Proverbs 01: Orientation to Wisdom
Sermon - 30 Days in the Proverbs (01) - An Orientation to Wisdom
Introduction - The Book of Proverbs fits in the general category of biblical literature known as “wisdom literature.” Since we know that in Christ are hidden “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” we can see Proverbs as a significant part of that “wisdom in Christ” (Col. 2:3). From the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, we see that the Old Testament discloses Christ and provides the foundational revelation for His coming. As Luke 24:44-45 says, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Here the “the Psalms” refer to the section of the Old Testament containing Proverbs. Proverbs is the aspiration for wisdom in Christ.
The Concept - The concept of wisdom is presented as follows: 1. Wisdom as the Fear of the Lord (1:7; 9:10; 10:12-13; 13:5). 2. Wisdom as the Gift of God (2:6; 8:29-30; 2:3; 3:7; 8:13). 3. Wisdom as the Way to Life ("life" occurs 24 times) (3:2; 8:35). We may consider the basis of wisdom to be three-fold: 1. Wisdom is grounded in the reverence for the authority and majesty of God (1:7). 2. Wisdom respects the authority and sanctity of the home and parents (1:8). 3. Wisdom regards the authority and moral standards of society (1:10f.) (Geisler, p. 207).
The Character - The character of wisdom is personified as a virtuous women (3:15; 7:4; 8:3f). This is due in some part to the fact that wisdom is a feminine noun in Hebrew. There is high praise for the woman who “fears the Lord” (31:30). She is a model and gift to her husband. This model, wise woman is in contrast to the adulteress, who models folly, evil, temptation an destruction (5:3ff).
The Content - Derek Kidner summarizes the major subjects presented in Proverbs: 1. God and Man; 2. Wisdom; 3. The Fool; 4. The Sluggard; 5. The Friend; 6. Words; 7. The Family; 8. Life and Death (pp. 31-56). The chapters unfold as follows: 1. Words to the wise: Wisdom is valuable: seek it (chs 1-9). 2. Words of the wise: Wisdom is practical; follow it (chs 10-22a). 3. Words for the wise: Wisdom is admonitional, hear it (chs 22b-24). 4. Words from the wise: Wisdom is ethical; do it (chs 25-31, Introduction to the Old Testament, Geisler, pp. 207-212).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more