Introduction to Proverbs
The book of Proverbs is originally titled The Proverbs of Solomon. It is known in rabbinical writings as the Book of Wisdom. Proverbs is mostly written by King Solomon, though there are other authors mentioned throughout the book. Proverbs is written to teach the moral foundation of successful living and to give understanding. The goal of the book is stated right at the beginning (1:1–7): to describe what wisdom is and to help God’s people become wise. Wisdom is found in the “fear of the Lord,” and it enables believers to express their faith in the practical details of everyday life.
The structure of Proverbs is different than the other books of the Bible. It begins with ten letters from a father to a son encouraging him to embrace wisdom. This takes up the first 9 chapters of the book. This is followed by 21 chapters of proverbs. The book ends with chapter 31, an epilogue consisting of an acrostic poem honoring the wife of noble character. She is a great example of many of the qualities and values identified with wisdom throughout the book.
Bob Deffinbaugh writes that there are several ways we can benefit from a study of Proverbs. Among them…
- 1. It can help us develop and assess Godly Character.
- 2. It offers to teach us to be wise.
- 3. It helps us to look at life realistically.
One thing to remember is that proverbs are general truths stated in general terms. There can be exceptions to the general truth, but that does not make the statement false.
Proverbs offers wisdom on a wide array of topics from daily life: diligence and laziness; friendship; speech ; marriage; parenting; peace at home; work; getting along and good manners ; eternity; and much more.
Over the next few weeks we want to explore some of these topics together and gain all the wisdom that God offers in this excellent book. In this lesson, we want to look at some proverbs that relate to marriage.
King Solomon might not be the go-to guy for advice on marriage. We know from Scripture that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. After a lifetime of wreckless choices, he came to this conclusion:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.Ecclesiastes 12:13
Of course, we can learn from his mistakes – and maybe that’s where some of his wisdom came from. Let’s look at some Proverbs that relate to marriage and gain from the wisdom of this interesting book.
Remember Your Covenant
Proverbs 2:16-17 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God
“Marriage is a covenant. The devotion, friendship, and sexual union between the husband and wife is a foundation that can continue to captivate their attention toward one another, quench and refresh their physical needs, and bless their relationship all the days of their marriage.” – Warren Baldwin
Keep your Love at Home
Proverbs 5:15-18 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
There are many temptations out in the world around us – so we must be diligent to save our love for our homes. As King Solomon advises his son in this area, I wonder what regrets he may have had because of neglecting the wife of his youth? What are we doing at home to let our spouses know that we rejoice in our relationship with them?
On the other hand, we have a warning …
The Danger of an Affair
Proverbs 5:3,8 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house. (NLT: Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house!)
Her words are flattering – she is seductive – she knows how to attract (and it could be a he as well). Two areas of defense:
*Listen carefully and distinguish this kind of communication early.
*Remember what it will be after infidelity:
Proverbs 5:4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.
Proverbs 5:22 NLT An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.
The damage done to our relationships, being captive to another relationship, and the unhappiness that all of this brings are warning signals to avoid the temptation of an affair.
Avoiding An Argumentative Home
Proverbs 21:9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Proverbs 27:15-16 A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; 16 restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.
Having an argumentative spirit is a choice – and there is need for self-examination of the heart when this continues to be a feature in our homes.
Proverbs 17:14, 19a Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. … Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin…
Proverbs 20:3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
The answer, of course, is love.
Proverbs 17:9a Whoever would foster love covers over an offense…
How can we change arguing and conflict into support and encouragement through love?
Be Thankful to God for Your Marriage
Proverbs 18:22 NLT The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.
King Solomon writes to his son about finding a treasure in his wife, and it is true for husbands as well. When we value our spouses and realize that they are treasures through which God is blessing us with his favor, we regard them with our highest respect and love.
How do you demonstrate to your spouse that you consider them a treasure?
A Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 31:10-31)
Proverbs ends with a description of a wife of noble character. This wife is independent, hard working, smart, Godly, trustworthy, generous – so many good qualities.
This is not to make wives feel self-conscious or set the bar so high that no one can live up to it. It is to demonstrate the qualities that all of us should strive to have that will make our relationships the best they can be.
As we go through some of the Proverbs, we should look at each one as a source for our own life choices and perspectives. What challenges do we see when we read these words of great wisdom?
Proverbs 24:3-4 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
What kind of house are we building?
What is the atmosphere of our home?
Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. (that goes for men too!)
There are 31 chapters in Proverbs – making it an easy Bible reading plan – one chapter of Proverbs each day. That’s a lot of wisdom to soak in throughout a month. We are about to enter into August – and it has 31 days … wonder who would like to meet the challenge of reading one chapter of Proverbs each day in August!
We will post some resources on the Facebook page for further reading about Proverbs.
How Human Wisdom Become Divine
Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs by Warren Baldwin
Charging Grizzlies, Rude Neighbors: & More Gems from Proverbs by Warren Baldwin