Introducing the Book of Proverbs, Part 2

Dr. Steve Viars September 29, 2001 Proverbs 0:

- Today we’re going to continue on in our introduction of the book of Proverbs.

- last week I mentioned a book that I would highly recommend to you – Be Skillful by Warren Wiersbe -- [tell them the status of getting them in the MRC].


- We also mentioned that Dr. Wiersbe suggests answering five questions whenever beginning the study of a new book of the Bible:

1.  What is the major theme of the book?


       What is the major theme of the book?


       What are some key ideas in understanding what biblical wisdom is?


       How does this major theme help us live especially in our day and age?


2.  Who wrote the book and how is it written?


       How had God been grooming Solomon to be in the position to write so many proverbs?


       Last time you met you also talked about the format of the book.


       Set up in short comparisons and contrasts


       What are some of the proverbs that you remember well?


One of the descriptive statement that stuck with me was that a proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.


A proverb I often use in counseling is Prov. 18:13 - He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.


I can just image the long experience that was behind that short sentence!



3.  What is the key verse that helps “unlock” the message of the book?

[note to teachers --- need to be a bit careful of this one—perhaps a better question would be, what are the key verses that help us answer that overview questions]

4.  What does this book say about Jesus Christ?

5.  What must I do to get the most out of this book?


- we got through the first question last week—we’re going to work on the last four today.


III.  What is the Key that Unlocks the Book?

- last week I mentioned that this question could be misleading…I’m not suggesting [and Dr. Wiersbe wouldn’t either] that each book of the Bible has a magic verse that we need to find that secretly unlocks a hidden meaning.

- the point more has to do with the fact that in all literature, many times a key sentence explains, summarizes the theme/main message in the book in such a way that the book can be organized/understood around that theme.


- so in that sense, we’re asking, what is the key verse/verses of the book of Proverbs?


A.  Proverbs 1:7


The fear of the LORD is the beginning (choice part) of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.


9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


B.  At least 18 references to the fear of God in this book.


[Survey 1:29, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13…]


The reoccurance of these verses in a book about wisdom demonstrate that the fear of the Lord is truly the choice part or beginning of wisdom.


- When we talk about the “fear of God”, we’re not talking about some sort of cowering fear or dread.

- Instead…


C.  Wiersbe – “If we truly fear the Lord, we acknowledge from our hearts that He is the Creator, we’re the creatures; He’s the Father, we’re His children; He’s the Master, we’re His servants.  It means to respect God for who He is, to listen carefully to what He says, and to obey His Word, knowing that our disobedience displeases Him, breaks our fellowship with Him, and invites His chastening.  It’s not the servile fear of the slave before the master but the reverential and respectful fear of the child before the parent.”


I want us to look at some of the relationships Dr. Wiersbe mentions in order to help us understand the meaning of the fear of the Lord.


Let’s ask ourselves how does acknowledging God in these ways show up in how we handle life. Creator/creature; Father/children; Master/servants


Do you see the point of how the knowledge of the Holy One is at the bottom of wisdom?


D.  Charles Bridges – “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 eternal 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.”


What does Charles Bridges add to the equation that helps us understand what all is involved in the fear of the Lord?


E.  This “key” is best understood by examining the 6 preceding verses.


- READ Proverbs 1:1-6


The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding,

 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;

 4 To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion,

 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.


1.  instruction – discipline, a parent’s correction that results in the building of a child’s character.


2.  understanding – ability to grasp a truth with insight and discernment.


3.  prudence – intelligence that sees the reason of things. (able to sort through complex matters and see what lies behind them)


4.  knowledge – skill (as in hunting, sailing, music)


5.  discretion – ability to devise a wise plan after understanding a matter.


6.  learning – to lay hold of, grasp, or buy.


7.  counsel – (related to a verb meaning to steer a ship) wise guidance that moves ones’ life in the right direction.


Fearing the Lord puts the individual in the best possible position to grow in these qualities


IV.  What Does Proverbs Say About Jesus Christ?


- as I mentioned last week, we have to be very careful with this one.

- we can only be sure Jesus is being referenced in the OT when it is confirmed in the NT.

- As we discussed regarding the disciples on the road to Emmaus, there are undoubtedly many other places we just don’t know for sure because of our limited understanding.


A.  Colossians 2:1-4


For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,

 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument.


First of all what do these verses have to say about the issue wisdom being knowledge of God in practice?


       - knowledge of God directly affects behavior with other believers and deceivers


How does Jesus Christ fit into the picture?


B.  I Corinthians 1:22-25, 30


For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom;

 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,

 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


C.  Matthew 12:42


"The Queen of the South shall rise up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.


INPUT – How can we [and should we] relate our relationship with Christ to this study of Proverbs?


1.  Many of the characteristics advocated in the book will be perfectly modeled in the life of Christ.


2.  Our only hope of growing in wisdom is in and through the ministry of Christ.


2Cor 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.


V.  What Must We Do to Get the Most Out of This Book?


A.  Be sure that you know Christ


- cf. Solomon’s many references to his “son”

B.  Be ready to hear and obey


- cf. the multiple admonitions to “hear”


- Matt 7:24-27


C.  Remember that Proverbs are general principles.


            17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.


15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.


11:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, But the wicked takes his place.


22: 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.


What do you take home?


Relationship with God drastically affects how you handle life!

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video