The Book of Proverbs
This document is the start of the2OliveTrees.org’s exploration of the book of Proverbs. We intend to publish a series of documents about Proverbs. This document will serve as the first of many installments in that series. As you read through our series, be sure to do so alongside your bible.
The Book of Proverbs: The Purpose
What is the purpose of the Book of Proverbs?
According to first chapter of Proverbs, this book was written to:
- To know wisdom and instruction
- To perceive the words of understanding
- To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgement, and equity
- To give subtility to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion
What Does Solomon Mean?
In this series, we will explore the original definitions of the Hebrew words translated into 1611 English. We believe it to be a good practice to never assume you have a full understanding of the English words due to the differences in the definitions of words in English from 1611 to the present. Many (but not all) of the words in 1611 have vastly different definitions than their current definitions.
We recommend purchasing a Strong’s Concordance or an 18th century dictionary to help in your private studies.
Defining the Terms
Below, we tried to organize the definitions from each clause into neat infographics for easy consumption. Each noun and verb are underscored by its’ number in the Strong’s Concordance. Then each numbered is listed and its’ definition is written next to it. Further definitions are given for words that may be unclear. This is indicated by arrows leading to words without numbers. Lastly, each clause is rewritten directly underneath each infographic.
Be certain to check these definitions on your own. It would be extremely imprudent to take our research as absolute with proving it for yourself.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thes. 5:21)
- Proverbs is written so we may understand the knowledge of what is true or false, becoming astute enough to use just judgment when acting.
- Proverbs was written to help you mark different things said by someone using a godly mental process to recognize (identify) words of wisdom and wise counsel
- Proverbs was written to cause you to take into your possession (by choice) the instruction, warning, and correction that will cause you to be watchful cautious, and wise in daily affairs.
- Proverbs was written to cause you to take into your possession (by choice) the instruction, warning, and correction that will cause you to use righteousness, be able to judge matters in accordance to God’s law, and to be fair between multiple people.
- Proverbs was written to give the power to decide or act according to God’s judgment to those who are susceptible to being led astray or corrupted; giving knowledge and a plan to young men.
The Source of Solomon’s Wisdom
Remember, Solomon did not write the book of Proverbs based on his own reasoning. According to book of the Kings 3, God had given Solomon “a wise and understanding heart so that there was none like thee [Solomon] before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.” (verse 12) Read I Kings 3:6-12
Based on Solomon’s request, God awarded him wisdom beyond any human being. Proverbs was written from this wisdom gifted from God. Consequently, these are not just the idioms of a wise man, these are the idioms from the wisdom of God.
Daily study for the book of Proverbs should accomplish the four purposes outlined above if the text is studied in humility with the intent to keep and practice the saying by King Solomon.
Proverbs and the Law
Throughout the chapters in Proverbs, Solomon makes many direct and indirect references to the commandments. Solomon knows keeping God’s commandments is the only way to know and practice righteousness. Solomon knows keeping God’s commandments is the only way to be wise. Notice Prov. 3:1-6. These verses direct the reader to rely on God’s law to direct his ways.
Many do not know that the Ten Commandments are a summary of God’s law. We know this to be true because there are commandments and instructions interwoven with history and prophecy throughout the five books written by Moses. To know God’s law, we must study these books to find how God wants us to live. Jesus knew this and this why He rebukes satan with the words, “It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4) In this verse, Jesus is quoting Deut. 8:3 which is a recounting of the law. Read Deut. 5 and you will see Moses called Israel together to go over the laws of God before they entered the promised land.
Jesus and Solomon Agree
Both Jesus and Solomon knew wisdom comes from following the law God has given to govern our lives. Both Jesus and Solomon quote and reference the laws given to Moses to record.
So, in thinking about the purposes for Solomon writing the book of Proverbs, we must consider the context: the law of God. Solomon wanted to record the maxims (statements of truth) of righteous living as outlined by the instruction God has given to mankind.
Notice what Christ says about the commandments in Mark 12:29-31. Let me make the following points:
- Neither of these commands are directly written in the Ten Commandments. (Ex. 20:1-20)
- Jesus is quoting what Moses recorded. (Deut. 6:4-5 and Lev. 19:18)
- Solomon’s writings in Proverbs are center on reverence for God and how to interact with others.
- The book of Proverbs is a complimentary text to the Pentateuch, written so we may understand the intent of God’s law and apply this knowledge to our daily affairs.
As a consequence of reading the first four verses of Proverbs, we should know Proverbs was written so we may understand the wisdom and intent behind God’s law. Knowing the wisdom and intent behind the law should result in a zealous attempt to behave righteously.
We hope this opening installment in our Proverbs series is a blessing to you. Please read it again along side your bible. More importantly, let the word of God impact your character and deeds.