This article is part of the Why Study the Book? series.
Wisdom for Life
What draws you to Proverbs? One thing, surely, is the desire to grow in wisdom—biblical wisdom. And if you’re at all familiar with Scripture, you know that Proverbs is the go-to for getting it.
Many of us love the book of Proverbs for its practicality. Every verse seems to provide us with insight—some way to think or be—that will make our lives run just a bit more smoothly.
And because the book of Proverbs provides us with a poetic roadmap of how God has designed the world to work, following its practical day-to-day guidance does make our lives more pleasant. But even this will prove a bit hollow in the long run if that’s the only reason we study Proverbs. We don’t want to miss the heart of it—what God is saying to his people through this unique portion of Scripture.
Advice vs. Wisdom
We want to rightly understand this collection of sayings that provide skill in the art of godly living and show us how to reflect God’s glory in the details of our lives and relationships. It’s the difference between going to Proverbs for advice and going to it for wisdom.
Seeking wisdom and not just advice requires more heart work, but it’s worth it! That’s because the wisdom found in Proverbs takes us outside of ourselves and our own lives to someone else—our covenant Lord. It teaches us that wisdom is not primarily about what we do but about who God is and what he’s done for us. That’s the heart of the book and the primary reason to study it.
...the wisdom found in Proverbs takes us outside of ourselves and our own lives to someone else—our covenant Lord.
Seeing Ourselves on Every Page
We find in Proverbs people like us—fathers, mothers, children, friends, colleagues. We find men and women of wisdom, and we find fools. We see the passionate and the lazy. We encounter those tempted by sin and those who do the tempting.
In the book are those who embrace God’s ways and others who scorn them. In every case, we’re shown that the orientation of one’s heart determines one’s destiny. With passion, poetry, and a bit of humor, we’re made to see ourselves and our greatest need.
Wisdom Is a Person
Overall, we see that wisdom isn’t just what and how—it’s who. Ultimately, wisdom is a person—Jesus Christ—and it’s to him that the wisdom in Proverbs points.