The contrasting invitations of wisdom and folly—two paths (wisdom or folly) with two destinations (life or death).
- In verses 7–12, one’s willingness to receive and ability to profit from a rebuke depends entirely on his faith in God.
- What does unbelieving foolishness appeal to (v. 17)? What doesn’t it tell about (v. 18)?
The call, character, value, necessity, and blessing of wisdom.
- Verses 7–8 testify what God’s wisdom is and is not characterized by.
- Are you diligently seeking wisdom (v. 17)?
- Where is wisdom found (v. 20)? By implication where is it not found? In what “way” should you walk then?
Young people must devote themselves to gaining God’s wisdom so they are protected from immorality.
- As you read verses 6–23 note the character of the young man and the adulteress and make application from that.
- Compare verse 7 with 1:4!
The wise person is controlled by God’s Word rather than selfish, sinful impulses.
- Do you love what God loves and hate what God hates (vv. 16–19)
- Why the emphasis on the “heart” and “eyes” (v. 25)? Note the next verse!
- Note the irony of immorality (v. 32)—driven by sensuality and “living life to the fullest,” it actually shows a lack of sense and leads to death.
Wisdom protects one from the wiles of immorality.
- Immoral persons do not live for eternity; what do they live for? (VV. 3–6)
- What is the only sure protection from immorality (vv. 7–8)? Application for today?
- Verse 21 states a truth, but truth must be received, understood, and skillfully applied—wisdom.
Gaining God’s wisdom demands devoting yourself to God’s ways and staying far from the path of evil.
- In order to have God’s wisdom you must do your part (vv. 14–15). What are some of the “paths” and “ways” of the wicked today that you must stay far away from?
- Verses 20–27 detail how to devote yourself to acquiring wisdom (v. 7). Prayerfully crawl through these verses and make application to your life.
Wisdom is found only by depending on the Lord (vv. 1–12). Wisdom brings God’s blessings (vv. 13–26) and is characterized by obedience to God (vv. 27–35).
- What does true wisdom require and result in (vv. 3–8)?
- Wisdom is the skillful application of truth and knowledge to life. If God created life (vv. 19–20), doesn’t it make sense to seek that wisdom to live life?
- Note who blesses and curses (vv. 32–33)—such is based on your heart and character of life. What do you love?
Gain God’s protection from evil by whole-heartedly seeking God’s wisdom.
- How involved do you need to be in seeking the Lord (vv. 1–4)? Are you?
- What will you gain if you seek God’s wisdom (vv. 5–11)? What will happen if you don’t have God’s wisdom?
- There are two specific ways God protects through his wisdom (vv. 12–15, 16–19). What will happen to you if you’re without God’s wisdom?
The reasons (vv. 2–6) and theme (v. 7) of Proverbs are stated. The wise person avoids the way of sinners (vv. 8–19) and heeds wisdom’s rebuke (vv. 20–33).
- Verse 7 is Proverbs’ “theme” verse. “Beginning” means foundation (built upon) and fount (springs from).
- Why should you avoid the way of sinners (vv. 16–19)?
- There is great danger in rejecting wisdom—destruction (vv. 26–27, 32–33), trouble (v. 26), and yet more foolishness than they desire (v. 31).
Why Should You Read and Study the Book Of Proverbs? It is a source for navigating life—how to live, what to avoid. It practically teaches how to make God an essential part of your life. God uses Scripture to teach who He is, your sinfulness, and your need of a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. All Scripture is God’s Word, and therefore profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training so that believers will be mature and equipped to serve. This book deals with everyday life, which is essential for being and making disciples.
Who Wrote Proverbs? Solomon wrote most of the Proverbs (1:1; 10:1; 25:1; cf. 1 Kings 4:29–32; Eccl 12:9). The last two chapters were written by Agur (30:1) and Lemuel (31:1), of whom we don’t know anything about.
What is a Proverb? A proverb is a compact statement expressing biblical wisdom. Wisdom is skillfully applying God’s Word to life. Proverbs tell what life is like (18:8) and how life should be lived (5:18). They state insights, make observations, and offer advice. Proverbs must be correctly applied—this requires understanding who you’re dealing (people) with and what is going on (circumstances). Proverbs are practical wisdom in the form of (1) Instruction, giving commands with reasons for obedience (22:17–18) and (2) Sentences, making simple observations with no exhortation (22:15). These are gleaned from different settings of life, from the farmer’s field (10:5) to the king’s palace (23:1–3).
What is the Purpose of This Book? To teach God’s people how to live life skillfully (1:2–6). It teaches how to live godly and avoid ungodliness. To be wise is to be skilled at living a godly life. This requires first and foremost a relationship with God, which is what the fear of the Lord means and points to (1:7). “Fear the Lord” is an OT way of saying “saving faith.” It is a controlling reverence and respect for who God is, evidenced in a life of trust, worship, obedience and service. Proverbs taught and shaped God’s people to live godly lives (cf. Deut 6:4–9). Think of Proverbs as a handbook or manual on right living and attitudes that help you live as a believer.
What is the Theme of This Book? Learning to live in the fear of the Lord.
These questions will help prepare you for next Sunday afternoon’s lesson which will look at Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, which is called The Olivet Discourse. This teaching was given after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21; Mark 11; Luke 19) and before His crucifixion.
1. Who—what people—is Jesus’ teaching about (Matt 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:1-6)?
2. What are the two questions the disciples asked Jesus (Matthew 24:1-3; Mark 13:1-4; and Luke 21:5-7)?
3. Read Luke 21:7-24. Only Luke records Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ first question. What is the key phrase in Luke 21:12 showing when Jerusalem will be destroyed in relation to Christ’s return?
