Contend Earnestly: May 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Principles for Reading the Book of Proverbs



This is taken straight from the end of the book by Tremper Longman on "How to Read Proverbs", which I highly recommend.

1. Keep in mind the structure of the whole book of Proverbs as you read any part of it. In particular, make sure you read any passage of the book in the light of the imagery concerning the path and the two women that is developed in Proverbs 1-9 and reaches its climax in Proverbs 8-9.

2. Reflect on the parallelism of a proverb by asking how the second colon sharpens or intensifies the thought of the first.

3. Identify the imagery in the passage, then unpack it by asking how the two things compared are similar and how they are different.

4. Think about the source of the wisdom of a passage. Does it come from observation, experience, tradition, revelation or any combination of these sources?

5. Is the passage an observation, a bit of advice, a warning, a reflection, or some other kind of teaching?

6. Since proverbs are not true in any and every circumstance, ask under what circumstances the proverb may or may not apply to a situation. How can you tell?

7. Does the proverb mention or imply a reward or punishment that will result from obedience or disobedience?

8. If the passage is addressed to a young man, ask how it applies to you.

9. Using a commentary, study the Near Eastern background of the passage you are considering.

10. When doing a topical study, read through the book of Proverbs and pinpoint the relevant verses. Group them together, then study each group.

11. Try to identify biblical stories or characters who may illustrate the truthfulness of the proverb(s) you are studying.

12. Does the New Testament address the topic or teaching of the passage you are studying?

13. Think of Christ as the fulfillment of wisdom and how he might illustrate the wisdom of the passage you are reading.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom


We are starting a preaching series through the Proverbs and one of our pastors gave this to us as a topical index for us preachers. It is nice and concise and one that will aid people in after the understanding of the depth and cornerstone of wisdom, namely Christ. I thought it would be helpful to put it here: (If you'd like to hear our sermons on wisdom for the next 10 weeks you can check it out here: Renton; Tacoma; Issaquah)

The Human Heart - Advising the humble versus the fool.

3:11-12; 9:7-9; 12:1, 15; 13:1, 10, 13-14, 18; 15:5, 10, 12, 31, 32, 33; 17:10; 18:2, 15; 19:25, 27; 21:11; 23:9; 24:5-6; 25:12; 26:11; 27:5-6, 22; 28:13, 23; 29:1,9.

Negative influences pulling us away from wisdom - The compound effect of the fool

Alcohol (and other drugs) – The danger of heavy drinking

Emotional Expression (both positive and negative - anger) - Controlling destructive emotions

Words (Rumors, Gossip, Slander, Lies) - The destructive power of words

Business ethics - Dealing with honesty and generosity

Family Relationships (including the role of discipline in raising children) - The locus for instruction

Conflict (including speaking/listening) - Speaking wisely at the right time

Friendship/Neighbors - The value of friendships

Planning (including hard work) - Planning and working hard as a way of the wise

Illness and Health - The relationship between spiritual health and physical health

Authority - Leading in godliness and wisdom from God

Reliable Messengers (and how this directly applies to us speaking the Gospel ) - Delivering messages with accuracy and in a timely manner

Protecting the Vulnerable - God’s concern for orphans and widows

Shame - Praise belongs to the wise and shame to the proud

Wealth and Poverty - The wealth of the fool is temporal; the wealth of the wise is in wisdom itself

An honorable wife - Avoid woman folly and seek woman wisdom

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