knowledge of God is the principal. There is no true knowledge without godliness (cp. Deu 4:6, 7).

But what is this fear of the Lord? It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law. His wrath is so bitter, and his love so sweet; that hence springs an earnest desire to please him, and — because of the danger of coming short from his own weakness and temptations—a holy watchfulness and fear, “that he might not sin against Him” (Heb 12:28, 29). This enters into every exercise of the mind, every object of life (Pro 23:17). The oldest proficient in the Divine school seeks a more complete molding into its spirit. The godly parent trains up his family under its influence (Gen 18:19; Eph 6:4). The Christian scholar honors it as the beginning, the head, of all his knowledge; at once sanctifying its end, and preserving him from its most subtle temptations.

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Matthew Holst – Wisdom for Reading the Proverbs

The Wisdom literature is among the most neglected of all genres in Scripture. This is, no doubt, partly on account of the fact that there are an abundance of difficulties when we approach the reading and study of Proverbs — our historical distance from them, the apparent similarity with writings of other wisdom literature from the Ancient Near East, the apparent lack of Gospel focus and the fact that, at times, the Proverbs seem to over promise. Yet as we read them we find that we begin to discover life, wisdom and the fear of the Lord. Facing the difficulties of reading the Proverbs–while knowing that they are necessary for our spiritual growth in grace–here are seven tips on how to get the most out of reading Proverbs.

1. Remember the authors and audience of Proverbs. Context always ought to be your starting point. Large portions of Proverbs were written by Solomon and addressed to his son(s). That puts Proverbs, first and foremost, in the sphere of the history and theology of the kings of Israel and, specifically, that of the Davidic covenant. When you are reading Proverbs (and many of the Psalms) you are reading the wisdom of the Kings’ Charter (read Deuteronomy 17:14ff). How should a king be good and righteous king? By knowing and living the Proverbs! Clearly these leadership and life principles apply to everyone in authority – Proverbs speak especially now to pastors, elders, deacons and heads of households, as well as those they instruct.

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Douglas Wilson – Themes in Proverbs: Work and Laziness

Douglas Wilson

INTRODUCTION:

One of the things we must recognize is that work does not exist in the world because of the Fall. Work got a lot more difficult because of our sin, and it labors under a curse, but God gave the cultural mandate to mankind, a mandate which involved an enormous amount of work, before the entrance of sin. We therefore need to recover a distinctively Christian work ethic. It is an essential part of the process of salvation and sanctification. It points, like every faithful thing does, to Christ.

THE TEXT:

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; He shall not stand before mean men” (Prov. 22:29).

SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:

As we will see in a number of texts from Proverbs, work has consequences. And laziness also has consequences. This is because God gave us the ultimate “gold standard” called time, and everyone has exactly the same amount of it, and it is a resource that the government cannot print. This means that work over time signifies, and no work over time signifies. This is why Scriptures say: “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Prov. 18:9). Laziness is a destroyer. But how, when it didn’t touch anything, didn’t consume anything? It did consume something — it burned daylight.

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Douglas Wilson – Themes in Proverbs: Self-Control

Douglas Wilson

Introduction:

When we think of the phrase self-control, the first thing that comes to mind is control of the bodily appetites. We think of resisting temptations to lust or to gluttony. But that is not the only concern of Proverbs when it comes to learning how to control oneself. Many of the passages dealing with lack of self-control have to do with the control of temper.

The Text:

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Prov. 25:28).

Summary of the Text:

Notice that a man who is not self-governed is compared in the first instance to a man who is defenseless. Not having rule in his own spirit, which means he does not have rule over his own spirit, means that the walls of his “city” are little more than rubble. Now this means that self-control is a wall, a bulwark, and you should want walls like Babylon had, where four chariots could drive abreast around the top of them. Now that’s a wall. But there is more. The man who has “no rule” is a man who has no rule over his spirit. In other words, the problem is that his soul is tempestuous. He lets others live in his head rent-free. This is the man who is defenseless.

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Douglas Wilson – Wisdom and the Wise: Themes in Proverbs 1

Proverbs

INTRODUCTION:

As we begin a short series of messages on “themes in Proverbs,” we begin with the topic of wisdom—wisdom and the wise. This book is part of what is called the Wisdom Literature of Scripture, and so in one sense everything the book teaches falls under the heading of wisdom. But I want to focus on wisdom and the wise specifically in this first message. Consider it a crash course in a subject that does not admit of crash courses.

THE TEXT:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting get understanding” (Prov. 4:7).

SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:

With all your doing, do wisdom. In all your singing, sing wisdom. In all your getting, get wisdom. In all your purchases, purchase wisdom. In all your hunting, hunt wisdom. And why? Because wisdom is the principal thing. Whatever else you do, do not neglect wisdom.

Those who do not get wisdom are pursuing something else instead. It might be pleasure, or rules, or partial wisdom, or self-righteousness, or superficial wisdom. But whatever it is, if it is not true wisdom, wisdom all the way down, it is not worth the time or trouble.

Many volumes could be written on what Proverbs alone says about wisdom—it is a mountain range with many boulders. My purpose here is simply to point out some of the major peaks. And as you gaze at the whole, remember that Christ is the mountain range.

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Dan Doriani – How Do I Preach Expository Sermons from Proverbs?

