The book of Proverbs is the twentieth book of the Bible, the third of the Poetry books. It is made up of thirty-one chapters, nine hundred and fifteen verses, and fifteen thousand, forty-three words. (1). This comprises the most practical handbook for Christian living. Simply put, the book of Proverbs is “Extraordinary Wisdom For Ordinary Life.”
I. The Purpose of Proverbs - 1:1-7
II. Proverbs to the Youth - 1:8-9:18
A. Obey Parents - 1:8, 9 B. Avoid Bad Company - 1:10-19 C. Seek Wisdom - 1:20-2:22 D. Benefits of Wisdom - 3:1-26 E. Be Kind to Others - 3:27-35 F. Father says Get Wisdom - 4:1-13 G. Avoid the Wicked - 4:14-22 H. Keep Your Heart - 4:23-27 I. Do Not Commit Adultery - 5:1-14 J. Do be faithful to your Wife - 5:15-23 K. Avoid Surety - 6:1-5 L. Do Not Be Lazy - 6:6-19 M. Do Not Commit Adultery - 6:20-7:27 M. Praise of Wisdom - 8:1-9:12 O. Foolish Woman - 9:13-18
III. Proverbs of Solomon - 10:1-24:34
Proverbs Contrasting the Godly and the Wicked - 10:1-15:33 Proverbs Encouraging Godly Lives - 16:1-22:16 Proverbs Concerning Various Situations - 22:17-24:34 Proverbs of Solomon Copied by Hezekiah's Men - 25:1-29:37 Proverbs Regulating Relationships With Others - 25:1-26:28 1. Relationships With Kings - 25:1-7 2. Relationships With Neighbors - 25:8-20 3. Relationships With Enemies - 25:21-24 4. Relationships With Yourself - 25:25-28 5. Relationships With Fools - 26:1-12 6. Relationships With Sluggards - 26:13-16 7. Relationships With Gossips - 26:17-28 Proverbs Regulating Various Activities - 27:1-29:27 V. The Words of Agur - 30:1-33 VI. The Words of King Lemuel - 31:1-31 A. Wisdom for Leaders - 31:1-9 B. Wise Woman - 31:10-31
(6). The authorship of Proverbs is divided between several people. King Solomon is credited with the first twenty-four chapter. Chapters twenty-five to twenty-nine were comprised of Solomon's Proverbs by King Hezekiah's scribes. The last two chapters of Proverbs, chapter thirty and thirty-nine, were written by Agur and Lemuel (3).
The book of Proverbs was written before Solomon's death in 931 B.C., and the scribes of King Hezekiah finished compiling the Proverbs from Solomon's work around 700 B.C. (3). King Hezekiah reigned from 7:15 B.C. to 686 B.C., the last two chapters were also written and added, so the book of Proverbs as we now know it took over two hundred and thirty years to complete (1).
The Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is Mishle Shelomoh, meaning “Proverbs of Solomon.” This is because Proverbs 1:1 begins, “The Proverbs of Solomon…” The Greek title, Paroimiai Salomontos, also means “Proverbs of Solomon.” The Latin title is Liber Proverbiorum, which translates to “Book of Proverbs.” The rabbinical writings name Proverbs, Sepher Hokhmah, or “Book of Wisdom” (2).
As noted, the book of Proverbs covers a wide variety of topics that have to do with common problems and situations. The following are just a few, taken from each chapter:
- Obedience to parents- Proverbs 1:8 "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" - Avoid Bad Company- Proverbs 1:10 "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." - Use Discretion- Proverbs 2:11 "Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:" - Warning for the wicked- Proverbs 2:22 "But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it." - Benefits of Wisdom- Proverbs 3:13 "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." - Be Kind to Others- Proverbs 3:27 "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it." - Avoid the Wicked- Proverbs 4:14 "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men." - Keep Your Heart- Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." - Do Not Commit Adultery- Proverbs 5:6 "Lest thou shouldest ponder the past of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them." - The Lord Sees Us- Proverbs 5:21 "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings." - Avoid Surety- Proverbs 6:3 "Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure they friend." - Do Not Be Lazy- Proverbs 6:6 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:" - Keep These Commandments- Proverbs 7:1 "My son, keep m words, and lay up my commandments with thee." - - - Do Not Commit Adultery- Proverbs 7:25 "Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths." - Wisdom is to be Praised- Proverbs 8:11 "For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." - The Search for Wisdom brings Blessings- Proverbs 8:34 "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors." - The Fear of the Lord- Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." - Foolish Woman- Proverbs 9:13 "A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing." - The Lord's Blessing- Proverbs 10:22 "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow to it." - The Wicked and the Righteous- Proverbs 10:25 "As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation." - Pride and Humility- Proverbs 11:2 "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom." - The Need for Counsel- Proverbs 11:14 "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." - Lies and Truth- Proverbs 12:19 "The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment." - The Diligent and Slothful- Proverbs 12:24 "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute." - A Good Man- Proverbs 13:22 "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just." - Witnesses- Proverbs 14:5 "A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies." - Correction- Proverbs 15:10 "Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die." - Pride- Proverbs 16:5 "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." - Rewarding Evil- Proverbs 17:13 "Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house." - Quick to speak- Proverbs 18:13 "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." - False Witnesses- Proverbs 19:9 "A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish." - Known By Our Doings- Proverbs 20:11 "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure. ad whether it be right." - Wicked Sacrifices- Proverbs 21:27 "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?" - Equality- Proverbs 22:2 "The rich and the poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all." - Do not Envy Sinners- Proverbs 23:17 "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long." - Small Strength- Proverbs 24:10 "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." - Self Control- Proverbs 25:28 "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." - Answer fools wisely- Proverbs 26:4 "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." - Do Not Boast- Proverbs 27:1 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." - Faithfulness rewarded- Proverbs 28:20 "A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." - Flattery is Dangerous- Proverbs 29:5 "A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet." - God's words- Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." - A virtuous woman- Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
Why was Proverbs written? Three intentions may be distinguished in the Book of Proverbs. The historical purpose. The Book of Proverbs may have served as a kind of teacher's manual for the wise men of Israel. Easily memorized, the proverbs themselves were maxims of wisdom meant to give all the people guidance for life. Knowledge is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts, but wisdom is the ability to see people, events, and situations as God sees them. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention.
The doctrinal purpose. The primary teaching of the wisdom literature is that true wisdom is based in the fear (reverential trust) of God. That is, prudence is based in piety (1:7). Teachings on other matters, including sex, friends, and money, are both invaluable and numerous.
The Christological purpose. Christ is presented in Proverbs as the Wisdom for which the wise man aspires (cf. Prov. 8). The New Testament declares that Christ was “made our wisdom” (I Cor. 1:30) and that in Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).
There are 31 chapters in this amazing book. Many people recommend reading it on a monthly basis because Proverbs is probably the greatest “how to” book ever written, and those who have the good sense to take Solomon's lessons to heart will quickly discover godliness, prosperity, and contentment are theirs for the asking.
The recurring promise of the book of Proverbs is that those who choose wisdom and follow God will be blessed in numerous ways with long life (9:11); prosperity (2:20-22); joy (3:13-18); and the goodness of God (12:21). Those who reject Him, on the one hand, suffer shame and death (3:35; 10:21). To reject God is to choose folly over wisdom and is to separate ourselves from God, His Word, His wisdom and His blessings.
(2) Thomas Nelson 1989 Reference Edition King James Version Bible
(3) Norman L. Geisler. (2000) “A Popular Survey of the Old Testament.”