4. How long would Jerusalem be “trodden down by the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24)?
5. Read Matthew 24:4-26. Matthew’s account (and Mark 13:9-23) answers the disciples’ second question (Luke does not). What does Jesus say will happen and what things will be like in Matthew 24:5-14?
6. What is the “turning point” event in Matthew 24:15? Who does Jesus refer to here? What is the OT passage Jesus refers to?
7. What does Jesus say will happen and what things will be like in Matthew 24:15-28?
8. What does Jesus say will happen next (Matt 24:29-31)? How soon will these things happen (v. 29)?
9. Review—What are the two questions the disciples asked and Jesus answered, and which gospel answers which question?
Part one is available here.
It gives me unspeakable pleasure to mention the general good conduct of those, particularly the youths, who have made a public profession of religion. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” is the maxim of Christ; and it is hoped that they will continue by exemplary lives to manifest to the world that they have been with Jesus, have imbibed his spirit, and are, like him, devoted to honor and glorify their Father in heaven.
I propose now to give some account of particular exercises of individuals.
I shall begin with the case of a young woman, a professor of religion, who had been induced to attend a place of amusement, which she afterwards became convinced was improper. The circumstances will be mentioned mostly in her own words, as communicated to me in a letter.
“In compliance with your request, I give you my opinion and experience of the impropriety of a professor’s attending balls. Permit me, however, to relate some particulars in an earlier part of my life. At the age of thirteen, I was admitted into company as an equal with those of twenty and twenty-five. At sixteen, the Lord was pleased to stop my career of folly, and to call my mind from the world, by a deep sense of the importance of religion, to the present and future happiness of my soul. After a painful conviction of the awful depravity of my heart, the amazing distance I was at from God by nature, my desert of everlasting punishment, and the total inability of helping myself by any works of righteousness which I could do, I was brought, as I believed, to throw down my weapons and submit to God. The beauty, excellency, and propriety of his character and government, produced a calm serenity of mind, to which I was before a stranger. The conversation and society of the serious, gave me more satisfaction in one hour, than all the vain amusements which I could call to mind from my cradle until that time.
“I met with many trials from the gay [happy] company with which I had always lived in harmony; but for the most part, was enabled to encounter them with less difficulty than I expected. Returning from school, I met with a gentleman who had been absent during the time of my serious impressions. He accosted me in the following manner. ‘How do you do, Miss? I hear you are serious, and have done dancing. Is it so?’ I replied, ‘that I had indeed refused to attend balls, for I believed I had already spent too much time in that folly; but feared I was not so serious as had been represented.’ ‘Well,’ returned the gentleman, ‘you have got a fit; but I am not much concerned; it will soon be over. I never knew an instance, but that in a short time those serious persons would be as gay as ever. I shall then remind you of what I now say; but you will tell me, I don’t feel now as I did then.’ He left me, for I was unable to answer. As soon as his face was turned, the tears flowed without control. I exclaimed to myself, ‘O, is it possible? Is it possible? Can it be that I shall be left to that miserable resort for happiness?’ I tried to believe that he prophesied falsely; but still I knew that it was not impossible.
For some time, I was much distressed lest I should be left to dishonor the cause of religion, and bring contempt upon its professors. About the age of nineteen, this over-anxious concern, as I then thought it, left my mind by degrees, and I lost much of the sense of my dependence. I heard too much of the applause of my fellow worms, which gave a spring to pride and self-conceit, till, alas! they gained an unhappy ascendency. I was now frequently in company with those who were indeed civil but not serious, and joined in their trifling amusements. Their attention and politeness concealed the danger, and led me to be more and more conversant with such scenes of folly. At the time of your ordination, when I was about twenty, I was solicited by a near relative, out of respect to some respectable acquaintance then present, to attend a ball. I knew he would not advise me to do anything which he judged at all inconsistent with my profession. After considerable conversation, and with much reluctance, I consented to go; and I assure you, sir, there was not a person in the company who did not see me. After the interesting services of the day, and the solemn consecration of a minister to feed my soul with the bread of life, and the water of life, here I was in the ballroom, amid the thoughtless and the gay. Nor was this the last time. I was again where there was music and dancing. My Christian friends were alarmed, and reproved me; but with little effect. I had listened to the voice of flattery, and God had left me to reap the reward of my folly. I had almost lost sight of God, and was gliding down the stream of spiritual declension. But in mercy, God was pleased to stop me, to open my eyes, and to bring me to consideration. O, the distress, anxiety, fears and doubts which now harrowed up my soul. Darkness without, and darkness within! I sincerely thought that if I could have recalled the last twelve months, and have removed into some distant land, where I could never behold a face which I ever saw before, I should have chosen it, rather than to have brought the disgrace which I then felt that I had brought upon the church of Christ. My distress was unknown to any but myself, and nothing short of experience can conceive it. All my former feelings, with the gentleman’s prediction, were brought fresh to mind, and every reflection tended to aggravate my crime and enhance my distress. A compassionate Saviour at length brought me to feel and say,
‘His strokes were fewer than my crimes,
And lighter than my guilt.’
“I think, sir, I can say from experience, that the amusements of the thoughtless are exceedingly detrimental to the Christian’s growth in grace, calculated to keep the soul in leanness, and to render a person unhappy in a religious profession, and discontented with the world. Conscience is continually smiting and reproving, and as the Christian has more light than an infidel, he is, of course, more unhappy in the neglect of duty. To undertake to serve God and mammon, is a sure way to render life miserable; for both Scripture and experience tell us we cannot do it.
“If you judge that what I have written will be of use as a warning to my young brethren and sisters in Christ, you may dispose of it for that purpose.”
To be continued next week…