Proverbs

The expository preacher aims to preach both single books of Scripture and the canon as a whole. He may turn to Proverbs for the summer because it’s practical, fills a unique slot in the canon, and suits months when people come and go, making self-contained messages beneficial.

But Proverbs presents unique challenges for three primary reasons. First, since consecutive proverbs seem to have slight connection to one another, how does one preach an expository message on one verse?

Second, some proverbs seem like promises that aren’t always true. Constraints of space require me to refer readers to commentaries like The Book of Proverbs by Bruce Waltke, which answer that question well.

Third, we wonder how proverbs lead organically to Christ. Pastors know it would be easy to preach moralistically, with the gospel tacked on at the end: “No one is wise like this, no one can do this, so turn to Jesus.”

I want to concentrate on the first and third challenges.

Some Structural Unity

The first problem is not so acute as it seems, since Proverbs has more structural unity than initially appears. Early chapters develop several themes at length: the fear of the Lord (1:1–19), the call to wisdom (1–2; 8–9), trust in the Lord (3:1–12), teaching fathers and listening sons (4), sexual abstinence and pleasure (5; 6:20–7:27). We can link many proverbs from chapters 10 to 30 to these leading themes:

– Descriptions of the wise and the fool (12:15–16; 17:10, 12, 16) fit Proverbs 8–9.
– Instructions for parents and children (10:1; 22:6; 22:15; 29:15; 13:1; 23:22) belong with Proverbs 4.
– If Proverbs 5 blesses the romantic aspect of marriage, Proverbs 31 names the practical element. Single proverbs about the blessings of marriage (12:4; 18:22; 19:14; contra 21:9) fill out the picture.

There are also clusters of Proverbs that develop a theme. We have messages for fools (26:1–12), especially sluggards (6:6–11; 26:13–16); advice for dining with rulers (23:1–3); and warnings about drunkenness (23:29–35). A burst on God’s plans and ours in 16:1–4 unifies scattered sayings (16:9; 12:15; 11:14; 15:22; 24:10).

Similarly, individual proverbs on getting and keeping wealth (10:22–25; 11:24–25; 15:27) develop the first and last cluster on wise use of wealth (10:1–5; 22:22–23:11).

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Mark Jones – Proverbs: Written to Christ, for Christ

Mark Jones

Connecting Christ and the Proverbs isn’t so easy. How do we read the book of Proverbs as Christians in a way that would distinguish us from how a Jew might read the same book? Also, why then was the book of Proverbs written?

In understanding Christ in relation to Proverbs we need to understand Christ himself. The Christ of the New Testament is both fully God (Jn. 1:1) and fully man (Jn. 1:14). Regarding his divinity he is the all-wise God (Rom. 11:33; 16:27); his understanding has no limit (Ps. 147:5); thus, we are to praise him for his wisdom (Dan. 2:20). If the book of Proverbs is the book of Wisdom – and it is – we are bound to confess as Christians that the Son of God is both Wisdom and the author of wisdom (Prov. 2:6). The Son of God, however, is also the Son of Man. As a man, he is finite; that is, besides being ‘very God of very God’, Christ is also fully human. And because he is a human, his knowledge and wisdom are limited and capable of increase (Lk. 2:52), though never reaching the same level as that which the Godhead possesses. These points about Christ’s person are, I believe, absolutely vital if we are to understand the relation of Christ to the book of Proverbs.

In the third “Servant Song”, Isaiah provides an interesting glimpse into the life of Jesus. We are told that Christ receives from his Father “an instructed tongue” so that he may “know the word that sustains the weary” (Isa. 50:4). From his earliest childhood Christ was wakened every morning so that he might be taught by his Father (Isa. 50:4). As a man he read the Word of God – which would have likely included Proverbs – and became aware not only of his own story (Lk. 24:44), but of how he ought to live as the subject of his own story. Luke’s account of Jesus as a twelve year old should not surprise us, then. During Christ’s conversation with the teachers of the law he “amazed” those who heard him and so Luke records that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Lk. 2:52).

During the course of Christ’s public ministry he taught in parables, both to conceal (Matt. 13:10-17) and reveal (Matt. 13:36-43) the mysteries of the Kingdom. Interestingly, the Greek word for “parable” (parabole) is connected to the Hebrew word for “proverb” (masal). By teaching in parables, Jesus was a teacher of wisdom! Moreover, as we study the details of Christ’s life we note that Christ knew how to “answer a fool according to his folly” (compare Prov. 26:5 with Jn. 19:11, Jn. 10:34) and to “not answer a fool according to his folly” (compare Prov. 26:4 with Lk. 23:9, Matt. 22:32). The evidence suggests, then, that Christ not only read the Proverbs, but needed to read the Proverbs in order to live a life pleasing to the Father. Indeed, the book of Proverbs connects wisdom with righteousness (Prov. 10). The context of Proverbs 10 shows that to “do right” often involves depriving oneself for the good or benefit of others (see Prov. 10:5).

Bruce Waltke summarizes this behaviour in Proverbs in the following way: “The wicked advantage themselves by disadvantaging others, but the righteous disadvantage themselves to advantage others.” Once seen in this light, how can we not think of Christ who, “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9)? Little wonder, then, that Paul should famously declare that Christ is “wisdom from God” (1 Cor. 1:30) and that in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Christ truly is the very incarnation of wisdom – wisdom whereby one disadvantages himself for the sake of others!

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