Presentation on theme: "Introduction. The Authors of Proverbs The Original Audience of Proverbs Proverbs is Poetry Proverbs is Wisdom Literature Outline and Structure."— Presentation transcript:
The Authors of Proverbs The Original Audience of Proverbs Proverbs is Poetry Proverbs is Wisdom Literature Outline and Structure of Proverbs Pitfalls in Interpreting Proverbs Purpose and Benefit of Proverbs How We Will Cover Proverbs
The text of Proverbs mentions three authors : Solomon (1:1; 10:1; 25:1) – Chapters 1-29 Agur son of Jakeh (30:1) – Chapter 30 King Lemuel (31:1) – Chapter 31
About the Authors: Solomon – Son of King David Reigned as King during the “Golden Age” of Israel (971 – 931 B.C.) God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt … He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five … Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. (1Kings 4:29-34)
About the Authors: Agur son of Jakeh – is unknown (the name occurs nowhere else in the Bible). Some scholars suggest he may have been a court official. King Lemuel – no one knows who Lemuel was or where he was king. Many scholars think he was not an Israelite because the section he wrote contains a number of Aramaic (non-Hebrew) spellings.
The book of Proverbs was originally designed to be used by parents as an instruction manual to teach their children wisdom: Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. (1:8) Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. (4:1) My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. (6:20)
Proverbs is written in Hebrew poetry. Unlike a lot of English poetry, Hebrew does not rhyme and does not have a set meter. But Hebrew poetry is like English poetry in that is uses vivid imagery and figures of speech to draw comparisons and paint a mental picture: Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. (25:25) Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. (11:22) The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life (13:14a) Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (16:24)
Hebrew poetry often uses comparisons to get across an idea to the reader. There are synonymous comparisons: A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free. (19:5) There are explanatory comparisons: Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips. (14:7) There are contrasting comparisons: The LORD detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness. (15:9)
The type of literature that we find in Proverbs is referred to by scholars as wisdom literature. We find wisdom literature in a number of other places in the Old Testament: Ecclesiastes Job Some of the Psalms (e.g., Psalm 37 and 49) Wisdom literature can also be found in many other works that were written in the ancient Near East (besides the Old Testament).
Description of Ancient Wisdom Literature: Practical instruction designed to impart understanding about how things (especially relationships ) in this world work so that the reader will be able to avoid life’s pitfalls and live a satisfying, successful, and (in Biblical wisdom literature) righteous life. Frequently, in order to explain how things work, wisdom literature will explore some of the deeper philosophical issues of life.
After the introductory section (chapters 1-9) which emphasizes the importance of learning wisdom, the remainder of the book of Proverbs (chapters 10-31) consists mostly of short, pithy sayings or statements designed to teach principles of Biblical wisdom. These short pithy sayings are designed to have “punch” because they get right to the point and they don’t bog the mind down with a lot of detail. For the most part, these short sayings each stand alone and seem to have little connection to the surrounding context.
Wisdom literature tends to focus on: The extremes – presenting things in terms of polar opposites – e.g. The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (13:4) The way things normally work – leaving out the qualifiers and exceptions – e.g. The righteous eat to their hearts' content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry. (13:25) The truth as it applies in a particular situation rather than giving all the truth about a topic – e.g. Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. (26:4-5)
Therefore we mustn’t read the proverbs as though they are prophesies or promises. For example, it is a mistake to read the proverb that says, “ Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it ” (22:6) as an absolute promise! There other truths recorded in Proverbs which also determine how a child will turn out, for example much of the book consists of instructions to youth to listen to and obey their parents (1:8, 3:1, etc.) “ If parental training were the whole truth about a child’s rearing, why is the book addressed to youth instead of to parents ?” (Bruce Waltke) To avoid coming to oversimplified conclusions we must learn all of the Proverbs.
Tim Keller makes these observations about learning the wisdom taught in Proverbs: There are two things you must know: There is a pattern to how life works. Become wise by leaning that pattern and you will generally do well and prosper. There are exceptions to how things customarily work. Some people seem to do things “right” and still don’t end up with the result they hoped for. If you think there is no pattern, you are a fool If you think you can see and understand the whole pattern, that there are no exceptions, you are a fool (like Job’s friends)
The purpose of the Book of Proverbs is given to us in the opening verses: These are the proverbs of Solomon, David's son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance. (Proverbs 1:1-5 NLT)
If you will study and apply what you learn from the book of Proverbs: You will become wise – that is you will develop a skillful understanding of how life works and how you should best respond to challenges that you face in everyday life. As a result of attaining this wisdom you will be able to live a disciplined and successful life. It doesn’t matter who you are – whether you are young and naïve or a wise old sage – everyone can grow in their wisdom and understanding by studying the book of Proverbs.
Rather than teaching through the book of Proverbs verse by verse, I plan to teach through the book topic by topic. Each week I will pick a topic and read a number of the verses in Proverbs that speak to that topic (I may occasionally include a few verses from outside of Proverbs as well). I will then spend time developing what the verses we read teach us about our topic.
True Wisdom Training in Wisdom The Wellspring of Wisdom Strangeness and the Order of God Knowing God The Healing of Anger The Temptation of Beauty Scattering Gathers; Gathering Scatters The Evil of Envy Haughty Eyes Sluggardliness A Broken Wall The Wounded Spirit Your Plans; God's Plans Grace and Glory What Kind of Fool are You? Creation, Care, and Justice The Two Great Tests Words Friendship Repairing Relationships Family